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Terence Moore doesn’t believe that Cal Ripken is the true consecutive games played record holder

May 4, 2011, 8:39 AM EDT

Cal Ripken

I recently had the opportunity to speak with a pretty significant voice in the game about baseball records, accomplishments, history, legacy and that sort of thing. During our conversation, the idea of who “The real home run king” truly is came up. While we didn’t agree on all of the issues that went into that — the impact of steroids, the virtues of the modern era vs. Golden Era, etc. — we did agree that the qualitative notion of who was “the best” or whose feats, in one’s own subjective view, was greater, doesn’t have to match up with the record book.

For example, I can say, even as a noted Barry Bonds apologist, that I consider Hank Aaron’s accomplishments to have been more impressive than Bonds’. I can do this by weighing, subjectively, the eras in which they played, what I think I know about their drug use, the pitching environment in which they tried to hit, their background and all of that. At the end of that I can say that I think Aaron was the more impressive player and man. My personal taste would not be to call him “the true home run king,” because such titles are loaded, but I can place him higher in my personal hierarchy than Barry Bonds, regardless of what the record book says because — as I argued a couple of weeks ago — the record book merely records, it doesn’t value.

But even if you engage in that kind of subjective exercise — which you should, because a fixation on the record book makes you lose sight of a lot of great baseball stuff — you can take this line of thinking too far.

For example, you can take it as far as Terence Moore took it in his MLB.com column yesterday when he said that not only does he consider Hank Aaron the Home Run King, but he won’t acknowledge Alex Rodriguez as the all-time grand slam leader when he passes Lou Gehrig. Or that — and this is the most controversial — that he doesn’t recognize Cal Ripken’s consecutive games-played streak.

Why? Because, Moore argues. They don’t have “it”:

This goes beyond the fact that A-Rod joins Bonds as one of the primary faces of the Steroid Era. This is about the following: Gehrig and Aaron just have “it” when it comes to those records. You can’t describe “it,” but you can feel “it.” … You may recall that Gehrig also earned his nickname as “The Iron Horse” by playing in a record 2,130 games before succumbing to a bizarre muscular disease that eventually was named in his honor. His record for that playing streak lasted 56 years until Cal Ripken Jr., kept going and going before snapping it in 1995.

Nothing against Ripken Jr., but Gehrig remains the standard bearer for that record, too.

There’s a difference between making a historical assessment as to the impressiveness of given accomplishments on the one hand and denying the legitimacy of anything that happened since you were a kid on the other.  Moore is doing the latter based on his calculation of “it.”  And, later in his column, when he declares that the actual records lack “zing.” Whatever the hell those things are.

And this man draws a salary from Major League Baseball. And has a Hall of Fame vote. I find that rather depressing.

  1. yankeesfanlen - May 4, 2011 at 8:51 AM

    Moore has some amusing circular reasoning on this “it” stuff. For example, when Hank Aaron was hitting all his dingers, many people were also doing it, and were competitive with it, in each individual year.
    Whereas Babe Ruth hit a lot of his when the individual act of hitting a home run was rare, and several times his yearly total was greater than that of most teams. That’s an “IT”.
    Maybe Moore doesn’t know what “it” is.
    Maybe he should ask Bill Clinton.

  2. Matt - May 4, 2011 at 8:57 AM
  3. Matt - May 4, 2011 at 8:58 AM

    (obligatory Luke Scott needs a record certificate joke)

    • Utley's Hair - May 4, 2011 at 11:33 AM

      He doesn’t believe Cal Ripken was born in the infield.

  4. andrewf16 - May 4, 2011 at 9:03 AM

    Riiight. Ask anyone in Baltimore if Cal Ripken had “it”.

  5. randomdigits - May 4, 2011 at 9:04 AM

    So Gehrig, who would bat leadoff while penciled in at SS bat then leave the game is the true holder of the record and Cal Jr, who played 8,243 innings in a row at one point doesn’t have “it”?

    Odd that Mr Moore graduated college in 1978, it most have been hard for him to have seen Gehrig actually play, or is he getting the “it” vibe off of old newspaper clippings?

    Looks to me like someone wants to say something outlandish to increase web hits, I for one will not indulge him.

