Ray Wilson Hathaway
Born: October 13, 1916 (Greenville, Ohio)
Died: February 11, 2015 (Asheville, North Carolina)
Ray Hathaway was a right-handed pitcher from Ohio who spent two seasons in the minor leagues in Canada. In the midst of his time in Canada, he had a brief call-up with the Brooklyn Dodgers, appearing in four games in 1945.
The right-hander pitched three seasons of minor-league ball before signing up for duty in the Second World War. He served with the 6th United States Naval Mobile Construction Battalion, known as Seabees for the CB initials. Hathaway was awarded a Bronze Star for his role in the bloody Guadalcanal campaign.
At the war’s end, the 6-foot, 165-pound pitcher revived his pro career. He gained a spot in the Brooklyn Dodgers bullpen coming out of spring training in 1945, but saw action in only four games. In his lone start, he had the misfortune to give up three unearned runs in the first inning to the Chicago Cubs before tiring in the sixth. The Dodgers optioned Hawthaway (0-1) to Montreal on May 1. The pitcher had thrown nine innings, giving up 11 hits, four earned runs, including a home run, as well as six walks and three strikeouts. He’d never return to the majors though he’d not pitch in his final pro game until 1965.
Hathaway went 10-8 with the Royals in 1945 with a 4.06 earned-run average. He showed his value in the playoffs, defeating the Baltimore Orioles twice in the opening round of the International League playoffs. In Game 6, he outdueled veteran Orioles hurler Ralph Kress, who had a no-hitter until the ninth, when he surrendered a single and eventually lost the game, 1-0, when his shortstop dropped a pop up with two outs and Montreal’s Roland Gladu on second. Hathaway had only given up two hits, both singles, one of them struck by Kress.
The Royals advanced to face the Newark Bears in the finals, losing the Governors’ Cup championship in seven games. Hathaway took the win in Game 3 of the series, coming on in the fourth inning and scattered three hits as the Royals won, 9-5, with a late burst. He got shelled as the starter in Game 6 of the final, got the hook in the third inning, but did not get saddled with the loss as his Royals teammates rallied for an 11-10 victory.
The pitcher went 1-2 with the Royals in 1946, a campaign in which Jackie Robinson made his Organized Baseball debut and the Royals avenged their defeat in the Governors’ Cup series the previous season. By then, however, Hathaway was pitching up the river with the Trois-Rivières Royals under playing manager Frenchy Bordagaray, a former major leaguer. Hathaway went an undistinguished 7-8 in Trois-Rivières.
Despite the poor campaign, he went 18-6 with the Santa Barbara Dodgers the following season and 23-7 with the Zanesville Dodgers in 1948.
Hatthaway played in exactly 300 minor league games. He later had a stint as the parent Dodgers pitching coach, but was better known as a manager for 25 seasons. He had 1,441 wins, including 518 with the Asheville (N.C.) Tourists. He skippered the club to league championships in 1954 (Tri-State League) and 1962 (South Atlantic League).
He died at his home, aged 98.