Today marks the 38th anniversary of the beginning of the Baltimore Orioles favorite son’s record-setting streak.
On May 30, 1982, Cal Ripken Jr.began his streak that ended on September 20, 1998 with 2,632 games.
As Ripken got deeper into the pursuit of the streak, most baseball pundits believed that the original streak that belonged to Lou Gehrig would never be broken.
But the Iron Man decimated the Iron Horse’s 2,130 game-streak with his own streak of 2,632.
On May 29, 1982, the Orioles played a double-header against the Toronto Blue Jays. Ripken played in the first game, but not the second. In the first game, he went 1-4 and the O’s won 3-1. In the second game of the double-header, the O’s lost 10-11. Benny Ayala was clutch for the O’s, coming in to pinch hit for John Lowenstein and hitting a grand slam to give the O’s the lead.
Then, on May 30, Ripken was back in the lineup, and he remained there for the next 16 years. Unfortunately, on day-one of the streak, the O’s lost again to the Blue Jays. This time by a score of 0-6.
In game one of the streak, Ripken batted eighth. He went 0-2 with a walk and a strikeout. At the time, the Iron Man was batting .235/.263/.379. At this point in his short career, he had only three home runs. He had a total of 41 hits, 9 doubles, and 2 triples. He had scored 15 runs for the O’s. He had walked six times and struck out 27 times.
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Game one of the streak was game 66 of his career. He was 22 years old. In 1982, he played third base in all but one of the games. He played third and short in one game, and he was a pinch runner in another. In 1981, when he got his cup of coffee, he spent most of his time at short or coming in for a pinch hit or run.
He moved to his regular position at shortstop on July 1, 1982. He stayed there until 1997, when he made the permanent move to third base.
In 1982, when his streak began, he went on to win the AL Rookie of the Year Award with 94% of the votes. Steve Sax won in the NL with 53% of the votes. In the AL, Kent Hrbek finished in second and Wade Boggs finished in third. Boggs entered the Hall of Fame in 2005, Ripken entered in 2007.
Ripken was a great player, and he was surrounded with greatness. In 1982, his long-time teammate Eddie Murray finished second in the AL MVP vote. Jim Palmer finished second in the AL Cy Young vote, too.