Robbie Hammond is the hardest throwing pitcher in theBabe Ruth League. But what good is all that heat when he can’t seem to find the plate? With Robbie struggling, the Orioles are suffering through a nightmare season, still looking for their first win. Robbie's teammates are whispering that the only reason he’s even pitching is because he’s the coach’s kid. They’ve even given him a new nickname: Ball Four.
Cal Ripken, Jr. was a shortstop and third baseman for the Baltimore Orioles for his entire career (1981-2001), a rare occurrence in Major League Baseball today. Nicknamed "The Iron Man" for his relentless work ethic and reliability on the field, Ripken is most remembered for playing a record 2,632 straight games over 17 seasons, shattering the record previously held by Lou Gehrig at 2,131. He was a 19-time All Star and is considered to be one of the best shortstops professional baseball has ever seen. In 2007 he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, after earning the third highest voting percentage in Hall of Fame history. Mr. Ripken is CEO of Ripken Baseball, Inc., (www.RipkenBaseball.com), a company dedicated to growing the game of baseball at the grassroots level, and the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation (www.RipkenFoundation.org), which uses baseball as a tool to help underserved youth. He currently lives in Maryland with his wife, Kelly, and two children, Rachel and Ryan.Kevin Cowherd is an award-winning sports columnist with The Baltimore Sun. He has also written for Men's Health,Parenting, and Baseball Digest magazines and is the author of a collection of columns,Last Call at the 7-Eleven. He has coached youth baseball, basketball, and soccer teams for many years. He lives near Baltimore, Maryland with his wife and three children.