Violet Ripken, mother of Cal Jr., dies at 82

March 1st, 2021

Violet "Vi" Ripken, mother of Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr., died Friday at age 82, the team confirmed Sunday.

She was the matriarch of the Ripken family that became synonymous with Orioles baseball. She was married to former O's manager Cal Ripken Sr., who died in 1999, and two of her four children, Cal Jr. and Billy, both grew up to play for Baltimore. Her grandson, Ryan, who is Cal Jr.'s son, is now a Minor Leaguer in the Orioles' organization.

Cal Ripken Jr. had a Hall of Fame career for the O's, spending all 21 of his Major League seasons in Baltimore, where he won two American League MVP Awards and the 1983 World Series championship, made 19 All-Star teams and set the MLB record for most consecutive games played with 2,632, breaking the mark of 2,130 long held by Lou Gehrig.

"We want to thank everyone for the tremendous outpouring of affection towards our mom and our family during this difficult time," the Ripken family said in a statement. "Mom was an incredible woman who touched so many people throughout her lifetime. The void that she leaves in our lives cannot be filled but what she gave us has shaped who we are today and our memories of her will last the rest of our lives."

Billy Ripken played seven of his 12 big league seasons for the Orioles. Billy and Cal Jr. were teammates, and the two brothers were managed by their father from 1987-88.

Vi Ripken was in attendance, alongside Cal Sr., when Cal Jr. broke Gehrig's record and became baseball's new Iron Man on Sept. 6, 1995, at Camden Yards.

Vi married Cal Sr. in 1957, a year after he had signed with the Orioles as a catcher. Cal Jr. was born in '60, and Billy was born in '64. Cal Sr. and Vi also had a third son, Fred, and a daughter, Elly.

In addition to her ties to the Orioles, Vi also did volunteer work in her hometown of Aberdeen, Md., including at the Harford County Boys & Girls Club, which named a baseball field after her in 2014. She would also regularly attend Aberdeen IronBirds Minor League games. The IronBirds, now the Orioles' Class A Advanced affiliate, play at Ripken Stadium.