To pay tribute to his Hall-of-Fame career, A&E's Home Video Baltimore Orioles Legends: Cal Ripken, Jr. Collector's Edition is available through the Orioles' MLB.com store for $59.99.
The six-DVD set runs for 15 hours, highlighting Ripken's career with full games from such unforgettable times as:
Sept. 6, 1995, when he played in his 2,131st consecutive game, surpassing Lou Gehrig's immortal record.
His monster game against the Mariners on May 28, 1996, when he hit three home runs and drove in a a career-high eight runs.
His three-hit performance in Game 1 of the 1996 American League Division Series, propelling the Orioles past the Indians.
June 13, 1999, when Ripken went 6-for-6 against the Braves.
His farewell All-Star Game appearance in Seattle on July 10, 2001, when he hit an electrifying first-pitch homer in his first at-bat en route to the game's MVP honor.
Also included in the boxed set are rare interviews from Ripken himself, as well as those from Earl Weaver, Eddie Murray, Fred Lynn and Bernie Williams commenting on his brilliant career. There is also special Ripken game footage that includes his 1991 Home Run Derby victory, 1983 World Series-ending catch, 1991 All-Star Game MVP performance, 400th home run, 3,000th hit, and the segment: "2001 All-Star Game: Return to Shortsop."
The highlight of the DVD set is the 60-minute documentary entitled "Cal Ripken Jr.: The Iron Man's Legendary Career," which chronicles his 21 years playing for the Orioles.
Orioles fans will enjoy the memories as they are taken back in time. You'll hear the reason why then Orioles' manager Earl Weaver made the decision to move Ripken from third base to shortstop just 27 games into the streak and signify the start of one of the greatest Orioles to play the game. They will also be reminded of Cal Ripken Sr., who instilled into Ripken Jr. the importance of leadership, sportsmanship, athletic prowess and unselfishness. Fans will also be reminded of the night that Ripken decided to end the streak and take himself out of the starting lineup.
Watching the "Record Breaker" video, in which Orioles fans gave him a 22-minute, 15-second standing ovation, it brings you back to that memorable night in 1995, when he takes a lap around Camden Yards and thanks the fans by exchanging handshakes. With the game official at the end of the fifth inning, the fireworks explode and the huge banner on the B&O Warehouse flips from 2,130 to 2,131, signifying that Ripken was the new "Iron Man" -- surpassing Gehrig, who was known as the "Iron Horse."
Ripken said on his lap around Camden Yards that it went "from 50,000 strong to a very intimate one-on-one."
While each DVD includes an inning-by-inning synopsis and official box score, the set also includes detailed highlights from Ripken's career (431 home runs, 1,695 RBIs, 19 All-Star selections, 3,184 hits and 2,632 consecutive games) and memorabilia like the original "Cal Bar" candy bar, or his home run ball that he hit in game 2,131.
This set is perfect for anyone who wants to celebrate Ripken's induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame on June 29 alongside Tony Gwynn. Besides being a gentleman, role model and superb sportsman, Ripken always will be known as the "Iron Man."
The late Joe DiMaggio summed up Ripken's career perfectly by saying, "Wherever my former teammate Lou Gehrig is today, I'm sure he's tipping his cap to you, Cal Ripken."
Joe Boesch is a freelance sportswriter and author of Game Notes: A Collection of Sports Stories and the MLBlog Dugout Diary This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.