Cal Ripken Jr. was linked to the Nationals’ managerial vacancy last fall, though Mike Rizzo said he never interviewed the Orioles legend before hiring Matt Williams. With the MLB draft beginning Thursday, there’s another Ripken who could fit into Washington’s plans.
In Tuesday’s Washington Times, Thom Loverro considers the possibility that the Nationals could draft Cal’s son, Indian River State College left-handed first baseman Ryan Ripken. Hey, we’re all getting old.
Yes, time has passed by that quickly, and Cal Ripken’s son — Ryan, the 2-year-old Cal lifted in his arms and held that historic night when he broke Lou Gehrig’s consecutive game record at Camden Yards 19 years ago — is now a 20-year-old, 6-foot-6 junior college ballplayer.
He has attracted the attention of a number of teams in this 2014 draft, and one of them is believed to be the Nationals — who seriously considered hiring his father as manager. Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo and Cal have developed a mutually respectful relationship with one another.
Wouldn’t that be a kick in Baltimore’s behind?
Loverro notes that the Orioles are believed to be another one of the teams interested in Ryan. The O’s selected him in the 20th round of the 2012 draft after he batted .377 with 25 RBI as a senior at the Gilman School in Baltimore, but he opted to honor his commitment to South Carolina.
After failing to make the Gamecocks’ 35-man roster as a freshman, Ripken transferred to Indian River in Fort Pierce, Fla. Ripken, who isn’t projected to be an early-round pick, hit .321 with one home run and 24 RBI for the Pioneers this season.
Seeing “RIPKEN” across the back of a non-Orioles jersey is somewhat strange, but it’s not nearly as jarring as the thought of “MAIER” in black and orange, a rumored possibility leading up to the 2006 draft that didn’t come to fruition.