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Why is Cal Ripken Jr. considered great?

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Re: Why is Cal Ripken Jr. considered great?

Postby KCollins1304 » Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:07 pm

stumpak wrote:A baseball player's ability to play is predicated on not just innate reistance to injury but also exogenous factors. Ripken was clerly extraordinarily lucky that one of the hundreds of things beyond his control never went wrong to the extent that it caused him a serious injury. Take a look at the DL at any given time and there is a meaningful minority that is hurt for reasons completely beyond their own control (collisons, beanings, non-baseball injuries, etc).

Beyond this, he was a mediocre player for almost half of his career, so who cares about how long he played if he was merely average for much of this time? I view Ripken as the most overrated HOFer of his era, and I agree with the OP that distance between he and Trammell is narrower than most assert.


He'd have a hard time beating out Nolan Ryan.
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Re: Why is Cal Ripken Jr. considered great?

Postby AquaMan2342 » Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:09 pm

Health is a skill? Probably the stupidest thing I have ever read.

There's no doubt that there is plenty you can do to avoid certain injuries, but was Ripken so skillful at swinging the bat in a manner that avoids foul tips smashing his shin or breaking his toes? Was he so graceful as to avoid every player coming into second with spikes up? Or colliding with an incoming outfielder trying to catch a shallow fly ball? You know, the kinds of injuries that unskilled players get every year.
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Re: Why is Cal Ripken Jr. considered great?

Postby KCollins1304 » Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:14 pm

I'd have to search for a link later, but I've heard that he would purposely get thrown out of games when he was injured to avoid breaking the streak. To me that is selfish to burn one of his manager's 25 roster spots during a game to save a streak.
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Re: Why is Cal Ripken Jr. considered great?

Postby GotowarMissAgnes » Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:26 pm

Matthias wrote:
Yanks_Baby wrote:Athleticism is defined by stamina, strength and skill. Ripkin's stamina was arguably greater than any other athlete in the history of sports. Add to that that his skill level was far above average, and he was a great athlete.

I love this phrase; it's used like 38 times an hour on the YES network. Since homo sapiens started doing competitions for enjoyment, this is the best team ever assembled. They couldn't content themselves with the, "Winningest franchise in major league baseball" or even, "Winning franchise in American sports" or even, "Winningest franchise in modern professional sports"... no. "Winningest franchise in the history of sports." Unreal. :-b

In any case, I dig what the OP is trying to get at. Yes, Cal Ripken was tough and yes, he was good. But his record was also very subject to freak things that didn't occur. I liken it to a friend told me years ago that the first year Johnny Chan won the World Series of Poker he was involved in something like 26 hands that were virtually 50/50 (say, pair vs two overcards) and he won every one of those hands. Now, he's obviously a great card player but maybe if 2 or 3 of those hands don't go his way, he's not used in Rounders and we might not know his name.


I think you need to take a close look at Ripken's career. Freak things DID occur. He had multiple ankle sprains and strains. he broke his nose. He had lost of back pain during his last few years.


He just showed up the next day and played anyway.
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Re: Why is Cal Ripken Jr. considered great?

Postby GotowarMissAgnes » Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:28 pm

KCollins1304 wrote:I'd have to search for a link later, but I've heard that he would purposely get thrown out of games when he was injured to avoid breaking the streak. To me that is selfish to burn one of his manager's 25 roster spots during a game to save a streak.


I'd love to see that lie in print.
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Re: Why is Cal Ripken Jr. considered great?

Postby GotowarMissAgnes » Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:34 pm

I simply do not understand how people can argue with the idea that health is a skill. Yes, there are freak injuries and things that no amount of skill or effort will prevent. Every person comes with a different genetic make-up. But, both staying healthy AND the ability to play through pain when injured are key parts of any player's toolbox. Ripken was obsessive about his post-season, pre-season and in-season training regimens. That obsession began when he was a kid, and as a result he developed both an incredible SKILL to avoid injury and to play through it. I cannot see how any individual who has ever played any competitive sport can question the idea that health is a skill. You can certainly argue how much injury is determined by genetics versus behavior versus "luck", but I think the evidence is pretty clear both on the baseball diamond and in the world around us, that a huge part of health is self-determined by your own behavior.
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Re: Why is Cal Ripken Jr. considered great?

