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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Floyd Rayford

Tonight's Thanksgiving feature isn't really Thanksgiving-related, it's Floyd Rayford. Rayford was beginning his two-decade-long coaching career in 1990, serving as a player-coach for Scranton.

He was also concluding his lengthy playing career, one where he spent parts of seven seasons in the majors, six of those with the Orioles.

In researching Rayford, I ended up in a similar position as I did with Dick Bosman. There was a lot available on both his playing and his coaching careers. So I've again decided to split up my research into a feature on his playing days and one on his coaching career.

Of course, to do this, my rule is I have to have a card from his playing days. His CMC card wasn't enough, he's listed on there as a coach.

I looked through my box of cards I've gotten in the last couple years, nothing. He's in the 1987 Topps set and I got a box of that from my wife two Christmases ago. But Rayford was not one of the cards in the box.

Then I remembered over the summer, when I interviewed Jim Pankovits. I was motivated to answer a burning question from Night Owl about the 1988 Topps Pankovits, but I had to have the card to show him. On short notice, I remembered I had the unopened set from when I was a kid.

Needless to say, I opened the set, tracked down the Pankovits and got Night Owl's question answered.

How this relates to Rayford is, he was also in the 1988 Topps set. I ran upstairs, pulled out the opened and unsorted set. Starting at one end, I quickly found Rayford's card.

So, with Rayford's playing days card in-hand, I'll cover his playing days tomorrow afternoon. His coaching days are scheduled for tonight.

By the way, my wife and I visited New Britain, Conn., in 2006 to see the AA Rock Cats play. Turns out, Rayford was coaching New Britain while we were there.

I had a similar revelation with CMC member John Russell, Russell was managing AAA Ottawa when we visited in 2007.

With Russell, I was able to go back to our pictures of the game and find him in a photo. With our New Britain trip, I took a bunch of photos, as well. I just checked for Rayford, but he wasn't in any of them.

By the way: Happy Thanksgiving.

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