On This Date In History: The Human Vacuum Cleaner Debuts


On September 17, 1955, at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, Brooks Robinson made his major league debut.  The Orioles were facing the Senators and pitcher Chuck Stobbs.  Robinson, batting sixth in the Orioles line up, came to bat for the first time in the bottom of the 2nd, flying out.  In the bottom of the fourth Robinson came to the plate again, this time singling to left field.  He flew out agin in the sixth, and in his final plate appearance of the day he singled and drove in pinch runer Dave Pope.  Overall he finished 2 for 4 with one RBI. 

Brooks only appeared in 6 games in 1955 and didn't become a full time major leaguer until 1958.  From then on, third base in Baltimore belonged to Brooks.


September 17, 2012 | E-mail | Comments (0) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

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Today In History - Ripken Makes His Debut

Today at Mitchell & Ness we pay tribute to the Iron Man himself, Cal Ripken Jr, who made his Major League debut 31 years ago today with the Baltimore Orioles. Ripken and the Orioles hosted the Royals that day in 1981. A 2-2 game entering the bottom of the 12th inning, Ripken came on to pinch-run for Ken Singleton, and would later score the game-winning run after John Lowenstein hit a walk-off single. That run would start off the legacy of one of the greatest and most enduring players of the 80's and 90's.

Ripken was born August 24, 1951 in Havre de Grace, Maryland. His father, Cal Sr., was a long-time member of the Orioles organization, moving from player to minor league manager to big league coach, spending 36 years in the organization. Ripken Jr., along with his brother Billy, were stars at Aberdeen High School. Cal caught the interest of his father's organization and was drafted in the 2nd round of the 1978 MLB Draft by the Orioles.

Ripken rose quickly through the minors, earning plaudits for his strong fielding at shortstop and surprising power for a middle infielder. Ripken at 6'4" was the first in a new breed of strong, powerful shortstops, as a new era of five-tool shortstops would follow. The Orioles took notice, and in '81 they called up Ripken to give the O's a boost in the strange strike-shortened season. Ripken would be a bit-part player the rest of that season.

1982 is when he took the league by storm, winning AL Rookie of the Year on the back of his 28 home runs. On May 30th of that year, he would start something significant as well--his consecutive games streak. But 1983 would see Ripken earn his elite standing in a legendary O's season. Ripken led the Orioles that regular season to 98 victories, winning the AL MVP in the process. Ripken's .400 batting average in the League Championship helped the Orioles reach the World Series. It would take just five games for the Orioles to defeat the Phillies, as Ripken took home his first and only World Series ring.

The next decade would see the Orioles unable to capture the American League East. But Ripken continued his game streak as he continued to put up unprecedented offensive numbers from a shortstop to go along with his strong defense. His younger brother Billy would join him in the majors in 1987 (managed by their father Cal Sr.), as the Ripkens formed the Orioles middle infield pairing for five years.

1991 would see Ripken post perhaps the greatest season ever by a shortstop, as his .323 batting average, 34 home runs and 114 RBI's and a Gold Glove win earned Ripken his second AL MVP. This is not even to mention his All Star Game performance, where he took home the game's MVP and Home Run Derby title. Ripken's play helped lead the Orioles into a new era, as the team moved from Memorial Stadium into the revolutionary Camden Yards.

1996 would prove a massive year for Ripken, as he broke Lou Gehrig's consective game streak of 2,216. Ripken's Orioles would return to the postseason for the first time in 13 years that offseason. Baltimore defeated the Indians in the Divisional Series, but fell to the Yankees in the League Championship. The Orioles would get there revenge in 1997 as the disposed of New York in the Divisional Series, but Cleveland got their revenge in the League Championship. That defeat would mark Ripken's last game in the playoffs.

With the consecutive games streak firmly in hand, Ripken decided to end the streak on his terms. Rookie third baseman Ryan Minor found out he was starting the final game of the 1998 season against the Yankees, while Ripken started on the bench for the first time in 16 years. After the Orioles recorded their first out, everyone in Camden Yards gave Ripken a standing applause as one of baseball's most enduring records ended.

2000 would see Ripken collect his 3,000th hit. With a legacy that could not be more enhanced, Ripken decided he would retire after the 2001 season. September 11th forced the last game of the season to be rescheduled to be played in New York, but the game moved to Oriole Stadium so Ripken's final game could be in front of the Baltimore faithful. Ripken's legendary #8 was retired after the game.

