Ryan Minor, the Baltimore Orioles infielder who replaced Cal Ripken at the end of the Hall of Famer’s record for consecutive games played, died on Friday at the age of 49.
“After a courageous and hard fought battle I’m sad to say that Ryan lost his fight with cancer this afternoon,” his twin brother, Damon Minor, posted on X. “He truly was the best twin brother you can ask for. His family and I want to thank everyone for the prayers and support during this time. BOOMER SOONER.”
Drafted by the Orioles in 1996, Minor made his big league debut late in the 1998 season. Then, a week later — on 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.
“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 in a statement on X. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Ryan’s family and friends at this time.”
This past 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 2010-12 and 2014-17. He also had multiple stints managing the Frederick Keys.
In a statement, the Shorebirds said the team was “deeply saddened” by his death and offered its condolences to his family and friends.
Minor attended the University of Oklahoma, where he starred in baseball and basketball. 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 school’s athletic department remembered Minor as a “two-sport standout.”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Ryan’s family,” the Sooners said in a statement. “May he rest in peace.”
The Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame recently announced that Minor would be part of its 2024 class of inductees.
He is survived by his wife, Allyson, and their two daughters, the University of Oklahoma Athletics Department said.