Billy Ripken

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Billy Ripken
Infielder
Born: (1964-12-16) December 16, 1964 (age 49)
Havre de Grace, Maryland
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
July 11, 1987 for the Baltimore Orioles
Last MLB appearance
July 13, 1998 for the Detroit Tigers
Career statistics
Batting average .247
Home runs 20
Runs batted in 229
Teams

William Oliver Ripken (born December 16, 1964) is an American baseball player and radio host for XM Satellite Radio, a studio analyst for MLB Network's "MLB Tonight," and is a former infielder in Major League Baseball from 19871998.

MLB career[edit]

When Ripken made his major league debut on July 11, 1987, it marked the first time a father has managed two sons on the same team. Ripken played alongside his brother, Cal Ripken, Jr.[1] and was managed by his father, Cal Ripken, Sr. as a member of the Baltimore Orioles from 1987–1988. When all three Ripkens appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated on May 2, 1988, the Orioles had lost their first 18 games of the season (they would lose three more before collecting their first win against the Chicago White Sox), and the photo was used in an emblematic fashion to symbolize frustration at the team's struggles.

Ripken remained with the team through the 1992 season and returned for a short stint later in his career (1996). While Ripken came up to the Majors as a second baseman, he did play two games at third in 1988. During the latter part of his career with the Texas Rangers (1993-1994, 1997) Cleveland Indians (1995) and Detroit Tigers (1998) he became a utility infielder—playing every position on the infield, except catcher.

1989 baseball card[edit]

Billy Ripken's 1989 baseball card.[2][3]

In 1989, Ripken's Fleer card showed him holding a bat with the expletive "FUCK FACE" written in plain view on the knob of the bat.[4] Fleer subsequently rushed to correct the error, and in their haste, released versions in which the text was scrawled over with a marker, whited out with correction fluid, and also airbrushed. On the final, corrected version, Fleer obscured the offensive words with a black box (this was the version included in all factory sets). Both the original card and many of the corrected versions have become collector's items as a result. There are at least ten different variations of this card. As of February 2009 the white out version has a book value of $120.[5]

Years later, Ripken admitted to having written the expletive on the bat; however, he claimed he did it to distinguish it as a batting practice bat, and did not intend to use it for the card. In the same letter, he expressed the opinion that Fleer was well aware of the obscenity, and not only retained but made it even clearer, hoping to benefit from the publicity the card would no doubt receive.[4]

Some collectors list the card as the "Rick Face" card. The script on the bat appears to make the word "FUCK" look similar to "Rick".[3]

Personal life & post MLB career[edit]

Billy Ripken has two daughters, named Miranda and Anna, and two sons, named Reese and Jack. After retirement, Billy partnered with brother Cal to form Ripken Baseball, which owns three minor league teams, the Aberdeen IronBirds, Augusta Greenjackets, and Charlotte Stone Crabs. Ripken Baseball and MLB.com, the official website of Major League Baseball, launched GetGreat.com on March 6, 2009. GetGreat.com is a youth baseball instructional site. He is also a contributing author to Coaching Youth Baseball the Ripken Way, published in 2007.[6]

During the 2009 World Baseball Classic, Ripken served as a first base coach for the United States national team.

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Billy and Cal Ripken are one of only four brother combinations in major league history to play second base and shortstop on the same club. The others are Garvin and Granny Hamner, for the Philadelphia Phillies- in 1945; the twins Eddie and Johnny O'Brien, with the Pittsburgh Pirates in the mid-1950s, and Frank and Milt Bolling, for the Detroit Tigers in 1958., see BaseballLibrary.com
  2. ^ The 1989 Billy Ripken Fleer Baseball Card, Before and After" (Snopes.com)
  3. ^ a b Poundstone, William. Biggest Secrets. page 155.
  4. ^ a b Rovell, Darren (December 9, 2008). "Billy Ripken Obscenity Bat: He Finally Talks 20 Years Later". CNBC. 
  5. ^ Baseball card variations, from billripken.com
  6. ^ Ripken, Jr., Cal (2007). Coaching Youth Baseball the Ripken Way. Human Kinetics. p. 264. ISBN 9780736067829. 

External links[edit]