Ripken Baseball Family, 1988 Donruss

Names: Billy Ripken, from left, Cal Ripken Sr., Cal Ripken Jr.
Team: Baltimore Orioles
Positions: Second Base, Convalescent Home, Shortstop, respectively
Value of card: 1 cent for each Ripken
Key 1987 stat: None for Billy; many for Cal Jr.
Step 1 is Prevention: Child abuse is no laughing matter. The physical or psychological mistreatment of those younger than 18 happens in thousands of homes across the United States. There are five major categories of child abuse: neglect, physical abuse, psychological-emotional abuse, sexual abuse and baseball abuse. The latter is a growing concern among psychologists and law enforcement agencies. A majority of baseball abuse is the result of a father's dashed dreams of playing professional baseball. A boy becomes a man and longs to become a big leaguer, and when he ends up the manager of a mediocre baseball team in Maryland, he can snap. His eldest son, for instance, may be forced to become obsessed with the game, believing it is his responsibility to never take off a day, usually for about 2,632 games. This affliction can surface in the form of delusions, in which a shortstop turned third baseman, for instance, believes he is an "Iron Man," an archetypal superhero who can bat .323 with 34 home runs and 114 RBIs in 1991. Baseball abuse can also be seen in less talented siblings of "Iron Men," who under the crushing influence of a successful manager father will bounce from team to team over a 12-year career, never hitting more than four home runs in a season.


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