I didn’t just show up for work, as has sometimes been said. I also showed up to work.
~Cal Ripken, Jr.
I knew if I walked him and he felt good, he’d steal second. And if he felt really good, he’d steal third. That would be like throwing a triple. So I gave him a low fastball, and he hit a home run.
~Jim Palmer on Joe Morgan
September 28th was the last day of the season in 1902, and in apparent celebration, the Browns and the White Sox decided to use an assortment of seven infielders and outfielders on the mound, rather than relying on their pitching staffs. Chicago outfielder Sam Mertes earned the victory, and the Browns’ left fielder Jesse Burkett suffered the loss in the Sox’s 10-4 victory at Sportsman’s Park. This was the last time the winning and losing pitchers were both position players in the same game until 2012, when Chris Davis of the Orioles and Darnell McDonald of the Red Sox also accomplished the feat in Baltimore’s 17-inning victory at Fenway Park.
In the bottom of the 12th inning on July 28, 1967, Tony Horton hit a walk-off homer to break up a scoreless pitching duel between Indians pitcher Steve Hargan and Orioles’ right-hander Moe Drabowsky. Drabowsky had allowed only six hits in the extra-inning contest at Cleveland Stadium. Horton’s dinger helped the Indians to break a five-game losing streak.
On June 11, 1988, New York Yankees manager Billy Martin decided to use starting pitcher Rick Rhoden as the Yankees’ starting designated hitter. Rhoden went 0–1 with an RBI on a sacrifice fly in his lone plate appearance, batting seventh in the lineup. He was the first pitcher to start a game at DH since the American League’s adoption of the DH rule in 1973. José Cruz would later pinch hit for Rhoden as the Yankees went on to an 8–6 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.
Luis Castro made his major league debut on April 23, 1902, making him the first player from Colombia to play in the big leagues. Castro took the field at second base for Connie Mack’s Philadelphia’s A’s in an 8-1 victory over the Orioles at Oriole Park that day. The 25-year-old Medellin native would play in 42 games that year and would also prove to be the last player from Colombia to appear in major league baseball until Orlando Ramirez broke in with the Angels in 1974.
An exhibition game held on March 30, 1991 at Joe Robbie Stadium (now known as Hard Rock Stadium) featured the New York Yankees versus the Baltimore Orioles. The contest drew a crowd of 67,654 fans, which, at that time, set a spring training attendance record. South Florida fans came out due in part to their eagerness to draw an expansion team to the area. You can find the Baltimore Sun‘s coverage of the event here.
The Florida Marlins would begin playing at Joe Robbie Stadium in 1993.
Babe Ruth hit his first home run in professional baseball on March 7, 1914 in the last inning of a spring training exhibition game for the International League’s Baltimore Orioles. The homer was a 400-foot shot at the Cape Fear Fairgrounds in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
On November 17, 1953, the St. Louis Browns officially became the Baltimore Baseball Club, Inc., changing the team’s name to the Orioles. After 52 years in St. Louis, the franchise was purchased by a syndicate of Baltimore business and civic interests headed by Clarence Miles and Mayor Thomas D’Alesandro, Jr.
Today marks twenty-four years since Cal Ripken, Jr. set a new major league record by playing in his 2,131st consecutive baseball game (September 6, 1995), breaking the record previously held by Lou Gehrig. In honor of the anniversary, the Baltimore Sun published a piece that features clips from a long list of rap songs (over 50 total) that mention Ripken in them. I don’t often think of rap when I think of baseball, but I suppose when you make a mark like the one Cal made, rappers are going to notice you.
Check out the piece here.