About Billy Ripken
William Oliver Ripken (born December 16, 1964) is an American radio personality for XM Satellite Radio, a studio analyst for MLB Network's "MLB Tonight," and is a former infielder in Major League Baseball from 1987–1998.
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. 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
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. 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.
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.
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".
Personal life & post MLB career
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.
During the 2009 World Baseball Classic, Ripken served as a first base coach for the United States national team.