Little-known facts about former Daily World sports writer Ray Ryan.
• Didn’t write professionally until the age of 37, but continued until he was 85.
• Although active in Irish heritage activities, his ancestry was actually more Dutch than Irish.
• While track and field was his favorite sport, he was more accomplished as a youngster in baseball and tennis. He was proficient enough in tennis to have played the Northwest junior circuit.
• Named Hoquiam Square Garden and Sea Breeze Oval. Former Daily World Editor and Publisher John Hughes recalled some of his other inventions: “Elma’s high-scoring sharpshooter, Rod Derline, became ‘Rod the Rife, a nickname that stuck all the way to the Seattle SuperSonics. Doug Bitar, the elusive guard on one of Hoquiam’s greatest basketball teams was ‘The Lebanese Leapfrog.’ A defensive-minded Grizzly football teams was ‘The Crimson Shroud.’ Darrell Lokken, Aberdeen’s junior varsity basketball coach under Dick Dixon, was dubbed ‘The Avenger’ (for his habit of reversing previous losses).” Baseball’s Walla Walla Padres, managed by Cliff Ditto, was called “The Ditto Machine.”
• Concocted Ryan’s Laws, informal rules that govern sports and journalism. They included: In a blowout basketball game, all but one player will score. When someone is quoted as quipping something, it’s invariably not funny. The term “unanswered points” should be used only at the end of a game. When it was suggested to him that The Daily World may be the only newspaper in America that follows the latter rule, Ray sniffed, “Then we’re the only newspaper in America that does it right.”
• Favorite foods: Wishkah’s legendary Logger Burgers, Olympic Stadium’s burgers and the soft chocolate ice cream cones from Gene’s Stop & Go in Montesano.
• Fed up with reader second-guessing, once authored a column in which he predicted football games that had already been played — including such items as “a goal-line stand might decide this.” At the end of the column, he proclaimed that he had a 100 percent batting average on those predictions.
• Among the several unusual events that he covered was a Montesano-Steilacoom football playoff game extended to two days when a tear gas cannister was thrown into Centralia’s Tiger Stadium at halftime and a Raymond basketball game in which a Raymond fan came out of the stands to punch Seagull coach Rod Mitchell in the stomach (even though the Gulls won the game). He also was on hand for perhaps the only time in which a professional baseball champion was crowned in a delicatessen. Leading Eugene 1-0 in the best-of-three-game Northwest League title series, the 1978 Grays Harbor Loggers were waiting at Joe’s Italian Deli in Aberdeen for a bus to Eugene when the league president called to report that the remainder of the series had been rained out, with the Loggers declared the champions.