The Streak: Lou Gehrig, Cal Ripken Jr., and Baseball's Most Historic Record

The Streak: Lou Gehrig, Cal Ripken Jr., and Baseball's Most Historic Record

by John Eisenberg


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The fascinating story of baseball’s legendary “Ironmen,” two players from different eras who each achieved the coveted and sometimes confounding record of most consecutive games played
When Cal Ripken Jr. began his career with the Baltimore Orioles at age twenty-one, he had no idea he would someday beat the historic record of playing 2,130 games in a row, a record set forty-two years before by the fabled “Iron Horse” of the New York Yankees, Lou Gehrig. Ripken went on to surpass that record by 502 games, and the baseball world was floored. Few feats in sports history have generated more acclaim. But the record spawns an array of questions. When did someone first think it was a good idea to play in so many games without taking a day off? Who owned the record before Gehrig? Whose streak—Gehrig’s or Ripken’s—was the more difficult achievement?
Through probing research, meticulous analysis, and colorful parallel storytelling, The Streak delves into this impressive but controversial milestone, unraveling Gehrig’s at-times unwitting pursuit of that goal (Babe Ruth used to think Gehrig crazy for wanting to play every game), and Ripken’s fierce determination to stay in the lineup and continue to contribute whatever he could even as his skills diminished with age.

The question looms: How do these streaks compare? There were so many factors: the length of seasons, the number of teams in the major leagues, the inclusion of nonwhite players, travel, technology, medical advances, and even media are all part of the equation. This is a book that captures the deeply American appreciation—as seen in the sport itself—for a workaday mentality and that desire to be there for the game every time it called.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780544107670
Publisher: HMH Books
Publication date: 07/04/2017
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 380,552
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

JOHN EISENBERG is the award-winning author of Ten-Gallon War, That First Season, My Guy Barbaro (cowritten with jockey Edgar Prado), and The Great Match Race. A longtime former columnist for the Baltimore Sun, he currently contributes columns to

Table of Contents

Introduction ix

1 Ripken: A Victory Lap 1

2 Gehrig: The Ghost of 2,131 15

3 Ironmen: First of Their Kind 24

4 Ripken: Blue-Collar Stock 37

5 Ironmen: Confusion 49

6 Ironmen: Deacon 58

7 Ripken: Influences 70

8 Gehrig: A Famous Headache 84

9 Gehrig: Playing Every Day 98

10 Ripken: A Sour Year 109

11 Gehrig: A Friend's Influence 121

12 Ironmen: The Blessing of Good Fortune 131

13 Ripken: A Guiding Philosophy 142

14 Gehrig: Playing Hurt 153

15 Ironmen: Shenanigans 165

16 Ripken: Toughing It Out 174

17 Gehrig: A Tragic Turn 185

18 Ironmen: Is It Really a Good Idea? 198

19 Ripken: Making History 212

20 Ironmen: The True Believer 230

21 Ripken: A Day Off, at Last 239

22 Ironmen: A Philosophical Change 254

Epilogue 269

Author's Note 274

Source Notes 277

Bibliography 286

Index 287

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