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June 19, 2001
5:55 AM   Subscribe

Cal Ripken's farewell tour. Here are the numbers: 2,632 consecutive games, 3,107 hits, 421 homers, 1,652 RBI. Even though some argue he shouldn't be an all-star this year, I think his ticket for Cooperstown is pretty much punched. And to top it all off, his final game will be at Yankee Stadium. I think Lou Gehrig would smile.
posted by trox (22 comments total)

 
There were also some tickets still available for his last home game in September. Those won't last.
posted by jasonepowell at 6:20 AM on June 19, 2001


I loved watching Cal Ripken play.
I think he's a 99% vote to get into the hall of fame.
(hey, even Nolan Ryan didn't get 100% of the vote)

However, if he starts in the All-Star Game, it's a shame.
He isn't even close to being the best 3B in the American League. Heck, he isn't even close to being the best 3B on his own damn team (that being Jeff Conine)! If he was truly honourable, he'd retire BEFORE the All-Star Game and therefore remove himself from it. He'd still be voted into the game as a starter, but he wouldn't be taking up a roster spot meant for either Troy Glaus (the best 3B in the AL) or a fellow Oriole teammate (Conine or Josh Towers).

It is really painful to see some future hall of famers drag their careers out until they become a pathetic shell of their former selves (like Cal, Harold Baines, and this guy).
posted by Grum at 6:24 AM on June 19, 2001


Ouch, Grum, I knew you were pointing to Lefty before I even looked at the link.
posted by whuppy at 6:29 AM on June 19, 2001


Can anyone name a single sports journalist who retired at the top of his game? Writers are celebrated for plugging away well into senior citizenhood, but Steve Carlton, Willie Mays and Cal Ripken are faulted by the same people for stretching out their careers.
posted by rcade at 6:37 AM on June 19, 2001


Got my tickets, Jason.

I don't care about the naysayers, I grew up an Orioles fan and I'll always vote for Cal Ripken. That column about picking the "right player" [e.g., best statistical player] for the All-Star Game even points out its own logical flaw: the All-Star Game is for the fans, and they'll select the starting line-up they want to see. This game has absolutely no significance except for the fans, and a break from the lengthy season for every player. For Ripken, this will be his 18th straight Game. The sheer longevity of his career towers above whatever other third baseman could possibly start that game, this particular season. And I don't need to point out, Ripken will play his three innings, and two other deserving players selected by the manager will play the remaining six. I don't imagine those other two players will mind being bumped. I imagine they would be honored to replace him on the field in the top of the 4th. Their time will come, too.

Cal Ripken quoted before the 1998 All-Star Game in Colorado, when asked about the likely number of future Hall of Famers playing in the game:

The caliber of talent in that room. We just had a team meeting. Sitting around looking at the kind of talent that's assembled in that room, it's the very best. So, I mean, when you look at it that way, the Hall of Fame represents the very best. I think it represents the very best over a long period of time. A lot can happen to shorten people's careers. Those guys in that room have an opportunity to put up tremendous numbers. A lot of them, you know, no doubt would be in the Hall of Fame.

Cal, we'll see you there, too.
posted by legibility at 6:47 AM on June 19, 2001


Well, I'll definitely be taking in a game when the Orioles visit Atlanta in a couple of weeks (even though I really don't like interleague play at all).

I think Neyer was merely pointing out that he wasn't the best third basemen in the AL. I also think that when many people complain when athletes such as Cal continue to linger well after their prime results from how a journalist (or a fan) wants to remember seeing that athlete. In their admiration of these athletes and what they can accomplish, fans want to remember them as they were when they were so drawn to them as players. I mean, would you rather remember Carlton Fisk limping around for 25 games in his final season or pushing the ball fair and over the green monster in Game 6 in 75?
posted by trox at 6:50 AM on June 19, 2001


As a native Marylander, I've never had much of a chance of seeing the O's win "the big one" in my lifetime - but Cal was always my favorite. Its a shame he couldn't go out with another ring.
posted by owillis at 7:02 AM on June 19, 2001


The tickets appear to be sold out now. I was forced to pick up tickets to his second-to-last home game, which is good enough for me.

Just FYI.
posted by matt8313 at 7:11 AM on June 19, 2001


> the All-Star Game is for the fans, and they'll select the
> starting line-up they want to see.

Absolutely. The All-Star Game is one step away from fantasy baseball. It's like setting up a match between the Enterprise and Battlestar Galactica just for curiosity's sake, or between Terminator and Buttercup Powerpuff, or wanting to know whether Sauron could take Cthulhu two falls out of three.
posted by jfuller at 7:19 AM on June 19, 2001


I agree that All-Star voting is for the Fans, and the fan favorite players. Heck Griffey Jr is only about 1,500 votes shy of being voted into the All-Star game as a starter, and he hasn't played a single game this season. Ripken has played 48.

Ripken deserves the credit he's getting, and the news should only solidify has position in the All-Star voting.
posted by eau at 8:39 AM on June 19, 2001


He isn't even close to being the best 3B in the American League. Heck, he isn't even close to being the best 3B on his own damn team (that being Jeff Conine)!

