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Cal Ripken, Jr. was born into baseball. His father, Cal, Sr., had been a coach and manager for several years with, among other teams, the Baltimore Orioles. Cal Ripken, Jr. made his amazing debut as a shortstop with the Orioles in 1982 and was nothing short of spectacular. At the season’s end, he walked away with the American League Rookie of the Year Award.

In the seasons following, Cal showed his durability and talent. In 1983, just his second year, he was named the American League’s Most Valuable Player. He also capped off that astonishing year by leading the Orioles to a World Series title. In 1990, Cal did something no other baseball player has ever done in the history of the game. He played every inning of every game, thus giving him the nickname “The New Iron Horse.” The “Iron Horse” was the name given to New York Yankee Lou Gehrig back in the 1920s and 1930s when he played in an unprecedented 2,130 consecutive games, a record that was destined to stand forever.

For all the critics that thought Cal was nothing more than a good, durable offensive player, they were also mesmerized by his defensive prowess in 1990. That year Cal committed only three errors at shortstop, giving him a .996 fielding percentage, the best ever for a single season. He then followed that up by winning the Golden Glove award, given to the best fielder at his position, in 1991 and 1992.

By the time the mid-1990s approached, people took notice that Cal was now closing in on one of baseball’s most coveted records, Lou Gehrig’s consecutive game streak. What made people pay attention was not just the streak itself, but the way in which it was being done. Cal was playing shortstop, one of the demanding positions in baseball, as opposed to Gehrig, who played first base. Also, players in the '90s were doing much more traveling around the country and Canada to get to games. When Gehrig played, there were no Canadian baseball teams and no franchise existed west of the Mississippi River.

On September 6, 1995, Cal Ripken, Jr. entered the record book as the new “Iron Man” of baseball. He played in his 2,131st consecutive game, thus surpassing Lou Gehrig. His streak would continue until he reached 2,632 games, a record no one thinks can ever be broken.

At the twilight of his career, Cal now plays third base, produces less offensively, but still remains a fan favorite. At last count, Cal has played in 18 All-Star games while starting in 17 of them, meaning that baseball fans everywhere voted to see him play.