Neyer: Earl Weaver always knew Cal Ripken was a shortstop

From SABR member Rob Neyer at The National Pastime Museum on March 30, 2017:

Here’s something that a lot of people probably don’t remember. Just as Mike Trout struggled as a 20-year-old rookie in 2011, Cal Ripken Jr. struggled as a 20-year-old rookie exactly 30 years earlier. Granted, we’re talking about only 40 plate appearances for Ripken (as opposed to 135 for Trout). But the future Hall of Famer (Ripken, that is) batted just .128 without a single extra-base hit in 1981.

Ripken, a highly touted prospect, had opened his professional career in 1978 as a shortstop. In 1979, he switched to third base. And in 1980 and ’81, he mostly played third base but also logged significant innings at shortstop.

In the minors, that is. Even before Ripken reached the Majors following the long player strike in the summer of 1981, Weaver was salivating over his power. When the O’s sent Ripken back to the minors in spring training that year, Weaver’s last words to him were reportedly, “See you soon.”

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Originally published: March 30, 2017. Last Updated: March 30, 2017.