Power/speed combo propels Ray Durham onto BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot
Ray Durham’s combination of power and speed landed him at the top of some of the most potent lineups of the last two decades.
Now it’s landed him on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s Hall of Fame ballot.
Durham, a two-time All-Star who averaged almost 90 runs scored a year over his 14-year big league career, makes his debut on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot this year. Durham is one of 36 players on the 2014 BBWAA ballot for the Class of 2014.
BBWAA members who have at least 10 years of tenure with the organization can vote in the election, and the results will be announced Jan. 8. Any candidate who receives at least 75 percent of all BBWAA votes cast will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2014. The Induction Ceremony will be held July 27 in Cooperstown.
Born Nov. 30, 1971 in Charlotte, N.C., Durham was taken by the White Sox in the fifth round of the 1990 MLB Draft out of high school. After hitting 16 home runs and stealing 34 bases for Triple-A Nashville in 1995, Durham earned Chicago’s everyday second base job in 1995 – finishing sixth in the American League Rookie of the Year voting after hitting 27 doubles, driving in 51 runs and scoring 68 times.
“He can make things happen,” said White Sox manager Gene Lamont.
Over the next six seasons, Durham became one of the most prolific leadoff hitters in baseball – averaging better than 107 runs scored and 64 RBI per season as the Sox’s second baseman. During that same time, Durham averaged 15 homers and 30 steals a year.
Durham was dealt to the A’s in a trade deadline deal in 2002, then signed a six-year deal with the team across the bay – the Giants.
“He’s a talent, this kid,” said Oakland manager Art Howe. “He’s a switch-hitter with speed. He’s got a lot of tools.”
In 2006, he set career-highs with 26 homers and 93 RBI. He was traded to the Brewers in a deadline deal in 2008 before retiring at the end of that season.
“He’s a solid offensive player and he’s a veteran guy that’s really good with younger players,” said Brewers manager Ned Yost following the 2008 trade. “He fits right into what our veterans bring every day into the clubhouse.”
Durham wrapped up his career with a .277 batting average, amassing 2,054 hits, 440 doubles, 192 home runs, 273 steals and 820 walks. He posted a .788 career OPS – fueled by a .352 on-base percentage and a .436 slugging percentage. Durham is one of only 10 players in history to appear in at least 1,800 games at second base and compile an OPS of at least .788.
Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum