Baseball ‘Iron Man’ Cal Ripken Jr. to Speak at Southeast

Photo of Cal Ripken Jr.

Cal Ripken Jr. will speak at 7:30 p.m. April 13 in the Show Me Center at Southeast Missouri State University as part of its 2010-2011 University Speakers Series.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

March 31, 2011 – Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. will speak at Southeast Missouri State University April 13 as part of the 2010-2011 University Speakers Series.

The event is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in the Show Me Center.

Tickets are required for entry and are free for current Southeast faculty, staff and students with a valid Redhawks ID card. Tickets can be picked up in the University Center Room 202, Center for Student Involvement or the Show Me Center Box Office.  Tickets are $10 for the general public and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com, Ticketmaster outlets, or to avoid service charges, tickets can be purchased at the Show Me Center Box Office. 

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 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 he voluntarily ended his streak in 1998 after playing 2,632 consecutive games. Although he finished his career at third base, he is still best known for redefining the position of shortstop. In 2007, Ripken was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame with the third highest percentage of votes in history.

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 Ruth League, Inc. changed the name of its largest division (5-12 year-olds) from Bambino to Cal Ripken Baseball. More than 700,000 youths currently play Cal Ripken Baseball worldwide.

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 ballpark 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 Fenway Park.

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 16 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.

Ripken has authored five books and in the spring of 2011 the first of a series of baseball themed novels geared towards children 10-13 years old will hit the book stores.

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. Two of its most successful programs are Badges for Baseball and Healthy Choices, Healthy Children.  Both are run in multiple states and the Badges for Baseball program trains law enforcement officers to serve as baseball and softball coaches in America’s toughest neighborhoods to build a bond between law enforcement and children at a young age.  Most recently, Ripken has been named as a special envoy for the U.S. State Department, promoting teamwork and cross-cultural communication. That role has taken him to China and Nicaragua.

Among his many on-field accolades are: American League Rookie of the Year (’82), two-time American League 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, Ripken was honored when fans named his 2,131st consecutive game Major League Baseball’s (MLB) “Most Memorable Moment” in history through a program run by MLB.

Ripken lives in Maryland with his wife, Kelly, and their children, Rachel and Ryan.