BALTIMORE -- Cal Ripken, who shattered a baseball record once considered unbreakable, will retire after this season.
''It's something that Cal has been working through and agonizing over. There's been a lot of thought, but the timing just felt right,'' Ripken spokesman John Maroon said Monday night.
Ripken, who turns 41 in August, revealed his decision earlier in the day in an interview with The Washington Post.
''It's inevitable that you can't play forever,'' the third baseman told The Post. ''I've maximized my window of opportunity as well as anyone. (Baseball) has given me a lot of joy and happiness and satisfaction. I'm proud of what I've been able to do.''
Ripken broke Lou Gehrig's record of 2,130 consecutive games played on Sept. 6, 1995, and extended the streak to 2,632 straight games before voluntarily ending the streak on Sept. 20, 1998.
There were three reasons why Ripken chose to make this his final year, Maroon said.
2001 photo of Baltimore Orioles' Cal Ripken. Ripken said Monday, June 18, 2001, he intends to retire at the end of the season, The Washington Post reported on its Web site. ``It's inevitable that you can't play forever,'' Ripken told the Post.
''Cal wants to spend more time with his kids and his family. He is passionate about youth baseball -- he runs a program -- and he has a great deal of respect with the way the Orioles are going about their business,'' Maroon said. ''He sees the team rebuilding, and he doesn't want to inhibit their progress.''
Ripken, reduced to a part-time player because of the team's youth movement, is hitting just .210 this year with four homers and 25 RBIs. He is one of seven players in major league history with 3,000 hits (3,107) and 400 home runs (421).
''I'm ready to do other things,'' Ripken told the Post. ''I'm ready to be home and be available to my kids and family. ... I'm sure I'll miss certain parts of (playing). But when you put your heart and soul into it at the level I have every single day, you can minimize some of your regrets.''
Ripken's final chance to play at home would be Sept. 23 against the New York Yankees. The Orioles finish the season Sept. 30 at Yankee Stadium.
Ripken said he made his decision two or three weeks ago, but waited ''just to make sure'' it was not a fleeting feeling.
Ripken had spoken about delaying such a decision in order to avoid a farewell tour, but his feeling on that may have changed.
''I think rather than fight it, he's thinking, 'Let me enjoy the last few months of my career and see what happens.''
Said Ripken: ''What I really want to see happen for the rest of the year is to thoroughly enjoy the game, what I've been doing my whole life, for what it is.''
Ripken has said he wants to run a major league organization, similar to the way Michael Jordan has become the president and part-owner of the NBA's Washington Wizards.
''I want to be able to test my philosophies about a whole organization,'' he told the Post. ''I've gathered a lot of information. ... I've kept my eyes open and watched the evolution of baseball. And I would love at some point to have the opportunity to test those philosophies.''
Ripken was the American League rookie of the year in 1982 and was selected league MVP in 1983 and 1991. He won a World Series championship with the Orioles in 1983.
In 1990, Ripken set a record for shortstops with a .996 fielding percentage, making just three errors in 161 games. He moved to third base in 1997.
In 1999, Ripken and Ernie Banks of the Chicago Cubs were selected as the shortstops for baseball's ''All-Century'' team.
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