AUSTIN (KXAN) — Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. took part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday for a new baseball field he helped bring to the Boys and Girls Club of Austin.
The field is one of over 80 fields the Cal Ripken Sr. foundation has built across the country. The “Iron Man,” as he is known thanks to his MLB-record 2,632 consecutive starts, started the foundation with his brother, Bill Ripken, to honor the legacy of their father, after whom the charity is named.
“We started the foundation in his name to capture what we thought the legacy of dad was, which is helping kids,” Ripken said. “He used the magic of baseball, especially, to get in front of kids who didn’t have all the same advantages as the rest of us.”
The field that opened in Austin also functions as a soccer and football field. But most importantly for Ripken, it serves as a place for kids to learn and grow.
“They’re like outside classrooms, and the kids really enjoy it,” Ripken said. “There is a magic to what sport has to offer. We don’t care if they play baseball out there. Well, kind of, I do care a little bit, but however they use the field … the important thing is they use it and have a place to be safe while they’re doing it.”