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.