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Beyond The Glory Chronicles The Hall of Fame Career of Baseball’s Iron Man

Documentary Profiles Cal Ripken Jr. on Sunday, July 20 at 9:00 PM

Cal Ripken Jr.’s life is baseball. From the moment he was born, he was consumed by it. His father, a minor league manager, and later as a coach and manager for the Baltimore Orioles, was taken away from his family a lot, making every moment Ripken Jr. spent with his dad precious. It is ironic that baseball, the very game that kept Ripken from his father for so many years growing up is the same game that brought them closer together later in life. This week’s edition of Fox Sports Net’s critically-acclaimed documentary series BEYOND THE GLORY profiles former Oriole Cal Ripken Jr. on Sunday, July 20 at 9:00 PM .

Ripken’s path to stardom began in high school where he was a star pitcher and shortstop. The talent and drive he showed got him drafted by the Orioles where his father Cal Ripken Sr. was a coach. Persevering through continuous allegations of nepotism and the ridicule of jealous teammates, Ripken’s dream came true in 1981 when he got the call to the Major Leagues. By the next season, Ripken was the starting third baseman and his 21-year Hall of Fame playing career was born.

Ripken made his mark on baseball from the beginning, winning the Rookie of the Year Award 1982. The following season, the Orioles won the World Series and Ripken took home American League MVP honors. A great start in Baltimore became even better when in 1987, Ripken got the opportunity to play with his brother Billy, called up from Triple-A to play second base and for his father, marking the first time in history that a father was managing two sons in the Major Leagues. The remarkable union didn’t last long when in 1988 the Orioles fired Ripken Sr. Ripken Jr. stayed with Baltimore despite his feelings of disappointment and betrayal.

Ripken’s defining moment in baseball came in 1995 when he tied and broke Lou Gehrig’s record and was crowned baseball’s new “Iron Man.” Many called him the most respected man in baseball and just what the struggling sport needed on the heels of the longest labor dispute in professional sports. Ripken became an ambassador for baseball and beyond.

Those interviewed in addition to Cal Ripken Jr. include his wife Kelly Ripken, his brother Billy Ripken, his mother Vi Ripken, former Orioles teammates Brady Anderson, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray, Rick Dempsey, Mike Flanagan, Orioles’ trainer Richie Bancells, former Oriole manager Earl Weaver, broadcaster Bob Costas, his high school coach Don Morrison, and former Oriole manager Ray Miller.

Cal Ripken Jr.:
On his father: “He loved baseball. He was excited about baseball. He loved putting his uniform on, he was happiest in those moments. Just watching him, I wanted to be happy and have that feeling too.”

On his experience starting to play for the Orioles: “There was a lot of assumptions made that I was there only because of my dad. And the proof is in the pudding and you’re under scrutiny every single minute that you’re playing.”

On his career with the Orioles: “If you would have asked me before I started the career do you think you can play a thousand games in a row, I would have said probably not. And that really wasn’t my goal. I didn’t play the game for the streak.”

His reaction to Bobby Bonilla’s suggestion at his game 2,131: “Bobby Bonilla kind of said, ‘Hey, we’re not gonna start this game again unless you run around the stadium.’ And that was so foreign of a thought for me, to in the middle of the game, to run around the stadium.”

Mike Flanagan:
On Cal Ripken Jr.: “It’s the only time in twenty-five years, that I can say that a single player was ten times bigger than the game.”

On Ripken the day he retired: “I looked down in the dugout, and it was like it was 1982 again. He was being a pest in the dugout, just needling the players, very relieved, big smile from ear to ear. What an incredible run he had. And he had the same energy at the end of it that he had at the beginning of it.”

Billy Ripken:
On playing for the Orioles: “You could look over at, shortstop when I was playing second and say, “That’s Cal.” You could look in the dugout and say, “It’s Pops.” You didn’t have to rely on an outside source, another player or coach. You could go to your big brother or you could go to your dad.”

On his father being fired: “’88, I’ve almost completely erased that from my memory because that’s how bad it was.”

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