All achievers

Cal Ripken Jr.

Baseball Hall of Fame

There’s a value that everybody understands in their own life: the importance of showing up and committing to something.

Calvin Edwin Ripken Jr. was born in Havre de Grace, Maryland, and grew up nearby in Aberdeen. His father, Cal Ripken Sr., had set out to become a professional baseball player; when his playing career was cut short by injuries, he became a coach and manager in the Baltimore Orioles organization. Cal Jr. grew up around the game; his father taught him the fundamentals, and by his teens, was working out with minor league players in the Orioles system. Ripken was an outstanding player on his high school team, the Aberdeen Eagles, pitching the winning game in the state championship. His pitching skills alone attracted interest from colleges around the country as well as professional teams.

Young Cal Ripken, Jr. “born with a bat and ball in his hands,” in Aberdeen, Maryland.; 7-year-old Cal Ripken, Jr.

On graduating from high school in 1978, Ripken was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the second round of the year’s Major League Baseball draft. For the next three years, he worked his way up through the Orioles farm system, from the Bluefield Orioles in the Appalachian League to the Single-A Miami Orioles in the Florida State League to the Charlotte Orioles in the Double-A Southern League. While playing in the minors, he matured into a prodigious hitter. In his last season with Charlotte, he set the team record for home runs in a single season. His team won the Southern League championship and Ripken was named to the league’s All-Star team.

1970: 10-year-old Cal Ripken, Jr., second from right, middle row, with the Aberdeen Indians.; Ripken in 7th grade.

In 1981, Ripken trained with the Baltimore Orioles but was assigned to the Rochester Red Wings of the Triple-A International League at the start of the season. As the Red Wings’ third baseman, he played the longest game in the history of professional baseball. This epic contest between the Red Wings and the Pawtucket Red Sox on April 18, 1991, and lasted into the early hours of the next day. Still tied after 32 innings, the two teams met again on April 23 to play 33rd and final inning.  After eight hours and 25 minutes of total playing times, Pawtucket prevailed, but Ripken had made an impression and was named the International League’s Rookie of the Year.

16-year-old Cal Ripken, Jr., before he was drafted, with Cal Ripken, Sr. at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore.; Ripken pitching for Aberdeen High School in Maryland, in 1978, where he played both varsity baseball and varsity soccer.

Midway through the 1981 season, Ripken was called to join the Orioles in Baltimore.  He played his first major league game on August 10, as a pinch runner, scoring the winning run in a game against the Kansas City Royals. Early in his minor league career, he had moved from shortstop to third base; at Baltimore, the process was reversed. He began the 1982 season on third but was moved to shortstop by manager Earl Weaver.  At the time it was an unusual choice on Weaver’s part. Most shortstops in the major leagues were smaller players, chosen for speed and agility. At six feet, four inches tall, Ripken was as large a man as most spectators had seen play the position, but he so distinguished himself that other teams followed the Orioles’ example, and tall shortstops are no longer uncommon.

In 1981, Ripken was added to the Orioles’ 40-man roster but sent to the Rochester Red Wings of the Triple-A International League to start the season. That year, he was named the International League Rookie of the Year.

In 1982, Ripken won the American League’s Rookie of the Year award. By the following year, he was leading the league and setting records as a defensive player and as a hitter. In the 1982 season, he also took the first step to a more momentous record; although he sat out the second game of a double-header that season, he would not miss another game for the next 13 years.

In 1983, Cal Ripken was named the American League’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) — the first time in major league history that a player had won Rookie of the Year and MVP in consecutive seasons. The Orioles made it to the World Series, with Ripken making the final out against the Philadelphia Phillies to win the fifth game of the series and give the championship to Baltimore. The following season, Ripken signed a long-term contract with the Orioles, set his league’s season record for assists (583), and steadily improved his hitting average.  In 1985, Ripken sprained his ankle in the second game of the season, but finished the game and was back on the field for the very next game, two days later. The baseball world was on notice: injury or no injury, Cal Ripken was going to show up.

