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Cal Ripken Jr.: Exploring the Baseball Legend’s Net Worth, Career, Personal Life and More

Cal Ripken Jr.: Baseball Hero

Calvin Edwin Ripken Jr., born on August 24, 1960, is a famous American baseball player nicknamed “the Iron Man.” He played for the Baltimore Orioles for 21 seasons, from 1981 to 2001. Ripken was really good at hitting the ball, getting 3,184 hits, 431 home runs, and 1,695 runs batted in. What’s super cool is that he played in 2,632 games in a row, breaking a record that many thought would never be broken.

Ripken grew up in Maryland, and his dad, Cal Sr., also played and coached for the Orioles. Ripken loves baseball so much that he wrote books about it and became the boss of Ripken Baseball, Inc. Besides playing, he does lots of charity work to help kids who love baseball too. He’s all about doing things the right way, on and off the field.

In 2007, Ripken got into the Baseball Hall of Fame with a lot of votes. They even retired his jersey number “8,” and there’s a statue of him at Camden Yards. Ripken’s not just a great player; he’s like a hero in baseball, showing everyone how to play with heart and always do their best.

Cal Ripken Jr.: Key Stats and Achievements

Cal Ripken Jr.: Key Stats and Achievements
Position Shortstop / Third baseman
Born August 24, 1960
MLB Debut August 10, 1981
Last MLB Appearance October 6, 2001
Teams Baltimore Orioles (1981–2001)
Career Highlights & Awards
All-Star 19×
World Series Champion 1983
AL MVP 1983, 1991
AL Rookie of the Year 1982
Gold Glove Award 1991, 1992
Silver Slugger Award
Consecutive Games Played 2,632 (MLB record)
Orioles No. 8 Retired Yes
Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame Yes
MLB All-Century Team Yes
National Baseball Hall of Fame
Induction Year 2007
Vote Percentage 98.5% (first ballot)

Cal Ripken Jr.’s Impressive Net Worth

Cal Ripken Jr., the retired American baseball legend, boasts a substantial net worth of $70 million. Throughout his remarkable 21-season career with the MLB’s Baltimore Orioles, Ripken, a versatile player in shortstop and third baseman positions, earned widespread recognition.

Accumulating a career earnings total of $70.7 million, Ripken’s highest single-season salary reached $6.85 million in 1997. Widely acknowledged as one of the best shortstops and third basemen in baseball history, he entered the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007 during his first year of eligibility.

Notably, Ripken’s legacy extends beyond his net worth, as he is fondly remembered for breaking Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games played record—a remarkable achievement that had endured for 56 years. His impact on the game, both defensively with two Gold Glove Awards and offensively with a record for most home runs as a shortstop, cements his status as a baseball icon.

Cal Ripken Jr.’s Early Years in Baseball

Cal Ripken Jr., born in Havre de Grace, Maryland, grew up in a baseball-loving family. His dad, Cal Ripken Sr., was often on the move due to coaching duties with the Baltimore Orioles. Despite being born in Topeka, Kansas, while his dad was with a team, the Ripkens called Aberdeen, Maryland, their home.

From a young age, Cal Jr. was surrounded by baseball. He received guidance from players on his father’s teams, especially Doug DeCinces. His passion for the game became clear early on – at three, he knew he wanted to be a ballplayer, and by age 10, he knew the game inside and out.

Cal and his brother Billy attended Aberdeen High School, where they both played baseball. Cal, who also played soccer, began his high school career at second base but later moved to shortstop. Despite initial concerns about his arm strength, he excelled in the position.

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In his junior year, Ripken showcased his versatility by pitching for the Aberdeen Eagles. He struck out 55 batters, recorded three shutouts, and contributed offensively with a .339 batting average. His senior year was equally impressive, with a batting average of .688 at one point and a remarkable pitching performance in the state championship game.

In a strategic move, Ripken made nine throws to first base during a rain delay, ensuring the game would be replayed. When played the next week, he led the Eagles to victory, striking out 17 batters and securing the state championship. Cal Ripken Jr.’s early years in baseball laid the foundation for his future success in the sport.

Cal Ripken Jr.’s Minor League Journey

The Baltimore Orioles picked Cal Ripken Jr. in the second round of the 1978 Major League Baseball draft. He was the 48th overall selection. Contrary to a story, he wasn’t chosen through a forfeited pick from the Boston Red Sox. Ripken was the Orioles’ planned draft pick. The Orioles had an additional pick from Boston, selecting catcher Cecil Whitehead two picks after Ripken.

Ripken decided to jump from high school straight to the pros. He played both pitcher and shortstop in high school, but the Orioles saw potential in his shortstop skills. They started him playing shortstop in the minor leagues, thinking it would be easier for him to switch back to pitching if needed.

Beginning his minor league career with the Bluefield Orioles in the rookie Appalachian League, Ripken had a decent start, batting .264 with 63 hits. In 1979, he moved up to the Single-A Miami Orioles, where he shifted to third base and excelled. He hit his first professional home run in a game against the West Palm Beach Expos. Ripken’s strong performance earned him a brief call-up to the Double-A Southern League.

