Pittsburgh Pirates Countdown: Top Five Second Basemen

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4. Johnny Ray (1981-1987)

If you collect baseball cards like I do, Johnny Ray may be best remembered for his appearance in the 1987 Donruss Opening Day set. His particular card was nothing special, but it was his other appearance, when his picture was erroneously placed on the Barry Bonds card. That mistake was noticed fairly early on in the print run, and led to one of the more valuable cards from the 1980’s, with copies of the card going for as much as $300.

However, Ray was more than just some fun trivia question or someone that baseball card hobbyists will recognize. He was a solid offensive second baseman, twice leading the National League in doubles, but truly made his mark on the defensive side. Ray led the National League in runs saved in 1982 and 1986, and was consistently among the league leaders in range factor and fielding percentage.

Even though Johnny Ray was considered to be about league average offensively during his time with the Pittsburgh Pirates, he was still a solid player. Overall, he produced a .286/.334/.390 batting line. While Ray was not much of a power hitter, hitting 37 home runs in his Pirates career, he did hit 202 doubles and won a Silver Slugger Award in 1983, a year after he finished second in the Rookie of the Year balloting behind Steve Sax.

Johnny Ray was a very good second baseman. He should be remembered for more than not being Barry Bonds.

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