1987: Baltimore Orioles’ manager Cal Ripken, Sr. (7) with sons (L-R) Billy Ripken (5) and Cal Ripken, Jr. (8) during spring training at Miami Stadium in Florida. (Photo by Ronald C. Modra and Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)

Ripken finished the 1985 season leading the league in double plays and putouts. The Orioles finished last in 1986, but Ripken enjoyed a 17-game hitting streak and surpassed his friend and teammate Eddie Murray with a season total of 25 home runs. The 1987 season was a Ripken family reunion of sorts, with Cal Ripken Sr. managing the team and Cal Jr.’s brother Billy taking the field alongside him. When Cal Sr. took a flagging Cal Jr. off the field in mid-game, it ended his record-setting streak of 8,243 consecutive innings played. That record still stands, and the mid-game break did not interrupt the young ballplayer’s steadily growing record of consecutive games played.

1987: Baltimore Orioles’ shortstop Cal Ripken, Jr., hurdles Cleveland Indians’ Andy Allanson as he throws to first to complete a double play on a ball hit by Indians’ Brett Butler in the second inning of the game in Baltimore. (Getty)

Cal Ripken Sr. left his coaching position at the Orioles the following season, although brothers Cal Jr. and Billy continued to play together, setting a joint hitting record as the greatest “brother act” in the history of the American League. Cal Ripken’s performance was a highlight of the 1988 All-Star game as well. Although he experimented with a variety of batting stances over the years to overcome occasional slumps in his performance at home plate, his fielding was consistently impressive. In 1989, he played 47 consecutive games without an error. In 1990, he moved into second place in the ranking of most consecutive games played, a record set by the venerated Lou Gehrig in 1939.

Ripken’s batting continued to improve and his all-around mastery of the game made his 1991 season exceptional. He won the year’s Home Run Derby, was the American League’s MVP for the second time, led the American League to victory in the All-Star game, won the All-Star Game MVP Award, and received his first Gold Glove Award as the leading shortstop in the American League. In 1992 Ripken signed a five-year, $30.5 million contract with the Orioles — the largest contract in baseball history up to that time — and won a second Gold Glove award.

1980s: Baltimore Orioles’ Cal Ripken, Jr. and Eddie Murray at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland. (© Getty)

In 1993, the Orioles moved from their old home at Memorial Stadium to the new Oriole Park at Camden Yards, in downtown Baltimore, blocks from the city’s Inner Harbor. Ripken scored his 2,000th hit that season, and proved his resilience once again, returning to the field the day after injuring his knee in a scuffle with the opposing team. After a brief slump, his hitting improved dramatically after the 1993 All-Star game, and was even better in the 1994 season, when he broke the record for most career home runs as a shortstop and played his 2,000th game.

September 6, 1996: Baltimore Orioles’ Cal Ripken, Jr. #8 steps on the field at Oriole Park at Camden Yards before breaking Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games record. (Photo: Chuck Solomon and Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)

In 1995, fans counted the games as Ripken approached Lou Gehrig’s seemingly unbreakable record of 2,130 consecutive games played. On September 6, 1995, President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore joined a packed stadium of Oriole fans to witness the record-breaking event. Major League Baseball games are officially counted for the record after the first half of the fifth inning. When the moment came, a giant banner on the wall of the B&O Railroad warehouse overlooking Camden Yards switched from 2,130 to 2,131, marking Ripken’s achievement.  He acknowledged the fans with a gracious speech and the entire stadium of 50,000 people gave Ripken a 22-minute standing ovation as he took a long lap around the field, slapping hands with fans and players alike.

September 6, 1995: Cal Ripken, Jr. in front of the dugout waving to fans after he surpassed Lou Gehrig as baseball’s greatest Iron Man by playing in a record-breaking 2,131st consecutive game. (© Walter Iooss Jr. / Sports Illustrated)

Because Lou Gehrig’s life and career were cut short by the neuromuscular disease ALS, the Orioles and private donors marked the occasion by initiating the Cal Ripken/Lou Gehrig Fund for Neuromuscular Research at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University. The following year, Ripken broke an international record as well. Gehrig’s record had been for consecutive games played in American baseball, but Sachio Kinugasa had played 2,215 consecutive games in the Japanese leagues. Ripken played his 2,216th game on June 14, 1996, breaking the world record with previous record-holder Kinugasa in attendance.

September 6, 1995: Baltimore Orioles’ Cal Ripken, Jr. circles the ballpark celebrating with fans after breaking Lou Gehrig’s record for most consecutive games played. (Photo: Walter Iooss Jr. and Sports Illustrated, Getty Images)

In the 1996 season, Ripken played half a dozen games at third base, and in the next season, Ripken moved permanently from shortstop to third base. Although he was now suffering from painful nerve damage, he continued to rack up consecutive games and was still hitting impressively. He ended his historic streak of consecutive games at 2,632, having exceeded Gehrig’s record by 502.

