On Friday night the Delmarva Shorebirds retired a number for the first time in franchise history. No player will ever be able to wear #44 again in honor of former player and manager Ryan Minor.
Baltimore Orioles affiliate retires first number in team history
Minor was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 33rd round (981st overall) of the 1996 MLB draft. It was actually the third time he was drafted (second time by the Orioles) after being drafted in 1992 (Orioles) and 1995 (New York Mets). Both previous times Minor elected to go to / stay in college instead of sign with the teams. Minor was also drafter by the Philadelphia 76ers
After Minor signed with the Orioles he reported to the Bluefield Orioles, which were the rookie league affiliate at the time. Minor impressed in 25 games in rookie ball and was promoted to the single-A Delmarva Shorebirds for the 1997 season.
Minor's first full season in professional baseball was his most successful slashing .307/.387/.545 with a .932 OPS. He added 42 doubles, 24 homers and 97 RBI's while playing both third base and first base for the Shorebirds while leading them to their first ever South Atlantic League Championship.
Minor played most of the 1998 season with the double-A Bowie Baysox, but was such a good prospect that he temporarily bypassed triple-A and was called up to the Baltimore Orioles in September to finish the season with them. It was there that Minor had his most significant moment in the majors.
On September 20, 1998, just two years after being drafted, Ryan Minor made his third ever appearance and second start in the majors. The thing that made this appearance so significant, was that he was starting in place of the Iron Man, Cal Ripken Jr, who ended his consecutive games streak at 2,632. Minor finished the season going 6-14 in nine major league games.
Minor bounced back and fourth between the majors and minors for the next few years. He was eventually traded to the Montreal Expos for the 2001 season. Minor was not able to get back to the majors after the 2001 season but his athleticism was apparent.
He spent time in the minor league systems of the Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Dodgers and Florida Marlins. On top of playing both corner infield positions, those teams tried him in the outfield. The Dodgers even gave Minor a chance at pitching, throwing 23.0 innings in 21 appearances in 2003.
After retiring from baseball as a player, Minor returned to the game as a coach. He served as the hitting / infield coach for the Delmarva Shorebirds in 2008-09 then served as manager 2010-12 and 2014-17. Ryan also managed the Frederick Keys in 2013-14 and 2018-19 before managing the Detroit Tigers Gulf Coast affiliate in 2020-21.
Even though his major league career wasn't what he hoped, it's still impressive that he was able to have one at all after being a 33rd round draft pick. Minor has made significant contributions to the Delmarva Shorebirds as a player, coach and manager. The Shorebirds now show their gratitude by solidifying his place in Shorebirds history.