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Braden: Top 5 Most Famous Athletes in Baseball. In this lesson, we’ll take a look at the top 5 most famous athletes in baseball, it’s going to be a bit of a biography but we’ll focus on the parts that are relevant to baseball.
Ann: You’ll learn about Joe DiMaggio first, then Cal Ripkin, then Jackie Robinson, then Hank Aaron.
Braden: We’ll keep our #1 a secret until the very end, just to spice things up.
Ann: Ok, so let’s get to it!
Braden: Right. Our number five most famous athlete in baseball is Joe DiMaggio.
Ann: Joe DiMaggio was a center fielder who played his entire career with only one team, the New York Yankees.
Braden: RHe was solid and dependable on the field and at bat. During his 13 years playing baseball, he hit a total of 361 home runs, 1534 RBIs, and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955.
Ann: His most well know feat is a series of 56 games in which he hit the ball in every single game. Considered that no one has ever done it since, you realize that this was pretty amazing.
Braden: Our number four most famous athlete in baseball is Cal Ripkin. Cal Ripkin is called the Iron Man of baseball.
Ann: His name appears in the record books repeatedly, most notably as one of only eight players in baseball history to achieve 400 home runs and 3,000 hits.
Braden: When Cal Ripkin was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007, he received the highest number of votes of any player ever.
Ann: Other in-game achievements include Ripken breaking Lou Gehrig's Major League record for consecutive games played at 2,130 in 1995, in 1996 he surpassed Japanese great Sachio Kinugasa's streak of 2,215 straight games. That’s a lot of games in a roll!
Braden: In 1998, he voluntarily ended his streak on September 20 after playing 2,632 consecutive games.
Ann: Wow! He received the American League Rookie of the year, the MVP award twice, two-time All-Star MVP award, and was voted by baseball fans into the MLB All-Century Team at shortstop.
Braden: Our number three most famous athlete in baseball is Jackie Robinson.
Ann: Jackie Robinson is famous and special for many reasons but one in particular - he was the first African-American to play Major League baseball since 1889.
Braden: Now, baseball had been segregated in 1889 which means African-American's played in their own leagues or separated from the white players.
Ann: His life and his achievements are iconic and inspiring. To complete the story, the President of the Brooklyn Dodgers wanted to break the segregation barrier.
Braden: He was also more than aware that the discrimination against any black baseball player would be tremendous.
Ann: He wanted a great player but almost more important he wanted a great person—someone who could handle the persecution and come off smiling.
Braden: That’s right, and in his search, he found Jackie Robinson. Not only was he a great person, but he was a great role model.
Ann: In his rookie year he hit 12 home runs. In 1949, he became the National League's MVP. In 1962, he was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Braden: As his coach and many predicted, Jackie Robinson was discriminated against his entire career but he never fought back.
Ann: Our number two most famous athlete in baseball is Hank Aaron. This one was a difficult choice.
Braden: That’s right. In baseball, Hank Aaron is much more famous than really anyone. His baseball cards usually sell for twice what other cards sell for.
Ann: However, for people unfamiliar with baseball, you may have heard the name, but you don't know much about him.
Braden: That’s right. Hank Aaron is one of the most decorated baseball players of all time and by many considered the greatest baseball player of all time.
Ann: Hank made the All-Star team 20 times, hit at least 24 home runs almost every year of his career, holds the record for most career runs batted in at 2,297, and got "on base" a grand total of 6,856, more than anyone...ever.
Braden: He is also the only player to hit 30 or more home runs in a season for 15 seasons. He was also the first to break Babe Ruth's home run record and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982.
Ann: Hank Aaron is so famous that the Major League Baseball Association created a "Hank Aaron Award" for the most effective hitter of the year.
Braden: Ok, so our number one most famous athlete in baseball is…
Ann: Babe Ruth!
Braden: That’s right. The Great Bambino.
Ann: The Sultan of Swat.
Braden: These are all nicknames for the great baseball player George Herman Ruth, Junior.
Ann: Babe Ruth is famous for setting several hitting records but most notably, the home run record. He started as a pitcher, then moved to a right fielder, only then did Babe Ruth show his full potential.
Braden: In 1927, Babe Ruth was the first player to hit 60 home runs in one season. This record held for 34 years. And his lifetime record for home runs of 714, which remained unbroken until 1974, when Hank Aaron broke it.
Ann: Babe Ruth is the most famous baseball player for a reason. His consistent home run hitting change baseball. Until then, baseball was mostly a strategy game of few points where being fast on your feet was the most important talent.
Braden: But when Babe Ruth was able to put up 5 points in a single game, on his own, walking, that called for a complete rethinking of game strategy.
Ann: It also attracted fans because Babe Ruth was fantastically charismatic and watching someone hit a baseball into the stands is pretty impressive.
Braden: It really is! And the change to "home runs" was so significant that baseball stadiums built after the time of Babe Ruth are smaller than they were in his time so there can be more home runs.
Ann: That seems like cheating.
Braden: It kinda does to me too, but they all seem okay with it, so I’ll just kinda let it go. Well, that just about does it for today.
Ann: Thanks for listening!
Braden: Have a great day!