Stewart Companies

Ribbon Cutting Held for Ripken Foundation One-Hundredth Youth Development Baseball Park

Twelve years ago, Lewis Contractors partnered with the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation to construct their first Youth Development Baseball Park at the site of the former Memorial Stadium to benefit the kids and community around 33rd Street in Baltimore. It was here that Baltimore’s “Iron Man” Cal Ripken Jr. began his major league baseball career. Cal is best known for breaking Lou Gehrig’s streak of 2,131 games by reaching 2,632 consecutive games over his career.

Also groundbreaking is that Cal Jr.’s twenty-one year career was with a single baseball team, where he was coached by his father and counted his brother as a teammate. Today, after working with the Foundation on nearly a dozen other parks, Lewis celebrated a ribbon cutting at BGE Field presented by Kelly Benefits at Reedbird Park, which was, in fact, the Foundation’s one-hundredth such field nationwide. Lewis stood beside the Foundation as the construction manager for this landmark achievement.

BGE Field presented by Kelly Benefits at Reedbird Park, as it is known, is located in the Cherry Hill section of Baltimore, a gateway to South Baltimore, a neighborhood now emerging as a symbol of successful redevelopment in the city. The multi-purpose turf field is the first phase of a greater redevelopment effort which, when completed, will have a new health and wellness center and other athletic fields to be used by residents, Cherry Hill schools league and sports teams and likely other Baltimore City Schools who are not fortunate enough to have fields of this caliber themselves.

When ground was broken on the first Youth Development Baseball Park at Memorial Stadium, Senator Frank Kelly challenged Cal Jr. and his brother Billy, a former Oriole, to build fifty such parks in five years. Now, just twelve years later, the brothers and the Foundation honoring their father, Cal Sr., have completed one hundred parks, 16 in Maryland and others in 26 states throughout the country. Founded in 2001 to honor the legendary Orioles coach and mentor’s leadership, work ethic, and dedication to personal responsibility and healthy living, the Foundation developed these parks to provide educational life skills curricula for adult leaders to engage and serve America’s youth. In partnership with corporations, foundations and donors, the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation positively impacts the lives of thousands of at risk young men and women each year.

The Ripken brothers, Senator Kelly, Mayor Brandon Scott and other dignitaries celebrated the successful completion of this new turf field project. Work to the health and wellness center continued in concord with Lewis’ work and is scheduled for completion in spring 2022.