  6. ratstick - May 4, 2011 at 9:10 AM

    Why do I suspect that Mr. Moore would not have acknowledged Maris’s record in 1961? Babe Ruth had “it” but Maris didn’t?

  7. heyblueyoustink - May 4, 2011 at 9:17 AM

    He probably doesn’t believe in the Flux Capaciter either

    • BC - May 4, 2011 at 11:38 AM

      The truth is out there.

  8. koufaxmitzvah - May 4, 2011 at 9:20 AM

    As part of Ruth’s “It” factor is that he played in a segregated era. Kind of hard to consider the Babe’s numbers as a true water mark when his competition was diluted.

    • Professor Longnose - May 4, 2011 at 9:54 AM

      It’s very hard to figure out how much of an effect the talent pool at any given time has on competition. No excuses for segregation, which was morally inexcusable, but it limited the pool by about 10%-15%, I think. Other factors are probably more important. For instance, the population of the US in Ruth’s time was less than half what it is today.

      But there are almost twice as many major league teams today.

      But there are many fewer minor league teams, and those there are are farm teams for MLB, not competition.

      But there were very few players outside the US who had the opportunity to play here in Ruth’s days.

      But baseball back then was the only big money professional sport, and didn’t have to compete with football, basketball, and others for the best athletes.

      And that doesn’t even take into account the cultural and economic pressures that encourage or discourage people to become baseball players.

  9. Chipmaker - May 4, 2011 at 9:21 AM

    Oh, he has “it”. With the prefix “horsesh”.

  10. amhendrick - May 4, 2011 at 9:26 AM

    I’ve learned that the people who have “it” are generally the ones who played before I was born (or was old enough to watch baseball). There was a mythology around them that players I watched play lacked. Now that I am older and wiser, I realize that Harmon Killebrew (for example) didn’t have “it” any more (or less) that Jim Thome does. Thome only feels like less of a legend to me because I’ve watched him play, and therefore I’ve watched him fail.

    • bigharold - May 4, 2011 at 12:33 PM

      “Thome only feels like less of a legend to me because I’ve watched him play, and therefore I’ve watched him fail.”

      I won’t argue your perspective because there is logic and reason there but I take the opposite approach. A player I’ve seen play is more important merely because I saw them play. Anybody can look good in a highlight real. Stats can be parsed to spin them any way you want to support ones point of view. Also, it’s extremely difficult to compare players from different eras. I never saw Gehrig play but I did see Mattingly and I appreciate his accomplishments more. I’ve no doubt concerning Gehrig’s greatness nor am I saying that Mattingly was a better 1B or Yankee in any way. But, for having watched the length and breadth of Mattingly’s career, his successes and failures, I’ve a better appreciation for Mattingly.

      If you want to truly understand the greatness of a player you need to have seen him over time with the good and the bad. When you have nothing but historical data and or the narrative of others then it’s impossible to truly say who has “it”. And, just for the record; you ca’t go wrong with Thome. I wish the Yankees had signed him rather tham Giambi.

  11. opiedamus - May 4, 2011 at 9:27 AM

    I’ve met Terence Moore and he is full of “it!”

  12. halladaysbicepts - May 4, 2011 at 9:34 AM

    This guy is off base with these remarks. I do agree with him though that Hank Aaron is the all time homerun leader due to Bonds’ obvious juicing.

    I’ve always thought that the consecutive games played record was a tad overrated. There were many times that Ripken Jr. was criticized for not sitting a few games when it was obvious he was hurting his team, whether it be with his bat or in the field with the glove. When you have a nagging injury that is affecting your performance, the best thing to do is sit a few games for the good of the team.

  13. umrguy42 - May 4, 2011 at 9:39 AM

    I’ve heard some stupid things, but this is up there. I mean, consecutive games is one of the things that essentially stacks up against each other (same with a hitting streak) – sure, you can argue about hijinks with how long they stayed in games, but in general, you might even argue that Ripken’s is more impressive, as he had more games in a season to deal with (rather than the other way around for the HR record). Then again, possibly that might be counterbalanced with the fact that I suspect Gehrig played in more postseasons, so maybe it averages out (wear and tear-wise, IIRC postseason games don’t factor into the streak).

