Muscogee Creek citizen family the only Oklahoma family to have two-generations play Major League Baseball.
By: Dr. John Winters, Submission to The Mvskoke News
DEWAR, Oklahoma-For decades, Wiley Ryal, proud Muscogee Creek Nation citizen and Dewar native, had led countless young men and women and his family as one of Oklahoma’s most decorated high school coaches. All the while, Coach Ryal garnered many community, state and national coaching accolades for coaching and mentoring many eastern Oklahoma children and his own children to sport championships and productive lives.
Coach Ryal has been named to five Oklahoma halls of fame and won state high school championships for over 30 years with stops at Dewar, Inola, Henryetta and back to Dewar. In Wiley’s playing days, this Creek citizen was one of the most heralded players in eastern Oklahoma. After completing high school at Dewar High School, Wiley graduated from Northeastern State University and was a leading student-athlete on the men’s basketball team.
At Dewar, Ryal coached his son Mark who played professional baseball for eight years after being a third-round pick by the Kansas City Royals. At Henryetta, Ryal coached future Dallas Cowboys’ great Troy Aikman. The Ryal family is now Oklahoma Baseball royalty and joins the great Allie Reynolds as among the greats of the Muscogee Creek Nation sport celebrities that brings great pride to the Muscogee Creek Nation and the state of Oklahoma.
Mark Ryal, the son of Dewar coach Wiley Ryal started his 16-year major league baseball career in 1982 when he played for the Kansas City Royals. That was followed by the Chicago White Sox (1985), California Angels (1986-87), Philadelphia Phillies (1989), Pittsburgh Pirates (1990) and even the Chunichi (Japan) Dragons. He also served one season as a scout for the Royals in 2005.
In 2019, Mark was inducted into the Buffalo Bisons (AAA) Hall of Fame. Mark Ryal delivered Buffalo’s only American Association batting title, pacing the circuit with a .334 average that still ranks as the third-best single-season mark in the team’s modern era. Ryal added 34 doubles, nine home runs and 49 RBI in 109 games during his year that garnered him both midseason and postseason All-Star nods as well as the Bisons Stan Barron Most Valuable Player award.
Rusty Ryal, son of Mark and grandson of Wiley Ryal, extended the Ryal family baseball excellence with his career that also ended in professional baseball. While in high school, Rusty began to be noticed by college coaches and professional scouts playing at Perry (OK) High School. Rusty finally considered Oklahoma, Fresno State, SMS and Wichita State before selecting Cowley County (KS) Community College.
He played two seasons at Cowley County Community College and a NJCAA second team All-American in 2003. He continued his baseball career at Oklahoma State University where in 2004 he started 54 games and hit for a .300 average, 7 HR, 43 RBI for the Cowboys. Rusty Ryal in the 2005 MLB Amateur Draft was selected with the first pick of the 14th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Five years later, Rusty made Oklahoma baseball history making his Major League Baseball (MLB) debut August 10, 2009, for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
In Rusty’s first MLB at-bat that day he got a pinch hit single off Elmer Dessens in the 8th inning against New York Mets. Rusty’s professional baseball career spanned over ten seasons through 13 stops in the minor leagues, foreign leagues in Japan and Venezuela, and the major leagues with the Arizona Diamondbacks organization.
On that day in August 2009, Rusty thrusted the Ryal family into Muscogee Creek Nation and Oklahoma baseball history making the Ryal family the first Oklahoma native family and Muscogee Creek citizen family the only Oklahoma family to have two-generations play Major League Baseball.
Mark and Rusty credited their excellence to the family patriarch, Wiley Ryal.
“My dad instilled the knowledge and will power in me to reach my potential in all things in my life. And I tried to instill the same in my son, Rusty,” said Mark.
It is time to declare this Creek Nation family as gem in the crown of Oklahoma baseball royalty. No other Oklahoma family has achieved such generation excellence as the Wiley Ryal family. This family has reached great heights in baseball and continues to make positive contributions to the communities in which they live today. Wiley has retired to Henryetta, Mark is currently the head softball coach at Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, Texas and Rusty is a successful business entrepreneur in Edmond now. So, it is time to salute this family and help them take their proper place in Oklahoma baseball history as Oklahoma Baseball royalty as “Oklahoma’s Only Generation MLB family”.