September 6, 1995: When the game became official after 4½ innings, the 2,131 banner was unfurled from the warehouse in right field. The Orioles relievers sprinted in from the bullpen to congratulate him. Ripken emerged from the dugout, patted his heart, hugged his wife and children, and waved to his father. (Walter Iooss Jr./Getty)

Ripken was injured early in the 1999 season and endured the loss of his father at age 63. A second injury forced him off the field at the end of the season, but despite these setbacks, Ripken enjoyed the highest batting average of his career: .340. In April 2000, he scored three hits in a game against the Minnesota Twins, the third being his 3,000th hit in the major leagues. A back injury kept him off the field that summer, and although fans selected him for the league’s All-Star team, his injury forced him to miss an All-Star game for the first time since his first season with the Orioles. The following June, he announced the 2001 season would be his last.

December 18, 1995: Sports Illustrated cover featuring Cal Ripken, Jr. “Sportsman of the Year.”(Photo: Getty Images)

He returned to the All-Star game in 2001, playing shortstop once again and setting the record for most All-Star game appearances by a shortstop. In his first turn at bat, he received a standing ovation and hit a home run on the first pitch. For the second time, he was named MVP for the All-Star game. The terror attacks of September 11, 2001 caused a number of baseball games to be postponed, but the schedule change allowed Ripken to play his last game at Baltimore’s Camden Yards. His 20 seasons in Major League Baseball, all played with the Baltimore Orioles, were now at an end.

1998: The Only Way I Know by Cal Ripken Jr. and Mike Bryan. In this memoir, Ripken tells the story of his journey to the major leagues: of his early childhood and life with a baseball manager for a father; his stint in the minors, working his way up from the Rookie Leagues to Triple-A; and to the permanent call from the Baltimore Orioles.

Over the course of his career, he scored 3,184 hits, 431 home runs, and 1,695 runs batted in. Although he played third base for his last seasons, Ripken’s reputation as one of the greatest shortstops in the history of the game was already secure. He holds the record for most home runs hit as a shortstop (345) and was selected as the starting shortstop for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007, his first year of eligibility.

1997: Cal Ripken, Jr. receiving the Golden Plate Award presented by Host Co-Chairmen bestselling author Tom Clancy and Baltimore Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos during the Academy’s International Achievement Summit.

Today, Cal Ripken Jr. is the President and CEO of Ripken Baseball, Inc., an organization whose ventures include ownership of baseball camps and minor league teams, including the Aberdeen Iron Birds, as well as the design and construction of ballparks. Along with Andre Agassi, Muhammad Ali, and others, Ripken was a founder of Athletes for Hope. His other charitable activities include the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, founded with his brother Billy, to honor their father’s memory by enabling children from underserved communities to attend baseball camps and learn the game that has meant so much to the Ripken family. He has traveled to China for the State Department as an ambassador of American sport and appears regularly on television as a baseball analyst for TBS Sports.

2019: Just Show Up: And Other Enduring Values from Baseball’s Iron Man by Cal Ripken Jr. and James Dale. Ripken outlines eight rules for the game of baseball and life, drawn from the lessons he has learned on and off the field.

He has written a sports advice column for the Baltimore Sun; in addition to his autobiography, The Only Way I Know, he has written a slew of other books including Play Baseball the Ripken Way (co-authored with his brother Billy) and Parenting Young Athletes the Ripken Way. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the electronic game publisher ZeniMax Media, parent company of Bethesda Softworks.  ZeniMax was acquired by Microsoft in 2020 for an estimated $7.5 billion.

Cal Ripken’s son by his first marriage, Ryan Calvin Ripken, is a professional baseball player in the Baltimore Orioles organization. Cal Ripken Jr.’s wife, Laura Ripken, is a circuit court judge in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. They live in the state’s capital city, Annapolis.

Inducted Badge
Inducted in 1997

On September 6, 1995, the crowd packed Baltimore’s Oriole Park at Camden Yards to see baseball history in the making.  When the legendary Lou Gehrig retired in 1939, he had played 2,130 consecutive games.  His record had stood for 56 years, and for most of those years, fans and commentators believed it would never be broken. But Cal Ripken, Jr. arrived that September day having matched Gehrig’s record, persevering season after season through grueling schedules and repeated injuries. When the day’s game reached its record-breaking mid-point, the assembled fans cheered Ripken for 22 minutes as he circled the field, accepting the congratulations of his ecstatic fans.  The celebration of Ripken’s achievement remains one of the most memorable moments in sports history.

