Cal Ripken is baseball’s all-time “Iron Man.” He retired from the game in October 2001 after 21 seasons with the Baltimore Orioles. His name appears in the record books repeatedly, most notably as one of only ten players in history to achieve 400 home runs and 3,000 hits. On July 29, 2007 he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Cal received the 4th highest percentage of votes in history, collecting the second highest vote total ever by the BBWAA.
In 1995, Ripken broke Lou Gehrig’s Major League record for consecutive games played (2,130) and in 1996 he surpassed Japanese great Sachio Kinugasa’s streak of 2,215 straight games and voluntarily ended his streak on September 20, 1998 after playing 2,632 consecutive games. Although he began and finished his career at third base, Cal is still best known for redefining the position of shortstop.
2632 Game Streak
1982 AL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
In 1982, Cal led all rookies in doubles, homers, RBI, total bases, games, at-bats and runs and had a .972 field percentage. He was the runaway winner of AL Rookie of the Year award with 132 points, ahead of Minnesota’s Kent Hrbek (90 points) and Wade Boggs of Boston (10.5 points).
TWO-TIME AL MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
In 1983, Ripken played every inning of every game, batting .318 with 27 home runs and 102 runs batted in. He led the league in hits (211), doubles (47), runs (121), extra-base hits (76) and at bats (663). He also led the league shortstops in assists (535), total chances (833) and double plays (113). It was the first time that anyone has won rookie of the year and MVP awards in successive years. He won again MVP again in 1991, hitting .323 with 34 homers and 114 runs batted in.
Two-time gold glove recipient
In 1991, Ripken became second major leaguer to win a league MVP, Major League Player of the Year, All-Star Game MVP and Gold Glove in the same season. He led the AL in fielding percentage (.986), games (162), put-outs (267), assists (528), total chances (806), total chances without errors (795), and double plays (114). He received the honor again in 1992, with a .984 fielding percentage, and led the league in games (162), put-outs (287) and double plays (119).
Two-time All-Star Game MVP
Ripken’s home run off of former Orioles and then Montreal Expos pitcher Dennis Martínez was the defining moment of American League’s 4-2 victory in the 1991 Major League Baseball All-Star Game. As a result, he was the first player to win both the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game MVP Award in the same year. In his final season (2001), he was voted the starting third baseman in the All-Star Game. He ended up starting at the short stop position after Alex Rodriguez insisted on exchanging positions with Ripken for the first inning, so that Ripken could play shortstop as he had for most of his career. That move allowed Ripken to claim the record of most MLB All-Star Game appearances at shortstop. In his first plate appearance Ripken homered off the first pitch from Chan Ho Park. He ended up with All-Star MVP honors, becoming one of four players in MLB history with multiple All-Star Game MVP Awards and the only player to be named All-Star Game MVP in two different decades.
Broke Lou Gherig’s consecutive game streak
On September 6, 1991, Ripken broke the consecutive games played record that was held by Lou Gehrig. This game was voted by fans as the league’s “most memorable moment” in the history of the game in an MLB.com poll. Ripken voluntarily ended his 17-year streak at 2,632 games, in 1998. He still holds the consecutive games played record today.
19 All-star game selections
Ripken was selected for and played in 19 All-Star Games, making him the 4th player with most seasons on the All-Star roster behind Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Stan Musial.
400 Home Runs
On September 2, 1999, at 39, Ripken became the 29th player in baseball history to reach 400 homers. He reached the 400 mark in his 10,707th at-bat, more than any other member of the 400 home run club.
Cal entered the Orioles-Twins game of April 15 2000 needing three hits to reach the milestone mark. With three singles, ironically including a Baltimore chop to third base, Cal became the 24th man to reach the coveted 3,000-hit. Ripken was the first man to garner his 3,000th hit in the month of April and the seventh to combine 3,000 hits with at least 400 home runs.
A member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame
On July 29, 2007, Ripken was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Cal received the 4th highest percentage of votes in history, collecting the second highest vote total ever by the BBWAA.
Named to the All-Century team
In 1999, the Major League Baseball All-Century Team was chosen by popular vote of fans. To select the team, a panel of experts first compiled a list of the 100 greatest Major League Baseball players from the past century. Over two million fans then voted on the players using paper and online ballots. Ripken was voted in at the shortstop position.
Cal Ripken, Jr. is baseball’s all-time “Iron Man”, Hall of Famer and now … American business leader. Raised in a baseball family Cal's playing career spanned 21 seasons, all with his hometown Baltimore Orioles. After retiring from the game in 2001 he remained dedicated to baseball through the establishment and growth of Ripken Baseball and the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation. Over the years he has served as a spokesman for numerous brands, has been a national broadcaster and evolved into one of the most sought-after corporate speakers and authors in the country.
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