Cal Ripken is baseball’s all-time Iron Man. He retired from baseball in October, 2001 after 21 seasons with the Baltimore Orioles. His name appears in the record books repeatedly, most notably as one of only seven players in history to achieve 400 home runs and 3,000 hits. In 1995, Ripken broke Lou Gehrig’s record for consecutive games played (2,130) and voluntarily ended his streak in 1998 after playing 2,632 consecutive games. Although he finished his career at third base, this future Hall of Famer is still best known for redefining the position of shortstop.
Ripken’s name has become synonymous with strength, character, endurance and integrity. His philosophy of working hard, playing with passion and enjoying the game has made a tremendous impact on the sport and on fans everywhere. In 1999, Babe Ruth League Inc. changed the name of its largest division (5-12 year-olds) from Bambino to Cal Ripken Baseball. Presently over 700,000 youths play Cal Ripken Baseball worldwide.
Now Ripken I using the platform that baseball has provided him to help grow the game he loves at the grassroots level. This next phase of his life includes the construction of a one-of-a-kind baseball complex in his hometown of Aberdeen, MD. The Aberdeen Project currently consists of Ripken Stadium, a state-of-the-art 6,000-seat minor league ballpark that is home to the hugely successful Class A Aberdeen IronBirds. Adjacent to the minor league ballpark is the Ripken Youth Baseball Academy that consists of several youth-sized fields that will be modeled after famous big league ballparks Camden Yards, which is called Cal, Sr.’s Yard and is owned and operated by the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, Memorial Stadium, Wrigley Field and Fenway Park. As construction continues, a warehouse building will be constructed between Cal, Sr.’s Yard and Ripken Stadium.
Throughout the summer, thousands of kids visit Aberdeen for camps, clinics and tournaments that stress fun and playing ball “The Ripken Way”. The site is also the home of the international Cal Ripken World Series played each August. It includes 15 teams of 11 and 12 year olds from all over the world and crowns the champion of the Cal Ripken Division of Babe Ruth League, Inc.
In April, 2004 Cal and Bill Ripken will team up with Random House to release a book called Learning Baseball The Ripken Way. The book will serve as a comprehensive baseball instructional book for parents, coaches and kids and will cover all aspects of the game, including how to run and effective practice and the Ripken philosophy of fun and good sportsmanship.
Ripken has always placed a strong focus on giving back to the community. Most recently he has joined with his family to honor his father by founding of the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation. The Foundation helps teach life lessons through baseball to disadvantaged youth from all over the country and gives them a life-changing experience. In the past, The Kelly and Cal Ripken Jr. Foundation aided local literacy, youth recreational and health-related programs. The Baltimore Reads Ripken Learning Center to promote adult and family literacy and The Kelly G. Ripken Program at Johns Hopkins Hospital to assist with thyroid education and patient care are among the programs supported by the Foundation. In honor of his record-breaking feat in 1995, The Cal Ripken Jr./Lou Gehrig ALS Research Fund was established to help find a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”.
Among his many accolades are: AL Rookie of the Year (’82), two time AL Most Valuable Player (’83, ’91), two time Gold Glove recipient (’91, ’92), two time All-Star MVP (’91, ’01), a world record 2,632 consecutive games and 19 All-Star Game selections. Most recently, Cal was honored for his 2131 consecutive games streak through Major League Baseball’s “Most Memorable Moments” program, presented by MasterCard. Ripken’s moment was chosen by fans throughout the globe as baseball’s all-time most memorable moment, reaffirming the impact he has made on the game.
Ripken resides in Maryland with his wife, Kelly, and their children, Rachel and Ryan.