“The Iron Man”. This was the nickname of one of the most memorable players in the game of baseball. The Cal Ripken throwback jersey is a legendary jersey and one that represents one of the great shortstops of the game. Cal Ripken Jr. stayed with the Baltimore Orioles throughout his career and is most widely known as playing shortstop. While he played some third base throughout his career, he changed the way that the game of baseball views the shortstop position and was a pioneer for the game. Let’s take a look at where Cal started his career.
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Growing Up Around The Game
Cal Ripken Jr. was born and raised in the state of Maryland. While this is where he and his family spent a good amount of their lives, they did have to travel around a lot due to his father’s job. Cal Ripken Jr’s dad, Cal Sr., worked for the Baltimore Orioles. With his dad being very involved in the game of baseball at a high level, this allowed for Cal and his brother, Billy, to be around the game a lot. Cal got tips, advice, and recommendations from the guys on his dad’s team. The Cal Ripken throwback jersey was in the process of becoming very popular one day.
High School Years
Cal Ripken Jr. attended Aberdeen High School in Maryland and played baseball and soccer throughout his years there. He played shortstop and pitched as well for the baseball team. Cal got a lot of attention as a pitcher along with his ability to hit and play shortstop. He played at such a high caliber that he never went to play baseball in college. Cal got drafted in the second round of the 1978 Major League Baseball draft straight out of high school. He would end up having a great career and would go on to become a household name across the nation. Many fans would end up getting their own Cal Ripken throwback jersey.
Major League Career
The Baltimore Orioles were the team that selected Cal Ripken Jr. in the draft. He started out in the farm system with the Orioles and was part of a few different minor league baseball teams before working his way up to the show. The Cal Ripken throwback jersey was made in the Baltimore orange. After a few years in the minors, Ripken made the big league roster in 1981 and became an everyday guy for the city of Baltimore in 1982. He ended up having a great rookie season and won the Rookie of the Year award. Throughout his career, Cal was a 19-time All-Star and was selected as the American League Most Valuable Player in two separate years. He won 2 gold glove awards and won a World Series in the 1983. Cal also reached the mark of 3,000 hits, which is a milestone that many players never reach. Check out the video below on this great accomplishment!
Changing The Game
Cal Ripken Jr. is known for changing the way the shortstop position is viewed. The shortstop position used to really only be known as someone who had a great glove and defensive skills. They were never relied on too much as a hitter and not a lot was expected out of them at the plate. Cal changed that. Not only was he a great defender, but he was a shortstop that could hit and hit for power. Throughout the years of his career it was not odd to see Cal Ripken Jr. with 20 or 30 home runs in one season and an average around the .300 mark. This was unusual for the position and started a change in the way shortstops were viewed.
New Type Of Shortstop
Cal Ripken Jr. was setting a new standard and expectation for other shortstops around the league. Not only did Ripken change it with the way he swung the bat, but with his size and body type as well. Shortstops had the reputation of being one of the shorter and smaller guys on the team, but not Cal. Cal was 6’4” and was a strong guy. He was one of the bigger guys on the team and this was unusual. His size and the way he was able to hit while still being a phenomenal defender changed the way people viewed the shortstop position. Cal Ripken Jr. set a new expectation for the future of the game. The way he played made the Cal Ripken throwback jersey famous.
One of the main things that Cal Ripken Jr. is known for is “The Streak”. This is the amount of consecutive games he played in a row without taking a day off. Cal holds the record at 2,632 games in a row. The amount of wear and tear that this kind of consistent play has on one’s body is what makes it so impressive. This is where he got his nickname the “Iron Man”. The Cal Ripken throwback jersey was starting to become legendary.
This was a 17 year streak and during all of the games he mainly played the position of shortstop. That is another reason that made this streak so great because shortstop is one of the most active and involved positions in the game of baseball. The streak started very early on during his career with the Orioles. The road to breaking and holding this record was not easy though. Lou Gehrig had previously held the record at 2,130 games prior to Ripken beating it and there were many times throughout his career where he almost lost the streak due to injuries or other occasions.
Streak Almost Broken
There were a few different times when Cal Ripken Jr. almost lost the streak. Cal’s son was born during one of the big league seasons in July of 1993. Luckily, this was an off day for the Orioles and they didn’t have a game, so Cal was able to keep his streak. He was back on the field the next day ready to play. During that same year, Cal almost had to sit out due to injury in his knee, but he was able to play through it. Cal persevered and played through the adversity to keep this record going. The streak is just one thing that made the Cal Ripken throwback jersey so legendary.
Another moment that almost brought the streak to the end was the baseball strike that occurred going into the 1995 season. Major League Baseball was going to use replacement players for the start of the season, which would mean Cal’s streak would come to an end. Peace was eventually made before the beginning of the season and this allowed for Cal to play and continue on his record-breaking streak. There is only so much wear and tear that the human body can take and Cal eventually had to end the day after day playing. This record streak was ended, but it is one that will stand for a very long time…that is if it will ever be broken.
A Legendary Career
Cal ended his career with 3,184 hits, 431 home runs, and a .276 career batting average. He was a part of the 3,000 hit club. This is something that only a handful of players have achieved and is quite the accomplishment. He was elected into the Hall of Fame in 2007 during his first year of eligibility. Since he finished his baseball career, Cal has gone onto accomplish many other things in life. He is quite inspiring. Pick up your favorite Cal Ripken throwback jersey today!
Retirement and Continual Impact
Cal has become an author and has written multiple different books. He is also the CEO of his own company called Ripken Baseball. He runs the company with his brother, Billy. Ripken Baseball is a company that holds tournaments for the youth and has clinics and camps as well. They help impact and influence the young minds of the game. Ripken Baseball owns multiple minor league baseball teams as well. Cal and his brother also set up the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation in honor of their father. This program is mainly for underprivileged kids and runs baseball and softball programs for them to be a part of. Cal Ripken Jr. continues to have an impact on the baseball community and will be a legend in the baseball world for a very long time. Do you think his record will ever be broken? Please leave comments below!