Chris Ray was drafted by Baltimore in the 3rd round of the 2003 draft out of William & Mary.
For most of his college career he was a pen arm, and a good one. First round draft good. But in his junior year they moved him to the rotation, and he struggled. These struggles knocked him down to the third round of the draft.
The Orioles kept him as a starter for a couple seasons, but in 2005 decided to move him back to the closer role.
That season in AA he pitched 37 innings, with 18 saves and a 0.96 ERA. Those numbers warrented a call to the majors, where he would pitch 40.2 innings, allowing 34 hits and striking out 43. He was clearly the future of the Baltimore pen.
In 2006 he opened the season as the Baltimore closer, and was fantastic: 4-4, 33 saves with a 2.73 ERA.
Ray would struggle in 2007, with 16 saves with a 4.43 ERA, and in August would undergo Tommy John surgery.
And…that would be about it. He would stay in the game until 2012, but he would never have another effective season, a career derailed by a bum elbow.
I got this autograph during the spring of 2006. Back then I liked to cut up scorecards and mail them out. Not a terrible idea as long as the player was signing in black or blue sharpie.
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