For The Oracle’s eighth issue, we pitch this week’s spotlight to Cal Ripken Jr., who became the long-time face of Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Baltimore Orioles. The right-handed shortstop wore the number eight from his rookie year in 1981 all the way to his retirement in 2001. Ripken’s accolades are seemingly endless, but there are a few that stand out. He was named a MLB All-Star a whopping 19 times, is fourth all-time in at-bats with 11,551, eighth all-time in games played with 3,001, third all-time in assists with 8,214, won the 1983 World Series and was inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame in 2007.
He was known as “Iron Man” during his lengthy career for a valid reason: he played 2,632 consecutive career games from May of 1982 to September of 1998, breaking Lou Gehrig’s previous record of 2,130. He broke Gehrig’s milestone on Sept. 6, 1995 as Baltimore’s Camden Yards exploded in celebration, delaying the game for over 20 minutes as Ripken acknowledged his accomplishment. Wrapping my head around that number is unfathomable, and for that reason he will always be one of baseball’s greats.