Despite appearing in only four Major League games, Ray Hathaway left his mark on baseball.
A member of the South Atlantic League Hall of Fame who once had the Asheville Tourists' career record for wins by a manager, Hathaway died Wednesday at age 98. He was believed to be the second-oldest person who played in the big leagues.
"[We] are saddened by the loss of Ray Hathaway, who will always represent royalty for the Asheville Tourists," club president Brian DeWine said in a statement. "His name was synonymous with Tourists baseball and McCormick Field throughout much of the 1950s and 1960s. It was always a pleasure to share his quick wit and hear his incredible stories. He will be missed."
A right-hander who pitched in exactly 300 Minor League games, Hathaway tossed a total of nine innings for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1945 and later landed a role as the club's pitching coach. The Ohio native's playing career was interrupted by World War II, in which he earned the Bronze Star for his participation in the Battle of Guadalcanal.
As a manager over 25 seasons, Hathaway totaled 1,441 wins. Of those, 518 came with the Tourists, whom he led in three separate stints. Under his command, Asheville captured a Tri-State League title in 1954 and a South Atlantic League crown in 1961. His club wins record stood for more than 40 years before it was broken by Joe Mikulik in 2007.
"I'm happy for Joe and excited he's about to break my record," Hathaway told the Asheville Citizen-Times at the time.
"To just be mentioned in the same breath as someone like him, I feel honored,'' Mikulik told the paper.