Cal Ripken Jr. rates as the best shortstop in baseball history according to our all-time rankings. He was a 19-time All-Star, two-time MVP, Rookie of the Year, and a world champion.
In a 21-year career, Ripken became the face of the Baltimore Orioles, but the faces next to him in the infield changed frequently. Thirty-four second basemen played to the left of Cal for the Orioles over the years. Some were steady, one was an All-Star and future Hall of Famer, but most of them were forgetable.
Here are all 34 players who appeared for at least one game at second base with Cal Ripken Jr.:
Billy Ripken: All In The Family
The man who played the most games with Ripken as a double play partner was blood relation: kid brother Billy Ripken.
Ripken was a good second baseman, had nice range and he wasn’t afraid to stay on the bag when turning the double play. But he couldn’t hit worth a lick. In his one season playing every day, Billy had 18 doubles and only two home runs. If there was one thing he could do with a bat it was bunt: he had as man as 19 sacrifice hits in a season and led the league in the category in 1990.
Roberto Alomar: Gold Glove Superstar
Robbie Alomar was still in his prime when he signed with the Orioles before the 1996 season. The glove wizard spent three years next to Cal Jr., winning two Gold Gloves and hitting .312 as an Oriole.
You had to see Ripken and Alomar play to appreciate how great they were in the field. By the time Alomar was in a Baltimore uniform, Ripken was in the latter stages of his career, and his range wasn’t what it used to be. But the duo were as good as any pair has ever been, albeit for a brief time.
John Lowenstein: Unlikely Double Play Partner
Earl Weaver loved John Lowenstein, but not for his glove. Lowenstein had a great weakness, but it came with a tremendous strength. He couldn’t hit lefties, but Lowenstein punished right-handed pichers. Weaver used him as par of a platoon with Gar Roenicke. In 1982, Lowenstein hit 24 homers in part-time play, and the next October he hit .385 with a home run in the Orioles victory in the World Series.
In 1983, Lowenstein played one inning at second base in a pinch, but not one ball was hit his way.
Rich Dauer: Solid but Forgettable
Dauer set a major-league record with 86 consecutive errorless games and 425 consecutive errorless chances. He was a solid, but unspectacular infielder who played about three seasons with Ripken, until his final game late in 1985. He was a contact hitter known for being tough to strike out.
“I was a tough out but I was also an easy out,” Dauer said. “I didn’t strike out a lot and I always put the ball in play. With a man on first, I remember Earl Weaver yelling at me many times during my ten-year career. He would say, ‘Why don’t you strike out one time instead of hitting into the double play?’ ”
Harold Reynolds: Baseball’s Biggest Ass Kisser
Reynolds led the league in double plays turned by a second baseman five times, but also led in errors committed by a second baseman four times. His great speed helped him display excellent range, and he won three Gold Glove awards for his play at second base.
But Reynolds has made his most indelible impression as a former player. He worked for years as an analyst for ESPN, where he never missed an opportunity to suck up to players. Reynolds was later terminated for alleged sexual harassment at ESPN, but he’s landed with MLB Network, where he continues to be the absolute worst baseball analyst the game has ever known.