Bizarre Baseball Culture: Cal Ripken orders the 2001 Yankees to Save The World

In Bizarre Baseball Culture, I take a look at some of the more unusual places where baseball has reared it’s head in pop culture and fiction.

Wolverine of the X-Men has a habit of appearing in comics he technically isn’t supposed to be in, simply because he’s popular. Well, Cal Ripken is the Wolverine of Baseball Comic Books.  He’s joined forces with Batman, led the Shortstop Squad, and been the subject of a bio-comic. Also, like Wolverine, Cal Ripken seemed to be able to recover from any injury, no matter how severe. But, it’s the first similarity that I’m focusing on, because, in the comic I will be looking at today, Cal Ripken appears in a story about the 2001 New York Yankees being Superheroes.

Let that sink in. The New York Yankees, in a comic that they themselves ordered and gave away, still had Cal Ripken in their comic and had him on the cover too.

YanksCalCover

Entitled “Championship Challenge” and given out September 28, 2001, it stars, as you can see, four of the greatest stars the Yankees had that season. Mariano Rivera! Tino Martinez! Jorge Posada! And, of course, the Once and Future Captain, Derek Jeter himself. But, of course, we also see Cal RIpken on the cover, letting everybody know that the Iron Man will be there! With such Ultimate Sports Force stalwarts as Rick Licht writing and Brian Kong doing the art, this was partially made as part of the Ripken farewell celebration, and it becomes even more obvious when you realize that originally Ripken’s final series would have been at Yankee Stadium if not for the schedule reshuffling that MLB did after the 9/11 attacks.

Anyway, go below the jump to read about the story:

We begin with professors Monohan and Donohue looking at the sky from their telescopes on top of the Statue of Liberty. Yes, you read that right, the Statue of Liberty. When, suddenly, they see that a small asteroid is headed straight towards the Bronx!

YanksCal1Wait a second, that image looks a bit familiar… let’s go back to Cosmic Slam‘s first page:

Screen Shot 2013-11-19 at 1.00.51 PMHmmm… that’s awfully similar. Oh, sure, it’s a different setting and the characters are different, but much of the dialogue is the same. Hmmm…

Anyway, the next page has the scientists arriving at the site, at which point a monster emerges from the crater and a friendly little alien surprises them. Wait, hang on, that’s also from Cosmic Slam. Next thing you know, they’ll probably cut to MLB stars hanging out with little leaguers…

YanksCal3Oh, for pete’s sake. This is just a slightly different version of Cosmic Slam, isn’t it? Next there will be a funny scene where a helicopter interrupts so that a mission can be given, won’t there?

Yup. However, in one of the few differences from the original story, the helicopter doesn’t just have a general, but Cal Ripken too, who’s very presence can be recognized even when he is in a helicopter overhead:

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 3.23.02 PMSo, what is the Iron Man of Baseball doing on a Bronx sandlot? Why, to give the Yankees an important mission, of course! As we know from Shortstop Squad, Cal is a bigwig in the world of crime-fighting ballplayers, what he says, goes. Leading to this immortal panel that somebody really should have Cal Ripken himself read aloud. If the MLB Fancave, TBS, or anyone else with access to Cal Ripken reads this… HAVE HIM READ THIS MONOLOGUE ALOUD AND POST IT ON THE INTERNET:

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 2.58.37 PMThat is a lot to take in, but the best part is definitely when he says he’ll have more time to fight for justice once he retires. Really, this may be one of the great panels in the history of Bizarre Baseball Culture. Go back and read it again. Now again. Again. AGAIN!

Anywho, since Cal no-doubt knows full-well that going on a mission when you are days from retirement is a death-sentence, he tasks the Yankees to deal with this. Much like Cosmic Slam, the Yankees meet a alien defector and then are given super-suits. Super-suits that look like this:

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 3.33.59 PMNotice how even the dialogue is very similar to the Cosmic Slam book.

Actually, If you’ve read Cosmic Slam or my write-up on it, the rest of the story is almost entirely the same. Even including the dialogue in most places, much like in the above. Take, for example, this scene:

YanksCalsmalleronscreenWhich is basically the same as this scene:

CosmicSlamGiantTreeOh, sure, it’s a rock instead of a tree, and the characters are different, but… still… it’s basically Cosmic Slam.

Well, not entirely, I mean, Michael Kay and John Sterling show up:

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 3.47.05 PMAnd they do commentary during the fight, as well as again mentioning the whole Cal Ripken retirement thing:

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 3.49.22 PM

But, for the most part, it’s just like Cosmic Slam. Look at some of these, er… homages:

YanksCalsderekandmofightCosmicSlamHONKYanksCalsdodamageCosmicSlamnamedrop

But, of course, the ending is ultimately about Cal Ripken, because Cal Ripken:

YanksCalthankscal

And now, here’s something kind of funny about this story. You know how Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera have had these big farewell tours that put Cal Ripken’s tour to shame? Well, oddly enough, they seem to be the less-included Yankees in the story, taking the Jeff Bagwell and David Justice roles from Cosmic Slam. Most of the main action focuses on Tino Martinez and Jorge Posada, who take on the Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa roles. Can you imagine that? If this was written today, they’d be the stars and Tino and Jorge would be lucky if they got any lines!

