May 5, 1880|
|Died: October 24, 1970
East Pennsboro Township, Pennsylvania
|May 8, 1902, for the Baltimore Orioles|
|Last MLB appearance|
|July 21, 1902, for the Baltimore Orioles|
|Runs batted in||6|
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. 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. 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. He died in East Pennsboro Township, Pennsylvania.
Shortest home run in history
In 1953, sportswriter Jocko Maxwell published an article in Baseball Digest describing the shortest home run in baseball history. 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. 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. Oyler was able to complete an inside-the-park home run before any opposing players were able to find the ball. Maxwell's article indicated that the story was originally told by WWRL radio station in Woodside, New York. This story was repeated by sportswriter Bill Bryson, Sr. in Baseball Digest in 1958. Another version of the story, as told by Halsey Hall, had Oyler chopping at a low pitch and sticking the ball into the mud 5 1⁄2 feet from home plate.
Baseball historian Stew Thornley is skeptical of the story of Oyler's home run, pointing out that no contemporary news reports described the incident. Other modern reference sources recount the story without caveat.
The story was the subject of a book of baseball lore by Michael G. Bryson called The Twenty-Four-Inch Home Run. It was also the inspiration for the children's book, Mudball by Matt Tavares, which won the 2005 Parents' Choice Awards Gold Award. In the "Author's Note" Tavares describes the story of Oyler's home run as being folklore.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Andy Oyler.|
- "Andy Oyler". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved May 18, 2013.
- Maxwell, Jocko (April 1953). "Inch-hit Homer!". Baseball Digest. pp. 29–30.
- Bryson, Bill (October 1958). "The World's Shortest Home Runs". Baseball Digest. pp. 67–68.
- Thornley, Stew (September 1991). "Halsey Hall: Baseball's Consummate Story Teller". Baseball Digest. p. 77.
- Thornley, Stew (2006). Short Home Runs: Mythical and Real. Baseball in Minnesota: the Definitive History. Minnesota Historical Society. p. 51.
- Stewart, Mark; Mike Kennedy (2006). Long ball: the Legend and Lore of the Home Run. Milbrook Press. p. 49.
- Bryson, Michael G. (1990). The Twenty-Four-Inch Home Run. Contemporary Books.
- Tavares, Matt (2005). Mudball. Candlewick Press.