TONIGHT: Only two games stand between Ripken and defensive history


Cal Ripken has two games remaining in a season of streaks that could produce a total of seven all-time defensive records.

With only three errors in 159 games, Ripken is on the verge of breaking two marks set last year by Toronto's Tony Fernandez. Fernandez committed only six errors for a .992 fielding percentage -- both of which represent major-league records for a shortstop.

Ripken currently is fielding .996 and, at his current pace (4.25 chances per game), has the luxury of being able to make two errors and still break both of Fernandez's records. During his last 211 games, Ripken has made only four errors. His total for the last two seasons combined is 11 and he has made only three throwing errors in his last 351 games.

Already this season Ripken has established records for consecutive games at one position (1,308); consecutive errorless chances overall and for one season (431); and consecutive errorless games overall and for one season (95). Offensively, Ripken also set an American League record for career home runs by a shortstop (214) and extended his own record of 20 or more home run seasons by a shortstop (nine).

In addition to his personal accomplishments this year, Ripken and his brother Bill are close to establishing a standard for shortstop-second base combinations. The two have combined for only 11 errors, which is the lowest for any double-play combination in history.

The closest pair to the Ripkens is the current St. Louis combo of Ozzie Smith and Jose Oquendo, who have made 15 errors. The previous low was 16 by Philadelphia's Larry Bowa and Manny Trillo in 1979 and Cincinnati's Dave Concepcion and Joe Morgan in 1977.

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