Cal Ripken Jr. running the warning track of Oriole Park at Camden Yards to shake the hands of Orioles fans after officially breaking Lou Gehrig's consecutive games streak.
Terence Moore is a columnist for MLB.com, a Baseball Hall of Fame voter and an all-around great writer. You don't make it that far in the business without being great at it.
He recently wrote an article talking mainly about how though New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez is one shy of breaking Lou Gehrig's career grand slams record, which stands at 23, it will still be Gehrig's record if and when A-Rod hits that 24th bases-clearing big fly.
I can agree with that. It makes sense. A-Rod has admitted to taking performance enhancement drugs, something that didn't even exist in Gehrig's playing days.
He also speaks about Hank Aaron's all-time home run record. No, not Barry Bonds'. Hank Aaron's. He doesn't consider Bonds the record-holder, and that is also something I agree with.
Not only was the pitching so great back in Aaron's day that they had to lower the pitcher's mound, he didn't juice up his muscles with PED's either, hitting all 755 of his homers with only his God-given talent. Bonds can't say the same.
It's what he ends the article with that bothers me: Declaring that Gehrig is baseball's real Iron Man, and not Cal Ripken Jr. That Gehrig's consecutive games streak is somehow more notable than Ripken's.
Now, he can't argue PED use against Ripken, because everyone knows that's not the case. He can't argue competition level, because not only did Ripken succeed against some of the best pitchers ever during his career (i.e. Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, etc.) he did it in a time that many other players were using PED's, even pitchers (i.e. Clemens), as well as having a longer playing season and taking farther, more demanding coast-to-coast travels during each season.
Who do you think is baseball's real consecutive games streak record-holder?
So what is Moore's argument against Cal?
That he doesn't have "it." Nor do A-Rod and Bonds.
I can understand what he's saying with that. Cal, A-Rod and Bonds aren't legends of such status as Gehrig or Aaron, at least not yet. But how does that take away a record from a man who not only beat it the same way Gehrig did and under more grueling circumstances, but crushed it, topping Gehrig's record of 2,130 with his own of 2,632, a gap of 502 games.
Granted, Gehrig's terrible disease caused him to quit playing baseball earlier than Ripken, and ultimately took the man's life, unfortunately. Who knows how long he would have and could have gone? But that can't be used against Cal, because it's not something he could have controlled.
The fact of the matter is that Ripken matched Gehrig's consecutive games streak, beat it and blew it away. There's no way of taking that away from Ripken.
Sorry, Mr. Moore. Gehrig may be baseball's Iron Horse, but Ripken is baseball's Iron Man.