For this week's installment of Signature Sundays, I've got probably one of the biggest names in my autograph collection so far, Cal Ripken Jr. of the Baltimore Orioles!
As an adult, I've got a more well-formed opinion on the significance of Cal's streak. I can't help but wonder if he didn't hurt the team at times by never taking a day off for rest or healing for that long a stretch. That doesn't change the fact that I think his record for consecutive games played is one of those records in sports that will never be broken. I just don't see any way, with the amount of money committed to and risk taken on star players these days, that anyone will approach anywhere near this number of consecutive games played ever again.
No matter what, I'll always associate Ripken with one of my favorite periods of my youth. A time when I'd spend my summer days and evenings batting tennis balls around the makeshift "stadiums" that were mine and my friends' backyards until it was too dark to see. Cal was definitely a core member of my "lineup", aka the players I'd pretend to be while taking my hacks, in those days. Simpler times!
1976 SSPC: Bill Gogolewski, Bob Stinson And Billy Smith - Bill Gogolewski is from Oshkosh, WI (b’gosh!) and pitched 19 games of relief in 1975 to finish his pitching career. Before that, he pitched six seasons, m...