Cal Ripken, Jr. Plays in his 2,131st Consecutive Baseball Game
On September 6, 1995, Cal Ripken Jr. surpassed Lou Gehrig's 56-year-old record for consecutive games played (2,130 games). The game, between the Orioles and the California Angels, still ranks as one of ESPN network's most-watched baseball games in their entire history! Cal's children, Rachel and Ryan, threw out the ceremonial first balls. Both President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore were at the game; Clinton was with the commentators on ESPN for the Orioles' half of the fourth inning and called Ripken's fourth-inning home run. When the game became official after the Angels' half of the fifth inning, the numerical banners that displayed Ripken's streak on the wall of the B&O Warehouse outside the stadium's right-field wall changed from 2130 to 2131.
Ripken received a standing ovation from the crowd, the opposing players, and all four umpires that lasted more than 22 minutes, one of the longest standing ovations for any athlete; ESPN did not go to a commercial break during the entire ovation. During the ovation, Ripken did a lap around the entire Camden Yards warning track to shake hands and give high-fives to the fans. Ripken recalled how it happened, "Bobby Bonilla and Rafael Palmeiro pushed me out of the dugout and said, 'Hey, if you don't do a lap around this thing, we'll never get the game started.' I thought it was a ridiculous sort of thing ... but as I started to do it, the celebration of 50,000 started to be very one-on-one and very personal. I started seeing people I knew ... Those were the people that had been around the ballpark all those years, and it was really a wonderful human experience."
After the game, Ripken spoke: "Tonight I stand here, overwhelmed, as my name is linked with the great and courageous Lou Gehrig. I'm truly humbled to have our names spoken in the same breath. This year has been unbelievable. I've been cheered in ballparks all over the country. People not only showed me their kindness, but more importantly, they demonstrated their love of the game of baseball. I give my thanks to baseball fans everywhere. Tonight, I want to make sure you know how I feel. As I grew up here, I not only had dreams of being a big league ballplayer, but also of being a Baltimore Oriole. For all of your support over the years, I want to thank you, the fans of Baltimore, from the bottom of my heart. This is the greatest place to play."
California Angels 2, Baltimore Orioles 4
|Boskie L (6-4)||5.0||6||3||3||1||4|
|Mussina W (16-8)||7.2||5||2||2||2||7|
|Orosco SV (1)||1.1||0||0||0||0||2|
E –Phillips (15). DP –Baltimore 1. 2B –California Easley (11,off Mussina); Salmon (28,off Clark), Baltimore Baines (13,off Boskie). 3B –California Edmonds (2,off Mussina). HR –California Salmon (32,1st inning off Mussina 0 on, 2 out), Baltimore Palmeiro 2 (34,1st inning off Boskie 0 on, 2 out,7th inning off Patterson 0 on, 2 out); Bonilla (6,4th inning off Boskie 0 on, 0 out); Ripken (15,4th inning off Boskie 0 on, 0 out). Team LOB –5. Team –7. U-HP –Larry Barnett, 1B –Greg Kosc, 2B –Dan Morrison, 3B –Al Clark. T –3:35. A –46,272.
Cal Ripken, Jr. was playing in his 2,131st consecutive game on this magical night in Camden yards, passing the "unbreakable" record (2,130 straight games) set by Lou Gehrig . Take a close look at our consecutive games played research and you'll see if you combine the third and fourth longest playing streaks in baseball history, they are still shorter than the mark set by Ripken !
Did you know that Cal Ripken, Jr. was managed by eight different Orioles skippers during the streak—Earl Weaver (1982), Joe Altobelli (1983-1985), Cal Ripken, Sr. (1985, 1987-1988), Frank Robinson (1988-1991), Johnny Oates (1991-1994), Phil Regan (1995), Davey Johnson (1996-1997), and Ray Miller (1998)?
Fred Schwed, Jr., in How to Watch a Baseball Game (1957) wrote our favorite baseball box score quote, "The baseball box score is the pithiest form of written communication in America today. It is abbreviated history. It is two or three hours (the box score even gives that item to the minute) of complex activity, virtually inscribed on the head of a pin, yet no knowing reader suffers from eyestrain."