    • randomdigits - May 4, 2011 at 11:33 AM

      Keep in the postseason for Gehrig was one best of 7 series a year.

  14. BC - May 4, 2011 at 9:49 AM

    Moore is a chipwich. If Ripken had been named in the Mitchell Report or suspected of PED use, fine, then use that as an excuse. But he has no leg to stand on.
    PS. Craig – agree with you on Aaron. Guy had over 3700 hits, a kajillion RBI, and Lord knows how many 40 HR seasons.

    • ratstick - May 4, 2011 at 9:55 AM

      Despite all the records, Aaron may be the most underrated player of all time. A truly monster career whose numbers were hurt by his ballpark (and era) most of the time. He was also a total class act.

      • professor59 - May 4, 2011 at 11:58 AM

        It’s hard to be hurt by a ballpark that earned the nickname “The Launching Pad”. It’s the second highest elevation stadium in America to Coors Field.

        Or was it the stadium in Milwaukee that was the problem?

  15. thefalcon123 - May 4, 2011 at 9:50 AM

    Blah blah, I’m so sick of this nostalgia trip, “back in MY day, players played in 3 feet of snow and Ty Cobb still stole 96 bases!” nonsense. Ripken doesn’t hate “it” because Moore was an adult and breaking that record didn’t leave an mark on his childhood, nor was Ripken a mystical, far away figure from the past. The fact that he played more consecutive games than Gehrig doesn’t make Gehrig’s streak any less impressive. People act like someone breaking a record is a personal affront to the integrity of that person. No, it just means Barry Bonds hit ever so slightly more balls over the fence when he played than Aaron. Get over it.

    • thefalcon123 - May 4, 2011 at 9:51 AM

      EDIT: Ripken doesn’t H-A-V-E “it”. Me word good spell, grammar yes?

      • bigharold - May 4, 2011 at 12:39 PM

        That’s a little more better!

  16. kingjoe1 - May 4, 2011 at 9:53 AM

    What he is saying makes a ton of sense. The division is that Cal was chasing a record and that is what drove him to find a way into every game, just to keep the streak going. Gerhig played in 2130 games simply because he just had the desire too do so. There was no goal line, no bar to exceed, he did it because he was the dedicated.

    • woodenulykteneau - May 4, 2011 at 10:36 AM

      So Lou Gehrig set the record and *nobody* held it before him? By the way, when you type with two (2) hands you’re less likely to make mistakes.

    • crashdavis99 - May 4, 2011 at 12:14 PM

      I love it when people make a judgement on something they can’t possibly know! Hey kingjoe1, how could you possibly know what “drove” Ripken to break the record or that Gehrig played just because of his “desire”? As my good friend Sgt. Joe Friday used to say “just the facts ma’am”. Fact is Ripken played more games, that makes him the record holder. Anything else is just useless blather.

    • tomemos - May 4, 2011 at 12:35 PM

      Lou Gehrig was also attempting to set a legacy-defining record.

  17. Jonny 5 - May 4, 2011 at 10:04 AM

    I agree with him. The Prius, even though everyone “claims” it gets the best fuel economy of any other car, I can’t agree because it doesn’t have the “it” factor of the Fiesta.

    *Note* Please turn sarcasm sensors to the “ON” position while reading, thank you.

    • Utley's Hair - May 4, 2011 at 11:23 AM

      So Cal is a hybrid? Wait…you’re saying Ripken was juicing (battery/electrical juice, that is)?

  18. ezwriter69 - May 4, 2011 at 10:32 AM

    Ripken missed half a season, he wasn’t just on strike, he was an outspoken leader of the strike, refusing to play because of the horrible conditions under which he was forced to earn his 10 million a year… he refused to play, he didn’t show up for work. To me, that record has always been bogus because of that.

    • fquaye149 - May 4, 2011 at 1:27 PM

      Yeah,, I’m pretty sure Ripken wasn’t just striking because he personally wanted to make more money. You know, there are people who played baseball in the 80’s and 90’s who didn’t play long enough to become independently wealthy by playing, many of them teammates or possible friends of Cal’s.

