Thursday, May 30, 2013

HOF Sketch Card Project: Cal Ripken, Jr.

One of the most popular players to ever don a Major League uniform, Cal Ripken, Jr. starred at shortstop and third base for the Baltimore Orioles during a career that spanned from 1981 until 2001. Ripken is perhaps best known for breaking Lou Gehrig's record for consecutive games played, a record that had stood for 56 years and many deemed unbreakable. Ripken surpassed the mark on September 6, 1995 by playing his 2,131st consecutive game, which fans later voted the "Most Memorable Moment" in MLB history. A 19-time All-Star who won the American League MVP award in 1983 and 1991, Ripken totaled 3,184 hits, 431 home runs, and 1,695 RBI during his career. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007 - his first year of eligibility - with the third-highest voting percentage (98.53%) in history.

I created this sketch card in December 2012.

10 random facts about Cal Ripken, Jr:
  • As a member of the Rochester Red Wings in 1981, Ripken played in the longest professional baseball game in history, starting at third base and playing all 33 innings against the Pawtuckett Red Sox in a game that took parts of 3 days to complete. 
  • Ripken began his consecutive games streak on May 30, 1982, and it continued until September 20, 1998 - ending at 2,632 straight games.
  •  His father, Cal Sr., managed him in 1987 when he was named skipper of the Orioles, and Cal played alongside his brother Billy during the season as well.
  • His 1991 season is the fourth-greatest in baseball history (second among non-pitchers) as measured by WARP3 at 17.0 wins, bested only by Walter Johnson's 1913 (18.1 wins), Babe Ruth's 1923 (18 wins), and Amos Rusie's 1894 season (17.6 wins).
  • In 1991, Ripken became the first player to win the All Star Game Home Run Derby and All-Star Game MVP award in the same year.
  • His 1991 MVP win made him the first American League player to win the award while playing for a team with a losing record.
  • He joined the 3,000-Hit Club on April 15, 2000, singling off pitcher Hector Carrasco.
  • Ripken played in his final All-Star game in 2001, shortly after he made it known that it would be his final season. During the game, he hit a home run off Chan Ho Park and was subsequently named the game's MVP after helping the American League defeat the National League.
  • The Orioles retired his uniform #8 in 2001.
  • Between 2001 and 2004, inclusive, Ripken served as commissioner of the White House Tee Ball Initiative of President George W. Bush, in which capacity he worked to promote the value of teamwork amongst players and volunteership amongst the public and helped to teach tee ball fundamentals to teams of children at the White House.

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