True Meaning of Iron Man Streak?

So, dare I ask this question without being burned at the stake: What’s so great about Cal Ripken’s Iron Man streak? (Look at the high price the Orioles have paid for his name sake). I thought baseball was about teamwork, not the individual.

For nearly all the streak, Ripkin was helping the team. You don’t play every day if you deserve to be on the bench.

Who did the Orioles have who would have been better?

By that logic, shouldn’t every single good player play every single day? No time off for rest?

There were plenty of times during the streak that common wisdom might have indicated he needed a little time off. Whether that common wisdom applied to Cal, I don’t know.

The problem is that most players are not made of iron. They need days off to be successful and remain uninjured. Ripkin was special. Of course near the end if there wasn’t a streak he wouldn’t have played everyday. But that was only for the last year or so. Doesn’t make the streak less impressive.

It’s a remarkable accomplishment. That’s all. Why not celebrate remarkable accomplishments?

Yes, baseball is about teamwork, but the team still needs individual effort to win. Baseball has always celebrated individual accomplishments because, usually, those accomplishments assist the team. Orel Hershiser’s 59 straight scoreless innings was an individual acheivement, but helped the Dodgers win the World Series that year.

I think the Os would have been better off had he taken the occasional day off. If he truly was 100% for every game, fine. But I suspect there were several days each year where he wasn’t his best and the team would have been better off to put someone else in for a day.

What high price?


Different universe.

Scoreless innings are a team achievement, a defensive achievement (yes, mostly attributable to Orel). But, holding a team scoreless, or hitting 70 home runs are things that directly contribute to winning.

If Cal sat out for a game here and there, the O’s would have still played a shortstop, and not taken an out at his position in the lineup.

I have to echo Sailboat, what price did the Orioles pay because Ripken played everyday?

The Orioles won a World Series with Ripken in 1983 and made a few playoff appearances in the late 90s, but for most of his tenure, he was the best player on a mediocre/bad team.

Why wouldn’t he play everyday in that situation?

In the late 90’s, he was worse than Rickey Henderson, and Rickey was playing single A ball trying to make a squad.

Cal was ripping to O’s to the tune of about 11M a year. He bent them over and stuck it in because they knew they couldn’t get rid of him without losing fans. He used fan leverage against the franchise.

It wouldn’t be nearly as disgusting if he wasn’t worshiped as all that was right with the game.

He was a pouty baby.

You might want to recheck your numbers, Ripken’s stats stayed pretty consistent throughout the whole decade.

Thanks for the link.

260, 280, 270, 270 in his last 4 complete seasons.

.340 in the next season in which he only played 86 games.

Slugging went up from 400’s to .584.

You think Ripken put the team ahead of THE STREAK? Think again.

Selfish, until it just couldn’t be ignored.

But all I’m saying is that Ripken was at least as good as who the Orioles would have replaced him with. For I give you Ryan Minor, Ripken’s heir apparent when The Streak was winding down:

I’ll save the time it would take to click, the guy was a scrub. Freakishly tall and all legs, he was not cut out for the majors. I saw Minor play in the (heh) minors and he was definitely all hype and no payoff.

The Orioles literally could not do any better than Ripken.

Maybe they could have found someone if Ripken wasn’t demanding a sixth of the team’s payroll.

Oh please. Ripken was regularly consistent, but had occasional years of excellence. For example, 1991 and 1994, which stand out in the middle of several years of much lower production, and both of which were during the streak. Note also that the year AFTER you cite, he played in the same number of games, essentially, but only hit .256.

Ripken was many things; an egocentered raper of the Orioles management was not one of them. :rolleyes:

I’ve had this discussion so many times for the last 10 years, I could argue both sides with my mouth closed.

The problem is: there’s no definitive answer, because we don’t have a “rested Ripken” to compare “real Ripken” to. His first year of not playing every day is as close as you can get to a fair comparison.

Even IF Cal was more productive than anyone they could have brought off the bench, there’s a million times in his career where a guy not consumed by a streak would have taken a day off. Would Ripken, though? Impossible to answer.

But, there is nothign in a streak that inherently translates to “team play” or “wins” like a scoreless inning streak, or a home run records. It’s just difficult. It might as well be in the Guinness book of records along with the pogo-sticking record for all the wins it brought.

I have to run to class, but why not just check Ripken’s VORP for the “streak” years?

If someone wanted to take a look at that, you’d have a good chunk of your answer.

No you wouldn’t.
You want a comparison of the Ripken who played 162 games a season, every season , to a hypothetical Ripken, who played a more typical 150-158 per season.

There’s not a statistic in the world that’s going to capture that. All you have to go on is the fact that pretty much no one else even attempts such a thing.

You’d probably get thousand-game streaks by lots of guys if a consecutive games played streak was something that was a benefit to team wins, but it’s not. It’s a marketing gimmick.

Actually – you could probably look at Ripken’s productivity drop/increase from early season to late season and see how it compares to the productivity changes of shortstops who rest from time to time. That might be interesting.

Why rest him if he’s not tired or injured? If he’s feeling fine, you should have your best player out there. Ripken was unusual in that he managed to avoid the small injuries.

Explain how he hurt the Os by the ens of the streak. Were they competing for a playoff spot that he kept them from getting? I think the front office would have a different view then you after they counted all the money he brought in. The streak put asses in the seats.