Roy Clark's impact on America's pastime in Tulsa

Posted at 9:24 PM, Nov 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-16 22:24:46-05

It's not the side of Roy Clark most will immediately remember, but there was a time when he helped save baseball from leaving Tulsa.

"Gee whiz, this was my heritage, my youth, everything was getting taken away from me," season ticket holder Garry Griffith said. "And it was devastating."

In 1976, the Tulsa baseball team known as the Oilers was being moved out of the city because of poor business and an old stadium. Without them, professional baseball was doomed to leave. But in the late winter of 1977, Bill Rollings and country music icon Roy Clark stepped in.

They bought the two-year-old Lafayette Drillers in the Double-A Texas League, and relocated them to Tulsa to play in Oiler Park.

"Roy is part of what you see today," said Gary Griffith. He bought season tickets for the 1977 season, and has been a season ticket holder ever since. "Because had it not been for him and his vision, where we would be, whether we would have baseball."

"He actually tried out in the early 1950s for the St. Louis Browns," said local baseball historian Wayne McCombs. "If the Browns would have signed him, we might have lost one of our greatest music stars ever."

Both Griffith and McCombs remember Roy Clark fondly for his love of baseball and his care for others.

He was a big star, but you would never know it talking to him... just a genuinely nice, decent man." Griffith said. "I thank him, as all Tulsans should thank him, and will remember him not only for the type of person he was, but for saving my love which was baseball."