Ripken opens the door to managing, sort of

Thu Dec 12, 2013 3:52pm EST
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By Steve Ginsburg

BALTIMORE (Reuters) - Despite gaining a little weight and losing the rest of his hair since walking away from baseball a dozen years ago, Cal Ripken, Jr. remains instantly recognizable.

It doesn't matter if it's downtown Baltimore or some tiny hamlet in Puget Sound, jaws drop and eyes open wide when he enters a room.

"I still get recognized in places I would have never dreamed," said Ripken. "In an antique shop in a small town. You go in and there are some older women in there and you'd think there's no connection to baseball whatsoever.

"I'd come in and immediately get ID'd."

He's a 19-time All-Star for the Baltimore Orioles and a Hall of Famer but it was Ripken's record for consecutive games played, known simply in Baltimore as The Streak, that forever tossed him into the spotlight.

The record, set in 1995, snapped Lou Gehrig's seemingly unbreakable mark of 2,130 consecutive games played. More people remember the night that Ripken set the record than recall that he finally took a seat after playing in 2,632 straight games.

"There was something about 2,131 - the relation to a work ethic - something that caught the country's attention in that particular year," the soft-spoken Ripken told Reuters in a wide-ranging interview at his foundation's headquarters.

Ripken, 53, discussed his desire to return to baseball, his foundation's work building ballparks for children around the country, and his sadness over Alex Rodriguez's continuing saga over performance-enhancing drugs.   Continued...

Former Baltimore Oriole Cal Ripken watches from the sideline in the Superdome prior to the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game in New Orleans, Louisiana, February 3, 2013. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson