ESPYS Interview Series: Cal Ripken

Cal Ripken Jr. started 2,632 consecutive games over the course of 17 MLB seasons. Heather Hall/AFP/Getty Images

What was your mindset heading into the game the night you broke the record for most consecutive games played?

I think if I can go back, my mindset going into the last week was the only time I felt in the whole streak that there was a finish line. I never set out to do this, I never set out to say "can I break this record?" Then all of a sudden the preparations made for the celebration put pressure on me. I said "OK, I have to get there." After 2,130, there was sort of a realization it was a foregone conclusion you're going to play tomorrow. There was a little sense of relief and I was more relaxed going into the 2,131 game than the 2,130 game.

It was important for me to play well and have our team play well and have the focus be on that and not necessarily the record-breaking game. I did have a sense of being a little bit more relaxed and any sort of pressure that had developed in that last week was gone.

Once the game became official, there was a 22-minute ovation and, urged by your teammates, you did a lap around the field. What was that like?

I remember being a little overwhelmed. I really wasn't aware of when the game became official, as far as the streak, but it started to present itself a couple weeks prior to the game, when they started playing a song in the fifth inning. When the actual game became official, depending on whether you were ahead or behind, top of the fifth or bottom of the fifth then it would become official and I knew we were going to have some sort of ceremony then resume the game. Everyone kept clapping and clapping and I had a chance to grab a moment with my kids and my family right there.

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