October 9 ~  Passion For Baseball Baseball's Iron Man

"The best thing you can do in the whole world is to play baseball. That's a lucky job... The passion for baseball is always going to be there." ~ Cal Ripken, Jr.

Cal Ripken, Jr.

With a passion for the game, Baltimore Orioles "Iron Man" Calvin Edward Ripken, Jr. (1960-) played in a record 2,632 consecutive games, breaking the record set by Lou Gehrig of 2,130 straight games in 1995.

Ripken played his final game in October 2001, but the All-American hero with his legacy of hard work, persistence, and humility will live on.

"I'm satisfied, content, and complete," he said of his retirement.

The popular 19-time All-Star was born in Havre de Grace, Maryland; his father was a coach and manager for the Orioles for over 37 years. The younger Ripken, Number 8, proved to be a shortstop who could hit. He retired as one of seven players with at least 3,000 hits and 400 career home runs, including the big-league record of 345 homers as a shortstop.

"One question I've been repeatedly asked these last few weeks is 'how do I want to be remembered?'" he reflected facing retirement. "My answer is simple: To be remembered at all is pretty special. I might also add, that if I am remembered, I hope it's because by living my dream I was able to make a difference."

The $38 million Cal Ripken Jr. Youth Baseball Academy was established in his hometown of Aberdeen, Maryland. The international complex featured a minor league stadium, youth fields, and dormitory to house 400 kids a week and teach "the fundamentals of playing the game of baseball the right way -- The Ripken Way."

"I always thought retirement was going to be sad, but it isn't," Ripken said. "I'm energized and excited about the unknown. I don't have it all worked out, but that's part of the fun."

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BaseballBe the best: work and play with passion.