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Iron Man Cal Ripken Jr. goes to bat with a business to promote the joy of baseball.

By Steve Cooper

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Imagine never missing a day of work in more than 15years--pushing the ball forward through sweltering weather, astrike and even a death threat. Cal Ripken Jr. did just that,playing in 2,632 consecutive Major League Baseball games from 1982to 1998 and shattering Lou Gehrig's 56-year-old record.Throughout his 21-year career, Ripken stepped up to the plate morethan 11,000 times and had over 3,000 hits.

After setting down his bat in 2001, Ripken turned hisperseverance and love of baseball into a business. He'spresident and CEO of Ripken Baseball, a Baltimore-based sales andmarketing business with five divisions: Ripken Management &Design, Ripken Youth Camps and Clinics, the Cal Ripken Sr.Foundation, the Aberdeen IronBirds, and IronClad Authentics. Thesesubsidiaries offer everything from baseball programs forunderprivileged children to sports collectibles.

"I honestly believe the joy of baseball is felt at thegrass-roots level. Very few people go to the big leagues,"says Ripken, "but all these people can enjoy baseball for therest of their lives."

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