Visit to Japan of Cal Ripken, Jr.

Nov. 1, 2011

The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, and Ripken Baseball, Inc. are pleased to announce the visit of U.S. baseball legend Cal Ripken, Jr. to Japan, Nov. 8-16.

Cal Ripken is baseball's all-time "Iron Man" having played in 2,632 consecutive games during his 21-year career with the Baltimore Orioles. In 2007 the 19-time All-Star and 2-time American League Most Valuable Player was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, receiving the most votes in history. Mr. Ripken is one of only eight players in Major League history to amass over 3,000 hits and 400 home runs.

Mr. Ripken became a Special Public Diplomacy Envoy for the U.S. Department of State in 2007 and has traveled to China (2007) and Nicaragua (2008) to promote mutual understanding and spread goodwill through sports. Joining Mr. Ripken on the trip to Japan is his former teammate and 15-year Major League veteran Brady Anderson. Mr. Anderson finished his playing career in 2002 with 210 career home runs, 1,661 hits and 1,062 runs scored. He was a three-time American League All-Star.

"One of the great honors that has been bestowed upon me is being named as a Public Diplomacy Envoy by the Department of State,” said Mr. Ripken. "Our trips to China and Nicaragua have been wonderful and memorable and I am excited to visit Japan and meet some of the children and people who had their lives greatly impacted by the tsunami and earthquake earlier this year. Sports have a way of bringing people together and I hope that I can put a smile on their faces and provide a bit of encouragement to them."

In August 2011, Mr. Ripken welcomed a group of 16 young Japanese baseball and softball players to the United States, where they participated in clinics and teambuilding exercises with their American counterparts and attended the 65th Little League World Series. Mr. Ripken, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Japanese Ambassador to the United States Ichiro Fujisaki all highlighted the role of sports in empowering young people worldwide, and reiterated America's support for Japan as the country recovers and rebuilds in the wake of the tragic events of March 11.

During his visit to Japan, Mr. Ripken will be conveying similar messages as he conducts baseball clinics and other events for Japanese youth at several sites around the country, including Tokyo, Ofunato, Nishinomiya, and Kyoto. Mr. Sachio Kinugasa, Japan's own "Iron Man," will be accompanying Mr. Ripken to a number of these clinics. Mr. Ripken also is scheduled to throw out the first pitch at a Girls Professional Baseball League game in Kyoto.