Both Cal Ripken Jr. and his brother Bill wept openly as they eulogized their father, who died Thursday of lung cancer at age 63. Both played for Cal Sr. during his years as a coach and when he managed the Orioles in 1987 and part of the 1988 season.
In the most touching moment of the ceremony, Cal Jr., whose record consecutive games streak of 2,632 is seen as a model of strength and perseverance, hugged and consoled his daughter Mariah as she read a tearful good-bye message to "Pop Pop."
"People say we were not an emotional family," Cal Jr. said as he wiped aside his own tears. "Maybe we've changed that today. We did not have a lot of exchanges a handshake, a look. We didn't say `I love you' all the time, but we all knew that we loved each other. In the hospital, we said it enough times to last a lifetime. Dad, we love you."
Cal Jr. wept again as he recalled the first day he took his own son Ryan to the ballpark to impart for the first time the pregame rituals and traditions Cal Sr. had preserved and passed on to him.
"How he loved putting on his uniform," Cal Jr. recalled. "He was never happier than when he was wearing that uniform. It was the hardest thing for him to take off at the end of the day. He called it his work clothes."
Bill Ripken also bared his emotions as he recalled how his father's work ethic and sense of pride were embodied the Ripken family. In addition to Cal Jr. and Bill, Cal Sr. also had a son, Fred, and daughter, Ellen.
More than 300 people filled the Grace United Methodist Church.
The mourners included Orioles principal owner Peter Angelos, Orioles players B.J. Surhoff and Harold Baines, coaches Elrod Hendricks and Eddie Murray, and former Orioles pitcher Scott McGregor. Ripken Sr. was also eulogized by Baltimore lawyer and sports agent Ron Shapiro, state Sen. Robert Hooper and former Orioles coach Jimmy Williams.
He was buried in Bakers Cemetery at Aberdeen.
©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed