Baltimore Orioles Way Back Wednesday: Cal Ripken’s 2001 All-Star Game
On Wednesday at 1:00 PM, MLB.com is airing a classic game that is dear to Baltimore Orioles fans’ hearts: Cal Ripken’s 2001 All-Star Farewell Game.
The Baltimore Orioles shortstop played in 19 All-Star Games, but it was his final All-Star Game on July 10, 2001 at Safeco Field in Seattle that cemented him as one of the best ever to play the game.
The AL won the Midsummer Classic by a score of 4-1. Ripken started the game at shortstop, but moved to third base in the top of the second in a swap with the Alex Rodriguez. As is tradition in All-Star Games, Ripken had two at-bats and was replaced in the sixth inning.
But, not before Ripken did what fans wanted to see.
Iconic Pitchers Holding the Score at Zero
In the first two innings, Randy Johnson faced the AL batters. Only Ichiro Suzuki, the lead-off batter, was able to earn a single from The Big Unit. Fortunately, with Roger Clemens pitching for the AL, the NL batters didn’t fare any better.
Taking Advantage of Opportunities
It wasn’t until the pitching change in the bottom of the third that Ripken got things started as the lead-off batter. Facing Chan Ho Park, Ripken stepped up to the plate. Everyone in the stadium stood up and paid respect to The Iron Man. He waved as he approached the plate and set up to take the pitch.
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Park threw the first pitch and Ripken hit a home run into the bullpen in left-center field. As he rounded the bases, the crowd cheered on the future Hall-of-Famer. They continued cheering as he entered the dugout and was congratulated by his peers.
In the dugout, Ripken removed his helmet and took off his batting gloves. In respect to the fans, he emerged onto the field and tipped his hat to the loving crowd that was still on its feet.
Ripken had one more at-bat in the game. In the bottom of the fifth, he faced Mike Hampton. Unfortunately, this at-bat didn’t go as well. On the 2-2 pitch, he grounded into the shortstop who threw Ripken out at first. He was replaced at third base by Troy Glaus at the start of the sixth.
Ripken was later named the MVP of the 2001 All-Star Game; this was his second time winning the ASG honor.
Catch the whole game at 1:00 PM on MLB.com to see Ripken show that even as he approached the age of 40, he was still one of the best at the game.