Violet "Vi" Ripken, mother of Hall of Fame player Cal Ripken Jr. and his brother, fellow MLB player Billy Ripken, has died, a family spokesperson confirmed to the Associated Press. She was 82. Ripken died in her hometown of Aberdeen, Maryland.
"We want to thank everyone for the tremendous outpouring of affection towards our mom and our family during this difficult time," the Ripken family said in a statement. "Mom was an incredible woman who touched so many people throughout her lifetime. The void that she leaves in our lives cannot be filled but what she gave us has shaped who we are today and our memories of her will last the rest of our lives."
"We are deeply saddened to learn about the passing of Vi Ripken," the NFL's Baltimore Ravens said in a statement. "The Ripkens are engrained in the fabric of the greater Baltimore community, and Vi played a significant role in helping establish their family's strong legacy. We extend our heartfelt condolences to her children and grandchildren during this sorrowful time."
Ripken did volunteer work with the Orioles and also in Aberdeen. The Harford County Boys & Girls Club named a baseball field in her honor in 2014, and the Aberdeen IronBirds, Baltimore's High Class-A minor league affiliate, play at Ripken Stadium.
In 2012, Ripken was kidnapped at gunpoint near her home in Maryland and was driven around blindfolded by her abductor. She was found unharmed 24 hours later and the case was never solved.
Cal Jr. played 21 years in the big leagues from 1981-2001 and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on the first ballot in 2007. Vi was in attendance when Cal broke Lou Gehrig's consecutive games played record in 1996. Billy played 12 years in MLB from 1987-98 and was Cal Jr.'s teammate with the Orioles from 1987-92.
Vi Ripken married Cal Sr. in 1957 and they had four children: Cal Jr., Billy, a third son Fred, and a daughter Elly. Cal Sr. played four seasons in the minors and managed Cal Jr. and Billy with the O's from 1987-88. Cal Sr. died in 1999.