In 1980, Ripken continued to impress with the Charlotte Orioles, setting a home run record and helping the team win the Southern League championship. By 1981, he made it to Baltimore’s 40-man roster, attending spring training with the Orioles. Although he started the season with the Rochester Red Wings in Triple-A, Ripken’s talent was evident as he hit 23 home runs and was named the International League Rookie of the Year. These early experiences in the minor leagues laid the foundation for Ripken’s journey to the big league.

Cal Ripken Jr.’s Career Highlights (1981-2001)

Cal Ripken Jr. began his professional journey with the Baltimore Orioles in 1981, joining the major league team later that season. In 1982, he took over as the Orioles’ third baseman and experienced a slump before finding his stride. By 1983, Ripken was at the top of his game, setting records, winning awards, and leading the Orioles to victory in the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies.

From 1984 to 1986, Ripken showcased his consistent performance, earning accolades and signing a significant contract. Despite a brief offensive struggle in 1985, his streak of consecutive games played remained intact.

4/7/1986 President Reagan talking with Cal Ripken Jr in the Baltimore Orioles dugout at Baltimore Memorial stadium in Maryland

In 1987, Ripken’s father, Cal Ripken Sr., became the Orioles’ manager, creating a historic moment when both of Ripken’s sons played in the same game. In September 1987, Ripken voluntarily ended his consecutive innings streak.The late 1980s and early 1990s saw Ripken’s continued success, marked by MVP awards, All-Star appearances, and his Iron Man streak reaching new heights. In 1991, Ripken achieved a career-best year, winning numerous awards and making history.

In 1995, Ripken surpassed Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games played record, reaching 2,131 games. The achievement was celebrated with a memorable ceremony, and Ripken continued to add to his streak.

The latter part of Ripken’s career saw positional changes, injuries, and milestones like his 3,000th hit in 2000. In 2001, he announced his retirement, concluding his career with the Baltimore Orioles in a celebrated final game at Oriole Park.

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Throughout his career, Cal Ripken Jr. left an indelible mark on baseball, earning respect for his skill, dedication, and sportsmanship.

Cal Ripken Jr.’s Charitable Contributions

Cal Ripken Jr. has been actively involved in various charitable endeavors throughout his career. In 1984, after signing a new contract, he pledged to distribute Orioles tickets to underprivileged children, support the Harford Center, and contribute to the Baltimore School for the Performing Arts. In 1988, Ripken and his wife Kelly established the Cal Ripken Jr., Lifelong Learning Center, focusing on adult literacy.

His philanthropic efforts extended further, earning him the Roberto Clemente Award in 1992 and the Golden Plate Award in 1997. Ripken also made significant contributions to research on Lou Gehrig’s disease. Following his record-breaking achievement, the Cal Ripken/Lou Gehrig Fund for Neuromuscular Research was founded at Johns Hopkins University.

In 2001, Cal Ripken Jr. and his brother Billy initiated the Cal Ripken Sr., Foundation, offering underprivileged children the chance to attend baseball camps nationwide. Ripken Baseball, including for-profit camps and field designs, operates under this foundation. Ripken served as commissioner for the White House Tee Ball Initiative from 2001 to 2004.

In 2007, Ripken co-founded Athletes for Hope, uniting professional athletes in charitable causes. He also partnered with Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities, donating $1 million to the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation. Ripken was named Special Sports Envoy for the US State Department in 2007, promoting American values through baseball in China.

His commitment to education was acknowledged with honorary degrees, a Doctor of Humanities degree from the University of Delaware in 2008, and a Doctor of Public Service degree from the University of Maryland in 2013. Throughout, Ripken’s philosophy revolves around finding fulfillment through work, drawing inspiration from books like “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand.

Cal Ripken Jr.: Baseball Legacy & Humble Icon

Cal Ripken Jr., standing at 6 ft 4 in and weighing 225 lb, defied the typical shortstop mold with his size and power-hitting abilities. While his stature set him apart, Ripken showcased exceptional defensive skills, maintaining a long tenure at shortstop, leading in assists and winning Gold Glove awards. His strategic positioning compensated for his lack of speed, reflecting his commitment to fundamentals.

Ripken’s power at the plate resulted in records for most home runs by a shortstop and a place in the top 15 for career doubles. However, his hitting style led to a notable number of double plays, with him holding a record for grounding into the most in his career until 2017.

Known for his ever-changing batting stances, often referred to as “the man of 1,000 stances,” Ripken adapted to overcome slumps or discomfort, emphasizing that a stance was just a starting point.His historic 2,131st consecutive game earned the title of the “Most Memorable Moment” in MLB history according to a fan poll. Ripken’s Hall of Fame induction in 2007, with an almost unanimous vote, solidified his place among baseball greats.

Beyond baseball, Ripken and his brother Billy made history as one of four two-brother combinations to play second base/shortstop on the same club. Ripken’s impact extended to tributes in NASCAR, with a race named after him, and an honorary street designation in Baltimore.

