Continuing a Heritage of Helping
In 2001, brothers Bill and Cal Ripken, Jr. Co-Founded the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation as a tribute to their father’s devotion to teaching life skills and lessons through sports.
On July 11, 1987 Bill began a 12-year major league career when he was called up by his hometown Baltimore Orioles. The day would make history as the team was managed by his father, Cal Ripken, Sr. and one of his teammates was shortstop and brother, Cal, Jr. It would mark the only time that a father managed two of his sons in the big leagues at the same time and would cement the Ripkens as one of the great baseball families in the game's rich history. Bill would go on to play with the Texas Rangers, Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers as well. Following his retirement from playing, Bill, along with his brother Cal, established Ripken Baseball and the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation and he was inducted into the Maryland Sports Hall of Fame.
Through Bill's work with the business and foundation he earned a reputation as one of the game's finest teachers. He also helped produce several Ripken Baseball instructional products with his brother including the bestselling book Play Baseball The Ripken Way and an instructional DVD series entitled Baseball The Ripken Way. In 2009, Bill served as First Base Coach for Team USA during the World Baseball Classic and he has been a manager in the annual Under Armour High School All-American Game at Wrigley Field for the past seven years.
Bill has been an integral part of the MLB Network since its beginning in 2009. He has won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Sports Personality – studio analyst, and has previously been nominated three times for this coveted national honor. His regular "Bill's Blackboard" studio segments on the network are regarded as must see TV for baseball fans everywhere.
Bill resides in Maryland with his wife, Candace, and their children, Miranda, Anna, Reese, and Jack.
Cal Ripken, Jr.
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 ten players in history to achieve 400 home runs and 3,000 hits. On July 29, 2007 he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Cal received the 4th highest percentage of votes in history, collecting the second highest vote total ever by the BBWAA.
In 1995, Ripken broke Lou Gehrig’s Major League record for consecutive games played (2,130) and in 1996 he surpassed Japanese great Sachio Kinugasa’s streak of 2,215 straight games and voluntarily ended his streak on September 20, 1998 after playing 2,632 consecutive games. Although he began and finished his career at third base, Cal is still best known for redefining the position of shortstop.
Ripken’s name has become synonymous with strength, character, perseverance and integrity. 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.
In this chapter of his life Ripken is using the platform that baseball has provided him to help grow the game he loves at the grassroots level. After his playing career ended he started this effort with the construction of a one-of-a-kind baseball complex in his hometown of Aberdeen, Maryland. The Aberdeen project consists of Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium and The Ripken Experience Aberdeen Powered by Under Armour youth baseball complex. Leidos Field Ripken Stadium is a minor league ballpark that is home to the Aberdeen IronBirds (www.IronBirdsBaseball.com) the Class A short-season affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. The Ripken Experience complex hosts ballplayers and teams from across the country for camps and tournaments during the spring, summer and fall. (www.RipkenBaseball.com)
Due to the success of the Aberdeen youth complex as a tournament destination and the desire to grow the game of baseball worldwide, Ripken opened The Ripken Experience complex in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and The Ripken Experience in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee with an eye on growth to other parts of the country.
In December 2015, Ripken was named Special Adviser to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred on youth programs and outreach. In this role, Ripken advises the Commissioner and MLB’s Youth Programs Department regarding strategies and initiatives designed to grow the sports of baseball and softball at the amateur and youth levels. A particular focus will be placed on ways to provide access to quality playing opportunities for children in underserved communities and getting kids more energized and engaged with baseball.
In the fall of 2007, Ripken was named as a Special Public Diplomacy Envoy to the U.S. State Department. In that role he traveled the globe and uses baseball as a tool to spread goodwill. In October of 2007, he traveled to China with former teammate B.J. Surhoff in this role and in November of 2008, he visited Nicaragua with former teammate and Nicaraguan native Dennis Martinez. In November of 2011, he and former teammate Brady Anderson visited Japan and spent time with the children impacted by the great earthquake and tsunami that devastated much of Japan in March of 2011.
Ripken’s most recent diplomacy trip came in March of 2018 when he visited Prague and surrounding areas in the Czech republic to advance the cause of baseball and help its meteoric rise in that country.
Ripken is also a best-selling author and a highly sought after public speaker. His books have all landed on various best seller lists including The Only Way I Know; Play Baseball The Ripken Way; Parenting Young Athletes The Ripken Way; The Longest Season and Get In The Game: 8 Elements of Perseverance That Make The Difference. In the spring of 2011, he launched a series of youth novels with a baseball theme through Disney Book Group. The sixth and final book in the series was released in 2016.
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 Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, using sports-themed programs to bring police officers, youth partners and underserved kids ages 9 to 14 together on a level playing field to learn invaluable life skills. In addition, the Ripken Foundation’s Youth Development Park Initiative creates clean, safe places for kids to play on multi-purpose, synthetic surface fields that promote healthy living in an outdoor recreational facility. In just six years, the Ripken Foundation has created 78 completed parks across the country in 22 states. In 2017, the Ripken Foundation impacted nearly 1.4 million kids nationwide through its Youth Development Park and mentor programs.
The many on-field accolades that Cal received during his illustrious playing career include: 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 addition, his 2,131st consecutive game was voted by fans as MLB’s “Most memorable Moment” in baseball history and Cal was named to the MLB All-Century Team at shortstop.