BALTIMORE – Baseball’s ironman overcame another obstacle this year.
Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. revealed Thursday that he is “cancer-free” after undergoing surgery for prostate cancer in March.
The Baltimore Orioles great revealed during a Zoom call with reporters that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in February, The Baltimore Sun reported.
“The surgery couldn’t have gone better,” said Ripken, who turns 60 on Monday. “The outcome couldn’t have gone better, and I’ve resumed doing everything I did before. It’s a pretty miraculous few months.”
Ripken, who holds the major league record for most consecutive games played, retired in 2001. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007. Ripken will celebrate the 25th anniversary of breaking Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games record of 2,131 on Sept. 6. Ripken finished with 2,632 consecutive games played.
“We all know people that have had different cancers and you kind of wonder, ‘How would you feel if it happened to you?‘” said Ripken, whose father, Cal Ripken Sr., died of lung cancer in 1999. “I know what that feels like now.”
Ripken said he learned of his condition during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic and said he wanted to have surgery before hospitals turned their full attention to COVID-19 patients, ESPN reported.
“The weird part is, when it first happens to you, I kept thinking, ‘I don’t want to tell anybody,’” Ripken told reporters. “It’s almost like there’s something wrong with you. I wouldn’t say the Iron Man [nickname] contributes to it, but I was the kind of person who was thinking, ‘OK, I’ll just keep this a secret.’
“But the longer you deal with it and you understand the outcome has been favorable and positive, the reason I’m letting it slip out now is I want to use the opportunity to help other people who struggle with that decision and encourage other people to go get their regular exams, get their tests.”
Tests after surgery revealed Ripken’s cancer had been confined to the prostate.
“You can resume your normal life, so I thank my lucky stars that occurred,” Ripken told reporters.