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:

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The last time the Twins won a series in the Bronx…

The Twins beat the Yankees today, winning their first series in the Bronx since they won this May 10, 2001 game. How long ago was that?

  • It was 4448 days, or 12 years, 2 months and 4 days, ago.
  • Tom Kelly was still the manager of the Twins, who were under threat of contraction at the time.
  • The Twin Towers were still standing, Ted Williams and George Harrison were still alive, Barack Obama was a Illinois State Senator, and the first Apple Stores had not yet opened (they opened later that month).
  • The curses of the Bambino, the Black Sox, Billy Penn and Coogan’s Bluff all were still active.
  • Joe Mauer had not yet been drafted and some thought he’d instead pursue a college football career.
  • Cal Ripken, Mark McGwire and Tony Gwynn were still active MLB players.
  • Heck, Deion Sanders was an active MLB player at the time.
  • The top movie that week was The Mummy Returns.
  • “All For You” by Janet Jackson and “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child were the hit songs at the time.
  • Bryce Harper was eight-and-a-half years old.
  • Star Trek: Voyager was still on the air, 24 had not yet begun to air.
  • There had not yet been a Spider-Man movie released. Nor had there been any Harry Potter movies released.
  • Gas was under $2 a gallon.
  • Of the players in that game, only Mariano Rivera, Torii Hunter, AJ Pierzynski, LaTroy Hawkins, Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte are still active. That is actually a higher number than I expected.
  • All-Star Games did not give home-field advantage in the World Series.
  • The best-selling nonfiction book in America was Seabiscuit. The book, that is, not the movie. The movie wouldn’t be made for another two years.
  • The Nintendo 64 and the first Playstation were the most up-to-date video game systems.
  • Michael Jordan had not yet had his comeback with the Washington Wizards.
  • However, some thing have not changed: Vin Scully is still in the booth for the Dodgers, The Simpsons is still on the air, Bud Selig is still commissioner, nobody has approached Cy Young‘s win record, and, of course, the Cubs still haven’t won a World Series since 1908.

Picture of the Day: President Bush at the World Series

In the days leading up to the Presidential Inauguration, the Baseball Continuum will be posting pictures celebrating the relation between the presidency and baseball. These are not meant to be an endorsement of either side of the political aisle nor the policies of any of the men featured within, merely a celebration of the close connection between America’s leader and America’s game.

Before Game 3 of the 2001 World Series, the first game of the World Series in a New York still clearing wreckage from Ground Zero, George W. Bush took the mound to throw out the first pitch.

This image is from the U.S. National Archives’ Flickr feed and has no known copyright restrictions.