I was camping at a campground in Washington state when Ripken broke Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games played streak. The campground had a little covered place with a TV, and I got to watch the game live. I watched through 5 when it was a real game. I got to see Ripken run around the field and shake hands which was one of the great baseball moments.
Would Ripken have been better off resting and not going for the record. I don’t know. Ripken was less effective after age 30, but so are a lot of players. It didn’t seem to affect his fielding. He liked to work on different swings, and he might have done more of that with more rest. So that was a good point of not having much rest. He started so well people expected him to stay at the level he played at in 1982 and 1983. I don’t know how much natural talent he had hitting, but he appears to have worked hard at it. Personally, I was glad he broke the record. It was something to see at the end and it was something to live through. I did see Ripken play live once. I don’t remember what he did.
Ripken is 8th all time in games played. I looked at the top 24 guys as Baseball Reference has pictures of them. Only 2 played pre World War II, Ty Cobb who if 5th and Eddie Collins who is 22nd.