Ripken excited about his return to Orioles -
Rich Dubroff

Ripken excited about his return to Orioles

Cal Ripken and Bill Ripken
Photo Credit: Rich Dubroff

BALTIMORE—David Rubenstein introduced several of his partners in the new ownership group on Thursday, and obviously the one who drew the most attention was Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr.

Ripken officially returns to the organization after an absence of more than 20 years. He retired after his storied 21-year career and his 2.632 consecutive games played.

“It’s an exciting day for me personally,” Ripken said. “I’ve loved the Orioles since I was about 5 years old.”

Ripken remembers his father, Cal Ripken Sr., a longtime Orioles minor league manager, major league coach and big league manager, greeting new minor leaguers:

“Welcome to the greatest organization in baseball,” Ripken said his father told them. “There was a pride to be an Oriole, the whole Oriole Way, and then I dreamed, for the next 20 years, about trying to become a Baltimore Oriole. And then luck would have it that I became a Baltimore Oriole for 21 years, and then I spent the last 20 years learning a little about business owning an Oriole affiliate [the High-A Aberdeen IronBirds].

“This is a wonderful time for me to be able to come back, and be part of the Oriole organization and help out in any way that I can.”

Ripken said the invitation to join Rubenstein came about quickly. His role is unspecified.

“Just to be able to contribute in any way I can,” he said. “I’ve learned about business in the last 20 years, so I mentioned I can make a contribution there. I know a little bit about baseball, so I can be a sounding board for [executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias].

“Mike and company have really done a fantastic job of restoring baseball, a loaded farm system, a lot of talent at the big league level. There’s nothing that needs to be fixed as far as I’m concerned. If I can help in some small way, I’m glad to be available as a resource.”

Ripken is pleased with what he’s seen from the Orioles recently.

“I couldn’t be prouder,” he said. “Very proud of where the Orioles are right now, with some of the young talent. It’s exciting to watch the games. The last couple of years I’ve come to more games. I plan on being here a lot more now. I’m proud of the Orioles. They’re looked upon around the country as a real good baseball organization.”

Ripken has had a fulfilling professional life, and now he’s part owner of the only team he’s ever been a part of.

“I look at life as a lot of learning experiences, and there’s a lot of value in the last 20 years, learning business,” Ripken said. “I felt like I came to the table late. Having that experience there puts you in a better position to contribute to what’s happening now. The timing feels good. There’s a lot of excitement. A lot of people are congratulating me … That always makes you feel good. It’s excting, and I’m really jazzed about it.”


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