Opening Day is just eight days away! Who do you think of when you think of #8? Cal Ripken, of course! Cal Ripken, Jr., aka The Iron Man, is a Maryland legend and continues to give back to the community. Ripken is the recipient of several awards that speak to his commitment to the community as well as the sport of baseball. These include: Roberto Clemente Award (1992), Lou Gehrig Memorial Award (1992), Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year (1995), The Sporting News Sportsman of the Year (1995), Athlete of the Year (1995), Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award (2001), Stan Musial Lifetime Achievement Award for Sportsmanship (2016).
Cal Ripken, Jr., 1996 (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)
Ripken has been associated with a variety of organizations and charities. For example, in 2007, he founded Athletes for Hope with several fellow athletes, including: Muhammad Ali, Tony Hawk, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Mario Lemieux, and Alonzo Mourning. The mission of the organization is, “To educate, encourage and assist athletes in their efforts to contribute to the community and charitable causes, to increase public awareness of those efforts, and to inspire others do to the same.”
Ripken is perhaps best known for forming the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation with his brother Bill in 2001. The mission of the Foundation is to help “build character and teach critical life lessons to at-risk young people living in America’s most distressed communities.” The organization builds parks, provides mentoring, and conducts camps and clinics across country. According to their website, in 2017 alone, the Foundation collaborated with 719 local partners in 582 cities in 43 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico, to reach more than one million at-risk youth.
Thanks for all you do for our communities, Cal!