Cal is a legend, an icon to many. He has brought a generation with him in his play. Cal was the first player on and off the field every time he went out to play. He just had the love of the game. Many players, even now just wanna step onto a field that Cal Ripken Jr. has played on. Cal has always been faithful to fans, umpires, and the game itself. He has always been an Oriole, and ever shall be. Its all about you Cal…
As a kid growing up in Aberdeen Maryland, Cal Ripken Jr. never thought he would grow up to be the best SS ever in the history of the game. He was wrong though. When Cal was in the minors, he was on the Rochester Red Wings (O’s triple A affiliate at the time) And played in the longest proffesional game in the history of baseball. He played through 33 innings which spanned through three long long days. In 81′ and 82′ Cal was a utility man and played some SS and 3B for the O’s. Ripken homered in his very first at bat against the Royals in the first game of the 82′ season. That was a start for him as he ended the season with 28 homers sealing the deal for the rookie of the year award. In 83′ Cal unbelievably topped that as well as winning MVP honors with his .318 AVG, 27 home runs, one less than his rookie year, and 102 RBI.
For eight seasons, Cal would hit 20 or more homers in a year. And in 87′ it was a Ripken reunion when Cal’s father Cal Ripken Sr. took over the head coaching job in Baltimore, and Cal’s brother Billy Ripken was on the team too. Cal Sr, became the first manager ever to write both of his sons’ into the lineup card. Cal Sr. also broke the biggest streak ever, by putting Ron Washington in the game in Cal’s place in the eighth inning of a game on September 22, ending Cal’s streak of consecutive innings played at 8,243. Cal would then go on and set his record for consecutive games played at 2,632 games straight. Cal got the nickname “the iron man” for showing up every day on the job ready to play.
Cal wasn’t famous for it, but he also joined the 3,000 hit club and finished his career with 3,184 hits. Cal had his #8 retired on the last home game of the 2001 season, and was on the on deck circle in the bottom of the ninth waiting for his chance to bat, when with 2 outs and a full count, Brady Anderson, Ripken’s long time teammate who was also playing in his last game struck out on a high, inside fastball. Cal had a long speech after the game thanking all of his fans and all of his friends that supported him over the years.
Other big moments for Cal were, in 2001 Cal was voted to be the starting 3B of the All Star Game in Seattle and Alex Rodriguez was supposed to be starting SS, but A-rod respectively gave up the role and switched with Ripken because he knew this was the last year Cal was playing and wanted it to be memorable to him. Ripken made his first plate appearance in the third inning and was happily noticed with a standing “o”. Ripken took Chan Ho Parks’ first pitch yard for a home run, and the fans went wild for Cal! It was a sight to be seen for Ripken as he happily slapped hands with the guys and was carried around in the dugout.
Cal had a famous quote, it was “As long as I can compete, I won’t quit.”
Cal did just that as when he went for the record 2,131st game in a row, he hit a home run which was voted as the “most memorable moment in baseball history.” Cal was inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, the most prestigous honor you could get in 2007. He was a first ballot inductee with the third highest voting percentage of all time at (98.53%). He was definitly loved by the fans, and that shows by him getting the highest amount of all star votes in the history of balloting (36,123,483). He also has the most consecutive all star starts with 17 in a row. Cal was an icon to everyone and was the best SS ever. He is the heart of Baltimore and Cal is Birdland, now and for eternity. This is all about you, Cal. You are a legend….
Thanks for checking out Cal’s Corner please comment on Cal Ripken Jr. Thanks!