Ryan Minor, the Orioles infielder who replaced Cal Ripken Jr. on the night the Iron Man streak ended, died Friday, his brother Damon announced on social media.
Ryan Minor battled colon cancer, and last month he entered hospice care. Minor was 49.
Minor starred in basketball and baseball at Oklahoma before he was drafted by the Orioles in 1996. He made his debut two years later, and he finished his career with 142 major league appearances across four seasons (three in Baltimore, one with the Montreal Expos).
He was most famously known for replacing Ripken in the lineup to end his streak of consecutive starts at 2,632.
Minor had been in the major leagues for just 11 days when he was called upon to replace Ripken and end The Streak. When manager Ray Miller told Minor he’d be in the lineup instead of Ripken, Minor’s reaction was apt: “Does he [Cal] know?”
“I looked at [Ripken] and said, ‘Thanks for the opportunity,’” Minor told The Oklahoman at the time. “He looked at me and said, ‘Go get ’em.’”
“I was extremely nervous. I can’t say I wasn’t,” Minor said after the game, according to the paper.
In a statement, Ripken said: “Ryan and I shared a wonderful moment but I’ll always remember him as a friend and a terrific teammate. He made a positive impact on everyone who knew him.”
Minor, who played baseball with Damon at Oklahoma, won the College World Series with the Sooners in 1994.
“He truly was the best twin brother you can ask for,” Damon Minor wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. “His family and I want to thank everyone for the prayers and support during this time.”
Ryan Minor was drafted into both the NBA and MLB. After his playing career, Minor began coaching baseball in 2006 and joined the Orioles’ minor league coaching staff in 2008.
Minor, a 6-foot-7 basketball player who earned Big Eight Conference co-player of the year honors while a Sooner, played seven preseason games for the Philadelphia 76ers after he was drafted. He didn’t make the team, but he continued with the Oklahoma City Cavalry of the Continental Basketball Association while also training in baseball.
Soon, he’d get a call to spring training with the Orioles.
Over the summer, the Delmarva Shorebirds retired Minor’s No. 44 jersey — the first retired jersey in the Orioles’ Single-A affiliate’s history.