It was May 2007 and New Britain Rock Cat Felix Molina had just won a game on a ninth-inning single, The Hartford Courant wrote, putting the Rock Cats over .500 that late in the season for the first time in three years.
Contributing to their success, New Britain manager Riccardo Ingram told The Courant, was hitting coach Floyd Rayford.
"Floyd always tells these guys to go to the opposite field and use the whole field to get clutch hits," Ingram told The Courant, "especially with guys in scoring position [and] especially Molina, who can get pull-happy."
Rayford was well into his coaching career in 2007, a career that began 17 years earlier as a player-coach with AAA Scranton. It's also set to continue into 2011, marking his second season as coach for AAA Rochester.
Rayford started his coaching career after a playing career that spanned more than a decade, including parts of seven seasons in the majors. Six of those major league seasons were with the Orioles. He also spent parts of seven seasons with the Orioles AAA team in Rochester.
As a coach, Rayford stayed with the Phillies system through 1997. He stayed at AAA Scranton through 1992, then moved to short-season Batavia, serving as hitting coach there. He moved to managing Batavia for one season, in 1996.
He also served briefly as a bullpen coach for Philadelphia in 1995, as Cal Ripken Jr., closed in on the consecutive games record. It was Rayford whom Ripken replaced at third base, starting the streak.
"Hey, it's gotten me a little mention," Rayford told The Allentown Morning Call days after Ripken broke the record.
Rayford joined the Brewers system in 1998 as a coach at single-A Beloit, then rejoined the Orioles in 1999 as coach at Frederick. He joined his current system, the Twins, for 2000, coaching that year at single-A Quad City.
He returned to AAA in 2010 with the Twins, coaching at Rochester, where he'd played as a player. He is slated to return to Rochester for 2011.
Rayford took over as manager briefly in June 2010, as manager Tom Neito attended his son's graduation. Rayford's Red Wings lost one contest 5-4, according to The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. The Red Wings weren't hitting, he had work to do.
"It's starting to be a little trend," Rayford told The Democrat and Chronicle, "we’re not coming out and hitting the ball the way we should."
- Hartford Courant, May 5, 2007: Rock Cats Rally In Ninth On Molina's RBI Single
- Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, June 5, 2010: Toledo Mud Hens hold off Rochester Red Wings
- Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, Oct. 30, 2010: Rochester Red Wings re-sign Tom Nieto and staff for 2011
Cards Featured: 324/880 - 36.8%
Players/Coaches Featured: 331
Made the Majors: 227 - 69% - X
Never Made the Majors: 104 - 31%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 97-X
10+ Seasons in the Minors: 89-X