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

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Jul 4, 2017 - Sports & Recreation - 352 pages
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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.
 

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

User Review  - Jim Burns - Book Verdict

On May 2, 1939, Yankees manager Joe McCarthy agreed to leave a slumping and (though it wasn't known at the time, mortally ill) Lou Gehrig on the bench for a day. This ended his streak of 2,130 ... Read full review

Contents

A Victory Lap
1
The Ghost of 2131
15
First of Their Kind
24
BlueCollar Stock
37
Confusion
49
Deacon
58
Influences
70
A Famous Headache
84
Playing Hurt
153
Shenanigans
165
Toughing It Out
174
A Tragic Turn
185
Is It Really a Good Idea?
198
Making History
212
The True Believer
230
A Day Off at Last
239

Playing Every Day
98
A Sour Year
109
A Friends Influence
121
The Blessing of Good Fortune
131
Photographs
142
A Guiding Philosophy
142
A Philosophical Change
254
Back Matter
269
Back Flap
301
Back Cover
302
Spine
303
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About the author (2017)

JOHN EISENBERG was an award-winning sports columnist for the Baltimore Sun for two decades and is the author of Ten-Gallon War,That First Season,My Guy Barbaro (cowritten with jockey Edgar Prado), and The Great Match Race. He has written for Smithsonian,Sports Illustrated, and Details, among other publications, and currently contributes columns to BaltimoreRavens.com. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

 

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