When Cal Ripken Jr. didn’t play the second game of a double header on May 29, 1982, no one had any way of knowing that it would be his last day off for 17 years. But Ripken was so much more than the streak. Spending his entire career with the Baltimore Orioles, he redefined the physique of the shortstop. Ripken was big, strong, and could hit. 1982 Rookie of the Year and winner of the MVP in 1983 and 1991, he was also a mind-boggling 19-time All Star. With 3184 lifetime hits and 431 home runs, it’s easy to forget that Ripken also used his athletic frame to successfully man shortstop, winning two gold gloves and possessing the eleventh highest fielding percentage (.979) for a second baseman all time. His unfathomable record of 2,632 consecutive games played, often credited with reigniting the public’s interest in baseball after the disastrous strike of 1994, is likely never going to be broken.
Although his father was a coach in the Baltimore Orioles system, Ripken credits his mother with teaching him how to hit.
March 9, 2014
New York City, NY