BALTIMORE — Cal Ripken Jr. came to play, and every inning if possible.
The 24-year-old Baltimore shortstop participated in his 463rd consecutive game when the Orioles played at Minnesota Friday night, tying the club record set by his idol, Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson.
But even that streak, which began on May 30, 1982, isn't enough to satisfy Ripken's appetite for total involvement. Since June 5, 1982, he hasn't missed an inning of action.
Last year Ripken became the first player since Rudy York in 1940-41 to complete two consecutive seasons without missing an inning, a feat accomplished by only seven players in history, and that streak has reached 4,171 innings.
Only two players, Buck Freeman and Candy LaChance, in 1902-03-04, have ever played every inning in three consecutive seasons.
"The streak doesn't concern me," Ripken said recently. "Maybe it will in the long run, but it doesn't mean too much right now."
"I just don't like to sit and watch," said Ripken, whose consecutive-game streak is second among active players only to the 515 games played by Atlanta's Dale Murphy. "I like being involved. I hate to be substituted for, even when I played basketball and soccer in high school."
Ripken was a rookie in 1982 when he last was benched, in the second game of a doubleheader on May 29. The inactivity was painful, and Ripken vowed not to come out once he got back into the line-up.
Manager Joe Altobelli was impressed by Ripken's attitude about wanting to play and noted that Baltimore first baseman Eddie Murray, who was the only major leaguer besides Ripken to play every inning last season, is from the same mold.
"We weren't going anywhere last year, but they both were out there every inning," Altobelli said. "There's something to be said about that."
Ripken said he saw no benefit in sitting out the final couple of innings when a game is out of hand.