Ralph Garr

Ralph Allen Garr (born December 12, 1945) is a former Major League Baseball outfielder. Garr was a free swinger[1] who could confound defenses by hitting to all parts of the outfield. Garr batted .300 or better five times during his career.

Ralph Garr
Ralph Garr 1974
Born: December 12, 1945 (age 73)
Monroe, Louisiana
Batted: Left Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 3, 1968, for the Atlanta Braves
Last MLB appearance
June 4, 1980, for the California Angels
MLB statistics
Batting average.306
Home runs75
Runs batted in408
Career highlights and awards

Face in the Crowd

Garr was born in Monroe, Louisiana, and worked as a shoe shine boy at a local barber shop growing up.[2] After graduation from Lincoln High School in Ruston, Louisiana, he attended historically black Grambling State University in Grambling, Louisiana.[3] In 1967, as a second baseman for the Grambling Tigers baseball team, he led the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics with a record .585 batting average to lead his team to a 35–1 regular-season mark. His accomplishment earned mention in Sports Illustrated's "Faces In The Crowd"[4] right around the same time he was being drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the third round of the 1967 Major League Baseball draft.

Early years

Though Garr was a fast runner and good contact hitter, he was a below average infielder.[5] He was converted to an outfielder with the Shreveport Braves in 1968, and remained in the outfield for the rest of his career. After two minor league seasons in which he batted .287 with 53 runs batted in, Garr made the jump from Double A to the majors in September 1968. The speedy Garr appeared in eleven games with the Braves, but never needed his glove once, as he was used as a pinch hitter or pinch runner in each of his appearances, and never once was kept in the game. Regardless, he earned an invite to Spring training 1969, and started the season as the Braves' everyday left fielder when Rico Carty dislocated his shoulder.[6] Upon Carty's return, Garr was optioned to their Triple A affiliate, the Richmond Braves,[7] then returned in September when rosters expanded. Overall, he batted .222 in 22 games.

Garr again made the Braves out of spring training 1970, and resumed the role he had at the end of the 1968 & 1969 seasons. He appeared in sixteen games with the Braves through May, but had already earned a reputation as something of a defensive liability at this point in his career, and never once took the field. He was optioned back to Richmond at the end of May, and went on to bat an International League record .386 with seven home runs, 51 RBIs and a league best 39 stolen bases.[8] He returned to Atlanta in September as a fourth outfielder, and batted .302 in 91 plate appearances.

"Road Runner"

Rico Carty injured his left knee playing Winter ball in the Dominican Republic,[9] and was lost for the entire 1971 season. Garr seized the opportunity, batting over .400 through the middle of May, and earning the nick-name "Road Runner" due to his speed. On May 17, against Tom Seaver and the New York Mets, Garr hit a solo home run with two outs in the tenth inning to tie the game. He hit a second home run in the twelfth for the walk-off victory.[10]

He became so popular with fans in Atlanta that the Braves negotiated exclusive big-league baseball rights with Warner Bros. Cartoons to use animated scenes of the Looney Tunes character Road Runner on the scoreboard, while the calliope erected behind right field went "beep-beep" like the cartoon character every time Garr reached first base.[11] By the end of the season, Garr's batting average cooled off to .343, good for second best in the National League to the St. Louis Cardinals' Joe Torre. He also scored a career high 101 runs batting second in the Braves' batting order.

Unfortunately, Garr's defensive short-comings (he led N.L. outfielders with eleven errors) caused him to lose his starting job in left field when Carty returned to the Braves in 1972. He still appeared in 134 games and managed a .962 fielding percentage manning all three outfield spots. His .325 batting average was again second best in the league (this time to the Chicago Cubs' Billy Williams). At the end of the season, Carty was traded to the Texas Rangers, opening a permanent spot for Garr.[12]

Garr again put up solid offensive numbers in 1973 (.299 batting average, 11 home runs, 94 runs scored & career high 55 RBIs & 35 stolen bases), but his weak glove made him trade-bait at the 1973 Winter meetings. Needing to strengthen their infield defense as well, the Braves had a deal in place that would have sent Garr to the Philadelphia Phillies for shortstop Larry Bowa,[13] however it fell through. Instead, he remained in Atlanta, and put together the best season of his career, flirting with a .400 batting average for much of the first half of the season. He had 149 hits heading into the All-Star break that year, a record which stands to this day, to earn selection to the National League All-Star team (he went 0-for-3 with a strikeout).[14] He ended the season with a league best .353 average, and also led the N.L. in hits (214) and triples (17).