Oh, and Cal Ripken did not have that much hair at the end of his career.

So, there you go: “Championship Challenge”, the Yankees version of Cosmic Slam which also has gratuitous Cal Ripken. There are worse things to be.

NEXT TIME IN BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE: Another Comic!

Previously on BIzarre Baseball Culture:

Prologue: “Rockets on the Mound” (short story)

1: Captain Marvel teaches baseball to Martians

2: Fantom of the Fair and exploding baseballs

3: Doll Man fights the Baseball Bandits

4: Tony Stark- Baseball Fan

5: The Other Guys

6: The Little Wise Guys and the Absent-Minded Natural

7. Pokémon: “The Double Trouble Header”

8. Dash Dartwell’s PED use for justice

9. The Shield and the Ballpark Murders

10. 2007′s Triple-A Baseball Heroes

11. 2008′s Triple-A Baseball Heroes

12. The Batman and Cal Ripken join forces

13. Sub-Zero and Blasted Bulbs

14. “Pinky at the Bat”

15. How To Play Baseball 

16. Action Comics #50

17. Superman Adventures #13

18. Billy the Marlin (guest-starring Spider-Man)

19. Brittle Innings by Michael Bishop

20. Shortstop Squad

21. Cosmic Slam

22. Thanksgiving Doubleheader (Dick Blaze and Franklin Richards)

23. Mariners Mojo

24. Ozzie Smith and Tony the Tiger

25. 25th Installment!

26. Stuart Taylor travels through time

27. Captain America in “Death Loads the Bases”

28. Captain America in “High Heat”

29. Spider-Man, Uncle Ben, and the Mets

30. Green Arrow and Elongated Man

31. Hideki Matsui’s Godzilla Cameo

32. Mr. Go

33. Captain Marvel, Tawky Tawny, and the Tigers

34. Cal Ripken Jr. Bio-Comic

35. Simpsons Comics #120 

36. Dick Cole

37. The 2001 NY Yankees (and Cal Ripken) in “Championship Challenge” (YOU ARE HERE)

Advertisements

18 thoughts on “Bizarre Baseball Culture: Cal Ripken orders the 2001 Yankees to Save The World

  1. Pingback: Bizarre Baseball Culture: Post-Schulz Peanuts go to Japan in “It’s Tokyo, Charlie Brown!” | The Baseball Continuum

  2. Pingback: Bizarre Baseball Culture: True Comics #78 has a Stan Musial Biography | The Baseball Continuum

  3. Pingback: Bizarre Baseball Culture: “CHALLENGE OF THE HEADLESS BASEBALL TEAM!” | The Baseball Continuum

  4. Pingback: BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE/CONTINUUCAST 4: “THE DAY BASEBALL DIED” | The Baseball Continuum

  5. Pingback: BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE- The Time That Bullseye had a 2-issue Baseball Miniseries | The Baseball Continuum

  6. Pingback: BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE: Marvel Adventures Spider-Man 34 brings steroid accusations, hallucinations, and a angry father | The Baseball Continuum

  7. Pingback: Bizarre Baseball Culture: Marvel’s Menagerie of Yankee Stadium appearances | The Baseball Continuum

  8. Pingback: Bizarre Baseball Culture: Popeye and “The Twisker Pitcher” | The Baseball Continuum

  9. Pingback: BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE: Bartolo, C.C., and the rest of the 2002 Indians rotation in INDIANS STRIKEFORCE VS. THE SCATMAN | The Baseball Continuum

  10. Pingback: Bizarre Baseball Culture: Fallout 4’s surprisingly-high level of Baseball | The Baseball Continuum

  11. Pingback: Bizarre Baseball Culture: Ultraman 80 vs. An Evil Baseball-Glove Monster | The Baseball Continuum

  12. Pingback: The 50th BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE: DC’s greatest heroes and villains… PLAY BASEBALL? (BLOGATHON ’16) | The Baseball Continuum

  13. Pingback: BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE: The Kool-Aid Man Cometh (W/bonus Kool-Aid Commercial) | The Baseball Continuum

  14. Pingback: Continuucast 10: BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE looks at “X Minus One: Martian Sam” | The Baseball Continuum

  15. Pingback: BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE: Take “The Human Target” Out To The Ballgame | The Baseball Continuum

  16. Pingback: BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE: The Power Rangers take on Babe Ruthless (with a special bonus!) | The Baseball Continuum

  17. Pingback: BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE: Power Rangers Zeo in the Outfield | The Baseball Continuum

  18. Pingback: BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE: Shift into the baseball episode of “Power Ranger Turbo” | The Baseball Continuum

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s