However, he is mostly known for establishing a record that just won’t be broken in our lifetime.
Never say never, they say, but this one looks incredibly difficult to beat: Ripken played 2,632 consecutive games in his 21-year career.
He surpassed Lou Gehrig‘s streak of 2,130 consecutive games, a record that stood for 56 years.
That happened on September 6, 1995, but he kept on playing and reached 2,632 until voluntarily ending the streak late in the 1998 campaign.
On this day in 1995, Orioles' Cal Ripken Jr. broke the consecutive games played record, playing in his 2,131st straight game.
Is this the most unbreakable record in sports? pic.twitter.com/QacMDzvkSQ
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) September 6, 2021
People often have no idea what it means to play each and every game over a span of more than 16 seasons.
Baseball players often take the field with nagging injuries, pain in different parts of the body, or just general soreness.
Over 99 percent of them have to miss at least a game every now and then.
But not Ripken.
The “Iron Man” Didn’t Miss A Single Game For Over 16 Years
That’s why people call him “The Iron Man”.
We often hear the story about how Gehrig played with several fractures in his fingers and other ailments to preserve his streak.
Ripken’s road to 2,632 consecutive games may not have been that rocky, but it sure wasn’t easy: it’s actually one of the most respected records in baseball.
It’s hard to see someone ever reaching that many games in a row without missing at least one in today’s MLB.
Teams want to preserve their star players’ health, so they occasionally sit them.
And those who are not good enough simply don’t have a place on an MLB roster for 16 years.
Starting pitchers cover fewer innings than ever before, but with more intensity and nastier pitches.
Managers often implement platoons in their lineups, and prioritize lefty-righty matchups more than ever.
The sport isn’t better or worse than the days in which Ripken played: it has just changed.
One Of Baseball’s Truly Unbreakable Records
Change is a part of life, and as a result, Ripken’s record should still be safe for some time, maybe forever if we are being honest.
Just like Cy Young’s record of 511 wins, Ripken’s will likely never be broken.
Most Wins – CY Young 511
Consecutive Games Played – Ripken 2,632
Single Season Avg – Hornsby .424
Hit Streak – DiMaggio 56
Career Steals – Henderson 1,406
Games Without A Strikeout – Sewell 115
I could go on… https://t.co/RlnXNW4EEg
— Andrew Khan (@AKhan03) January 28, 2022
Beyond his spectacular streak is the fact that Ripken was an absolute star in his playing days.
He hit .276/.340/.447 with a .788 OPS, 3,184 hits, 431 home runs, 1,695 RBI, and some excellent defense at shortstop.
He earned 19 All-Star berths (1983–2001), was a World Series champion in 1983, is a two-time AL MVP award winner (1983, 1991), was the AL Rookie of the Year in 1982, took home two Gold Glove Awards (1991, 1992), and Silver Slugger awards (1983–1986, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1994).
Ripken also had his number 8 retired by the Orioles and is in their Hall of Fame.
He is also part of the MLB All-Century Team, an important distinction for an amazing career.
He will always be remembered for his impressive record of consecutive games, but the truth is that he is more than deserving of his place in the National Baseball Hall of Fame even if he didn’t have it.