Raymond “Ray-Ray” Ray

Born in 1937, Raymond Ray grew up on the South side of Chicago at 41st and Dearborn. He was blessed to have a two-parent household with three brothers and three sisters. The neighborhood boys always had a sports hero to look up to and because Raymond was a baseball fanatic, he chose Jackie Robinson. He remembers a quote from Robinson’s autobiography, “I Never Had It Made,” that said, “I never cared about acceptance as much as I cared about respect.” He loved this quote because Raymond was small but was blessed with quick hands and reflexes. Growing up in that neighborhood, (which included 39th Street), young men aspired to play for the Ironmen. Ray became an Ironman and played shortstop with them for the remainder of his twenty-five-plus year softball career. He carries a lifetime batting average over .660, hit more than 110 homeruns, and drove in more than 1000 runners. He won tournament honors in the Southside Cocktail League in 1966 and in the league at 49th and Dorchester from 1967 to 1971. A thirty-two year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, he played shortstop for the 21st District, the 1st District, and the Gang Intelligence Unit softball teams. He retired from softball after a knee replacement, several dislocated fingers, falling arches, and many other ailments. Despite the injuries, he would not have changed a thing because of all the friendships, the fun, and the comradeship he experienced playing softball. Raymond and his wife of fifty-one years, Jametta, live on Chicago’s South side. They have two children – David and Pamela, three grandchildren, one greatgrandchild, and two grand dogs.