Hey baseball fans!
There aren't too many Hall of Fame shortstops compared to the other position players in the Hall of Fame. Sure, there's Ernie Banks, Pee Wee Reese, and a few others, but that's about it. Despite this, there is one shortstop in the Hall of Fame that made kids everywhere want to be a shortstop and his name is Cal Ripken, Jr.
Cal Ripken, Jr., the son of a coach who was in the Baltimore Orioles organization, Cal, Sr., and the brother of fellow big leaguer, Billy Ripken, played from 1981-2001 with the Baltimore Orioles. Many people recognize his name from his consecutive games played record, but I'll get to that in a bit because he did so much more during his career. A career .276 hitter, Ripken collected 3,184 career hits, 15th on the all-time list. The 19-time All Star and two-time AL MVP also smashed 431 home runs and drove in 1,695 runs during his time in Charm City. His best seasons were probably his Rookie of the Year and MVP years, '82 and '83, respectively. In those years, he hit 55 home runs, collected 195 RBIs, and batted .293. In those years he became the first player in MLB history to win the RoY and MVP in back-to-back seasons.
Even though Ripken did have amazing stats on the field, the fact that he played on the field so much was his greatest achievement. From May 30, 1982 to September 20, 1998, the star shortstop never missed a single game. On September 6, 1995, his consecutive games played streak broke Lou Gehrig's (aka, the Iron Horse's) 56-year-old record of 2,130 consecutive games played. Ripken's streak ended in '98 at 2,632 games. Because of his endurance, he was nicknamed "The Iron Man."
The streak made Cal one of the most respected players by fellow teammates, big leaguers, and fans across the world. This was on full display in the Iron Man's last All Star Game, 2001. He was scheduled to actually be the starting third baseman for the American League, but shortstop Alex Rodriguez thought that he should play shortstop. Cal thanked A-Rod and his All Star teammates for allowing him to switch to the position that made him famous, and the fans for watching him during his final All Star Game, and then proceeded to hit a home run! How cool is that! He ended up winning the 2001 All Star Game MVP Award.
Cal Ripken, Jr. is not just one of the greatest shortstops ever, but one of the greatest players ever. I'm so sad that I wasn't able to see him play live, because he seems like such an exciting player from watching him on baseball documentaries. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."