BALTIMORE (AP) — In many ways, the timing was perfect when the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation held a ceremony at a Baltimore middle school Thursday.

Ripken, the late father of the Hall of Fame shortstop with the same name, has been on the minds of many Orioles fans this week.

That’s because prized prospect Jackson Holliday was called up to the major leagues Wednesday, and the infielder is wearing No. 7 for the Orioles. That was Ripken Sr.’s number, and it hadn’t been worn by a member of the team since he was still coaching in 1992.

Cal Ripken Jr. said he got a call Wednesday morning from Fred Tyler, the Orioles’ clubhouse and equipment manager, about giving the number to Holliday.

“It kind of brings back Dad’s contribution, Dad’s name, how much he loved the Orioles,” said Ripken Jr., who was at Thursday’s event at Lansdowne Middle School in Baltimore. “All those things kind of come flooding back, and I think that’s all positive.”

Holliday is the 21st Orioles player to wear No. 7, according to Baseball Reference. That does not include Ripken Sr., who never played in the big leagues but was a manager and coach in Baltimore. When Billy Ripken reached the majors in 1987 with the Orioles, it meant Ripken Sr. was able to manage both him and brother Cal Jr. on the same team.

Billy Ripken was the last Baltimore player to wear No. 7, doing so in 1988. That was the year Ripken Sr. was fired as manager, but he would return to the team as a coach.

Ripken Sr. died in 1999. The foundation bearing his name works to strengthen underserved communities. On Thursday, the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation and Exelon Foundation held a ceremony at Lansdowne to launch a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) center. The opening marked the 500th STEM center for the foundation.

“It’s good to celebrate numbers as points in your success,” Ripken Jr. said. “But then you also, it will give you new goals. … The 500 is a big, round number. We’re extremely proud of that, in a relatively short period of time, and we’re going to continue to build youth development parks to create those opportunities for kids.”

The Orioles were in Boston when Holliday made his debut, but they’re back home Friday night to start a series against Milwaukee. That was already going to be an interesting three-game set after the Brewers traded star pitcher Corbin Burnes to Baltimore during the offseason. Now the anticipation also includes Holliday’s home debut at Camden Yards.

Holliday’s No. 7 is the same number his father, Matt, wore for much of his big league career. Jackson Holliday was the No. 1 pick in 2022 draft, and nowadays, fans can easily track the progress of a prospect like that as he moves through the minor leagues.

“There is a little bit more of a buildup,” Ripken said. “That goes both ways. When you’re learning, sometimes you’re struggling, you’re making mistakes, and you don’t want anybody to see you learning. But then once you get good, you like all the attention in the world.”

Ripken made his debut on Aug. 10, 1981. He entered the game for the Orioles as a pinch-runner in the 12th inning — and scored the winning run on a hit by John Lowenstein.

There were certainly bigger stories around baseball at the time. That was the first day of games after a lengthy strike interrupted the season, and it was also the day Pete Rose broke Stan Musial’s National League record for career hits.

Holliday, on the other hand, drew plenty of attention when he made his debut. He didn’t seem daunted.

“He’s 20 years old, but you saw him in the interviews last night — very poised, very confident in what he’s doing. He wasn’t overwhelmed by the big leagues,” Ripken said. “He might’ve been pressing just a little bit, because how can you not when the excitement is generated like that? But he’ll settle in and he’ll do well.”

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