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From SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, August 7, 1995
FUNNY THING ABOUT THE STREAK. YOU WATCH CAL RIPKEN JR. grind his way toward baseball immortality with a string of consecutive games that is tiring just to contemplate, and you begin to think of the Baltimore Orioles shortstop as some kind of robot: Wind him up, and he just keeps going and going and going. � Something similar happened to the public perception of Lou Gehrig, whose record of 2,130 straight games Ripken would break on Sept. 6, 1995, on his way to setting a new mark of 2,632 straight games. Gehrig came to be thought of as the stolid and stoic ballplayer who endured all manner of suffering with hardly a grimace. Even Gehrig's nickname, the Iron Horse, made him seem mechanical. In Ripken's case the image of an iron man has been helped by his lack of flamboyance and his aversion to controversy.
Of course, image isn't everything. There is an undeniable joy in the way Ripken plays the game and in the way he lives his life that can be seen only by looking beyond the public image. Spend a week in that magical summer of '95 with the Orioles' iron man, and you begin to see that the Streak is nothing but a by-product of that joy.
The orioles-rangers game in Baltimore on July 25 ended at 11:02 p.m. Ripken entered the clubhouse an hour and 20 minutes later, sweating profusely, and his baseball cap was missing. Outfielder Brady Anderson was the only other player left in the clubhouse.
"Where have you been?" asked Anderson.
"Working out," said Ripken.
"You were signing, weren't you?"
"You're sick," said Anderson.