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Cal Ripken Jr. - The Road To Baltimore

orioles league team average

The youth had set his sights modestly, however, revealing in his high-school yearbook that his goal was to become "a minor league baseball player." On graduation in 1978, Ripken appeared destined to achieve that goal. He was selected as a second-round draft choice by his beloved Baltimore, and assigned to a farm team in Blue-field, West Virginia. It was here that the young man was inaugurated as a shortstop (Ripken was also a pitcher in high school). Though he had talent, Ripken also had some maturing to do, as evidenced by his less-than-stellar first year batting average of .264; he also led the league in errors that season. With his move to the Orioles' Florida Instructional League, Ripken was able to strengthen his hitting until he reached a .303 average.

By 1979 Ripken had improved enough to be placed on an Orioles AA team in Charlotte, North Carolina. Over the next two seasons he was given increasingly more innings; by 1980 Ripken had a .276 batting average and had hit twenty-five home runs, nearly three times the number of homers from the year before. After being named the Southern League's all-star, he was promoted to a AAA team in Rochester, New York, in 1981. Finally, in August 1981, Ripken got the call to join the Orioles. He stepped up to the plate in his first Major League game on Opening Day 1982.

If the early 1982 season were any indicator, Ripken may well have moved back to the minors. In his first game he impressed with a home run, but then slipped, finishing with a 7-for-60 hitting record over the next seventeen games. By May 1, Ripken's batting average had dropped to a dismal .117, leading to a serious crisis of confidence. The young batter sought help from a master, in this case California Angels star Reggie Jackson. It was Jackson who provided these words of advice, as quoted from Baseball Digest: "The Orioles traded away a fine player [third baseman Doug Decinces] so they could bring you up. They know you're going to be great. So just do what you know you can do, not what everybody else tells you to do." Ripken rallied and ended the season with an average of .264.

The Orioles' fortunes rose in 1983, as the team became favorites to win the World Series. Ripken had grown into his game and had become a formidable hitter. He led the majors with 211 hits and forty-seven doubles, and led the American League with 121 hits, including twenty-seven home runs and a .318 batting average. With Ripken's bat leading the way, the Orioles bested the Chicago White Sox in the American League Championship Series. Within the hoopla over the Pennant win, it was also noted that Ripken had played every inning of every game in the 1983 season; it was the quiet beginning of a streak that would help make him a household name. As the Orioles faced the Philadelphia Phillies for the 1983 World Series, Ripken fell into an uncharacteristic slump, batting only.167; still, his team took the crown four games to one.

Career Statistics

Yr Team Avg GP AB R H HR RBI BB SO SB
BAL: Baltimore Orioles.
1981 BAL .128 23 39 1 5 0 0 1 8 0
1982 BAL .264 160 598 90 158 28 93 46 95 3
1983 BAL .318 162 663 121 211 27 102 58 97 0
1984 BAL .304 162 641 103 195 27 86 71 89 2
1985 BAL .282 161 642 116 181 26 110 67 68 2
1986 BAL .282 162 627 98 177 25 81 70 60 4
1987 BAL .252 162 624 97 157 27 98 81 77 3
1988 BAL .264 161 575 87 152 23 81 102 69 2
1989 BAL .257 162 646 80 166 21 93 57 72 3
1990 BAL .250 161 600 78 150 21 84 82 66 3
1991 BAL .323 162 650 99 210 34 114 53 46 6
1992 BAL .251 162 637 73 160 14 72 64 50 4
1993 BAL .257 162 641 87 165 24 90 65 58 1
1994 BAL .315 112 444 71 140 13 75 32 41 4
1995 BAL .262 1441 550 71 144 17 88 52 59 0
1996 BAL .278 163 640 94 178 26 102 59 78 1
1997 BAL .270 162 615 79 166 17 84 56 73 1
1998 BAL .271 161 601 65 163 14 61 51 68 0
1999 BAL .340 86 332 51 113 18 57 13 31 0
2000 BAL .256 83 309 43 79 15 56 23 37 0
2001 BAL .239 128 477 43 114 14 68 26 63 0
TOTAL .276 3001 11551 1647 3184 431 1695 1129 1305 36
Cal Ripken Jr. - Career Statistics [next] [back] Cal Ripken Jr. - All In The Family

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