Cal Ripken Jr., wife Kelly Ripken have divorced

Iron Man Cal Ripken, wife Kelly divorce.

Orioles Iron Man and Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. and Kelly Ripken finalized their divorce this morning in the Baltimore County Circuit Court. 

A statement released by Kelly Ripken's lawyer, Sanford Ain, said:

"Kelly has been a great mother to two fabulous children and a wonderful, faithful wife for the duration of the parties' relationship, which lasted more than 30 years. This is a difficult time for her and she asks that her privacy and the privacy of her children be respected. Kelly looks forward to the next chapter in her life, which will be focused on philanthropy and her commitment to promoting women's health, most currently through A Woman's Journey at Johns Hopkins Medicine."

Ain said that the pleadings are sealed.

“Everything is private, so we’re not saying anything about the cause,” Ain said.

Ain also said that the divorce process has been going on for “quite some time” and that there was a one-year separation. The couple, who were in their 29th year of marriage, have two children. 

Cal Ripken’s attorney Mary Sanders could not be immediately reached for comment, but his publicist, John Maroon, confirmed that the divorce is final.

Maroon also confirmed that Cal Ripken recently relocated to Annapolis from Baltimore, and is renting a home for the summer.

The couple met at a Cockeysville nightclub in 1983, according to a 1992 Baltimore Sun article. But it might not have happened if it hadn’t been for Kelly Ripken’s mother. She met the baseball player at the Corner Stable restaurant in Cockeysville two months earlier and asked for his autograph for Kelly, who didn’t know who Cal Ripken was at the time.

"He wrote, 'To Kelly, if you look anything like your mother, I'm sorry I missed you,'” Kelly told The Sun.

From there, it was history. Cal Ripken asked for Kelly’s number soon after meeting her, and they were married in November 1987.

Kelly Ripken, 57, formerly Kelly Geer, is the co-chair of A Woman’s Journey, an annual women's health conference at Johns Hopkins Medicine, and is co-director of the Kelly G. Ripken program for thyroid patients at Johns Hopkins.

Cal Ripken Jr., 55, spent his entire major league baseball career — 21 seasons — with the Orioles, from 1981 until his retirement in 2001. The former third baseman and shortstop broke Lou Gehrig's consecutive games record in 1995, playing 2,131 straight baseball games, a streak that would grow to 2,632 games.

During his baseball career, Cal Ripken had 431 home runs, played in the World Series in 1983 and was named American League Most Valuable Player twice. His number, No. 8, has been retired by the Orioles.

In their more than 30-year relationship, the couple has faced numerous obstacles together. And Cal Ripken's baseball fame meant they were often in the spotlight. 

"Every now and then [the attention] can get to be too much," Kelly Ripken told The Sun more than two decades ago. "What I do then is just stay in my home. But for Cal, I wouldn't want it any other way. By not having that privacy, it shows me that my husband is doing his job and people appreciate how hard he works."

Kelly Ripken was diagnosed with Graves’ disease soon after they started dating, a thyroid condition she thought would be the end of their relationship, she told a Sun reporter in 1992. But Cal stuck with her.

"There are side effects you have to live with the rest of your life," Kelly Ripken told The Sun. "But maybe this has made me a better person. Maybe it's made me value my health more and my family more."

In 1999, Cal Ripken Jr.'s father, Cal Ripken Sr., who worked for the Baltimore Orioles organization as a coach and manager for more than 30 years, died of lung cancer.

The Ripken family also made the news in 2012 when Cal's mother, Violet Ripken, was abducted, tied up in the backseat of her 1998 Lincoln Town Car and driven around Central Maryland for around 24 hours by an unidentified man, according to the Aberdeen Police Department. Violet Ripken was returned to her home uninjured, according to a 2012 Sun article.

"It's quite possible it could have been a random act," Ripken told The Sun that year. "It's quite possible it could have been more than that. ... We really just don't know why."

The man was never found.

When The Sun asked about his family in early September 2015, Cal Ripken Jr. replied, “Everybody continues to go along life in a way that we all do, I suppose. It's interesting.”

He talked about his daughter, Rachel, 26, who works at a university in Colorado, and his son, Ryan, 22, who was playing minor league baseball in the Washington Nationals organization at the time. Nothing was said about his wife or a pending divorce.

“As we all get older, you realize that the time goes faster and faster and you start to appreciate some of the things that you have,” he said.

Baltimore Sun Media Group reporter Lauren Loricchio contributed to this article.

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