It was a cold and blustery morning in Harford County. Not a day exactly made for a ballgame, but that didn’t stop hundreds from making their way to St. Ignatius Roman Catholic Church in Jarrettsville to say goodbye to Ernie Tyler.
The man, who was an Orioles employee since their first season in 1954 and umpires attendant since 1960, died at 86 on Thursday.
The stories about Ernie and kind words from so many have been pouring in ever since and today was a time for a final goodbye.
The mourners included Orioles owner Peter Angelos and his wife, along with Cal Ripken Jr., Nick Markakis, B.J. Surhoff, Mike Bordick and Ken Singleton. The service was attended also by many O’s employees and media members along with the many family and friends of the man who once worked 3,819 consecutive games.
Former O’s pitcher and current Aberdeen IronBirds pitching coach Scott McGregor was asked by the family to say a few words and he delivered a beautiful eulogy.
“Through this whole ordeal, we had been telling people he’s climbing the mountain. Well, he made it. He made it to the mountain top and he will rest there for all eternity,” McGregor said, quoting Tyler’s son, Jim.
“I just realized the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow wasn’t filled with gold at all, it’s full of friends. Thank you all for being so kind, dad will continue to fill our hearts with love and joy,” McGregor said, repeating the words of Tyler’s son, Phil.
McGregor said today was the celebration of a life.
“Ernie served in the armed forces in the Air Force, from Jan. 16, 1943 to April 6, 1946. Wouldn’t you believe it, but he got a good conduct medal. Go figure,” he said. “Ernie also got the World War II victory ribbon and in 2004 he was inducted in the Orioles Hall of Fame for the Herb Armstrong Award, which was very, very fitting for his life.
“It was said by Jim Palmer that Mr. T could bring a smile to any room he stepped into. I’ve been thinking about that and if I had a wife, 11 kids, 27 grandkids and 6 great-grandkids, there’d be a smile on my face anytime I could get away from them and get to the ballpark. No wonder he had that pep in his step all the time,” McGregor joked.
McGregor repeated a quote that came from Brian Roberts: “What Ernie represented was really the epitome of dedication, class, hard work and loyalty. Those are the words that stand out in my mind. I look at him and he was so dedicated to his family, the organization and anyone he came into contact with.”
He also read quotes from Angelos, Palmer, longtime umpire Richie Garcia, Boog Powell and Earl Weaver.
McGregor was fighting back tears when he ended his eulogy this way:
“Maybe we should rename Camden Yards as Ernie Tyler Stadium, because Ernie Tyler represented every thing that every family in the city of Baltimore should want to stand for. Ernie has left us, but he will never die. Because he continues to impact lives for generations to come.”