Longtime Orioles umpires attendant Ernie Tyler passed away on Thursday night, the club announced Friday. He was 86.
Tyler worked 51 seasons for the Orioles, including a streak of 3,819 consecutive home games as umpires attendant at Memorial Stadium and Oriole Park, from Opening Day 1960 through July 27, 2007.
"For over half a century, Ernie Tyler was an integral part of the Orioles' organization," Orioles managing partner Peter Angelos said in a statement. "Ernie's kindness, loyalty and commitment to his work and to the Orioles defined who he was both at the ballpark and in his personal life. Ernie will be greatly missed by all who knew him, and on behalf of the club I extend my condolences to his wife, Juliane, and his family."
Born April 30, 1924, Tyler graduated from Baltimore's Mount Saint Joseph High School and began as a part-time usher at Memorial Stadium during the Orioles' first season in 1954. He then became a full-time usher in 1958 and was named umpires attendant in 1960. His tasks as umpires attendant included assisting umpires before, during and after O's games, and meticulously rubbing game balls with mud.
In 2004, Tyler was named winner of the Herb Armstrong Award, presented by the Oriole Advocates' Hall of Fame Committee to non-uniformed personnel who distinguish themselves in service to the O's.
His streak of 3,769 consecutive regular-season games, 40 postseason contests, nine exhibition games and one All-Star Game through 48 years ended for just one reason -- Cal Ripken Jr. requested that Tyler be his guest during his induction to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Tyler returned to his post immediately after Hall of Fame weekend and worked with the club for three more seasons until his death.
Tyler is survived by Juliane, his wife of 64 years, and 11 children -- Theresa, Regina, Phil, Jim, Ernie Jr., Mary, Judy, Michael, Fred, Chris and Michelle. Ernie, Juliane and seven of their children worked for the Orioles at one point, and sons Jim and Fred currently serve as the home and visiting clubhouse managers, respectively.
A viewing will be held Sunday and Monday from 3 p.m.-5 p.m. ET and 7 p.m.-9 p.m. at Evan's Funeral Chapel, 3 Newport Dr., Forest Hill, Md. Mass of Christian Burial will be held Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. at Saints Ignatius Roman Catholic Church, 533 East Jarrettsville Rd., Jarrettsville, Md. Interment will follow at Bel Air Memorial Gardens, 809 Rock Spring Rd., Bel Air, Md.
Expressions of sympathy can be sent to: Jimmy Tyler and Freddie Tyler, Baltimore Orioles, 333 West Camden Street, Baltimore, Md.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and 'The Show,' and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.