Cal Ripken’s career is remarkable in other ways too.  In 20 seasons he played for only one team, the Baltimore Orioles.  He played in 19 All-Star games, was twice named Most Valuable Player in the American League and in the All-Star Game, twice received a Gold Glove as best shortstop in the American League, and holds the records for most hits by a player as shortstop.

Most of all, he earned the respect and admiration of men and women in all walks of life for the persistence and resilience that earned him the nickname “the Iron Man of Baseball.” Now retired from the field, he is devoted to bringing the excitement and inspiration of baseball to young people in all communities.

Watch full interview

When did you first know or imagine that you wanted to play baseball professionally?

Keys to success — Passion

Cal Ripken Jr.: Since I was a small kid, I wanted to be a baseball player in the worst way. My dad was a manager in the minor leagues, which many times I could go to work with him, put a uniform on at ten years old, shag in the outfield, and watch these minor leaguers try to become big league players.  And I thought the coolest job, at that time, was what they were doing, was playing in the minor leagues. And then I was lucky enough to have talent and get drafted in the minor leagues.

So now I’m going through the minor leagues, which I’m pretty familiar with, and once I got to the big leagues, the minor leagues don’t – didn’t at the time, prepare you for all the other stuff that went with it.  Meaning, you get into a big stadium for the first time and you walk out on the field, and you’re looking up, it feels like you’re on a stage, and you’re giving a performance. As opposed to before, you were at a smaller field, less people in the stands, and you were still playing a game. All of a sudden, now, it feels pretty magical.

Cal Ripken, Jr. earned a varsity spot on the Aberdeen Eagles baseball team his freshman year at Aberdeen High School where Ripken studied and played baseball and soccer. The team won the state championship in 1978.

Do you think your father taught you something more than the fundamentals of the game?

Keys to success — Vision

Cal Ripken Jr.: So the question is: Can you really teach awareness? Because sometimes – You can teach all kinds of things, how to throw a baseball, how to catch a baseball, how to hit a baseball, how to hold it, all that, but some of the other things, can you really teach someone to be aware in the moment? Like where multiple things are happening, you know? On the baseball field I felt that I had that sort of awareness, I could sit back on a play, there was a play developing where a guy was going to get thrown out at third. I could sit in the cut-off spot and I could move back a little bit, and then I could start to take in some data.

I could see the ball coming in at a certain time, the runners coming in at a certain speed, looks like a race is developing between these two. I could see if the ball is fading or it has good pace on it. Is it accurate? Is it going to bounce good to the third baseman? Should I let it go or should I not? And then I could see the runner come in that hit the ball and I could see them running past first base, and I could see, okay, he’s out if I cut the ball off.  And so there’s a lot of people that can’t take all that in at that same time. So, I kept thinking, how do you teach awareness? How do you teach, you know – And I think it’s such a good thing to be aware in this space.

What’s that like when you’re at bat, waiting for the pitch?

Keys to success — Vision

Cal Ripken Jr.: When you’re in the zone, and I can tell you, it seems like things happen in slow motion. You know, if somebody is throwing the ball, and you’re hitting the ball really well, you might have 50,000 people in the stands going nuts. You might be a great big moment in the game and we talked about pressure a little bit, and all of a sudden, you’re trying to deal with that pressure. And all of a sudden you get into this spot, and then all of a sudden everything goes quiet, and the pitcher gets ready to throw the ball, and the ball comes out of his hand, and it seems like it’s tumbling towards you. And then you’re looking at it and you might think, “Okay, I think he’s going to throw a breaking ball here,” and then you, “No, that’s a fastball.”  And then I think I’ll swing and then you — pow! — and the ball comes off your bat and goes wherever really hard, and then as you start to run to first base, the crowd comes back, and the speed comes back in the game, or whatever else, and you get on second base, and you go, “How did I do that?”

1987: Baltimore Orioles manager Cal Ripken, Sr. and Cal Ripken, Jr. during spring training at Miami Stadium in FL.

Is it luck?

Keys to success — Preparation

Cal Ripken Jr.: It’s not luck to hit a home run. It’s not luck to hit and it’s not luck to be successful. There’s some lucky aspects to it. If I hit a ball right here on my fist and it breaks my bat, and it jams over the shortstop’s head and lands in, you can call that a lucky hit, or if I swing and smother the ball, and it turns out to be a perfect bunt down the third base line and you get an infield hit, you can say that was a lucky hit. But there’s nothing lucky about standing in the box and trying to hit someone that’s throwing 95 miles an hour and trying to mix the pitches in.

