Ryan Minor, a celebrated two-sport star hailing from the University of Oklahoma, passed away on Friday after a valiant battle with Stage IV colon cancer. The news was shared by his twin brother, Damon Minor, on social media, leaving the sports community and fans mourning the loss of a versatile athlete and a beloved figure. Ryan Minor was 49 years old.
A Dual-Sport Phenom
Before his successful professional career, Ryan Minor left an indelible mark on both the basketball court and the baseball field during his tenure at the University of Oklahoma. Averaging over 20 points in his junior and senior years, he showcased his prowess on the basketball court and was a key player in leading the Sooners to a national title in 1994 on the baseball diamond.
Drafted by both the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and MLB’s Baltimore Orioles, Ryan exemplified his two-sport talent. His accomplishments on the basketball court included being a two-time Big Eight scoring champion and the conference’s Player of the Year in 1994-95. On the baseball field, he played a pivotal role in the Sooners’ 1994 College World Series national championship, a momentous achievement in the program’s history.
Pro Career and Legacy
After being selected by the Orioles in the 1996 MLB Draft, Ryan Minor played three seasons in the big leagues, making notable contributions to the team. However, he etched his name in baseball history when he stepped into Cal Ripken Jr.’s spot in the lineup on September 20, 1998, effectively ending Ripken’s record streak of consecutive games played at 2,632. His impact extended beyond his playing days, as he later became a minor league coach and manager for the Orioles in 2006.
Despite his successes, Ryan remained humble, acknowledging the lasting impact of his time as a Sooner. In an interview last year, he expressed gratitude for the support from the people of Oklahoma, emphasizing their unwavering loyalty to athletes who passed through the university.
The Battle Against Colon Cancer
Ryan Minor’s brave battle against Stage IV colon cancer began in the fall of 2022. Despite facing the formidable adversary, he exhibited resilience and strength throughout the year-long struggle. Damon Minor, in a poignant post on X, acknowledged his brother’s courageous fight and expressed gratitude for the outpouring of prayers and support from well-wishers.
A Legacy of Excellence
Ryan Minor’s legacy extends far beyond the statistics and accolades. Described as the “ultimate warrior and fierce competitor” by his former coach Kelvin Sampson, Ryan’s impact on and off the field resonated with those who knew him. His versatility, determination, and sportsmanship left an enduring mark on the sports world.
Tributes Pour In
As news of Ryan Minor’s passing reverberated through the sports community, tributes poured in from colleagues, friends, and fans. Notable figures like Houston men’s basketball coach Kelvin Sampson and Oklahoma State softball coach Kenny Gajewski paid their respects, remembering him as a phenomenal athlete and a cherished friend.
Details In Short:
- Time of Death: The former two-sport star died in the afternoon.
- Age: At the time of his passing, Ryan Minor was 49 years old.
- Announcement: Damon Minor, his twin brother, shared the sad news on X (formerly known as Twitter).
- Diagnosis: Ryan was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer in the fall of 2022.
- University and Achievements: Ryan was a standout athlete at the University of Oklahoma, excelling in both basketball and baseball.
- Drafted by NBA and MLB: Ryan was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1996 NBA Draft and the Baltimore Orioles in the 1996 MLB Draft.
- Notable Baseball Moment: Ryan famously replaced Cal Ripken Jr. in the Orioles’ lineup, ending Ripken’s consecutive games played streak.
- Post-Playing Career: After his playing days, Ryan became a coach and manager in the minor leagues, including the Orioles system.
Ryan Minor is survived by his wife, Alyson, and their two daughters, Regan and Finley. As the sports world mourns the loss of a true two-sport legend, the memories of Ryan’s accomplishments, resilience, and the indomitable spirit he displayed both on and off the field will endure.
A1: Ryan Minor excelled in both basketball and baseball at the University of Oklahoma. He was a two-time Big Eight scoring champion in basketball and played a crucial role in leading the Sooners to a College World Series national title in 1994.
A2: Ryan Minor made history in baseball when he replaced Cal Ripken Jr. in the Baltimore Orioles’ lineup on September 20, 1998, ending Ripken’s record streak of consecutive games played at 2,632.
A3: After his playing career, Ryan Minor became a minor league coach and manager for the Baltimore Orioles in 2006, contributing to player development within the organization.