Xander Bogaerts is attempting to follow a trail blazed by Cal Ripken three decades ago. Many consider the 6-foot-3 Bogaerts too big to play shortstop in the big leagues, but they said the same thing about the 6-4 Ripken, and he went on to win two Gold Gloves and make 19 All-Star Games in a Hall of Fame career. No one would dream of declaring Bogaerts the next Ripken, but the Hall of Famer was on hand at Charlotte Sports Park yesterday to promote his new children’s novel, “Wild Pitch,” and he discussed the difficulties of playing a position typically manned by rangier athletes. “I don’t think, in the end, it’s about the body,” Ripken said. “It’s about the end result. If you’re playing your position and you’re making all the plays, that’s the evaluation. It’s not how you look making them. Many of the small guys that have shorter legs and better quickness could appear to be covering more ground and making those plays, but, in the end, if you position yourself correctly and you make those plays in a different style, if you make the plays, that’s what matters.” Ripken eventually shifted to third base, but not until the end of his career. “If someone is moving (positions), you have to look at the whole picture,” he said. “You’re not evaluating subjectively how a guy moves or how he makes a play. Is he covering the ground? Is he making the double plays? Is he making all the plays a shortstop has to make? That’s how I would judge it.
Cal Ripken sizes up Xander Bogaerts
Boston Herald | Mar 11