Eddie Murray was a mentor of yours and a great player. What advice did he give you?

Cal Ripken Jr.: You know what? Eddie was probably the best leader by example and not so much by words. You know, sometimes if he said something, you know, then you had to stand up and listen to it, but for the most part, he taught me the importance of being there every single day.  I got credit for the streak that I played in all these games in a row for 17 years. But Eddie averaged…

Keys to success — Integrity

Eddie averaged… he was an “every day player,” and the definition of an every day player – at that time – was every single day. And if you were a player like Eddie Murray, who hit fourth in your lineup, switch-hitter, clutch guy, power guy, the lineup felt right when he’s in the lineup. It didn’t feel right if he wasn’t in the lineup. So, he understood his presence on the team, he understood his value, and even though he was a little banged up, a little hurt maybe, got hit with a pitch, or slid into a base wrong, he always saw the importance of his presence being in the lineup, and he would make that known to me. He said, “You need to play. They’re all counting on you. We’re all counting on you.” And so following his example really started that thing called “the Streak.”

1980s: Orioles’ shortstop Cal Ripken, Jr. jumping through the air on a double play against the Milwaukee Brewers.

You had a herniated disc. You had a hyper-extended elbow, sprains in your ankle, your hand and your wrist, bruises from being hit by the ball, even a broken nose, and you kept on playing. That was a lot of physical pain that you had to play through, wasn’t it?

Keys to success — Perseverance

Cal Ripken Jr.: A person that plays baseball and plays 140 games or 145 games has the same sort of aches and pains and goes through that someone that plays 162. So I would say, you only feel 100 percent in the first day of spring training. Then every sort of day after that, because you do it on a daily basis, you come down to some level. Now, some players can play at 80 percent or 85 percent and play really well. Some people don’t feel like they can. I was of the mentality that I could play even though I was hurt. And if you push yourself through some of those moments, you find out that you can, and when you do perform really well, when you feel like you’re not 100 percent, that gives you confidence each and every time to come back and answer the call.

Lou Gehrig’s record of 2,130 consecutive games played went unchallenged for 56 years, but in the 1995 season it was clear that you were poised to pass it.  What was that like?

Keys to success — Integrity

Cal Ripken Jr.: Well, I have a controlling kind of personality, and so early on I wanted to kind of control things so I could deal with them, right? Anywhere if the media was getting out of control, in a sense, I had to bring some control to that. So during the early part of that year, when I went into a series, we developed a routine where we talked to the media for the first day, and it would buy me an opening for the next two days where I could keep things sort of normal.

But as the season went on there was this finish line that started to develop. Now, I never played to a finish line, I always played today, to play the game, and played as hard as I could, and didn’t worry about being injured, and all that, and then got up the next day and did the same thing. But then all of a sudden, during that timeframe, there was a finish line of celebration that was being planned, and I didn’t like that. I didn’t want to think about that. I wanted to stay in the mindset that we have a challenge today, we have a team challenge, and I’m going to try to meet that challenge of the day and be there for my teammates. That’s the simple approach that I used.

But there is pressure that started to develop, expectation to get to a finish line to break Lou Gehrig’s record. And I tried to absorb that. There was some people that said, well, you should just play to the tying game and then take the next game, and then give tribute to Lou Gehrig, and I thought that would be the most alien thing to do because I didn’t do it because I tried to break Lou Gehrig’s record. I play because I think that’s the job, you should come to the ballpark ready to play, and I think that was an honorable position to have. That you’re an every day player and you’re trying to help your team win. So, the emotions started to build and I didn’t know how to deal with all these things except try to ignore it.

September 6, 1995: Cal Ripken, Jr. takes a lap after the fifth inning of his 2,131st consecutive game played. (Getty)

It was one of the greatest moments in sports history when you played your 2131st game and broke that record. There was a 22-minute standing ovation. What do you remember about that day?

Cal Ripken Jr.: So the game became official halfway through the game, which was alien to me, because that game is not over, so I’m thinking, okay, how can we stop the game because – you know – we’re still playing. So, when the game becomes official, at the end of the fifth, if you’re up, it’s four and a half, if you’re the home team, if you’re up in the score that becomes an official game, or if you’re losing you go to through five complete – games. At that time, we were winning, so after four and a half, I come off the field, we’re hitting the bottom of the fifth.

