IRON MAN by Harvey Rosenfeld


The Cal Ripken, Jr., Story
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 Timed to come out just as he breaks the fabled Gehrig streak of 2,130 consecutive games played, this is the first adult bio of Cal Ripken Jr., written by freelancer Rosenfeld (Roger Maris: A Title to Fame, not reviewed). By and large, Baltimore Orioles shortstop Ripken is an all- American boy/man. Son of a major-league coach and manager, Ripken is a superb performer, an excellent defensive shortstop who is built (and hits) like a third baseman. A two-time American League MVP and multiple Gold Glove winner, he is also quiet, modest, likeable, and a good husband, son, and father. In short, Rip is the kind of guy you'd want your son to be or your daughter to marry. Unfortunately, people like that don't necessarily make for interesting biography, and so Rosenfeld is at something of a disadvantage. An authorized biography written with the cooperation of the family (but, significantly, without interviewing Cal Jr.), this is surprisingly honest in facing the negative side of Ripken's career, which mainly consists of questions about the Streak's effect on his hitting, the struggles that accompanied his last contract negotiation with the Orioles, and his reaction to his father's firing as the Orioles' manager in 1988. But the Streak is obviously the raison d'àtre for this book, and although he has done considerably more homework than such a volume would require, Rosenfeld's tome reads like a quickie cut-and-paste bio. The high- and lowlights of Ripken's career are here in numbing detail, filled out with quotes from teammates, opponents, and family members. The result is like reading 13 seasons' worth of old game stories from the Baltimore area papers. Too bad an Iron Man inspired such leaden prose.

Pub Date: Sept. 13th, 1995
ISBN: 0-312-13524-6
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1995