Ray’s way

Power/speed combo propels Ray Durham onto BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot

December 03, 2013
2014 Hall of Fame candidate Ray Durham. (NBHOF Library)

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.

[Scouting reports on Ray Durham]

“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. 

Year Age Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG
1995 23 CHW 125 517 471 68 121 27 6 7 51 18 5 31 83 .257 .309 .384
1996 24 CHW 156 639 557 79 153 33 5 10 65 30 4 58 95 .275 .350 .406
1997 25 CHW 155 711 634 106 172 27 5 11 53 33 16 61 96 .271 .337 .382
1998 26 CHW 158 723 635 126 181 35 8 19 67 36 9 73 105 .285 .363 .455
1999 27 CHW 153 694 612 109 181 30 8 13 60 34 11 73 105 .296 .373 .435
2000 28 CHW 151 709 614 121 172 35 9 17 75 25 13 75 105 .280 .361 .450
2001 29 CHW 152 691 611 104 163 42 10 20 65 23 10 64 110 .267 .337 .466
2002 30 TOT 150 659 564 114 163 34 6 15 70 26 7 73 93 .289 .374 .450
2002 30 CHW 96 411 345 71 103 20 2 9 48 20 5 49 59 .299 .390 .446
2002 30 OAK 54 248 219 43 60 14 4 6 22 6 2 24 34 .274 .350 .457
2003 31 SFG 110 469 410 61 117 30 5 8 33 7 7 50 82 .285 .366 .441
2004 32 SFG 120 542 471 95 133 28 8 17 65 10 4 57 60 .282 .364 .484
2005 33 SFG 142 560 497 67 144 33 0 12 62 6 3 48 59 .290 .356 .429
2006 34 SFG 137 555 498 79 146 30 7 26 93 7 2 51 61 .293 .360 .538
2007 35 SFG 138 528 464 56 101 21 2 11 71 10 2 53 75 .218 .295 .343
2008 36 TOT 128 426 370 64 107 35 0 6 45 8 4 53 72 .289 .380 .432
2008 36 SFG 87 304 263 43 77 23 0 3 32 6 2 38 49 .293 .385 .414
2008 36 MIL 41 122 107 21 30 12 0 3 13 2 2 15 23 .280 .369 .477
14 Yrs 1975 8423 7408 1249 2054 440 79 192 875 273 97 820 1201 .277 .352 .436

 

Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum