I never really was that big of a Cal Ripken, Jr. fan, but this article I read yesterday really gave me a new appreciation for him. It appeared in a book my wife picked up for me recently, called The Greatest Baseball Stories ever told, edited by a guy named Jeff Silverman out of Chadds Ford, PA. His primary focus seems to be coming up with stories that great writers have written about baseball. One example is a wonderful John Updike piece about Ted Williams' last game for the Red Sox. Just to show you how random life is, Silverman includes an intro that explains that the only reason Updike made it to the game was because his lady friend at the time was not home. If she had been, he would have missed the game and never written this fairly famous article.
The Ripken piece is written by Richard Ben Cramer, who once won a Pulitzer Prize for international reporting. Cramer does a great job blowing up a lot of the myths surrounding Ripken. It almost seems like he going to tear the guy down, but then he builds him back up in a more authentic light, and the story ends with an amazing scene that really made me respect and admire baseball's "Iron Man." If you get a chance, it's worth the read.