Former Oklahoma All-American Ryan Minor has always been a fighter and tough competitor, but now he is fighting for something much bigger than sports.
In September, the former Sooner basketball and baseball star was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer. At the time of the diagnosis Minor learned that the cancer had spread to his liver and that he is not a candidate for surgery because the tumor is too large.
Minor has known about this for several months, but the rest of us learned about the situation in a social media post by Minor’s brother, Damon, himself a fellow OU baseball and Major League Baseball alum.
“It’s tough,” Ryan told Berry Tramel, sports columnist for The Oklahoman, in an interview last week from his home in Salisbury, Maryland. “I’ve always been the guy who could handle anything. Now you don’t really have any control.”
Minor, now 48, averaged 22.5 points a game in four basketball seasons at OU, two seasons under Billy Tubbs and two under Kelvin Sampson. He was a two-time All-American in 1995 and 1996 and Big Eight Co-Player of the Year in 1995, sharing the honor with Bryant “Big Country” Reeves of Oklahoma State. His sophomore season in 1993-94, he helped lead the Sooners to the Big 12 championship.
Although Minor was selected in the second round of the 1996 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers, he was released by the 76ers prior to the season. That didn’t seem to affect his professional aspirations because Minor was also an accomplished baseball player.
He was a member of the Oklahoma baseball squad that won the College World Series in 1994, the second national title in baseball by the Sooners. He was selected in the seventh round of the 1995 MLB Draft by the New York Mets but chose not to sign and return to school for his senior season in basketball and baseball.
The Baltimore Orioles picked Minor in the 33rd round of the MLB Draft the following year. After two seasons in the Orioles minor league organization, Ryan made his MLB debut in 1998. He will forever be remembered as the player who replaced Cal Ripken Jr. the day the latter’s MLB record consecutive games streak ended. He played four seasons in the major leagues, from 1998 to 2001. Three of those were with Baltimore and one with the Montreal Expos.
From 2006 to 2010, Minor serves as an assistant coach in the minor leagues, and from 2010-2021, he managed several minor league teams.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Ryan, his wife Allyson and their two daughters, 16-year-old Regan and 9-year-old Finley.