English>News Center>Sports

Ripken announces retirement
Updated: 2001-06-20 09:48

Ironman retire

Cal Ripken, who became known as baseball's "Ironman" after playing in 2,632 straight games, announced in Baltimore Tuesday that he will retire at the end of this season.

Ripken's decision will end an extraordinary 21-year career as a shortstop and third baseman.

"It is inevitable that you can't play forever. I have enjoyed a wonderful career and the fact that I was able to do it in my hometown has made it that much more special," Ripken, 40, said.

"I am excited about other things in my life, including spending more time with my family and building upon all of my youth baseball initiatives. In addition, I understand that the club must plan for the future and this allows them to do so with greater flexibility."

In 1995 he captured the nation when he chased and passed the record of 2,130 straight games held by the New York Yankees' Lou Gehrig on September 6 at Camden Yards and rebuilt broken fences that had been damaged by a bitter players' strike that ended earlier in the year.

From May 30, 1982 to September 1998, Ripken played in 2,632 games in a row. The streak finally ended when he decided to sit out the Orioles' final home game of the 1998 season on September 20 against the New York Yankees.

The certain first ballot Hall of Famer will play his final game on September 30 at Yankee Stadium, the site of Gehrig's emotional speech that cemented his place in sports history.

Ripken's last game at Camden Yards, the Orioles' home field, promises to be an emotional on September 23.

"A farewell tour hasn't really sat well with me," said Ripken. "I don't really feel comfortable with that. And to tell you the truth I didn't even realize we ended the season at Yankee Stadium until just a few hours ago."

When it was announced that his last game would be at Yankee Stadium, the team announced that it had sold out the remaining 19,000 tickets.

"Cal is what baseball is all about," said Baltimore manager Mike Hargrove.

Ripken is only the seventh player in major league history to record 3,000 hits and 400 homers, joining Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Stan Musial, Dave Winfield, Carl Yastrzemski and former teammate Eddie Murray.

Although he has played third base the last 5 1/2 years, Ripken was one of the best defensive shortstops of his era, setting fielding records and paving the way for larger, more offensive-minded shortstops. He holds or shares 12 major league or American League fielding records.

He born and raised in Maryland, is the son of former Orioles manager and coach Cal Sr., was drafted by Baltimore in 1978. He earned American League Rookie of the Year honors in 1982, helped the team win the 1983 World Series and took MVP honors in 1983 and 1991.

Ripken is 10th all-time in games played with 2,921, leads all active players with 1,652 RBI, and has 3,107 hits and 421 homers. He hit 345 of his home runs as a shortstop, the most in major league history.

"If you were to write a story about an ideal situation for baseball, mine has to be considered," Ripken said. "I'm a hometown guy, my dad worked for the Orioles and as far back as I can remember baseball and the Orioles were it for me.

"In my career I was able to be drafted against big odds with the Orioles, make it with the Orioles and have a long career with the Orioles. If you add up all the odds, it's pretty remarkable."

"Cal's remarkable record-setting statistics as a player are only part of his astonishing story," said Orioles owner Peter Angelos. "His work ethic, his constant striving for excellence, and his many contributions back to the community have established him as a role model for players and fans alike."

Ripken has battled injuries, mainly back problems, for the past three seasons. He has been limited to 48 games this season and is batting .210 with four homers and 25 RBI.

"If you lump my last two years together it was a struggle," Ripken said. "But as I rested and healed (after the 2000 season) I wanted to continue to play. I worked hard in the offseason but I broke my ribs when I was training and that set things back. So that's when I was thinking about making this my last year.

"But I made a commitment to play with the Orioles this season and I would like to fulfill that obligation."

Ripken is Baltimore's all-time leader in games, at-bats, hits, runs, doubles, home runs, total bases, RBI, extra-base hits and walks, he is also leading the AL All-Star balloting at third base.

Pacific Life Open at Indian Wells
Commonwealth Games Swimming
Selected Reuters Sports Pictures on March 13
  Today's Top News     Top Sports News

Australia, US, Japan praise China for Asia engagement



Banker: China doing its best on flexible yuan



Hopes high for oil pipeline deal



Possibilities of bird flu outbreaks reduced



Milosevic buried after emotional farewell



China considers trade contracts in India


  Manchester United gains on Chelsea
  UEFA Cup loses top-name clubs
  Cuba celebrates win over Puerto Rico, advances in Classic
  Els moves into Bay Hill contention with 67
  World Cup to boost Japanese economy by $4 billion
  Alonso confident; Fisichella apologizes
  Go to Another Section  
  Story Tools  
Manufacturers, Exporters, Wholesalers - Global trade starts here.