Circle of Greats 1960 Results: Call for Cal

Cal Ripken, Jr. is our ninth inductee into the Circle of Greats. Cal’s astounding iron man record evidences an extraordinary combination of mold-breaking talent plus discipline, luck, stubbornness and, self-referentially, the very allure of baseball records themselves.  More on Ripken, and the 1960 voting results, after the jump.

By baseball-reference’s calculation, Cal Ripken as a batter accumulated, over his career, 196 runs of value more than an average player (196 Rbat), and and as a defensive player was about 180 runs more effective than the average player (180 Rfield). Over major league history, according to b-ref, only four players have ever topped 175 runs in both of those categories: Ripken, Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente and Carl Yastrzemski.

Cal played 2,966 regular season major league games on the left side of the infield — 2,292 games at short, 664 games  at third, plus ten games  in which he appeared at both positions. That 2,966 number is more games played at any two positions than any other major leaguer in history, so far as I can find. Brooks Robinson, another Orioles star on the left side of the infield, played more games than anyone ever at a single position — 2,870 games at third base — 41 more games than Willie Mays played in center field. With just a few years intervening between their reigns, either Cal Ripken or Brooks Robinson was pretty much omnipresent on the right side of the O’s infield from the late 1950s until the 21st century.

Ripken appeared on 62 of 75 ballots this round — only Greg Maddux and Randy Johnson have appeared on a higher percentage of ballots to date.  Tony Gwynn also appeared on more than 50% of the ballots in the 1960 round, balancing out the 1961 ballot, when not even the inductee appeared on half the ballots. So Tony receives a four-round assurance of eligibility.  As for the other holdovers, Edgar Martinez and Don Mattingly were the ones on the bubble. Edgar received enough support to continue (and more support than he has in any previous round), Don did not. Mattingly moves over to the ballot in the redemption round that is also being held this week.   The full record of the vote for the 1960 round is here: 1960 COG Vote Tally . If you would like to see a spreadsheet with an overview of the voting across all the rounds so far, that’s here (sheet 1 has the raw vote totals for each player in each round, sheet 2 has the percentages): COG Vote Summary

The Circle of Greats membership thus far:
Jeff Bagwell
Barry Bonds
Roger Clemens
Randy Johnson
Greg Maddux
Mike Mussina
Mike Piazza
Cal Ripken, Jr.
Frank Thomas

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I’m really surprised Barry Bonds wasn’t among those with 175 WAR runs offensively and defensiely.


I have Eddie Murray at 2,986 games at 1B and DH, incl. 2,967 starts at those two positions.


Wow, I admit when I think of Cal Ripken I think of his bat first and his consecutive game streak second. Looking over his Rfield numbers, I noticed he had five seasons of 20 or more fielding runs. Only one major leaguer has more such seasons:

20+ Rfield seasons:

1. Mark Belanger – 7
2. Cal Ripken – 5
2. Andruw Jones – 5
4. Beltre/Brooks R/Nettles/?Brian Jordan?/Barfield/Ozzie/W Wilson/Clemente/Hughie Critz – 4

I had never heard of Hugh Melville Critz before.

Artie Z

Nitpicking a little, but aren’t third base and shortstop usually referred to as the “left side of the infield” because we are looking at the infield as if we were standing at home plate?