Garr spent much of his early career believing he was greatly underpaid by the Braves, so after that career year Garr sought a raise to $114,500 for the 1975 season, more than double what he received in 1974, at which the Braves countered with $85,000.[15] The contract dispute went to arbitration, with Garr winning[16] to become the highest paid player on the team, and the first player in major league history to double his salary through arbitration.[17]

Despite an excellent spring, and going into the season with confidence,[18] Garr's average dipped to .278 in 1975. He did, however, lead the league in triples (11) for a second year in a row. After the season, he and infielder Larvell Blanks were traded to the Chicago White Sox for Ken Henderson, Dick Ruthven and Ozzie Osborn.[19]

Chicago White Sox

Disarray was something of a theme for the 1976 White Sox as Jorge Orta, the second baseman with the 1975 team Chuck Tanner managed was used at third and left field in 1976 by new manager Paul Richards.[20] Likewise, Garr's role with the Chisox in 1976 was similar to the one he had with the Braves in 1972; he had no regular outfield position, and his playing time was split evenly between all three outfield spots. The formula proved unsuccessful as the Sox narrowly avoided a hundred losses in 1976. For his part, Garr batted an even .300, and was second on the team to Orta with 63 runs scored.

Bob Lemon replaced Richards at the helm in 1977,[21] returning Orta to second base, and returning Garr to left field. The Chisox did a complete 180 that year as they won ninety games to finish third in the American League West. Garr batted an even .300 for the second year in a row, while improving substantially in every other offensive category. His fielding also improved as he logged a career high .987 fielding percentage.

Garr had an off year in 1978, putting up career lows in just about every offensive category. His notoriously bad fielding was also becoming an issue again. He and pitcher Francisco Barrios became embroiled in a fight on August 10, following a loss to the Toronto Blue Jays, over an incident in their August 7 match-up with the Kansas City Royals. With Barrios pitching, Garr threw a ball he fielded off the wall to the wrong base, allowing a runner to score.[22] It was the second run-in between the two.[23]

Garr started the 1979 season in left field, but shortly after Tony La Russa replaced Don Kessinger as White Sox manager, Garr was replaced by a revolving door of left fielders, with Alan Bannister, Thad Bosley, Junior Moore and Wayne Nordhagen all manning the position at one point or another. Rumors circulated that it was by Garr's choice; he refused to take the field following an August 5 rock concert held at Comiskey Park that left the field in tattered condition[24] (American League President Lee MacPhail actually canceled games at Comiskey later in the month due to the poor conditions of the outfield). On September 20, with only nine games left on the schedule, Garr's contract was sold to the California Angels.


Garr was used as a designated hitter in California, but managed to bat just .167 in that role, and was released on June 6, 1980. He became part-owner and a part-time worker at Kaloche doughnut shop in Houston, Texas following his retirement. When the 1984 Winter meetings were held in Houston, Garr attended, seeking a scouting or coaching job. Baseball legend and Garr's former teammate, Hank Aaron, the Braves' director of player development, offered Garr a position as roving scout and minor-league base-running coach.[25]

He was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 1985,[26] Grambling State University Alumni Hall of Fame in 1991,[27] the Atlanta Braves Hall of Fame in 2006[28] and the International League Hall of Fame in 2008.[29] In his 2012 film, Trouble with the Curve, Clint Eastwood's character, fictional Braves scout Gus Lobel, is credited with signing Dusty Baker, Dale Murphy, Tom Glavine, Chipper Jones and Garr.[30] The scout who actually signed Garr was Mel Didier.[31]

Career statistics

In 1,317 games over 13 seasons, Garr batted .306 (1,562-for-5,108) with 717 runs scored, 212 doubles, 64 triples, 75 home runs, 408 RBI, 172 stolen bases, 246 walks, an on-base percentage of .339 and a slugging percentage of .416. He compiled a .968 fielding percentage at all three outfield positions.

