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Ripken's Believe It or Not: He Sits on the Bench for First Time in 5 Years

September 15, 1987|From Times Wire Services

TORONTO — For the first time in 8,243 innings, the Baltimore Orioles took the field without Cal Ripken.

It happened here in the bottom of the eighth inning Monday of the Orioles' 18-3 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. Ripken, who had grounded into a fielder's choice in the top of the inning, was replaced at shortstop by Ron Washington.

"For the moment I don't know what I feel," said Ripken, who received handshakes from his teammates. "It was so strange to be out of the game. Period. It's been so long since I sat on the bench."

The decision to end the streak was made by Ripken's father, Oriole Manager Cal Ripken Sr.

"It wasn't a father-son decision, it was a manager-player decision," Ripken Sr. said.

"I wanted to take the monkey off his back. I wanted everybody to stop writing about it. Everywhere we go, somebody has to write an article about the streak."

Ripken started the streak on June 5, 1982, and it covered 908 games in which he played every inning. According to the Orioles, the streak was believed to be the longest of its kind in major league history.

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