Thursday, September 5, 2013

Ripken Breaks Gehrig's Record

On Sept. 5, 1995, Baltimore Orioles legend and Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. played in consecutive game 2,131 for his career, setting a new Major League record. Ripken Jr. was given the nickname “Ironman” for the feat.

After the Angels’ half of the fifth inning, the game was considered official and Cal had broken the record.

Ripken eclipsed the mark that was previously held by Lou Gehrig, whose legendary record of 2,130 consecutive games had stood for 56 years.

Before Gehrig, Everett Scott, who played in 1,307 consecutive games over his career, held the record. Scott was a shortstop with the Red Sox and Yankees whose streak ended in 1925, less than a month before Gehrig's began.

As the moment was announced over the public address system Ripken Jr. did a lap around the stadium, shaking the hands of fans that had watched him play throughout the years.

To make the record breaking game even more memorable, Ripken hit a fourth inning home run off of California Angels starter Shawn Boskie. The home run was later voted as Major League Baseball’s “Most Memorable Moment” of all-time by fans.

Ripken would go on to play in an additional 502 straight games (2,632 total), before voluntarily pulling himself from the line-up in the Orioles final home game of 1998. 

His streak spanned over an incredible 17 years, as it started in May of 1982.

To this day Ripken is still the holder of the most games played consecutively.

A notable recent streak was compiled by Miguel Tejada of the Oakland A's and Baltimore Orioles, who played in 1,152 consecutive games from 2000 to 2007. As of Sept. 3, 2013, the current player with the longest active Major League consecutive games streak is Prince Fielder of the Detroit Tigers with 475.

Ripken would go on to have a fine career after his consecutive games streak was over playing in six more seasons for the Orioles before his retirement.

During his 21-season career Ripken would earn 19 All-Star appearances, all consecutively from 1983-2001. He would be honored with the All-Star Game MVP twice, in 1991 and 2001. He would earn eight Silver Slugger Awards, including four consecutive awards from 1983-1986. He would earn two Gold Glove Awards in 1991 and 1992. In 1982 Ripken was named the American League Rookie of the Year.

Ripken was also a two-time MVP of the American League in 1983 and 1991. In 1983 Ripken helped the Orioles to win the World Series, Ripken’s only title of his career. Although he was only awarded two MVP awards during his career Ripken was in the conversation for MVP 10 times, being in the top five in voting three times.

In 1991 Ripken won the Home Run Derby Crown at the Skydome in Toronto, the home of the Bluejays. In 1992 Ripken was awarded the Robert Clemente Award, as well the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award.

The Clemente Award is given annually to the Major League Baseball (MLB) player who "best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual's contribution to his team", as voted on by baseball fans and members of the media. It is named for Hall of Fame outfielder Roberto Clemente. Originally known as the Commissioner's Award, it has been presented by the MLB since 1971. In 1973, the award was renamed after Clemente following his death in a plane crash while delivering supplies to victims of the Nicaragua earthquake.

The Gehrig Award is given annually to a Major League Baseball (MLB) player who best exhibits the character and integrity of Lou Gehrig, both on the field and off it. The award was created by the Phi Delta Theta fraternity in honor of Gehrig, who was a member of the fraternity at Columbia University. It was first presented in 1955. The award's purpose is to recognize a player's exemplary contributions in "both his community and philanthropy." The bestowal of the award is overseen by the headquarters of the Phi Delta Theta in Oxford, Ohio, and the name of each winner is inscribed onto the Lou Gehrig Award plaque in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. It is the only MLB award conferred by a fraternity.

Ripken finished his 21-year career with 3,001 games played a .276 batting average and 3,184 hits consisting of 603 doubles, 44 triples and 431 home runs. He also had 1,695 RBIs, 1,647 runs scored, 1,129 walks, 36 stolen bases and struck out 1,305 times.

Ripken Jr. led the league in runs, hits, and doubles once, all in 1983 when he won his first of two MVP awards and helped the Orioles win the World Series. His run total of 121, hit total of 211 and doubles total of 47 were all single season career highs for Ripken Jr.

Ripken was named to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team in 1999. The players were 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.

The Baltimore Orioles retired Ripken’s no. 8 jersey in September of 2001.

In 2007 Ripken Jr. was inducted into Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame with 98.53 percent of the vote on the first ballot in which he appeared. Only New York Mets great Tom Seaver 98.84 percent and Texas Rangers, Houston Astros and California Angels great Nolan Ryan 98.79 topped Ripken Jr. for the percentage of votes cast to be inducted into Cooperstown.