Thirty-three years ago today, November 24, 1982, 22 year old Cal Ripkin, Jr., was named American League Rookie of the Year after hitting .264 with 28 home runs while playing shortstop and third base for the Baltimore Orioles. He had been drafted by the Orioles in the second round of the 1978 Amateur Draft at the age of 18 and made his Major League debut with the Orioles on August 8, 1981. He played his last game on October 6, 2001.
He would go on to play 21 years for the Orioles and accumulate 3,184 hits, 431 homers and 1,695 RBI’s while batting .276. He only played in one World Series, in 1983, when the orioles beat the Philadlphia Phillies for the World’s Championship.
He was an American League All Star every year from 1982 until 2001 and was
baseball’s Player of the Year and American League Most Valuable Player in 1983 and 1991. In 1983, he hit .318 with 27 homers and 102 RBI’s and 211 hits. In 1991, he hit .323 with 34 homers, 114 RBI’s and 210 hits. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007 with 98.5% of the vote.
He had the fourth highest number of at bats in history with 11,551, the 15th highest number of hits and played in the eighth highest number of games, 3,001.
Of course, above all of his acomplishments, he is most remembered as the Iron Man, having played in every game his team played from May 30, 1982 until September 19, 1998. His 2,632 consecutive games played eclipsed the old record of 2,130 held by Yankee legend Lou Gehrig for 56 years.
On this date in 1982, no one could have had any idea what a spectacular career this 22 year old would have. His record of consecutive games played is the one record in all of baseball that you can confidently say will never be broken.