Baltimore sports fans are celebrating Ray Lewis’ career today. His lap around M&T Bank Stadium after Sunday’s win over the Colts reminded many fans of the impromptu jog around the field that Cal Ripken took after he set the record for most consecutive games in 2,131.
Lewis’ impending retirement and a note that teams have tried to coax Chipper Jones back for another season reminds us how rare it is for athletes, even the best ones, to spend all their careers in one uniform.
Ripken spent 21 seasons with the Orioles, and played for no other team. Nor did Brooks Robinson, who was with the Orioles for 23 years. Jim Palmer pitched his entire 19-year career with Baltimore.
But, Frank Robinson, who’s more strongly identified with the Orioles than any other team, played six of his 19 seasons in Baltimore, and Eddie Murray, who started with the Orioles, spent 12 ½ of his 21 major league seasons with the Birds.
With free agency and players playing longer, the odds for players like Lewis, who spent 17 seasons with the Ravens, are reduced.
The most popular Orioles player now is Adam Jones, but he played parts of two seasons with Seattle before coming to Baltimore.
Appreciate players who’ve played for only one team. They will become rarer still in future years.
-The Orioles say that tickets for Jan. 19’s FanFest are not sold out, but they are encouraging fans to buy them in advance.