Sunday, June 28, 2015

Signature Sundays - Cal Ripken Jr!

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!

I think it was virtually impossible to be a baseball fan growing up when I did and not be a fan of Cal Ripken Jr.  I turned 13 years old just days before Cal broke the record for consecutive games played.  I was still totally obsessed with sports at that age, not yet prone to the distractions of a high-schooler, and to me Ripken embodied all that was good about the game that I loved.

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!

Rookie of the Year, World Series Champ, AL MVP winner (twice!), All-Star Game MVP (twice), multiple time Gold Glove and Silver Slugger winner, 19-time All-Star, and boyhood idol.  Welcome to my autograph collection, Cal Ripken!

1 comment:

Hackenbush said...

Streak aside, Cal is just one of those upstanding citizens you can't help but admire. Great card!

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