By Aubrey Wieber
Published by Emerald Media Group on 6/3/13
Ryon Healy was easily the best player for the Oregon baseball program during their 2013 season and the main reason the No. 9 team got a national seed. Ripping the cover off the ball in a conference like the Pac-12 brings attention. Big league attention. With the season now over, Healy faces a big decision: another season at Oregon or sign with a team after the MLB draft.
“I’ve got a lot of emotions going through me right now,” Healy said. “I don’t know what my future is going to hold right now. The next week will determine it.”
Healy, a player who is rarely able to hide his emotions, was visibly sad and overwhelmed. His career at Oregon has been incredible. This season, he grew immensely as hitter and carried a poor offensive Oregon team through a brutal 60-game schedule.
His passion was never doubted. When Healy came up short in big moments, his helmet, bat and gloves often went flying as he buried his face in his hands on long walks back to the dugout.
But it wasn’t just on-field moments that shaped who Healy has become.
“Quite frankly I feel like I have learned more about life throughout these three years than I have about baseball,” Healy said. “That’s how special this program has been to my life. I’m not walking out of here with my head hanging. I’m proud to be a Duck.”
Healy has likely built strong relationships with the Oregon players and coaches and relishes his time under the tutelage of coach George Horton, but the call of the majors can be quite alluring. Especially for a junior who had a monster season.
That call was not lost on Coach Horton or Tyler Baumgartner, who openly spoke as if Healy had already signed with a team when speaking of next season.
“It’s obviously going to be tough losing Ryon and all of the other guys who are seniors or going in the draft,” Baumgartner said. “Coach (Wasikowski) and Uhlman do a good job of preparing us. We’ll be ready for next year.”
If Healy does go, the loss will take its toll off the field as well as on. Coach Horton has developed a lasting relationship with Healy he doesn’t want to see end.
“I don’t get involved in all of the recruitment,” Horton said. “But I did happen to go into his home. I fell in love with him and his family. I think besides the baseball development, he went from being a youngster to a real man and a leader and essentially carried the club offensively this year.”
If he does decide to depart for the pros, Healy claims that his time spent at Oregon has prepared him for what comes next and that he will always remember his collegiate career fondly.
“The University of Oregon was by far the best thing that has ever happened to my life and baseball career,” Healy said. “I can’t say enough thank you’s to the coaching staff and the university for really changing my life for the better.”