Mitchell & Ness remembers that day 31 years ago, and we commemorate it by offering some Cal Ripken Jr. authentics. Here is our 2001 edition, worn in Ripken's final season: 

August 10, 2012 | E-mail | Comments (0) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

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Farewell Iron Man

Today marks the 10 year anniversary of Cal Ripken Jr.’s last game. On October 6th, 2001, the Baltimore Orioles faced off against the Boston Red Sox in the regular season finale. The season was pushed back a week in September due to the terrorist attack on 9/11, which is why the regular season didn’t finish until the first week of October. The pitching matchup was David Cone of the Red Sox versus Rick Bauer of the Orioles. Ripken was slotted to hit 7th in the lineup, so realistically, he would only get 3-4 at-bats based on how the rest of his team hit in the game.


Things started out well for the Orioles with 5 batters in the 1st inning and 1 run scored, but Cone would settle down against the Orioles after that. Ripken would bat in the 2nd, 5th and 8th innings but his at-bats resulted in a lineout to LF, an infield pop fly to SS and a fly out to CF. After 8.5 innings, the Red Sox are leading the Orioles 5-1. In the bottom of the 9th, with two outs, a runner on 2nd and Cal Ripken in the on deck circle, Brady Anderson swung and missed on a high fastball for the 3rd and final out of the game. After ending his 20 year career waiting to get another at-bat, Ripken addressed his fans, “As a kid, I had this dream…and you fans, who have loved the game, and have shared your love for me. Tonight we close a chapter of this dream – my playing career.”


Ripken would end his career with 19 All-Star game selections, eight Silver Slugger awards, two Gold Gloves and a World Series Championship. He holds the record for most consecutive games played at 2,632. His #8 jersey is retired by the team and he was a first ballot Hall of Fame inductee in 2007. Today, Ripken is an analyst for TNT.



October 6, 2011 | E-mail | Comments (0) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

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On This Day In History, A Pennant For Baltimore

On September 22, 1966 the Baltimore Orioles faced the Kansas City Athletics in a game at KC's Municipal Stadium.  Orioles ace Jim Palmer was on the mound for Baltimore while Lew Krausse took the ball for the Athletics. 

The Athletics took the early lead in the bottom of the second when Sal Bando doubled, scoring Larry Stahl from second. The Orioles came back strong in the third with Luis Aparicio and Frank Robinson crossing the plate and the Orioles were ahead 2 - 1. In the top of the fifth the Robinson boys (Brooks and Frank) both scored increasing the Baltimore lead to 4 -1. 

The Athletics brought Catfish Hunter into the game in the sixth inning but he couldn't contain the Baltimore offense. Luis Aparicio singled and scored while Russ Snyder double and scored, increasing the lead to 6 - 1.  Jim Palmer held the lead through the ninth inning, ending the game on a line-out by Royals 2B Dick Green. With that, the Orioles won the first American League pennant in franchise history.

The Orioles finished the season with a 97 - 63 record.  In the AL Division Series they faced the Cleveland Indians and took the series 3 - 1. In the World Series the met up with the LA Dodgers and to the surprise of many they swept them 4 - 0 to win the first World Series title for the franchise in Baltimore.




September 22, 2011 | E-mail | Comments (0) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

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Hall of Famers

With last week’s announcement of the 2011 National Baseball Hall of Fame induction class, we thought it prudent to honor the anniversary of two of Major League Baseball’s greatest alumni. Today marks the anniversary of Hammerin’ Hank Aaron’s and Frank Robinson’s National Baseball Hall of Fame induction. On January 13th, 1982, Aaron and Robinson became the 12th and 13th members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. It was both players’ first year of eligibility. Aaron was only 9 votes shy of being the first unanimous selection in National Baseball Hall of Fame history.


Aaron was a 25 time All-Star, and the only season Aaron wasn’t an All-Star in his career was his final year in the Majors with the Milwaukee Brewers. He was a career .305 hitter and finished his career with 755 home runs, 3,771 hits and 2,297 runs batted in (a Major League record). He holds the record for most consecutive seasons of having 150 or more hits with seven. He won the National League MVP and the World Series Championship in 1957. His # 44 jersey has been retired by both the Atlanta Braves and the Milwaukee Brewers.


Frank Robinson was a 14 time All-Star. He was a career .294 hitter and finished his career with 586 home runs, 2,943 hits and 1,812 runs batted in. Robinson is only 1 of 14 players to win the Batting Triple Crown (when a player leads the league in batting average, home runs and runs batted in). He won two World Series Championships with the Baltimore Orioles in 1966 (he won the AL MVP and the World Series MVP that same season) and in 1970. His # 20 jersey is retired by both the Cincinnati Reds and Baltimore Orioles. Robinson also became the first full-time African American Manager in Major League Baseball history in 1975 when he took over as manager for the Cleveland Indians.






January 13, 2011 | E-mail | Comments (0) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

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