Despite his success, Ripken remained humble, attributing his skills to a baseball upbringing and deflecting superstar status. His legacy endures as a symbol of dependability, durability, and charity work off the field.

Cal Ripken Jr.’s Personal Journey

Cal Ripken Jr.’s life extends beyond the baseball field. He married Kelly Geer in 1987, and they have a daughter named Rachel and a son named Ryan. Although Ripken and Kelly divorced in 2016, he found love again with Laura S. Kiessling, whom he married in 2018.

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Notably, Ryan Ripken followed in his father’s footsteps, pursuing a baseball career. After being drafted by the Orioles and later the Nationals, he played in the minor leagues, reaching as high as the AAA Norfolk Tides in 2021 before announcing his retirement.

Ripken faced challenges in his personal life when his mother, Violet Ripken, was kidnapped in 2012, but she was safely returned. Apart from baseball, Ripken is an accomplished author, having written nearly thirty books, including autobiographies, children’s books, and motivational guides.

Beyond writing, Ripken owns minor league baseball teams, including the Aberdeen IronBirds and the Charlotte Stone Crabs. He expressed interest in buying the Baltimore Orioles in 2007. Ripken also ventured into the gaming world with “Cal Ripken’s Real Baseball.”

Additionally, he served as a studio analyst for TBS Sports during MLB playoffs and was on the board of directors of ZeniMax Media until 2021. Ripken’s impact extends to sports complexes, such as The Ripken Experience, providing opportunities for young athletes to hone their skills.

Cal Ripken Jr.’s Achievements and Records

Awards and Honors:

  • 19-time American League All-Star from 1983 to 2001.
  • 8-time American League Silver Slugger Award (SS) from 1983 to 1986, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1994.
  • 2-time American League Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 1983 and 1991.
  • 2-time MLB All-Star Game Most Valuable Player in 1991 and 2001.
  • 2-time American League Gold Glove Award (SS) in 1991 and 1992.
  • 2-time The Sporting News’ MLB Player of the Year in 1983 and 1991.
  • American League Rookie of the Year in 1982.
  • Roberto Clemente Award in 1992.
  • Lou Gehrig Memorial Award in 1992.
  • Sports Illustrated magazine’s “Sportsman of the Year” in 1995.
  • Associated Press “Athlete of the Year” in 1995.
  • The Sporting News’ “Sportsman of the Year” in 1995.
  • Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award in 2001.
  • Stan Musial Lifetime Achievement Award For Sportsmanship in 2016.

Records and Honors:

  • Broke Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games streak in 1995 with 2,632 games played.
  • Ranked #78 on The Sporting News’ list of the “100 Greatest Baseball Players” in 1999.
  • Elected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team in 1999.
  • Uniform #8 retired by the Baltimore Orioles in 2001.
  • Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007 with 98.53% of votes, the highest percentage ever for a position player.
  • Inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame on July 29, 2007, with Tony Gwynn in front of a record crowd of 75,000 people.
  • Most consecutive games played with 2,632.
  • Most consecutive innings played with 8,243.
  • Most home runs by a shortstop with 345.
  • Most double plays by a shortstop in the American League with 1,682.
  • All-time leader in MLB All-Star fan balloting (36,123,483).
  • Most American League MLB All-Star team selections with 19 from 1983 to 2001.
  • Most MLB All-Star Game appearances at shortstop with 15 from 1983 to 1996, 2001.
  • Most consecutive MLB All-Star Game starts with 17.
  • Most plate appearances by one player in one game with 15 (Triple-A game tied with Tom Eaton and Dallas Williams).

Baltimore Oriole Records:

  • Games played: 3,001.
  • Consecutive games: 2,632.
  • At bats: 11,551.
  • Hits: 3,184.
  • Runs: 1,647.
  • RBIs: 1,695.
  • Extra base hits: 1,078.
  • Doubles: 603.
  • Home runs: 431.
  • Total bases: 5,168.
  • Walks: 1,129.
  • Assists: 8,212.
  • Double plays: 1,682.

FAQs

Q: What brands has Cal Ripken Jr. endorsed?

A: Cal Ripken Jr. has endorsed Nike, Wheaties, True Value Hardware, Chevrolet, and PowerAde.

Q: Where is Cal Ripken Jr.’s hometown?

A: Cal Ripken Jr.’s hometown is Reisterstown, Maryland.

Q: How much did Cal Ripken Jr. invest in real estate?

A: Cal Ripken Jr. reportedly paid $3.9 million for a five-bedroom waterfront estate in Maryland.

Q: When was Cal Ripken Jr. elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame?

A: Cal Ripken Jr. was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007, his first year of eligibility.

Q: What is Cal Ripken Jr.’s career earnings in baseball?

A: Cal Ripken Jr. earned a total of $70.7 million in salary during his baseball career.

Q: How many Gold Glove Awards did Cal Ripken Jr. win for his defense?

A: Cal Ripken Jr. won two Gold Glove Awards for his defensive skills during his baseball career.

 

 

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