It was 19 years ago — and about 30 degrees warmer — when Cal and Billy Ripken played in the last game at Memorial Stadium. But on Tuesday, when they replanted home plate in its old spot off East 33rd Street, the past returned as if on a welcome summer breeze.
“It does make you think of all the memories you have of playing here,” Cal Ripken Jr., said after a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new youth baseball diamond opening in the old home of Baltimore’s Orioles and Colts.
“My favorite one is hitting my first home run and shaking Dad’s hand,” Ripken said of his father, Cal Sr., then the third base coach and later manager of the Orioles. “No words were exchanged, but it was a good moment for a dad and a son.”
Joining the Ripkens to cut the red ribbon stretched across the new home plate were Gov. Martin O’Malley, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger and other supporters of the $1.5 million project.
The funds were raised by the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, which was started by the Ripken brothers in honor of their late father and dedicated to bringing baseball to disadvantaged youths. The project received $400,000 from the state’s Program Open Space funds.