The following is a statement from
Northeastern State Athletics:
TAHLEQUAH — Northeastern State Baseball great Ryan Helsley will have his jersey number officially retired by the program on Saturday, November 5, in a pregame ceremony at Thomas C. Rousey Field. The 2022 Major League Baseball All-Star for the St. Louis Cardinals will be the first former NSU Baseball player to have his number retired.
The ceremony will commence prior to game four of the NSU Baseball Fall World Series, which starts at 2 p.m. A reception in Helsley's honor will also occur at Kroner and Baer in Tahlequah from 6-8 p.m.
"It is with great pleasure we retire Ryan Helsley's number; he is the first in NSU Baseball history to have this honor," said head coach James Cullinane. "Ryan has been a great representative of Northeastern State Baseball, and he's had a sensational career in Major League Baseball as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals. I've always appreciated Ryan for what he has meant to NSU, Tahlequah, and the Cherokee Nation. In the off-season, Ryan has been a constant presence in our locker room. His interactions with players at practice, in the weight room, and even traveling with the team to a road series last year have been invaluable to the program."
Helsley pitched for the RiverHawks from 2014-15, where he made 21 starts and compiled a 14-8 record. In 2015, he was fifth in the nation in strikeouts per nine innings (13.4) and led the MIAA with 95 punch-outs. Helsley also threw three complete games and tallied 151 strikeouts. He was the lone underclassman to earn a spot on the 2015 All-MIAA First Team and was named to the 2014 All-MIAA Second Team as a freshman.
His number eight has been removed from circulation since 2015, when the St. Louis Cardinals selected Helsley in the fifth round of the MLB Draft. Helsley was the first player from the MIAA, the second player from Oklahoma selected, and the fifth player in all of NCAA Division II to come off the draft board.
Helsley completed his fourth season with the Cardinals and is the first former NSU student-athlete to play in the MLB All-Star Game and make the MLB Postseason.