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Ryan Minor, former Orioles infielder who replaced Cal Ripken Jr. to end streak, dies at 49 after cancer battle


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Ryan Minor, a former Orioles and Expos infielder best known for replacing Cal Ripken Jr. in 1998 to snap his record streak, has died at 49 after a battle with colon cancer, the team announced Friday.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Ryan’s family and friends at this time,” the Orioles said in a statement.

Minor was a two-sport star in high school and was drafted by the Orioles in the 15th round of the 1992 draft. He instead chose to attend the University of Oklahoma, where he played both basketball and baseball there. In basketball, he was an All-American and twice led the Big Eight in points per game. He was the 1995 Big Eight player of the year. On the diamond, he was named to the All-Tournament team as Oklahoma won the College World Series. He was taken after his junior year in the seventh round by the Mets, but chose to stay in school for his senior year. 

Out of college, Minor was selected in the second round in the 1996 NBA draft by the 76ers and the 33rd round by the Orioles in the MLB draft. He tried his hand with basketball and appeared in several preseason games with Philadelphia before being released. He also appeared in a more than 30 Continental Basketball Association games before leaving for Orioles’ spring training. 

Minor made his major-league debut in 1998 and that’s where his claim to fame happened. He was the starter for the Orioles in place of Cal Ripken Jr. on Sept. 20, 1998, which snapped Ripken’s MLB-record consecutive games streak at 2,632. Minor went 1 for 4 in the game. 

Minor would appear in 87 games over the course of three seasons for the Orioles and then 55 games for the Expos in 2001. 

After retiring from his playing career, Minor had a lengthy career coaching and managing in minor-league baseball in the Orioles’ system and then the Tigers’.

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