CAL RIPKEN, JR.
Cal Ripken is baseball’s all-time IronMan. 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 eight 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.
In 1999, Ruth League Inc. changed the name of its largest division (4-12 year-olds) from Bambino to Cal Ripken Baseball. Presently, over 700,000 youths play Cal Ripken Baseball worldwide.
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
Now Ripken is 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 are 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 FenwayPark.
Other amenities include batting cages and a synthetic training infield. Hundreds of teams and ballplayers from all over the country visit Aberdeen each year to participate in tournaments and camps. The academy is also the permanent home of the 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 collaborated on their book, Play Baseball The Ripken Way. The book, which was a national bestseller, serves as a comprehensive baseball instructional book for parents, coaches and kids and covers all aspects of the game, including how to run and effective practice and the Ripken philosophy of fun and good sportsmanship. Cal has written another book, Parenting Young Athletes the Ripken Way, that was published in the spring of 2006. He embarked on a 12-city tour to kick-off the book's release in April of 2006.
Ripken has always placed a strong focus on giving back to the community. In 2001 he and his family established the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, in memory of the family’s patriarch. The Foundation helps teach life lessons through baseball to disadvantaged youth from all over the country and gives them a life-changing experience. The foundation has refurbished fields throughout Maryland, donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Boys & Girls Clubs across the country and helped thousands of kids enjoy baseball experiences that they would otherwise never encounter. Additionally, the foundation has teamed up with NikeGo, the non-profit arm of Nike, to donate over $1Million of baseball and softball equipment to school systems across the country.
Among his many on-field 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. In 2001, Cal was honored when fans named his 2,131st consecutive game Major League Baseball’s “Most Memorable Moment” in history through a program run by MLB.
Ripken resides in Maryland with his wife, Kelly, and their children, Rachel and Ryan.