In honor of actor Andy Garcia and his (unintentionally) hilarious reaction to Sofia (Mary Corleone) Coppola's death scene in "The Godfather, Part III."
New Orleans Knights characters-continued
Posted 04-25-2009 at 10:29 AM by TommyJohn
Thomas Richard "Tom" Ray-Left-handed star pitcher of mostly bad teams in the 1970s. Like Dan Nichols before him, grew up in the Chicago area rooting for the White Sox, attended Game 1 of the 1959 World Series with his parents. Star pitcher and quarterback in suburban high school, drafted out of H.S. by the Cincinnati Reds in 1966. Reds waited patiently for him to harness his fastball, but after two trials with the parent club in 1968-69, were convinced he couldn't develope any other pitches. Was traded to the Knights for veteran shortstop Dan Goodman in a trade most Red fans still rate as one of the worst in team history. Was a reliever for all of 1970 and 1971. New manager Spiro Agnoupolos gave him his first ML start on the last day of the 1971 season versus San Francisco, causing Dodger manager Walt Alston to raise holy hell. Ray retired first 11 batters he faced before unraveling and surrendering three consecutive home runs to Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Dave Kingman. Ray was promoted to starting rotation the following season and became a mainstay for the rest of the decade, setting strikeout records and winning 20 games in a season four times for mostly bad ballclubs. Set a Knight season record for strikeouts en route to a 22-7 record in 1973. Ray, along with John Bassett, turned the Knights of the 1970s into a raucous, hard-partying bunch. "We didn't win much, but we led the league in partying" Ray later said. In 1975, Jeremiah Brennan, in an effort to stave off free agency, offered many players, including Ray, multi-year contracts worth thousands a year. A few, including Ray, accepted a contract tying him to the team until 1979. When free agency arrived, Ray sued to get out of the contract and lost. In 1979, the new corporate owners of the Knights told Ray they would make no attempt to re-sign him. Yankee owner George Steinbrenner, looking to add Ray to his team after scoring a coup with the addition of Tommy John, got Ray to verbally commit to a big bucks contract. The LA Dodgers, smarting from the loss of John to the Yanks and in need of left-handed pitching, made a counter-offer which Ray accepted. Pitched with Dodgers until 1984. On last day of 1982 season, started against Knights, who needed a win to clinch the division. Ray struck out 14 en route to a complete game win-he also drove the Knights crazy by laughing as he struck them out and flaunted his 1981 championship ring. These actions earned him two brushback pitches when he batted. Arm troubles beset him starting in 1983. Was released after 1984, when his contract expired. Signed a three year deal with the San Diego Padres, but arm woes led to his release after a year. Spent the first half of 1986 with the Boston Red Sox before being traded along with Steve Lyons to the White Sox in exchange for Tom Seaver. Was one of several washed-up vets picked up by White Sox GM Ken Harrelson that year. Played only a few games for his favorite childhood team before being released. Now a Human Resources Manager in Illinois. Still roots for the Knights and was present when the team won the pennant in 1988 and 1990.
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