Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Minor and a Babe

What do Ryan Minor and Babe Dahlgren have in common?

Here is some background information while you think about it.

Ellsworth Tenney "Babe" Dahlgren enjoyed a twelve-year career as a corner infielder. He debuted in the majors in 1935 with the Boston Red Sox before moving on to the Yankees, Bees (Braves), Cubs, Browns, Dodgers, Phillies and Pirates. He returned to the Browns in 1946 for his final year as a big leaguer.

Ryan Minor had a four-year career in the major leagues. He played for the Baltimore Orioles from 1998 to 2000 and the Montreal Expos in 2001. He was a corner infielder and sometimes outfielder. His best year was 1999 when he appeared in 46 games and made 133 plate appearances.

Do you have an answer yet?

Okay, more information then.

Minor's claim to fame happened on September 20, 1998, in Baltimore. Minor batting sixth managed a single in four at bats as the Orioles fell to the Yankees 5-4.

Dahlgren's red-letter day was May 2, 1939, at Briggs Stadium in Detroit. He played first base that day. Dahlgren batting eighth went 2 for 5 with a double and a home run as the Yankees prevailed over the Tigers 22-2.

Got it yet?

One last hint: Wally Pipp.

Popular baseball history holds that Wally Pipp pulled himself from the Yankees lineup on June 2, 1925, due to a headache. He was replaced in the lineup by Lou Gehrig who proceeded to play in the next 2,130 games. When the ravages of ALS no longer allowed Gehrig to play at the level he demanded of himself, he pulled himself from the lineup. Babe Dahlgren took his place.

Many pundits called Gehrig's streak unbeatable.

Beginning on May 20, 1982, Cal Ripken Jr. stayed in the Orioles lineup everyday and eventually surpassed and crushed Gehrig's record, playing in 2632 consecutive games. On September 20, 1998, Ripken's mind could no longer talk his body into taking the field. He was replaced by Ryan Minor.

Dahlgren died in September of 1996. He had lived long enough to see his teammate's record broken. I wish Ryan Minor a long fruitful life. But I am taking bets that he will not live long enough to see Ripken's record fall.

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