Ripken said yesterday that it was all about spending more time with his family. He remembered what it was like when baseball took his father away for long periods. Now, he can stay home and watch his kids grow up.
"I'm not sad at all," said Hendricks. "In fact, I'm happy for him because he can spend more time with his family. He knows the importance of his dad not being there when he was a kid and his mom had to do all the traveling and the teachings while his dad was working. But you haven't seen the end of Cal. He'll be involved in baseball in some capacity."
He may make himself scarce at the end of the year, but he won't be forgotten by the group of young players who have looked up to him during a sometimes difficult Orioles rebuilding project.
"He's been our team leader," said up-and-coming second baseman Jerry Hairston. "It's sad for us but positive for him. He's done everything you can do in this game. More power to him. He's got to be proud of what he's done. I can tell my grandkids one day, `I played with Cal Ripken.' They're going to be like, `Yeah, right,' but I'll have proof.' I don't think it's a sad day. I think it's a positive day."
Reports from other newspapers contributed to this article.