Baseball's Iron Man is 51 today

Need another excuse to feel old? Cal Ripken Jr. is celebrating his 51st birthday today.

I could have sworn he just caught that line drive for the final out of the 1983 World Series, waving his glove over his head and jogging to the mound to join the celebratory scrum.

Now he's 51.

Didn't he just acknowledge the crowd's MVP chants during the final game at Memorial Stadium?

Didn't he just run that lap around Camden Yards on 2,131 - the event that everyone knows simply by the number?

Now he's 51.

Didn't he just homer in his last All-Star Game?

Wasn't he just standing on the on-deck circle with two outs in the ninth inning of his final game while Brady Anderson swung through that high fastball with the count full?

Now he's 51.

Thanks for the memories, Cal. Thanks for consenting to all those tedious interviews with me, and for being my daughter's favorite player - and especially for signing that baseball for her during your final weeks before your retirement, without me even asking. It still ranks as one of her all-time favorite Christmas presents and she still has it proudly displayed in her bedroom.

I'll forgive you for making me feel old today. Not that I needed another excuse.

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