Partnership with Ripken to enable preservation of the field where the legendary Babe Ruth honed his baseball skills
Aerial view rendering of Gibbons Commons. Visit Saint Agnes’ online newsroom to view more photos and a close-up rendering.
Saint Agnes Hospital and the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation are teaming up to save the field on which Babe Ruth played as a young man. The partnership is part of Saint Agnes’ vision for the former site of Cardinal Gibbons School, which the hospital purchased from the Archdiocese of Baltimore in 2012. The 32-acre site will soon become a mixed-use development, featuring green space, community services, recreational facilities, and grand housing, which will provide affordable housing to grandparents who are raising their grandchildren.
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“Our vision is to create a community asset unlike any other,” says Bonnie Phipps, president and CEO of Saint Agnes Healthcare. “The vision for Gibbons Commons was to create an innovative plan consistent with the needs of Southwest Baltimore, ensuring the health and spirit of our community continues to grow. Honoring the past, we are partnering with key community members like the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation to ensure the creation of an environment that is respectful to those who left their fingerprint on this community. We are delighted to have Cal and his team on board, and we look forward to driving the plan for Gibbons Commons and this historic baseball field to fruition together.”
The field will be positioned on the exact site where the legendary slugger played baseball in the early 1900s, with home plate in the same location as it was when Babe played there.
The partnership between Saint Agnes and the Cal Ripken, Foundation was a natural fit, as both organizations share a similar commitment to community. With a goal of building Youth Development Parks across the country to provide at-risk youth clean, safe places to play and learn, the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation has been able to complete 14 of these parks to date.
Cal Ripken, Jr., Baseball Hall of Famer and co-founder of the Foundation, joined Saint Agnes at their Annual Caritas Gala on Saturday, April 13th to announce and share the plans for the field. He shared, “Baseball is deeply rooted in Baltimore’s history and it’s an honor to be part of one of the most historical sites in the sport. This field, consistent with the mission of the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, will inspire so many young people, and it will help educate them about leadership, work ethic, responsibility, and healthy living. We are looking forward to making the field a great place for youngsters to have fun and to connect with these vital life lessons.”
For more than 160 years, the Gibbons site has transformed the lives of thousands of young people. As the site of two Catholic institutions, the land has been home to many boys, serving as the foundation to grow into powerful, spiritual and giving men. The site first served as the Saint Mary’s Industrial School for Boys (1866-1950), a Catholic school and orphanage. St. Mary’s most notable alumnus was Babe Ruth, who arrived there in 1902 at the age of 7 and was a resident for the next 12 years. It was there that he honed his skills at baseball that later made him a legend in the sport.
Saint Mary’s successor, Cardinal Gibbons School opened in 1966 and was renowned as a powerhouse for academics and athletics in southwest Baltimore. The school closed in 2010. Many of those alumni are part of the Saint Agnes Medical Staff, and the hospital has been working closely, in partnership, with the alumni community as it continues to build on the vision for Gibbons Commons.
Gibbons Commons will be built on historical ground. It is inspired by the Orders of Brothers who served the students there and by the legacy and vision of the Daughters of Charity who founded Saint Agnes in 1862.
“We are fortunate to have strong relationships with the community at large and those groups and individuals who have been so dedicated to preserving its legacy,” states William Greskovich, VP of Operations and Capital Projects at Saint Agnes. “Gibbons Commons will build upon that legacy to create a hopeful, healthy future for our community.”
Greskovich added that plans for Gibbons Commons are currently under review by Baltimore City and that the organization is thankful for the strong relationship with the City with aligned goals of improving the health of our communities.
The Saint Agnes Foundation in partnership with the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, shared their joint fundraising goal for the development of Babe Ruth Field at Gibbons Commons is $1.5 million, of which $1.4 million has been raised. Fundraising is being managed by the Saint Agnes Foundation.
About Saint Agnes Hospital
Founded by the Daughters of Charity in 1862, Saint Agnes Hospital is a 296-bed hospital currently completing a $200 million-plus expansion emphasizing patient safety in a high quality healthcare environment. Saint Agnes is the oldest Catholic hospital in Baltimore, Maryland and is a full-service teaching hospital with residency programs in medicine and surgery. The hospital’s key institutes include the: Cancer Institute; Cardiovascular Institute; Maryland Metabolic Institute; Orthopedic & Spine Institute; Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery; and The Bunting Health Institute for Women & Children. Saint Agnes opened the first Chest Pain ED in the world more than 30 years ago, and continues to expand and grow its Emergency Services. www.stagnes.org
About the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation
The Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation uses baseball- and softball-themed programs to help build character and teach critical life lessons to underserved youth residing in America’s most distressed communities. Founded in 2001 by members of the Ripken family in memory of their patriarch Cal, Sr., the Foundation works to create programs that positively impact at-risk youth through active community partnerships with America’s most successful youth service organizations. The Ripken Foundation uses the baseball and softball field to help teach life’s critical lessons such as perseverance, loyalty, nutrition, hard work and leadership to young people residing in disadvantaged communities. In 2012, the Foundation impacted more than 154,000 youth in 47 states around the country through Badges for Baseball and have completed 14 youth development parks, with plans to build 50 over five years.