I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating recently on a project with Portland’s own Ronald J Sloy, financial advisor, philanthropist and sports legend. Ron recently sat with me for an interview about playing baseball for a public school in Portland and being drafted by Montreal.
Kent: Ron, thanks for sharing your time to inform us about your interesting baseball career here in Oregon. What got you interested in baseball and where did you get your start?
Ron: My dad got me interested into baseball at a young age. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1957/1958 as a pitcher. To this day he still holds several pitching records at Roosevelt High School in Seattle. I got my start in little league when I was 10 years old and it soon became evident to my Dad that I had some of his same qualities and athleticisms.
I hear that you’re a great all-around player in the field; during your all-star college career, what positions did you play and at which school(s)?
Ron: I was a pitcher and right fielder. In High School I played varsity baseball as a sophomore. As a junior, I was selected to the First Team All Metro as a right fielder and also First Team All Metro as a pitcher. I was Honorable Mention All State as a junior. My senior year I was selected to 1st team all state pitcher/right fielder. I helped David Douglas to win the State Championship in 1977. I pitched the State Championship Game where I hit a triple and a homerun off the wall of the Multnomah Athletic club.
Back in 1977 you were drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the fourth round, but you didn’t sign a contract. Why did you hold off?
After graduating from David Douglas I was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals as a Pitcher. I declined the contract to further my college education. I received a baseball scholarship to the University of Oregon, played Varsity as a freshman and hit clean up. As a freshman, I also made the Sigma Chi All American First Team and hit 26 doubles, which is still a University of Oregon record to this date.
Do you have any more college-baseball accomplishments?
I pitched for University of Oregon as a freshman and was 5-2. The University of Oregon cancelled baseball after my freshman year so I transferred to Mt. Hood Community College where I was first team All League NW Conference as a right fielder.
Nice. So what happened in 1979 when you were drafted by the Montreal Expos? What made you turn down the second opportunity to become a pro in the big leagues?
I was drafted after my sophomore year by the Montreal Expos as a catcher, but I was still perusing my college education and wanted to complete my education before making any major, life changing decisions. I transferred to Portland State University after receiving my Associates Degree in Marketing and ended up letting go of my major league dreams after struggling with continual (wrist) injury.
Ouch, that’s sad to hear.
It’s not that big of a deal. I enjoy where I am now in life, happy with my work, family and friends.
That’s good to hear. Do you play any other sports? I hear you hit the links from time-to-time; are you any good?
I seem to be doing fairly well as a matter of fact. Golf has always been very easy to me. I’m sure it has to do with my natural ability to hit a ball. I’m currently a scratch golfer and have never taken a lesson in my life, so I guess you could say I was self taught. I became a member of Columbia Edgewater Country Club when I was 23. Columbia Edgewater is known in the Northwest as the Players Club; in 1985 the club was rated by Golf Digest as the lowest Handicap Indexed course in the United States with 214 members having a nine or less handicap. I recently won the 2008 Member Guest for the second time in twenty years at Columbia. I also won the Playboy Golf Semi-Finals in Las Vegas last month and will be competing in Los Angeles in March of 2009 in the finals where my Wife and I will be guests of the Playboy Mansion.
That is pretty remarkable. Are we going to see you on the PGA tour anytime soon?
I doubt it, but keep tabs on me. We’ll see how things play out.