Tuesday, January 8, 2002
He's a baseball legend. Cal Ripken Jr. played all 21 years of his Major League career with hometown Baltimore Orioles. He holds several defensive records and he is only one of seven players who got 400 home runs and 3,000 hits. But as sportswriters reflected on his career as he retired at the end of the 2001 season, what many considered his most significant achievement was that, for 16 straight years, he played in every single game, setting the all-time record of 2,632 consecutive games played. When the ill will from the 1994 players' strike was still in the air, he tied and passed Lou Gehrig's long-standing record for consecutive games played. The fans cheered loud and long. As one magazine said, "This wasn't Joe DiMaggio hitting in 56 straight games or Hank Aaron's clubbing 755 homers. This was a record that required a talent all mere mortals could display - faithfully showing up for work every day."