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Brotherly Love and Competition

By Jon Miller
Special to The Washington Post
September 06, 1995

The essence of Cal Ripken the ballplayer: Doing whatever it takes to win. That's what I think of when I look back at 13 seasons of watching him play. Not The Streak, but rather the dedication to winning. Not playing every day, but keeping himself fit and being prepared to play every day.

A couple of years ago when Billy Ripken went to Texas, I asked him what he would do if he was heading to second and had to try and take out his brother to prevent a double play."I'd go in hard and try to hurt him!"Billy declared.

"In fact,"he continued,"I've been waiting my whole life to really get him a good one!"Then Billy showed me a small scar on his face and said,"See this, that's from Cal's game Sack The Quarterback' when we were kids."

It seems the idea of the game was Billy, as the quarterback, to pick up the football and try to keep from getting annihilated by Cal, who was a foot taller and 50 pounds heavier.

The Ripken saga was starting to look like"East of Eden."Said Billy:"I'm not thinking What if it happens.' I'm counting on it happening."

Which is not to say they're not still the best of friends and very close. It's just that the brothers Ripken seem to share that family legacy of competitiveness, the desire to win.

Since coming to Baltimore in 1983, Jon Miller has never broadcast an Orioles game in which Cal Ripken wasn't starting shortshop.

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