Reader: Ray Oyler played only one season as a Seattle Pilot; why was he so popular?

From Bill Reader at the Seattle Times on April 3, 2019:

“CAN YOUR DAD come out and play catch?”

Kathy Oyler, who turned 8 in the summer of 1969, heard that a lot when she answered the door at her family’s apartment at Bellevue Estates. Grown men asked if Ray could throw the baseball around with their sons. Neighborhood kids came by all the time. Maybe just a quick autograph? Her dad always said yes.

Seattle was crazy about the Pilots, its first Major League Baseball team. Their 31-year-old shortstop, Ray Oyler, was the city’s first Major League Baseball hero. Which is kind of weird, because the Pilots certainly had better players. Seattle was different then, smaller, the kind of place where folks knew where the ballplayers lived and didn’t think twice about dropping by to visit. Maybe Oyler was a different kind of hero, too.

The former Marine was a joker, a loving husband and a playful father, beloved by teammates. An old friend says, “Ray Oyler was just a damned good guy.” But, boy, was he a bad hitter.

Maybe that’s why he was such a favorite.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: April 5, 2019. Last Updated: April 5, 2019.