Retiring major-league all-star baseball players Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn will slide safely into comfortable retirement packages.
Mr. Ripken, who is an infielder for the Baltimore Orioles, and Mr. Gwynn, an outfielder for the San Diego Padres, have announced their intentions to retire at the close of the 2001 baseball season. Each could receive pension benefits of $140,000 a year from the Major League Baseball Players Benefit Plan when he turns 67, said a source with the Major League Baseball Players' Association, who declined to be identified. Players who have played more than 10 seasons receive the maximum benefit, according to the source. And if they got in a hurry, the 41-year-old players could choose to start drawing their pension benefits at age 45. The Major League Baseball Players Benefit Plan has $2.1 billion in defined benefit assets and $81 million in defined contribution assets, according to the Money Market Directory.
Mr. Ripken is a 21-season baseball veteran who has spent his entire career with the Orioles. On May 30, 1982, he played in the first of 2,632 consecutive games, the longest streak in baseball history, according to Major League Baseball's website. In addition, Mr. Ripken has been elected to the American League All-Star team 16 times.
Although they played in different leagues, Mr. Gwynn - who has spent his entire 20-season career with the San Diego Padres - has faced Mr. Gwynn in numerous All-Star games. With the exception of 1988 and 2000, he has played in every All-Star game since 1984. With a career batting average of .338, Mr. Gwynn leads all active baseball players, and he is 18th on the all-time batting average list in the major leagues.