Ray Hathaway Then
|Ray Hathaway||10/13/1916||Grinville, OH||22|
Ray Wilson Hathaway wore uniform #22 like our young Clayton Kershaw.
After three years in the minors and three more with Uncle Sam, Hathaway got his chance in the big leagues in 1945, when many players were still in the service.
“We could get spaghetti for 19 cents, 29 cents with meatballs,” Hathaway said with a smile. “We lived on pasta.”
He pitched two other times in relief before being sent down to Montreal. Of Jackie Robinson, Hathaway said “”He was an outstanding player.” “After I saw him play the first game, I knew he was going to be a star. He fielded well, ran well and hit well. I thought he was ready. I thought he would be up in Brooklyn before the season was over.”
Of himself, he did not foresee a return to the major leagues. “I had already been there, and I had arm trouble. I saw the writing on the wall.” At the end of Spring Training in 1947, he approached Branch Rickey about becoming a manager. “We went to a game in Cuba. Mr. Rickey was there. I asked to speak to him. About the 5th inning, he asked, “What’s on your mind?” I told him I would like to manage. He (Rickey) asked, “How do I know you can manage?” I said “You don’t and neither do I. All I can promise is that we’ll work.” Rickey’s response was “If you are going to manage a team for me, be on my plane. I’m leaving in the morning for Miami.”
Hathaway spent his early seasons as a player/manager for the minor league affiliates of the Brooklyn Dodgers. After 1952, Hathaway took himself out of the rotation to focus primarily on running the ballclub. “The only time I pitched after that (1952) was if the pitching staff was getting their butt beat. I tried to save them.”
Hathaway managed many legends including Hall of Famers Dick Williams, Willie Stargell and Bill Sharman.
Ray Hathaway was the manager of the 1961 Asheville Tourists, champions of the South Atlantic League with an 87-50 record and considered to be the best team in Asheville history. Hathaway’s managerial career started in 1947, when he guided the Santa Barbara Dodgers to the California League Championship Series, losing to the Stockton Ports. He won the Ohio-Indiana League title as skipper of the Zanesville Dodgers in 1948. His other managerial stints include the Pueblo Dodgers in the Western League (1949-50, 1956-57), Asheville Tourists in the Tri-State League (1951, 1953-54), Newport News Dodgers in the Piedmont League (1953), Elmira Pioneers in the Eastern League (1955), Tri-City Braves in the Northwest League (1958), Columbus/Gastonia Pirates in the South Atlantic League (1959), Savannah Pirates in the South Atlantic League (1960), Asheville Tourists in the South Atlantic League (1961-64), Gastonia in the Western Carolinas League (second half of 1964), Raleigh Cardinals in the Carolina League (1965), Lewiston Broncs in the Northwest League (1967), Arkansas Travelers in the Texas League (1969), Savannah Indians in the Southern League (1970), Jacksonville Suns in the Dixie Association (1971), Portland Beavers in the Pacific Coast League (1972) and the Wilson Pennants in the Carolina League (1973). Throughout his 25-year managerial career, Hathaway won 1,441 games.
Hathaway retired as a manager in 1973, settled in Asheville and worked construction.
“I saw a lot, got to do a lot because of baseball,” he said with a wink.
Mr. Hathaway lives in Weaverville. NC
ref: Sportspool.com, citizen-times.com, Baseballhappening.com, Fairviewtowncrier.com, MLB