Ron Tyler, NHS Class of 1953
By: Ed Ackley/ Tom Rowe
Editors note: Today’s article is part two in a series of profiles on this year’s Norwich Sports Hall of Fame induction class. The fourth annual induction ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, May 3 at Canasawacta Country Club.Reservations forms are available at the Norwich Middle School or may be downloaded from the school website at www.norwichcsd.org.
Conceptualized in 1933 during the bowels of The Great Depression, the radio series “Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy” was created by General Mills to bring the downtrodden citizens of the United States some much-needed optimism, if only for an hour a week. Approximately one year later, Ron Tyler, the second of three children to Ken and Esther Tyler, was born in South Otselic. And, by the time he graduated from Norwich High School, he would epitomize the hero of that Wheaties-sponsored serial to the max.
Tyler, who along with his family moved to Norwich in 1936, not only exhibited outstanding athletic ability in three sports throughout his Tornado career, but found time to serve as a class officer two years – vice president his senior year – and as a member of the student council three years. The handsome Purple prodigy, who exuded a wholesome nature, also served on the NHS athletic council, as well as on the boosters club. All of these factors contributed to his induction into the fourth class of the Norwich High School Sports Hall of Fame.
A resident of the south side of the city, Tyler’s first introduction to organized, competitive sports came as a member of the YMCA Reserves and later as part of the Y Juniors basketball teams, basically seventh and eighth graders.
“As a young lad, he was a part of the famous Jones Avenue gang,” recalled teammate and now fellow Hall of Famer John Stewart. “He certainly was the most handsome, blond-haired, blue-eyed student/athlete of the time.”
After serving as manager of the junior varsity football team, Tyler enjoyed his first taste of high school sports competition on the jayvee basketball squad. But, it was in the spring of his freshman year when Tyler’s legacy began to bloom as a member of the baseball nine. He and fellow frosh Don Chirlin both earned varsity letters – the first of four each would earn. The highlight of that season was Norwich’s 5-4 victory over Oneonta, the Yellowjackets’ only loss of the year. This triumph set up an interesting scenario for the next three years as the Tornado won five straight games versus their Route 23 rivals, with the 1953 Purple team, that went 11-1, suffering their only loss to the Yellowjackets by a 3-1 count. Paybacks are always just around the corner.