Volume 95, Issue 21

Wednesday, October 10, 2001
Search the Archives:
Tips for searching
Campus and Culture
Submit Letter
Contact Us
About the Gazette


Blues a Thanksgiving treat

Ripken closes the books on career

Big Four duke it out in the West

Damn those Yankees!

Mustang Weekend Scoreboard

Ripken closes the books on career

Marty's Mantra
Dave Martin
Sports Editor

This weekend, while most of the baseball world was celebrating Barry Bonds cracking his record-breaking home runs or Rickey Henderson joining the 3,000 hit club, the greatest celebration of all was Cal Ripken's last hurrah – the final game of his legendary career.

The actual finish to the game was as exciting as if it were in the playoffs. The Orioles needed two base-runners in the bottom of the ninth to bring Ripken up to the plate for his final showing.

With two outs, Brady Anderson stepped to the plate, receiving possibly the loudest ovation of his career. Unfortunately for him, it was because Ripken had just stepped into the on-deck circle to the roar of a one-minute standing ovation. A fairly-tale ending was not meant to be as Anderson struck out on a 3-2 fastball, but by no means did it take anything away from Ripken's outstanding career.

For twenty-one seasons with the Baltimore Orioles, Cal Ripken was never heads and shoulders above the rest, never the character with an addictive boyish smile (a la Vince Carter), but during his time he has become one of the most genuine athletes in this modern age of sports.

He is a member of a dying breed and with his chapter in the book of baseball written, there are very few single-organization careers of prominence remaining.

The world of sport has become a business with the owners caring about getting dollar signs to fill their pockets rather than showing loyalty to their players.

That said, players these days also have the same mindset – money over loyalty. For over two decades, Ripken was somehow able to escape the business side of it and play baseball solely for the love of the game.

His longevity in one place allowed the City of Baltimore to watch him grow and, in turn the city grew to love him because he was theirs and theirs only, from start to finish.

Ripken gained an identity that will forever leave him stamped in sports fans' minds whenever the name "Baltimore" is heard. You could sense Baltimore's attachment in the reception he got during his final game. Very few athletes today would receive such a heart-felt "thanks" from their fans.

Looking back on my favourite sports heroes, it's hard to find anyone in recent years who can compare to what Ripken has done.

As a die-hard Leaf fan, Dougie Gilmour will always wear blue and white in my heart, even though he only donned the maple leaf for a small portion of his career. For now, the torch will be passed to Steve Yzerman, a life-long Detroit Red Wing, but after him, it looks like the torch could quickly burn out for good.

Although Barry Bonds broke one of the most impressive and exciting records in sport this weekend, the 2,632 straight games played by Ripken stands testament as an insurmountable feat.

Even though his record might someday be broken, it is unlikely it will be surpassed by someone wearing only one team's jersey for the entire stretch.

To Contact The Sports Department:

Copyright The Gazette 2001