Democracy Dies in Darkness


When Cal Ripken Jr. broke Lou Gehrig’s record for consecutive games played

August 30, 2018 at 9:00 AM

Cal Ripken Jr. of the Baltimore Orioles at the 72nd All-Star Game at Safeco Field in Seattle in 2001.

Sept. 6, 1995 On this day, Baltimore Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken Jr. took the field for his 2,131st game, breaking the record for consecutive games played, held by Lou Gehrig for 56 years. Ripken’s parents accompanied him to the game. The crowd at Camden Yards gave him multiple ovations. He received gifts, including a truck and a huge landscaping rock with “2131” etched onto its side. And Gehrig’s former New York Yankees teammate, Joe DiMaggio, was on hand to offer a tribute. “A hush fell over the park as the great DiMaggio stepped to the microphone to speak,” Richard Justice wrote in The Washington Post the next day. “Wherever my former teammate, Lou Gehrig, is today, I’m sure he’s tipping his cap to you, Cal,” DiMaggio said. Ripken delivered a memorable and “heart-tugging speech,” thanking those closest to him and his fans. “Tonight I stand here, overwhelmed, as my name is linked with the great and courageous Lou Gehrig,” Ripken said. “This year has been unbelievable. I’ve been cheered in ballparks all over the country. People not only showed me their kindness, but more importantly, they demonstrated their love of the game of baseball. I give my thanks to baseball fans everywhere.” Ripken ended his consecutive-game streak at 2,632 in 1998, a record that is still unbroken. He retired after the 2001 season.

Annys Shin is an articles editor at The Washington Post Magazine. She joined The Post as reporter in 2004. She has also been a staff writer at the Washington City Paper and the Center for Public Integrity.

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