And the record is acknowledged. The banner on the warehouse goes down, everybody claps and cheers. I recognize everybody, you know, thank you very much, thank you very much. It’s the biggest curtain call you’ll ever get. You know, you might do something good and hit a homerun and be called out of the dugout for the fans to cheer for you a second time, but I kept getting called out of the dugout, and the ovation stood for 22 minutes.

That’s a long, long time to say, “Thank you, thank you.” And in my mind, “Thank you, please, let’s just get the game back on, and then I’ll celebrate as long as you want after the game is over.” That was sort of how I was viewing this and everybody was kind of reacting to it, and it wasn’t until Bobby Bo (Bonilla) and Rafael Palmeiro, that were talking about it, you need to take a lap around this field or we’ll never get this game started. And I go, “That’s ridiculous, I’m not doing that.”

And then finally Bobby Bo, in his big old boisterous voice and his physicality, they decided to push me down the line to get me started, and then I did it as an obligation at first, I said, “Maybe they’re right.” And I started shaking hands and then the magic really started to happen, because the celebration that happened in a big 50,000 feeling, sort of sense, and you were down here, all of a sudden was more personal. So I recognized people’s faces, I recognized people’s names as I went through, a lot of people had been there for years, I had been there for years.

“Iron Man” Cal Ripken, Jr. retired after the 2001 season with 3,184 hits, 603 doubles, 431 home runs, 1,995 RBI and 19 All-Star Game selections. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007. (Jonathan Newton, WashPost)

You shook hands one-on-one all around the edge of the field.

Cal Ripken Jr.: You realized there was all these signs, there was one in the right field fence where somebody tried to reach down from where they are and they fell over, and I thought they fell all the way to the bottom, which would have been a good eight to ten feet, and it just so happened that it wasn’t, the ground behind the fence was much higher, and so they popped up again, and scared me, and I started laughing, and we went around the ballpark.

And then to have an opportunity to stop, embrace all the other team, you know, every one of the California Angels stood in line, and I talked to every one of them, had a chance to celebrate with my little family, they were young. Ryan was a little over two and Rachel wasn’t quite six. And so they were taking it all in and he had a chance to celebrate that. And then I thought one of the super special moments was my dad was up in the skybox, I had a skybox there, and we put him in the skybox, and I caught his eye, you know, during this 22 minutes.

And from an old school standpoint, my dad wasn’t someone who said, “I love you” and all that kind of stuff, but you could see that he did, in his actions you could tell. But he wasn’t that lovey-dovey sort of a dad, and that was sort of his time, but in that moment, looking back and forth, there was a thousand of those type words that were flying back and forth. So that was a really special moment. It feels like it took about ten minutes, but it was probably like ten seconds, but that was a really cool moment. So there were tons of those moments.

I always think when people talk about some of the great things that happen to you in your career on the field. What were the most meaningful ones? And the first and foremost was I caught the last out of the World Series as a 23 year old guy, we won the World Series, that’s part of your dream to be a big league player is to win the World Series, and we did. And so it was the greatest feeling of fulfillment, joy, you know that finality that you did it. And so that feeling is, is unparalleled, that stands all by itself.

What is the magic of baseball to you?

Cal Ripken Jr.: Baseball to me – you can be of any size and shape to play the game. It’s really interesting, you look at the history of players, you have MVPs that are (José) Altuve, and Dustin Pedroia, or small guys but swing a good bat, good high ball hitters. They can have a big influence on the team. Any size, any shape. Other sports, you know, it’s good to be tall if you’re playing basketball, you know, it’s good to be super quick. In football it’s good to be big and strong, or the fastest person on the field.

You know, there are almost some physical aspects of those games in order to play at the highest level. Baseball you can be any size, any shape, and you can give it a try. And there’s an individual part of baseball that when you’re at the plate, you’re all by yourself, you know, you’re trying to do it. In the field, the groundball is hit to you, no one else is helping you field that groundball.

But it’s the way that you play together that you can blend that individual contribution to a team dynamic which I think is the coolest part. So, the nature of the game, it’s not slow to me, it’s a cerebral game, it’s a lot of thinking that goes on, but you can take a lot of individual performance and blend them, you know, they call it chemistry in baseball, that you’re blending those talents, and personalities, for a desired effect so you can win. And there’s no better feeling than winning.