I'm not denying this statement. I live 15 minutes south of Baltimore and have live in Maryland my entire life. I think Cal isn't the best but I do think he deserves this one last time.

The All-Star game isn't about who the best players are but it's about who the fans like the most. It's a popularity contest. The ticket you use to vote doesn't say to vote for the best player. Most people just pick their favorites or who they think is the best player. I think the above statement is relatively obvious though.
posted by suprfli at 9:19 AM on June 19, 2001


(hey, even Nolan Ryan didn't get 100% of the vote)

Nor did he deserve it.

I don't care about the naysayers, I grew up an Orioles fan and I'll always vote for Cal Ripken.

I agree the game is for the 'fans'. I just wish the 'fans' picked the best players, or players at least close to being the best. I'd love to watch pedro martinez pitch every day, but if he's 2 and 7 at the all-star break I wouldn't vote for him.

I just don't see the point in 'always' voting for someone no matter what there statistics. If so, let's just change the voting to before the season. Since statistics are obviously not relevant in voting, they won't be missed.

I personally wish the players and coaches picked the starters and the fans filled out the rest of the rosters, but that's not going to happen.
posted by justgary at 9:49 AM on June 19, 2001


I agree with justgary on this one. Perhaps that is the way I approach the game as a fan. I think Cal is one of the classiest guys in sports and well deserves the recognition he gets (and will get in the Hall of Fame). That said, I think it is a shame that players that are having outstanding years (such as Troy Glaus and Charles Johnson) will be overlooked because they are in the shadow of someone because of the familiarity and/or media coverage factor.
posted by trox at 10:01 AM on June 19, 2001


Ripkin's numbers have come through longevity. When I think about great players from Baltimore, the names Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Eddie Murray and Jim Palmer come to mind. Ripkin's does not.

His numbers will get him to the Hall of Fame, but it is a shame that he spent the last few years hurting his ball club. His refusal to move from shortstop, where he had lost the skills necessary to be a top defensive player, were a big detriment to that team. When his batting average and run production dropped, he kept playing every day to keep "The Streak" going. The Orioles could have used a replacement many times, but the streak became more important than a win for the team.

I'm shocked that the fans have selected Ripkin for the all-star team. He should be an honorary selection, but not the starter. Great players have to know when to leave the game. Michael Jordon is the best example of this. I hope he doesn't ruin it with a return to the hardwood in the same city that Ripkin's swansong is playing.
posted by NJguy at 11:47 AM on June 19, 2001


but the streak became more important than a win for the team

I didn't follow every moment of the chase, but have never heard any evidence of that. To the contrary, actually.

Also, as someone who stopped watching basketball when His Airness left, I want to see him come back. It's not like Magic where he's truly lost a step. And if he could finally make the Wizards watchable? 23! 23!
posted by owillis at 11:52 AM on June 19, 2001


but the streak became more important than a win for the team

During the last years of ripkins chase for the record, when his numbers started to drop while he refused to sit, the controversy about wether he was hurting his team or not was a very frequent topic.

His retiring was a long time coming.
posted by justgary at 1:11 PM on June 19, 2001


Michael Jordon is the best example of this. I hope he doesn't ruin it with a return to the hardwood in the same city that Ripkin's swansong is playing.

Washington and Baltimore are not the same city.
posted by rorschach at 1:58 PM on June 19, 2001


Yeah, Washington's football team doesn't have murderers (or an arse for a coach - any more).
/me ducks :)
posted by owillis at 2:59 PM on June 19, 2001


When I think about great players from Baltimore, the names Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Eddie Murray and Jim Palmer come to mind. Ripkin's does not.

Why not? At his peak, he was at worst the 4th-best hitting shortstop ever to play baseball (at least before the new crop of A-Rod, Nomar and Jeter). In addition, he was a great fielder who redefined the position -- he proved that a big, powerful athlete could play short everyday. Before Rip, most shortstops were defensive specialists who hit for low-med average and little power.
posted by jameschandler at 3:44 PM on June 19, 2001


Actually, (looking at jameschandler's link) Neyer, who said he shouldn't be in the all-star game, ranked him as the of all time. (thus far). Honus Wagner is good company for anyone to keep. And Neyer (whatever his pedantic tendancies) is no pushover for popular sentiment in my experience. I mean, c'mon, Cal re-defined the position forever, making the Arods and Nomars possible.
posted by trox at 8:43 PM on June 19, 2001


Actually, (looking at jameschandler's link) Neyer, who said he shouldn't be in the all-star game, ranked him as the of all time. (thus far). Honus Wagner is good company for anyone to keep. And Neyer (whatever his pedantic tendancies) is no pushover for popular sentiment in my experience. I mean, c'mon, Cal re-defined the position forever, making the Arods and Nomars possible.
posted by trox at 8:43 PM on June 19, 2001


oops
posted by trox at 8:43 PM on June 19, 2001


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