Known as the “Iron Man” for shattering Lou Gehrig’s 56-year-old record of 2,130 consecutive games played in 1995, Cal Ripken Jr. is recognized as one of the most prolific shortstops in major league history. Drafted by the Baltimore Orioles out of Aberdeen High School in 1978, Ripken spent his 21- year career on the left side of the Orioles infield, first as a Gold Glove caliber shortstop and then as a third baseman. As a 21 year old,
Ripken exploded onto the scene in 1982 when he won the American League Rookie of the Year award after hitting 28 home runs and driving in 93 runs.
One year later he piloted the Orioles to their first World Series victory since 1970, took home AL Most Valuable Player honors and also made the first of what became a record 19 consecutive All-Star Teams as a shortstop. Ripken would appear twice more in the postseason in 1996 and 1997.
The Iron Man’s iconic streak, which began on May 30, 1982 following a game of rest for the night cap of a doubleheader, would not end until September 20, 1998, when he sat himself down after a stretch of 2,632 consecutive games played. In 2001, his final season, Ripken was voted the starting third baseman for the AL All-Star Team. He homered in his first at-bat and went on to be named the game’s MVP.
Ripken finished his illustrious career with a .276 batting average, 3,184 hits and 431 home runs. Ripken has been involved with various charitable and philanthropic endeavors, namely the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation. He is also an accomplished businessman, owning several Minor League Baseball teams, and has authored over two dozen books, including an autobiography and books on coaching, parenting and motivation.
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