Baltimore Orioles: When Cal Ripken Jr. Became the Iron Man

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 01: Hall of fame player and former Baltimore Orioles Cal Ripken Jr. throws out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the start of a MLB game between the Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 1, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Orioles are celebring the 20th anniversary of Ripkin's record-breaking 2,131st consecutive games played when he passed New York Yankees Lou Gehrigh on September 6, 1995. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 01: Hall of fame player and former Baltimore Orioles Cal Ripken Jr. throws out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the start of a MLB game between the Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 1, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Orioles are celebring the 20th anniversary of Ripkin's record-breaking 2,131st consecutive games played when he passed New York Yankees Lou Gehrigh on September 6, 1995. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /
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On September 6, 1995 the Baltimore Orioles’ Cal Ripken Jr. played in his 2,131st consecutive game, surpassing Lou Gehrig and becoming baseball’s Iron Man

September 6th is a unique day in Baltimore Orioles history. On this date 23 years ago, Cal Ripken Jr. passed Lou Gehrig on the all-time consecutive games played list, forever immortalizing himself in baseball history.

Cal went on to play in 2,632 consecutive games, a feat unlikely to ever be broken in today’s game. Nobody in MLB is anywhere close; Freddy Galvis is the current leader and he’s barely over 300. Only 14 more seasons, Freddy.

It’s tough enough to play 162 games in a season, never mind playing every day for 17 years. What Cal did is incredible, and it stands out for all of us in many different ways; we all remember him taking the lap around the field in front of a raucous crowd.

The 1995 Orioles weren’t a great team; they finished 3rd in the division and 15 games back of the Red Sox. Rafael Palmeiro, Mike Mussina and Ripken were always fun to watch, but they couldn’t drag that team to the playoffs.

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But they did provide us with lifelong memories, specifically on that day. Orioles fans aren’t soon to forget the iconic homer in the 4th inning, or Cal tipping his hat to the crowd. For those of you lucky enough to be in attendance, that must’ve been the experience of a lifetime.

I wasn’t old enough to appreciate it when it happened; I was 7 years old at the time. But having grown up and looking back on it now, the weight of that achievement is incredibly impressive today.

Present day Orioles fans are having a tough go at the moment. This current Orioles team is devoid of talent without much of anything coming through the pipeline. There’s a good chance that the Orioles aren’t relevant for another five years, which makes this team even more frustrating to watch.

Without any hope, it can be a struggle to turn on the tv and watch this team play. But in such a down year, Orioles fans can at least take this day, an off day to boot, and look back on Ripken’s achievement.

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We likely won’t see too much more excitement from these Orioles in 2018. But at least we have the Iron Man to look back on and help us remember why we root for this team.