Cal Ripken, Jr., was the perfect baseball player. He would play when he had the flu and even when he had a sprained ankle.
He was loyal to his city of Baltimore. He never left if more money was offered. In 1995 he broke Lou Gehrigs 2,130 games by playing 2,218 games in a row. According to World Book, Cal ended his streak of 2,632 consecutive games when he chose not to play in the game of September 20, 1998.
He was 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighed 220 pounds. He was and still is the biggest shortstop in major league history. He is the only shortstop ever to hit 20 or more home runs in 10 straight seasons.
He is noticed much less than most major league superstars. He only gets noticed for his good plays. He is the only shortstop to have a record of start in eight straight All Star games.
In his first year in the major league, he was voted Rookie of the Year by the newspapers writers who cover the American league.
In 1983, at the age of twenty-three, Cal lead the Orioles to a World Series victory. He always seemed the favorite every group would vote for as player of the year. There were two reasons. First was his outstanding performance on the field. Second was the way Cal handled himself off the field. He loves being a role model for children, so he tries to be the best person he can in order to set a good example.
In 1987, Cal had a dream come true. His brother Billy joined the Orioles and the team was managed by his father Cal Ripken, Sr. His Father was manager of the team until the beginning of the 1988 season. The Orioles started the season by losing the first six games. The teams owner and general manager made the decision of removing Cal Ripken, Sr. as the manager. Cal Ripken, Sr. was put back as third base coach. Cal Jr. understood, because he knew these things happen in baseball.
Cal was so dedicated to baseball that he had a batting cage with a mechanical pitcher in his backyard so he could practice for hours everyday. Cal would spend one afternoon a week at Baltimores stadium answering every letter he received from fans. He would hang around the ballpark more than an hour after games, signing more than 500 autographs.
He doesnt consider himself a superstar. He doesnt think he can stack up with the great players in the Major League. Anyone who has seen Cal Ripken, Jr., play know differently.
On October 6, 2001, Cal Ripken, Jr. played his last game at Orioles Park, Camden Yards. At the age of 41, he leaves behind a legacy of 3,001 games, 3,184 hits, 431 home runs, more All-star starts then any other player, a redefinition of shortstop, an association with only one team during his entire career and unchallenged status as the games best-known player.
As stated by Joe Strauss of the Baltimore Sun, The Maker of magical moments leaves imprint for all time. Presence: forever defined by The Streak, Cal Ripken, Jr. bows out with the respect of his peers, the adulation of his fans and the uncanny ability to command a stage.