Dick Gray

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Richard Benjamin Gray

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Biographical Information[edit]

Dick Gray was signed as an amateur free agent by the Brooklyn Dodgers before the 1950 season. He was a teammate of future major leaguer Chuck Coles in both high school and college, and both were signed by the Dodgers in 1950. The 18-year-old infielder was assigned to the Sheboygan Indians of the Wisconsin State League, appeared in 124 games, had 11 home runs and hit for a .310 average. In 1951 he spent time with two clubs, playing 21 games for the Greenwood Dodgers and hitting at a .221 pace and appearing in 110 outings for the Valdosta Dodgers, where he hit .302 and led the Georgia-Florida League in runs scored with 118 and also played third base for the All-Star team.

Dick was called to serve in the Military for two years (1953-1954), during the Korean War, and arrived back in time for the 1955 season with the Fort Worth Cats of the Texas League. There he appeared in 155 games and hit at a .251 clip. 1956 saw him back with Fort Worth where he hit .285 and blasted 24 home runs, tied for the league lead by scoring 115 runs and played third for the All-Star team. In 1957 he appeared with the St. Paul Saints, hit .297 with 16 four-baggers and again made the All-Star team.

From the time the Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles, CA in 1958 until Ron Cey took hold of the third base position for a decade starting in 1973, over three dozen different players where used at the hot corner. But the very first one in that 1958 season was 27-year-old rookie Dick Gray, who arrived in the majors after his big year with St. Paul in 1957. He did hit the first home run in Los Angeles Dodgers history against the San Francisco Giants at Seals Stadium on April 16th. He went 3 for 6 with 2 runs scored and 3 RBI in a 13-1 win that day. He also had the first homer for the Dodgers in the Los Angeles Coliseum, on April 18th against those same Giants in a 6-5 win, but was sent back to St. Paul during the season. On June 15, 1959 Gray was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in return for Chuck Essegian and Lloyd Merritt. He departed the major leagues the following year after hitting .239 in 124 games overall.

Gray spent 1961 and 1962 with the Columbus Jets of the International League, hitting .264 with 12 home runs the first year but falling off to .249 and 3 homers in 1962. He decided to call it a career. Dick had spent 11 active seasons in pro baseball from 1950 to 1962. His minor league stats show a solid career performance: he appeared in 1,196 contests, went to bat 4,275 times, delivered 1,173 base hits (including 96 home runs) for a .274 minor league career batting average.

Gray made his home in Anaheim, CA and retired in 1993 from the Buena Park, CA, school district maintenance department. He passed away in 2013


Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball: Third Edition
Baseball Players of the 1950s
SABR MILB Database:page

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