The 100 Greatest Angels - #73, Johnny Ray

#73 - Johnny Ray - 2B

Career Stats

Johnny Ray was a lot like our recent honoree Angel Jerry Remy - they both played a few seasons in Anaheim at 2nd Base and did a serviceable job there. Johnny is a little higher up on this list because he hit for a higher average overall, hit .306 in 1988 (20th best single season Angel mark) and had 42 doubles that year (tied for 3rd place all time Angel single season). The fact that he ended the Mark McLemore experiment/debacle is reason enough for him to make this list. The fact that he was a solid contributor during lean times bumps him up to #73...

Rob McMillin of the 6-4-2 L.A. Baseball Blog has the story...

An early 80's song by a one-hit wonder notwithstanding, Johnny Ray, neither poor nor old, started his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1981. As such, the switch hitter was the Pirates' first National League Rookie of the Year in 1982. He came to the Angels during yet another point when the team's faith in their rookies had hit a nadir, the 1987 season in which it was forced upon them. "Johnny Ray has been, is and will be a first-class player," Gene Mauch crowed on the announcement of the trade. "He's an All-Star caliber second baseman, right in the middle of his prime." So he was: Ray was one of the toughest to strike out in either league (his 22.2 AB/SO in 1983 and 24.8 AB/SO in 1985 were tops in the NL), led the NL twice in doubles, and once in games played -- a perfect 162 in 1982.

Starting 1988 as the team's left fielder, he resumed starting at second after Mark McLemore went down with elbow soreness that would disable him from the end of May through mid-August. Probably his best single game was an April 21, 1988 game against the Mariners in a 11-6 drubbing in which he drove in six runs. An All Star that year, he beat out Wally Joyner and Chili Davis as the Angels' sole representative in the midsummer classic. The gap hitter's power declined steadily until he retired from the majors in 1990, made irrelevant by a trade for Luis Sojo. He later signed a two-year contract to play with the Yakult Swallows in the Japanese leagues.

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