Andy Oyler

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For other people with this last name, see Oyler.
Andy Oyler
Andy Oyler.jpg
Outfielder
Born: (1880-05-05)May 5, 1880
Newville, Pennsylvania
Died: October 24, 1970(1970-10-24) (aged 90)
East Pennsboro Township, Pennsylvania
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
May 8, 1902 for the Baltimore Orioles
Last MLB appearance
July 21, 1902 for the Baltimore Orioles
Career statistics
Batting average .221
Home runs 1
Runs batted in 6
Teams

Andrew Paul (Pepper) Oyler (May 5, 1880 – October 24, 1970) was a Major League Baseball third baseman. He was born in Newville, Pennsylvania and attended Washington & Jefferson College.[1] He played professionally for the Baltimore Orioles in the 1902 season. In 27 professional games that year, he had 77 at-bats with 17 hits and one home run.

He batted and threw right-handed. He was small in stature and was an excellent fielder, but not a good hitter.[2] Even so, he was difficult to pitch to, since he would crouch "pretzel-like" in the batter's box to make his strike zone smaller.[2] He died in East Pennsboro Township, Pennsylvania.

Shortest home run in history[edit]

In 1953, sportswriter Jocko Maxwell published an article in Baseball Digest describing the shortest home run in baseball history.[2] Maxwell described a baseball game where Oyler, as a shortstop for the Minneapolis Millers, was crouched in the batters' box in the bottom of the 9th and ducked to avoid a pitch thrown at his head.[2] The ball hit off of Oyler's bat, which was still resting on his shoulder, and became stuck in the mud in front of home plate.[2] Oyler was able to complete an inside-the-park home run before any opposing players were able to find the ball.[2] Maxwell's article indicated that the story was originally told by WWRL radio station in Woodside, New York.[2] This story was repeated by sportswriter Bill Bryson, Sr. in Baseball Digest in 1958.[3] Another version of the story, as told by Halsey Hall, had Oyler chopping at a low pitch and sticking the ball into the mud 512 feet from home plate.[4]

Baseball historian Stew Thornley is skeptical of the story of Oyler's home run, pointing out that no contemporary news reports described the incident.[5] Other modern reference sources recount the story without caveat.[6]

The story was the subject of a book of baseball lore by Michael G. Bryson called The Twenty-Four-Inch Home Run.[7] It was also the inspiration for the children's book, Mudball by Matt Tavares, which won the 2005 Parents' Choice Awards Gold Award.[8] In the "Author's Note" Tavares describes the story of Oyler's home run as being folklore.[8]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Andy Oyler". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved May 18, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Maxwell, Jocko (April 1953). "Inch-hit Homer!". Baseball Digest. pp. 29–30. 
  3. ^ Bryson, Bill (October 1958). "The World's Shortest Home Runs". Baseball Digest. pp. 67–68. 
  4. ^ Thornley, Stew (September 1991). "Halsey Hall: Baseball's Consummate Story Teller". Baseball Digest. p. 77. 
  5. ^ Thornley, Stew (2006). Short Home Runs: Mythical and Real. Baseball in Minnesota: the Definitive History (Minnesota Historical Society). p. 51. 
  6. ^ Stewart, Mark; Mike Kennedy (2006). Long ball: the Legend and Lore of the Home Run. Milbrook Press. p. 49. 
  7. ^ Bryson, Michael G. (1990). The Twenty-Four-Inch Home Run. Contemporary Books. 
  8. ^ a b Tavares, Matt (2005). Mudball. Candlewick Press.