Ripken Breaks Gehrig Record, Cracks a Homer
Baltimore Oriole star Cal Ripken Jr. made history Wednesday by playing a record 2,131st consecutive game, sealing the memorable night with a storybook home run.
Ripken passed New York Yankee legend Lou Gehrig’s mark of 2,130 once the game against the California Angels became official after 4 1/2 innings. That happened at 9:20 p.m. EDT, with the Orioles leading, 3-1, thanks in part to Ripken’s homer in the bottom of the fourth.
Ripken, once resentful that he might be known only for his streak despite the fact that he has also won two American League Most Valuable Player awards, been named to the All-Star roster 13 times, hit more home runs than any shortstop ever and set nearly a dozen fielding records, gracefully slipped into baseball immortality.
Casually, almost as matter-of-factly as he showed up for work day after day, Ripken accepted the adoration of the cheering hometown fans. Patting his heart several times, he stood on the field outside the Orioles’ dugout as players from both teams and all four umpires joined in a 22-minute, 15-second standing ovation.
Pushed out of the dugout by teammates, Ripken trotted a thank-you lap the entire way around the field, shaking hands with fans, seeking out those of the children in particular. The usually low-key Ripken even jumped above the center field wall to slap high-fives with spectators.
When he came to the Angels’ dugout, he went down the line shaking every hand while Bobby Bonilla and other Orioles captured the event on video cameras.