Cal Ripken is a former professional baseball player who set the Major League record for playing in the most consecutive games; Ripken played in 2,632 during a streak that ran from 1982 to 1998. The previous record holder was Lou Gehrig with 2,131. For his feat, Ripken became known as the "Iron Man". He retired in 2001 and was elected to baseball's Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, 2007. He spent his entire career with the Baltimore Orioles.
Ripken became a special Goodwill Ambassador for the United States as announced by Condoleezza Rice on August 13, 2007. The post is a non-paying position. Ripken was the second "special sports envoy" to be named, the first being skater Michelle Kwan.