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Ray Oyler Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

Born: August 4, 1938 in Indianapolis, Indiana
Died: January 26, 1981 in Redmond, Washington
Player Career
Bat: Right Throw: Right Height: 5' 11" Weight: 165
First Game: April 18, 1965 ; Final Game: October 1, 1970
Biography | show moreshow less
Ray Oyler This article was written by Richard Newhouse and is presented in part, courtesy of the Society for American Baseball Research Perhaps the greatest example of the old baseball cliché "good field, no hit," Raymond Francis Oyler was the regular shortstop for two late-1960s Detroit Tigers teams, including the world champion 1968 squad, as well as the original Seattle Pilots the following season. Ray compiled a sub-"Mendoza line" .175 career batting average—the lowest of any player to bat more than 1,000 times since the deadball era. The right-hand-throwing and -hitting Oyler, who stood 5-foot-11 with a playing weight of 165 to 170 pounds, was solid, however, defending his shortstop position. Johnny Sain said Oyler was "one of the best fielders" he saw in a half-century in the game.Significant about Ray's career, other than the lack of hitting—but a direct result of having not much of a bat to offer—was his involvement in one of the most risky managerial moves in baseball history. Mayo Smith, manager of the 1968 Tigers, inserted Gold Glove center fielder Mickey Stanley to play Oyler's shortstop position for each of the seven games of that season's World Series. Smith then could play all four of his outfielders, with the fourth, Stanley, playing shortstop. The four—Stanley, Al Kaline, Willie Horton, and Jim Northrup—were significantly better hitters than Oyler, who hit a scant .135 that season.Ray honed his skills—as a defensive whiz in his favorite game—as well as his polite and humble demeanor while growing up in Indiana. He was born August 4, 1938, in Indianapolis, to Raymond H. "Bus" Oyler and Frances M. Harrington Oyler.
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