MLB legend Cal Ripken Jr. reveals cancer diagnosis

By Matt Johnson
Michael Owens-USA TODAY Sports

Cal Ripken, the Baltimore Orioles icon and MLB Hall of Famer, revealed on Thursday that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in February.

Ripken Jr, known as “The Iron Man”, was a 19-time All-Star infielder with the Orioles. A member of MLB’s All-Century Team, the 59-year-old was fortunate to catch the cancer in time.

MLB legend Cal Ripken Jr. beats prostate cancer

Following an extraordinary career on the field that inspired countless others, Ripken Jr. is now doing the same long after his retirement. While the cancer diagnosis was a frightening time in his life, he’s now using his medical scare to help warn others.

Ripken revealed his diagnosis during a Zoom interview with reporters Thursday. He shared how he never experienced any symptoms, but a slight change in his testing levels during a routine appointment led to his doctor calling for a biopsy.

Fortunately, the decision to be cautious paid off. He didn’t require any radiation or chemotherapy and is now cancer-free after undoing surgery in March. While he didn’t disclose his medical battle at the time, he is now sharing it with the hope it inspires others to look out for their own health.

“When I started thinking about it and the reality of the situation,” Ripken said, via The Baltimore Sun. “It’s a positive outcome and a positive situation and a positive story to tell other people to make sure they get their regular physical.”

Throughout his Hall of Fame career, Ripken always showed the ability to fight through whatever challenges he faced to stay on the field and be with his teammates. Unsurprisingly, he carries that same approach to life.

Cal Ripken Jr’s career stats and records

A second-round pick in the 1978 MLB Draft, Ripken would prove to be one of the biggest draft steals in the history of sports. Not only that, he is one of the rare athletes to spend his entire Hall of Fame career with one team, setting countless records in the process.

Ripken made his MLB debut on Aug. 10, 1981, and the course to MLB history would begin less than a year later. When he sat out second game of a doubleheader on May 29, 1982, no one knew at the time it would be the last game he would miss for nearly two decades.

He took the field on May 30, 1982 and that’s the moment when an unbelievable record began. Whereas many once thought Lou Gehrig’s record of consecutive games played would stand forever, Ripken went on to break it.

On Sept. 6, 1995, Ripken took the field and broke Gehrig’s record. He played in the 2,131st consecutive game of his career, creating a new stretch of baseball immortality. By the time Ripken’s streak finally came to an end, he played in 2,632 consecutive games, a record that no other player will come close to.

When his 21-year MLB career came to a close in 2001, there was no questioning his place in MLB history. He finished with 3,184 hits, eight Silver Slugger Awards, two AL MVPs and a 1983 World Series ring.

After retiring from the game following the 2001 season, Ripken was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame with 98.53% of the vote in his first year on the ballot.