Rejoice, Ravens, Orioles, Commanders fans and everyone in between! The state of Maryland is approving mobile sports betting and DraftKings Sportsbook will soon be available for residents. The launch date for the DraftKings Sportsbook App is TBD, but expect it to come soon.
In honor of the Maryland launch, we will be reliving some of the biggest sports moments in state history over the next week. Check out the first article from this series, which recapped the Ravens’ magical 2012-13 Super Bowl run. Now, let’s dive into one of the best MLB players of all-time, Cal Ripken Jr..
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Relive Cal Ripken Jr.’s Legendary Career
21 seasons. 3,184 hits. 431 home runs. World Series champion. The most consecutive games played in MLB history. The Iron Man.
In the long and storied history of baseball, there has never been another player like Cal Ripken Jr..
Born and raised in Maryland, Ripken Jr. is a local legend. He was connected to the Baltimore Orioles right off the bat as the son of Cal Ripken Sr., who was a player and coach for the organization. The Ripkens spent their years traveling around with the team. It is said that Cal Jr. knew he wanted to play in MLB at an extremely young age, and picked the game up seamlessly.
After an incredibly successful career at Aberdeen High School, Ripken Jr. was drafted by his hometown Orioles in the second round, much to the delight of him and the team.
Ripken Jr. spent a few years in the minors before being called up in the second half of the 1981 season. The following season, he won AL Rookie of the Year while hitting 28 home runs.
In ‘83, Ripken Jr. took a huge step forward. He set the Orioles’ franchise record for RBIs by a shortstop and overall hits. In that season, Ripken Jr. won what would be the only World Series of his illustrious career.
Despite Baltimore failing to reach the mountain top over the next 20-ish years, Ripken Jr. continued to play at a ridiculous level. In 1987, Cal Sr. took over as manager of the club, becoming the first manager to write two of his sons into the lineup card as Billy Ripken had joined them on the Orioles.
Ripken’s best year was arguably 1991, when he won AL MVP, a Gold Glove, the Home Run Derby, and All-Star Game MVP.
On September 6, 1995, Cal Jr. broke Lou Gehrig’s record for the most consecutive games played with 2,131. By the time Ripken Jr. finished playing, that total was 2,632, cementing his legendary nickname, “The Iron Man”.
That record will never be broken.
Ripken Jr. was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007, which was his first year of eligibility. That decision was one of the few no-brainers in MLB history.
Cal Ripken Jr. may have finished playing in 2001, but the legacy he left behind will stand the test of time.
There will never be another Iron Man.
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