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Cal Ripken Jr. Holds 'Tip-Off' Event To Raise Money For Foundation

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Since Cal Ripken Jr. retired from baseball, he has worked tirelessly with his father's foundation to make youth sports programs available to the underprivileged nationwide.

Mike Schuh has more on an event Monday that helps fund those programs.

The Ripken Foundation has built over 50 fields, including one in South Baltimore. Such expensive transformations wouldn't be possible without money--and a lot of it.

Some of that money comes from Cal's "tip-off" event. At noon on Monday, 1,000 people crowded in to hear Ripken and some friends from college basketball shoot the breeze.

"It's sold out. Totally sold out," said Steve Salem, president, Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation.

Salem runs Ripken's foundation. He says the money raised last year helped 1 million children.

"We just want these kids to have a safe play to play whatever it is they want to play," Salem said. "And that's something that's lacking in these communities across the country."

How can they raise $300,000 at just one lunch? Cal's friends--including current Maryland coach Mark Turgeon and former coach Gary Williams--they all want to give back.

"I remember my mom saying, `Just think, you can go on and become a baseball player and then you'll have a platform to do even more good,'" Ripken said.

"I think any time you have the opportunity, like for me, basketball was very good to me over the years, so if I can give back in some ways, I do," Williams said.

The coaches say giving back is something they share, and it motivates their players.

"But I say, `Look what this guy is doing with this life. He's not playing baseball anymore. Look what he's doing.' He's going to do this a lot longer than he played baseball. So that's one of the great assets I get. We get to help Cal's foundation, which is amazing, and help a lot of people, but it winds up helping our team, too," Villanova coach Jay Wright said.

This is the fifth year that Cal Ripken Jr. has hosted the basketball lunch.

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