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Biofile Cal Ripken Interview

By Scoop Malinowski

DOB: August 24, 1960  In: Havre de Grace, Maryland

Childhood Heroes: “Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Jim Palmer.”

Early Baseball Memory:  “So many of them. I made a road trip with my dad when I was nine. My dad (Cal Sr.) was managing in AAA for the Rochester Red Wings. I was the batboy for the whole trip, stayed with the team for a whole week. That was a special memory.”

Nicknames:  “Junior, JR.”

Hobbies/Interests:  “Basketball, racquetball, time with family.”

Greatest Sports Moment:  “Catching the last out in the World Series in 1983 (vs Philadelphia). Garry Maddox hit it. Wasn’t a great catch or a very difficult catch but it was very symbolic.”

Cal Ripken painting by LeRoy Neiman.

Favorite Sport To Watch Outside Baseball:  “Basketball.”

Worst Injury: “Herniated disc in 1997.”

Favorite Athletes To Watch:  “Shaquille O’Neal – I’m going to watch him tonight (in Orlando, Cal is in training camp with the Orioles in Sarasota, FL in 1993). Michael Jordan. Mike Tyson – I really liked watching  him fight.”

Closest Baseball Friends:  “Eddie Murray. From my old days. He took me under his wing. He saw my situation was different from the other players. I came in when I was twenty one. He came in when he was twenty one. When everyone left, they wen to their families. I was single. He was single. We started hanging out. We keep in touch. Not as much as I would like to. With a family it’s not easy. Brady Anderson.”

Favorite Movie:  A Few Good Men.”

Childhood Ambition: “Big league baseball was the only thing I ever thought of.”

Musical Tastes:  “I have no real music taste.”

Favorite Meal: “When I grew up I was thankful that my mom (Vi) was cooking for me. I was grateful. I have a lot of favorite meals.”

Toughest Competitors Encountered:  “So many. If I start naming people, I’ll leave out some.”

Memorable High School Game:  “Pitching the state final after I was drafted. It was postponed from a week earlier when I was pitching on one day’s rest. My arm was sore and I gave up some walks and an RBI double. We were losing but then the sky got dark and the rain came and washed it out. We played a week later and I struck out seventeen and we won the state championship. There was a little luck involved [smiles].”

People Qualities Most Admired:  “People who are willing to work hard for what they want. It’s general, but… If you want it bad enough, you will find a way to get it. A lot of the time it requires a lot of hard work to accomplish something. But it makes it better in the end if you have to work hard to get it.”

Future Ambition: “The only thing I really want to do is control my schedule. For my entire life, everything revolves around the baseball schedule. Baseball took our dad away from our family. I want to have dinner every night with my family, go to school plays, that kind of thing. I have a need to be available for my family. I’d like to stay involved in baseball but I can’t be a manager or a coach or an announcer.”  

Career Accomplishments:  Major League Baseball player for Baltimore Orioles from 1981-2001; Played in 2,632 consecutive games; 3,001 games played; 19-time MLB All Star; Two-time MLB MVP and two-time All Star Game MVP; MLB All Century Team; Inducted to hall of Fame in 2007.

(Note: I did this Biofile with Cal at Orioles spring training in Sarasota, right after doing one with his pal Brady Anderson at the adjacent locker.)

Cal Ripken highlights montage video

About Mark Malinowski

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