Records, and firsts, come everyday in Major League Baseball. But there is one record that in my lifetime will not be broken, Cal Ripken Jr’s playing in 2,632 consecutive games is in today’s day and age impossible.
Cal played in every game from 1982-1998 all for the same Baltimore Orioles squad. It took 56 years for anyone to come close to Lou Gehirg’s 2,136 games consecutive games played. Who better than Cal Ripken to do it? Cal showed up at the ball field everyday to play the game he loved. He could care less about the 19 all-star games, eight silver slugger awards, two MVP awards, and a rookie of the year in 1982 the man just wanted to play the game the right way, scrappy, grind it out, and win the game. Early in the streak as well, he did pick up a World Series Championship in 1983
Let’s focus on the number quickly 2,632. That is 16 and a quarter consecutive seasons played at 162 games a year. Winds up being, if they played every day of the year, 7 years of baseball. If he were playing in a shorter season sport such has basketball (82 games) to reach that number it would take 32 and a half seasons to even fathom the number. Speaking of fathoms (6 feet in ocean depth) the Titanic is only 2,100 fathoms below the ocean floor, irrelevant but still 2,632 is a big number.
Today’s players are not built as tough, can’t play everyday without the clause in his contract that says he’ll make a bonus if he play’s everyday. The closest player in the MLB this season was Matt Kemp (currently on the DL) he played in 399 consecutive contests. The one still standing in the active streaks is Prince Fielder, 221 games, meaning he still has 16 seasons left to go until he reaches Ripken. Most recently Miguel Tejada gave it a run, 1,152 games from 2001 to 2007, but that is still well under half.
Cal Ripken will forever be in baseball’s history as the Iron Man, because his record will never be broken and it is just down right improbable to think players with today’s mentality would break it without the bonus.