MLB Draft: Same Name, Different Ripken
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The last time a player, with the last name “Ripken, ” played in the Major Leagues, the date was October 6, 2001. However, that might change after this weekend’s 2014 MLB Draft. Ryan Ripken, son of the “Iron Man,” has entered his name into the Draft this year in hopes to be drafted.
Everyone who considers themselves an Orioles fan has seen Cal Ripken‘s son even if they do not know they did.
Recall back to when Cal broke Lou Gehrig’s consecutive game record on September 6, 1995. If you can recall when Cal came out of the dugout to celebrate the moment with his wife and two kids. His little boy who he picked up and embraced (see below) was Ryan at the age of two.
Following his father’s footsteps, Ryan is trying to make it into the big leagues. Although he was in fact drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2012 MLB Draft in the 20th round, Ryan decided to opt out and take the scholarship to play collegiate baseball that was given to him by the University of South Carolina.
Unfortunately for the young Ripken, he did not get any playing time that first year due to being redshirted as a freshman. Wanting more playing time, he transferred after his freshman year to a junior college in Florida where he was guaranteed more playing time in order to showcase his skills to potential scouts who were keeping their eye on the promising first baseman.
In his first full season of college ball, Ripken maintained a .321 batting average over 42 games played in 2014. He also batted in 24 runs and hit one home run with Indian River State College.
Ripken’s best game came on April 24th against Broward College. He went 4-5 on the day with two doubles and scored five runs in the game (which in fact were all of the team’s runs scored that day).
Even though none of his numbers put him on a pedestal as one of the top junior college prospects, Baseball America acknowledged back in February that he was the “biggest name in junior college baseball.”
Whether or not his name will help him get drafted remains to be seen. Having another Ripken play for the Orioles is certainly a cool thing to think about. If Ripken would make it up to the Major League level, he would increase ticket sales by just being on the active roster.
There are some other teams who are interested in drafting the 20-year-old. One of these teams is the Orioles’ Battle of the Beltways rival, the Nationals. It has been noted the Nationals general manager and Cal are close. However, no relationship can be closer to Cal than his relationship he has made with the city of Baltimore since being drafted by the Orioles in 1978.
Will Ryan be the fourth Ripken to wear an Orioles uniform? Time will tell, but, with that being said, the name Ripken does not look good on any baseball uniform besides one that has the word “Orioles” across the chest.