April 15, 2024

Ryan Minor, the Baltimore Orioles infielder who became part of baseball history when he replaced Cal Ripken at the end of his record-setting consecutive games streak in 1998, has died. He was 49.

The University of Oklahoma — where Minor starred in baseball and basketball — said he died of cancer Friday. The Orioles also released a statement on social media.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of former third baseman and longtime minor league manager Ryan Minor, who courageously fought cancer,” the Orioles said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Ryan’s family and friends at this time.”

Drafted by the Orioles in 1996, Minor made his big league debut late in the 1998 season. Then, a week later — Sept. 20 — he was thrust into the spotlight. In the team’s final home game of the season, Ripken decided to end his streak at 2,632 consecutive games. Minor started at third base for the first time in his career.

“I had no idea when I was coming to the park,” Minor said at the time.

Minor went on to play parts of four seasons for the Orioles and Montreal Expos, appearing in 142 major league games. This summer, the Delmarva Shorebirds — an Orioles minor league affiliate — made his No. 44 the first jersey number in team history to be retired. He hit 24 home runs for Delmarva in 1997 while working his way toward the majors, and he later managed the team from 2010 to 2012 and 2014 to 2017. He also had multiple stints managing the Frederick Keys.

At Oklahoma, Minor pitched and played first base. He helped the Sooners win a national title in baseball in 1994, and he was named Big Eight Player of the Year in 1995 on the basketball court. The 6-foot-6 Minor finished with 1,946 points and was drafted in the second round by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1996, the same year the Orioles took him.

The Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame recently announced that Minor would be part of its 2024 class of inductees.

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