      Also, even if he did, so what? Why should the owners get to keep more money they obviously don’t deserve (since the players won the strike, that suggests that what they were paying them wasn’t in accordance to what the owners actually valued them at) especially since the owners had spent the 10 years before the 1994 strike engaging in brazen, illegal, and absolutely unvarnished collusion like the absolute dirtballs they have shown themselves to be time and time again. “But, but, but, Cal Ripken was making millions of dollars, how on earth could he possibly have deserved more from owners making 10’s or 100’s of millions of dollars and engaging in illegal activities to keep him and others for getting a fairer share of the profits!!!!!”

  19. buddygrant - May 4, 2011 at 10:43 AM

    What is ‘it’? Its zing! Zork! Kapowza! Call it what you want, in any language it spells mazuma in the bank!

    • andrewf16 - May 4, 2011 at 11:11 AM

      Zork? What is zork?

  20. hardjudge - May 4, 2011 at 10:49 AM

    Obviously Moore is an idiot, doesn’t have “it” so his internet access should be revoked.

  21. delawarephilliesfan - May 4, 2011 at 10:49 AM

    Forget about “deserving” the record or not – the record is ridiculous to begin with. That is not a knock against Cal Ripken, or Lou Gehrig or Pete Rose – who missed 10 games in a span of 2,700 over a 17 year stretch. All you have to do is miss one game – and the streak is over. Play 400 straight, miss a day, play another 400 straight, miss a day, etc., and somehow you pale in comparison? That is nonsense. Conversely, play every game game when you are batting .173 over a 42 game stretch (check Ripken’s game logs in 1993), and that makes you an “Iron Man”?

    The real feat is not being inured – the consecutive games is a testament to a front office refusing to sit you when you are hurting the team.

    • aceshigh11 - May 4, 2011 at 11:05 AM

      Now that’s a unique, and interesting, perspective.

      Well-done.

  22. bobulated - May 4, 2011 at 11:20 AM

    I read Moore for years when he was with the Journal-Constitution in Atlanta. His standard MO has always been to say inflammatory shinola often times racial in nature and occasionally legitimate but he has gotten much worse since journeying to blogland.

    • Utley's Hair - May 4, 2011 at 11:28 AM

      But does he know the difference between shinola and that other stuff?

      • bigharold - May 4, 2011 at 12:44 PM

        Clearly not!

    • bobulated - May 4, 2011 at 3:54 PM

      @ Uttley’s hair; Yes, Moore’s problem is that not only can he not tell the difference but also has shinola’s counterpart filling the space between his ears.

  23. tomemos - May 4, 2011 at 12:31 PM

    Hey Craig, you misspelled Aaron’s name. Or is it one of those pirate jokes?

    “Who’s a pirate’s favorite ballplayer?” “Hank ARR-on!”

  24. thefalcon123 - May 4, 2011 at 12:33 PM

    Here’s a streak for you:
    Greg Maddux starts by season:
    1987: 27
    1988: 34
    1989: 35
    1990: 35
    1991: 37
    1992: 35
    1993: 36
    1994: 25 (strike, didn’t miss any starts)
    1995: 28 (strike, didn’t miss any starts)
    1996: 35
    1997: 33
    1998: 34
    1999: 33
    2000: 35
    2001: 34
    2002: 34
    2003: 36
    2004: 33
    2005: 35
    2006: 34
    2007: 34
    2008: 33

    Though a “soft” record, Maddux essentially went over 700 games without missing a start. Was hit feat more impressive than Ripken’s?

    • thefalcon123 - May 4, 2011 at 12:37 PM

      EDIT: Maddux was on the DL and missed 2 starts in 2002. Whatta wiener.

      • bigharold - May 4, 2011 at 12:48 PM

        What a pansy .. he can just kiss of the HOF.

  25. justindmarriott - May 4, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    Anyone who tries to knock Ripken or his record is an absolute moron, especially the jackass on this board that used the strike as their reason for knocking the streak. After that strike baseball was in big trouble, and Cal Ripken Jr. chasing down and breaking the consecutive games played record saved the game, and is the only reason you watch today. As for Terence Moore, its obsurd that he has a hall of fame vote. Maybe this ridiculousness will change that.

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