Ray Haley

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Raymond Timothy Haley

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Biographical Information[edit]

Ray Haley was the first major leaguer to come from Western Illinois University, and the only one in the first half of the 20th Century. He began his professional career with the Richmond Pioneers of the Blue Grass League in 1911. After three more minor league seasons, he moved to the major leagues at the start of 1915.

He was a fourth-string catcher on a couple of very strong Boston Red Sox teams, on 1915 and 1916; ahead of him on the depth chart were Pinch Thomas, Hick Cady and Bill Carrigan, which explains why he played only 5 games for the Sox in his rookie season. After one early-season appearance with Boston in 1916, he was sent down to the minor league Buffalo Bisons, then showed up with the Philadelphia Athletics on July 31st, on loan from Buffalo. He got to play more often for his new team, logging 34 games for them in 1916 and another 34 in 1917. Strangely, a trade formalizing his move to Philadelphia did not take place until September 2, 1916 with Boston receiving OF Jimmy Walsh in return. In 1917, he backed up Wally Schang, alongside future big league manager Billy Meyer.

Haley was drafted into the United States Army in November 1917 and was stationed in Camp Custer, Michigan for most of 1918. With World War I over, he was not demobilized however, as his unit was sent to Arkhangelsk in northern Russia as part of the Allied expeditionary force sent to contain the expansion of the new Communist government. Conditions were very difficult and the effort to reverse the tide of history was not particularly successful. Raymond mustered out in August of that year. He signed with the minor league Milwaukee Brewers before the 1920 season, but did not play as apparently his throwing arm had lost its strength during two years of inactivity. He moved to the Wichita Witches of the Western League in 1921 and 1922. He then played for the Nashville Vols in 1923 after Wichita owner Frank Isbell dismantled his team. He married after the season then moved to the Reading Keystones of the International League in 1924, then spent three more seasons with the renamed Wichita Izzies and Wichita Larks from 1925 to 1927. In 1926, with the team in last place, he replaced manager Howie Gregory on August 14th and completed the season at the helm.

In 1928, Haley was player/manager for the Terre Haute Tots of the Three-I League and in 1929 he moved to the Wheeling Stogies of the Middle Atlantic League. In 1930, he moved to the Raleigh Capitals of the Piedmont League and in 1931 was back in Wheeling, where he played his last few games while managing the team. He did not continue in baseball after retiring as a player, instead going to work for the Illinois State Penitentiary in Joliet, IL.

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