Kelly Ripken and Cal Ripken divorced this morning in the Baltimore County Circuit Court. The couple was married for close to 30 years.
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.
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."
When Cal Ripken Jr. retired in 2001, there was an overwhelming sentiment about his future: No matter what he did post-playing career, baseball's Iron Man would be successful. His drive, work ethic and insatiable curiosity continue to be on display as he recently turned 55. Whether it's as a business executive running youth baseball camps and minor league franchises, a TV baseball analyst, speaker or author, Ripken has stayed exceptionally busy.
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.
Cal Ripken Jr. kept us all in suspense for the 13 years leading up to the night he snapped Lou Gehrig's supposedly unbreakable consecutive-games record, so why should Tuesday night have been any different? Ripken admitted a few minutes before the 20th anniversary celebration of that moment that he injured his shoulder in a bicycle accident earlier in the day, casting the quality of his ceremonial first pitch in doubt. Of course, Ripken answered the bell when the moment arrived.
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.
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.