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5. Cal Ripken's iron man streak

2,632
HOW LONG IT'S STOOD:
Since Ripken pulled the plug on Sept. 20, 1998.

CLOSEST CALL SINCE:
969 (thru May 29), by Miguel Tejada (just 10½ years to go), or 1,761* (5½ years away) if you count Hideki Matsui's multi-continent streak that just ended (the last 518 as a Yankee).

Think this record will hold up for 56 years, like Lou Gehrig's did? Heck, it might survive for 356. And the longer it stands, the higher it could elevate on this list.

But we're still not sure what to make of it. If Tejada toils on until 2016, you'd have a tremendous shortstop-in-Baltimore kind of connection. So we suppose it would be feasible to recreate the chills and thrills of Sept. 6, 1995.

On the other hand, it's also possible our view of this record is colored by the emotions of Ripken's magical night. Next time, though, you won't have Gehrig's legacy to stoke the flame. And next time, (we hope) you won't have the pain of an eight-month strike to ease. And next time, what are the odds that someone can merely unfurl a number on a wall -- and people will cry for the next 20 minutes?

So we may just be overrating the buzz quotient for this feat. But maybe not. Pete Palmer calls it "probably the most difficult" modern career record to break. And the true appeal of it, says Mariners special assistant Dan Evans, is that it's really about "showing up to go to work -- something everyone can identify with."

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