Ray Boone

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Raymond Otis Boone

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Biographical Information[edit]

“I always considered him a sound hitter. He isn’t fooled often. Have you noticed how he guards the plate and tries to hit to right field when the count is two strikes? Other hitters would profit if they did this instead of taking that last wild swing.” - Charlie Gehringer, to The Sporting News, September 23, 1953

A star in his own right, the patriarch of one of baseball's most successful families, Ray Boone, played 13 seasons in the majors, twice being named to the All-Star team. A versatile infielder who played a lot of third base, shortstop and first base, he also had power and on-base ability, finishing in the top ten in the league in OPS+ four times, yet he was always overshadowed by other star-studded teammates.

Originally a catcher, Boone was signed by the Cleveland Indians in 1942 and made his minor league debut that summer. After missing 1943 through 1945 while serving in the military, he came back to baseball in 1946 and was converted to shortstop the next summer. He was called up to the majors in 1948 to replace injured Indians shortstop Lou Boudreau and soon took over the starting role. Boone hit grand slams for both the 1953 Indians and 1953 Tigers against the Browns; the next player to hit grand slams against the same opponent for two different teams would be Mike Piazza in 1998.

Traded to the Detroit Tigers during the 1953 season, Boone was moved to third base and went on to have one of his finest seasons at the plate, hitting .296 with 26 home runs and 114 RBI while finishing eighth in MVP voting. He was an All-Star in 1954 and tied for the American League lead with 116 RBI in 1955. He hit a career-best .308 and made the All-Star team for a second time the following summer. An extremely good clutch hitter while in Detroit, he was arguably one of the best overall Tiger third basemen of the past century, and shared star power with teammates Harvey Kuenn and Al Kaline. Moved to first base in 1958, Boone was traded to the Chicago White Sox during that season. He finished his career with stints with the Kansas City Athletics, Milwaukee Braves, and Boston Red Sox.

Considered one of the handsomest men in the majors during his career, Boone was blessed with a good eye at the plate and was fairly difficult to strike out. He finished his career with a higher than average OBP of .361. After his playing career, Boone was a long-time scout for the Boston Red Sox, signing Curt Schilling and Todd Pratt among others.

Boone was the father of Bob Boone (and minor leaguer Rod Boone) and grandfather of Bret Boone and Aaron Boone (and minor leaguer Matt Boone). The Boone family is the only one in baseball history that has three generations who made an All-Star Game, played in the World Series, and hit 100 career home runs. Additionally, his daughter Terry was a swimmer who attempted to qualify for the 1968 Olympics. Ray died of a heart attack in 2004 at age 81.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 2-time AL All-Star (1954 & 1956)
  • AL RBI Leader (1955)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 4 (1953-1956)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 2 (1953 & 1955)
  • Won a World Series with the Cleveland Indians in 1948

Further Reading[edit]

Related Sites[edit]