There aren't many Americans who didn't feel a lump in their throat watching Cal Ripken, Jr. take a historic jog around the bases on the evening of September 6, 1995 the night he smashed Lou Gehrig's record number of 2,130 consecutively played games. But, as "the hardest working man in baseball" will tell you, he was just doing his job. And now he tells you just how he does it, why he does it, and how it makes him feel. With the candor and grace that have endeared him to fans everywhere, Cal Ripken, Jr. tells the story of his journey to the major leagues: of his early childhood and life with a baseball manager for a father; his stint in the minors, working his way up from the Rookie Leagues to Triple-A; and finally to the permanent call from Baltimore where he began the drive to an All-Star career. Cal talks with warmth of his mentors and teammates, and with honesty of the Orioles' roller-coaster ride from the pennant to a lamentable 0-21 start in the eighties. He reveals his innermost thoughts on the game, and leads us through his strategies at the plate and on the field. Best of all, Cal reveals what makes him tick: his commitment to the game, to his family, to his career, and to the team. In this rich and rewarding memoir, we find out why he's credited with putting the "great" back into America's greatest game: it's the only way he knows.
Just as Babe Ruth is credited with restoring confidence in baseball after the 1919 "Black Sox" scandal, so Baltimore Oriole Ripken has been called the man who renewed fans' hopes after the disastrous strike of 1994. He accomplished this on September 6, 1995, by breaking Lou Gehrig's record of 2130 consecutive games played, a momentous occasion that drew even the president and vice-president to the ballpark. But ironically, as Ripken points out, writing with the author of Chapter and Verse, breaking the record was less significant for him than it was for the public and the media. An exceptionally low-key man, Ripken believes simply that baseball is his job and that he should do that job as well and as long as he can. He is candid here about his life in the minors and the friends he made there who never got to the top; about his father, fired by the Orioles after dedicating three decades to the organization; and about present-day players. His is an unusually good sports autobiography that captures the candor and generous spirit of a man who has had diamond greatness thrust upon him.
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March 31, 1998
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