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By Adrian and Georgiana Havill
The Washington Post
Sunday, July 5, 1998; Page E04

The Ripken Family Museum in Aberdeen, Md., might well be called the Ripken Family Values Museum. When Cal Ripken Jr., the Orioles' number 8, played his record-shattering 2,131st consecutive game before the likes of President Clinton and Vice President Gore on Sept. 6, 1995, the most important spectators were his father, mother, wife, son and daughter. The museum is, appropriately, located in Cal's home town of Aberdeen, a city that's been home to three generations of Ripkens--and one in which more than half of its 14,000 citizens can claim to have gone to high school with a family member.

The museum, which opened in 1996, is located in a little stone house that also includes City Hall, with a 10-foot statue of Cal Jr. out in front. Inside is a tribute to what locals consider the first family of baseball, featuring memorabilia that showcases the whole clan. The travels of Cal's father, Cal Sr., a journeyman baseball manager and coach, are chronicled. Each summer, matriarch Vi Ripken would pack the boys--Cal Jr., Fred and Billy--and their sister, Elly, and head off to a small town somewhere in America to join her husband.

A poignant picture shows Vi clutching Cal Jr. and Fred on her lap in a baseball stadium in another Aberdeen--this one in South Dakota.

The Ripkens seem to have saved everything. Remember the time in 1985 when Cal Jr. sprained his ankle and played third base wearing a cast? Yep, the ankle cast is here. There's also a lineup card filled out by Cal Sr., one-time Orioles manager, in which both Cal Jr. and Billy were starting players.

The Ripken Family Museum is a work in progress--particularly since Cal Jr. plays in his 16th consecutive All-Star Game this week. Eventually, plans call for City Hall to move out, and the exhibits will expand beyond the existing one-room gallery.

The Ripken Family Museum (3 W. Belair Ave., Aberdeen, Md., 410-273-2525, is open daily through Labor Day from noon to 3 p.m. (11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays). Admission is $3. Take I-95 north to Exit 85, then turn onto Route 22 East. At the Route 40 ramp, head west; the museum is at the corner of Route 40 and Belair Avenue. For more information, call the Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce, 410-272-2580.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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