Baseball legend Cal Ripken Jr. speaks at Salem State Wednesday

SALEM – Baseball legend Cal Ripken Jr. will speak at Salem State College on Wednesday.Ripken, slated for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame later this year, is the latest celebrity to address the audience as part of the college’s 25th annual Speakers’ Series. The program at the O’Keefe Sports Center, 72 Canal St., begins at 8 p.m.”In an age when true heroes are increasingly difficult to find, baseball legend Cal Ripken Jr. stands as a real American icon,” said college spokesman Margo W. R. Steiner, noting that the former Baltimore Oriole shortstop and third baseman, nicknamed the “Iron Man,” has become synonymous with strength, character, endurance and integrity.”In his 21 years with the Orioles, Ripken repeatedly smashed records. One of only eight players in history to achieve 400 home runs and 3,000 hits, he also broke Lou Gehrig’s record for consecutive games played (2,130) in 1995, going on to eventually play in 2,632 consecutive gamesbefore voluntarily ending his streak.”According to Steiner, in 2002, Ripken’s 2,632nd consecutive game was named the most memorable moment in the history of baseball.Considered as the player who redefined the position of shortstop, Ripken retired from baseball in 2001, but continues to speak about leadership, loyalty, patience and perseverance – all important life qualities he learned through baseball. He has authored several books, including “Parenting Young Athletes the Ripken Way: Ensuring the Best Experience for Your Kids in Any Sport.”Ripken will speak on “The Ripken Way.”The speakers’ series this year also includes former President George H. W. Bush, who will join the slate of celebrities at Salem State College on Tuesday, May 15, for the second time since 1994.The format allows Bush to engage in conversation with Channel 5 television anchorwoman Natalie Jacobson as part of his presentation.Bush has been in the political limelight most of his life. After graduating from Yale and founding an oil and gas company in Texas, he ran for Congress, winning a seat in 1966. During the 1970s, Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford named Bush to a series of high-profile appointments – ambassador to the United Nations, chairman of the Republican National Committee, envoy to China, and director of the CIA. Bush ran against Ronald Reagan in the 1980 Republic primaries and lost, then agreed to serve as vice president. The two served two terms.In 1988, Bush won the Presidency. Under his watch, the Cold War ended, the Soviet Union ceased to exist, the Berlin Wall fell, and Eastern Europe and the Baltic States became free.Since leaving office, he has maintained a low profile, forming an unlikely partnership with former President Bill Clinton, through which they lead the U.S. response to the Indonesian tsunami in 2004. The following year, they teamed to again to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.The series wraps up Thursday, June 7, with a talk by acclaimed author Tom Wolfe, known for his witty, incisive social commentaries on life in our time.One of the most requested speakers in the nation, Wolfe secured his reputation as “The father of New Journalism” early in his career and continues to enjoy extraordinary success and popularity. His ability to put names to cultural phenomena have led to widespread adoption of “the right stuff,” “radical chic,” “good ol’ boy” and “the Me Generation” – all terms coined by Wolfe.The publication of his first book, “The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine Flake Streamline Baby,” in 1965 help catapult him to literary fame. His later successes included “The Right Stuff,” “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test,” “The Pump House Gang,” “Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers,” “From Bauhaus to Our House,” “Bonfire of the Vanities” and “A Man in Full,” all bestsellers.Wolfe won the 1979 American Book Award for general non-fiction for “The Right Stuff,” his account of the early days of NASA and its test pilot jockeys, and the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award from The

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