About Calvin Edwin "Cal" Ripken, Sr.
Calvin Edwin Ripken, Sr. (December 17, 1935 – March 25, 1999) was a coach and manager in Major League Baseball who spent 36 years in the Baltimore Orioles organization, also as a player and scout. He played in the Orioles' farm system beginning in 1957, and later served as manager of the parent club, on which his sons Cal Jr. and Billy played.
Ripken's 13-plus years in the Baltimore farm system was the longest tenure of any minor league manager in Orioles history. As a manager in the minor leagues for 13 years, Ripken won 964 games, and later compiled a 68-101 record managing the Orioles. Several of his students, including Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray, and most prominently his son Cal Jr., went on to Hall of Fame careers.
In 1987, Ripken became the first — and only — father to manage two sons simultaneously in the majors. After the Orioles lost six consecutive games to begin the 1988 season, Ripken was fired; the move deeply hurt and alienated his superstar son, but he worked through it and would remain with the team for 13 more seasons. After being replaced by Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, the Orioles proceeded to lose 15 more consecutive games to set the record for the longest losing streak to start a season. However, Ripken stayed on with the Orioles organization, and until 1992 he served as Baltimore's third-base coach.
He was a 1996 honoree into the Orioles Hall of Fame, inducted with Jerry Hoffberger and Billy Hunter. These three men are so well thought of in Baltimore that a crowd of 400 showed up at the luncheon at the Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel.
A heavy smoker, often seen smoking in the dugout during games, Cal Ripken, Sr. died at the age of 63 from lung cancer. A plaque was hung in the Orioles dugout at Oriole Park at Camden Yards to honor his long and distinguished career. The Cal Ripken, Sr. Collegiate Baseball League is named in his honor. He is survived by three sons, Cal Jr., Fred, and Billy, a daughter, Ellen, and his wife, Vi.
Since his death, no Oriole has worn Cal Sr.'s number 7, although the number has not been officially retired.