Other Free Encyclopedias » Famous Sports Stars » Baseball » Cal Ripken Jr. Biography - All In The Family, The Road To Baltimore, Career Statistics, Seasons Of Change, Game After Game

Cal Ripken Jr. - A Record Tied, A Record Set

september game baltimore dream

With more than 2,000 consecutive games under his belt, Ripken—dubbed the "Iron Man" of baseball—was scheduled to tie Gehrig's record on September 5, 1995. The media build-up to that day was intense, and the shortstop found himself checking into hotels under false names to protect his privacy. The evening of September 5, Ripken played the game that brought his streak to 2,130, tying with Gehrig. The next day, September 6, Ripken's appearance at Baltimore's Camden Yards was met by a capacity crowd roaring its approval. When the record became official in the fifth inning, Ripken was acknowledged to have played a record-breaking 2,131 games, missing not a single game since 1983. A post game speech revealed Ripken's humility over the landmark event: "Tonight I stand here, overwhelmed, as my name is linked with the great and courageous Lou Gehrig. I'm truly humbled to have our names spoken in the same breath."

Even after the cheers had died down, Ripken continued in his work ethic. In 1996 he posted game number 2,216, surpassing the world record set by Sachio Kinusaga of Japan. A 1997 move from shortstop to third base did not slow the Baltimore icon at all; in fact, the Orioles made the playoffs that year, with Ripken hitting.385 in the postseason. Finally, on September 20, 1998, Ripken sat out a game, ending the streak at 2,632. But his appeal had hardly faded: Ripken was showcased in a variety of commercials playing off his "Iron Man" image: such trademark lines as Chevrolet's "Like a Rock" and Coca-Cola's "Always" took new meaning when paired with Ripken's image.

On Sunday, September 9, 2001, Ripken made his final appearance as a Baltimore Orioles player. At forty-one, he was a senior member of the organization and had served his team with consistency and conviction. Once more Ripken stepped up to address his fans. "As a kid I had this dream," he said. "And I had the parents that helped me shape that dream. Then, I became part of an organization, the Baltimore Orioles, to help me grow that dream." As he continued, on that night "we close a chapter of this dream: my playing career. But I have other dreams…. My dreams for the future include pursuing my passion for baseball. Hopefully I will be able to share what I have learned." He had played 3,001 games for the same team over twenty years.

"There are three words which aptly describe Cal Ripken, Jr., both as a player and a person," noted a CBS Sportsline writer: "Excellence; dependability; and consistency." For all his acclaim, however, the athlete long ago recognized his responsibility to his fans. "As a baseball player you are instantly a role model," he told Sport. "Some people don't accept that. I choose to accept it because I remember vividly what baseball players meant to me and how they influenced my life."

Cal Ripken Jr. - Selected Writings By Ripken: [next] [back] Cal Ripken Jr. - Excerpts From Ripken's Speech On Breaking The Record

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or