Postby Yoda » Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:37 pm

An average Joe simply cannot fathom the training regiment that is involved in order to not only be an elite athlete but to maintain it for decades. It is part of what makes them great and hence be HOF worthy.

To argue that point is simply laughable.
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Re: Why is Cal Ripken Jr. considered great?

Postby GotowarMissAgnes » Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:47 pm

stumpak wrote:A baseball player's ability to play is predicated on not just innate reistance to injury but also exogenous factors. Ripken was clerly extraordinarily lucky that one of the hundreds of things beyond his control never went wrong to the extent that it caused him a serious injury. Take a look at the DL at any given time and there is a meaningful minority that is hurt for reasons completely beyond their own control (collisons, beanings, non-baseball injuries, etc).

Beyond this, he was a mediocre player for almost half of his career, so who cares about how long he played if he was merely average for much of this time? I view Ripken as the most overrated HOFer of his era, and I agree with the OP that distance between he and Trammell is narrower than most assert.


You are obviously ignoring his defense in making the statement that he was "mediocre for almost half of his career". Ripken had just 5 seasons where he was about average or below average when you cumulate his offense and defense (1992, 1993, 1997, 1998, 2001). He had another 5 seasons where he was clearly above average (generally 1 to 3 wins above average--1994-1996, 1999, 2000). And then he has 1982-1991 where he was quite simply the second-best SS who has ever lived.

You are right that the distance between him and Trammel is narrower than most assert. That's not because Ripken is overrated. It's because Trammel belongs on the list of the ten best SS ever.
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Re: Why is Cal Ripken Jr. considered great?

Postby Fade2White12 » Wed Mar 25, 2009 5:00 pm

AquaMan2342 wrote:Health is a skill? Probably the stupidest thing I have ever read.

There's no doubt that there is plenty you can do to avoid certain injuries, but was Ripken so skillful at swinging the bat in a manner that avoids foul tips smashing his shin or breaking his toes? Was he so graceful as to avoid every player coming into second with spikes up? Or colliding with an incoming outfielder trying to catch a shallow fly ball? You know, the kinds of injuries that unskilled players get every year.


I'm just flabbergasted on how some of you can attribute his entire streak to luck... Considering that active leader for consecutive games played has changed several times over the past year - at one time Francoeur, Sizemore, Howard, Young, and Pierre. Hell, Francoeur's ended at 370. Ripken's ended at over 2600. All time after Gehrig, next in line has HALF as many as Ripken.

So if this was all luck, statistically Ripken would what, have a better chance to get struck by lightning and winning the lottery the same day?
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Re: Why is Cal Ripken Jr. considered great?

Postby GotowarMissAgnes » Wed Mar 25, 2009 5:37 pm

Fade2White12 wrote:
AquaMan2342 wrote:Health is a skill? Probably the stupidest thing I have ever read.

There's no doubt that there is plenty you can do to avoid certain injuries, but was Ripken so skillful at swinging the bat in a manner that avoids foul tips smashing his shin or breaking his toes? Was he so graceful as to avoid every player coming into second with spikes up? Or colliding with an incoming outfielder trying to catch a shallow fly ball? You know, the kinds of injuries that unskilled players get every year.


I'm just flabbergasted on how some of you can attribute his entire streak to luck... Considering that active leader for consecutive games played has changed several times over the past year - at one time Francoeur, Sizemore, Howard, Young, and Pierre. Hell, Francoeur's ended at 370. Ripken's ended at over 2600. All time after Gehrig, next in line has HALF as many as Ripken.

So if this was all luck, statistically Ripken would what, have a better chance to get struck by lightning and winning the lottery the same day?


Yes, I think the idea that Ripken was somehow lucky and did not get his fair share of foul tips off the toes, spiked shoes, and collisions is silly. He did. He got just as many as every other player, probably more, given his position. Yes, he was lucky, in that none of them was so serious that they absolutely prevented him from playing, but few baseball injuries are like that. Most baseball injuries are tweaks, strains, sprains, contusions, etc. And most players might take a day or two off, or even need a 15 day DL to recover from that "strained oblique". But, if you've ever seen Ripken up close, you can understand that often he would get the best of any collision. He's an absolute rock. And, Ripken's skill was in being able to play through those minor injuries, often at a very high level of play.
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