Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Final Card: Ray Barker

This is the last of four cards for Ray Barker (#583). Ray's first card appeared in 1961, a solo card with a yellow "rookie" star, as was the custom that year. He also appeared on a 4-man Indians Rookies card in 1965, and his own Yankees card in 1966.

Barker was signed by the Orioles in 1955, and spent ten seasons in the Orioles' and Indians' minor-league organizations. After finally making the Indians at the start of 1965, he was traded to the Yankees in mid-May for 2nd baseman Pedro Gonzalez. Ray was productive in his rookie year, starting 43 games at 1st base (behind Joe Pepitone's 113 starts) and hitting 7 homers.

His stats dipped in 1966, as he made only 82 plate appearances and 14 starts at first base. Rookie 1st baseman Mike Hegan came up in September and started most games at 1B for the last 2 weeks of the season, essentially ending Barker's Yankee career.

With Mickey Mantle moving in to 1st base for the 1967 season, and Hegan getting more playing time, Barker was done in New York, playing his last big-league game on May 21st. He spent most of 1967 in the minors with Syracuse and, after a July 4th trade for Orioles' pitcher Steve Barber, Rochester.

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