See also


  1. ^ "Garr: Dumb Like a Fox". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. June 11, 1974.
  2. ^ Ira Berkow (June 8, 1971). "Ralph Garr Didn't Know When He was Well Off". Times Daily.
  3. ^ "Ralph Garr (Grambling) – More than a "Face in the Crowd"". Black Pioneers of College Baseball & Legends of HBCU Baseball. June 22, 2009.
  4. ^ "Faces in the Crowd". Sports Illustrated. June 26, 1967.
  5. ^ Don Delliquanti (May 10, 1971). "Two Beeps, A Cloud Of Dust". Sports Illustrated.
  6. ^ "Rico Carty Hurt as Braves Lose". Lewiston Morning Tribune. April 5, 1969.
  7. ^ "Carty is Restored to Braves' Roster". Milwaukee Journal. April 30, 1969.
  8. ^ "#272 Ralph Garr". 1980 Topps Baseball Card Project. May 8, 2010.
  9. ^ "Atlanta's Rico Carty has Multiple Knee Fractures". Spartanburg Herald-Journal. December 13, 1970.
  10. ^ "Atlanta Braves 4, New York Mets 3". Baseball-Reference.com. May 10, 1971.
  11. ^ William Leggett, Roy Blount, Jr. & Don Delliquanti (April 12, 1971). "From The Start It's 'geronimo'". Sports Illustrated.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  12. ^ "Braves Send Slugger Rico Carty to Rangers for Pitcher Panther". Montreal Gazette. October 28, 1972.
  13. ^ "Atlanta Seeks Help From Deals". Palm Beach Post. December 2, 1973.
  14. ^ "1974 Major League Baseball All-Star Game". Baseball-Reference.com. July 23, 1974.
  15. ^ "Why Can't They Treat Me Like the Best — Braves' Ralph Garr". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. February 22, 1975.
  16. ^ "Ralph Garr Wins Arbitration Case". Virgin Islands Daily News. February 26, 1975.
  17. ^ "Ralph Garr". MISC. BASEBALL, Gathering Assorted Items of Baseball History & Trivia.
  18. ^ "Garr Predicts Super Year for Ralph Garr". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. April 3, 1975.
  19. ^ "Veeck Triggers Wild Trade Spree". Gadsden Times. December 13, 1975.
  20. ^ Alan Lassila (March 2, 1976). "White Sox Plan to Experiment". Sarasota Journal.
  21. ^ "Lemon Named Chisox Pilot". Spokane Daily Chronicle. November 16, 1976.
  22. ^ "Barrios, Garr Tangle in Clubhouse". Wilmington Morning Star. August 12, 1978.
  23. ^ "Sox Barrios Seeks Trade". Sarasota Journal. August 9, 1978.
  24. ^ "Evans Ponders Suit of Veeck". Telegraph Herald. August 31, 1979.
  25. ^ Ira Winderman (May 29, 1985). "The Roadrunner Ralph Garr is Back in Baseball as a Coach & Scout". South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
  26. ^ "Ralph "Road Runner" Garr". Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. Class of 1985.
  27. ^ "Alumni Hall of Fame". Grambling State University. Archived from the original on 2007-12-02.
  28. ^ "Turner Field Museum & HOF". MLB.com.
  29. ^ "Hall of Fame Inductee, Ralph Garr" (PDF). MiLB.com. Class of 2008.
  30. ^ Conor Glassey (September 23, 2012). "Movie Review: Trouble With The Curve". Baseball America.
  31. ^ "Veteran Scout Mel Didier Tells Us a Story". Codball. September 23, 2008.

External links

Preceded by
Tommy John
National League Player of the Month
May 1974
Succeeded by
Buzz Capra
1967 Major League Baseball draft

The Major League Baseball draft (or "first-year player draft") recruits amateur baseball players into the American Major League Baseball league. The players selected in 1967 included many talented prospects who later had careers in the professional league. Some selections included Bobby Grich and Don Baylor (Baltimore), Vida Blue (Kansas City Athletics), Dusty Baker and Ralph Garr (Atlanta), Ken Singleton and Jon Matlack (Mets), and Ted Simmons and Jerry Reuss (St. Louis). In the January draft, Boston selected catcher Carlton Fisk and the New York Mets drafted Ken Singleton. The Cincinnati Reds selected Chris Chambliss in the 31st round only to have him enroll in junior college. The Mets chose Dan Pastorini in the 32nd round, but Pastorini chose football and played several seasons in the NFL. Atlanta also chose Archie Manning in the 43rd round.

1969 Atlanta Braves season

The 1969 Atlanta Braves season was the fourth in Atlanta and the 99th overall season of the franchise. The National League had been split into two divisions before the season, with the Braves somewhat incongruously being assigned to the National League West. The Braves finished with a record of 93–69, winning the first ever NL West division title by three games over the San Francisco Giants.

After the season, the Braves played in the first-ever inter-divisional National League Championship Series. They went on to lose the NLCS to the eventual World Champion New York Mets, three games to none.

1973 Atlanta Braves season

The 1973 Atlanta Braves season was the eighth season in Atlanta along with the 103rd season as a franchise overall. The highlight of the season was Hank Aaron finishing the season just one home run short of Babe Ruth as baseball's all-time home run king. The 1973 Atlanta Braves were the first team to boast three 40 home run hitters. They were Aaron, Darrell Evans, and Davey Johnson.

1974 Atlanta Braves season

The 1974 Atlanta Braves season was the ninth season in Atlanta along with the 104th season as a franchise overall. The team finished third in the National League West with a record of 88–74, 14 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers. During the season, Braves outfielder Hank Aaron became the all-time career leader in home runs, surpassing Babe Ruth.

1974 Major League Baseball season

The 1974 Major League Baseball season. The Oakland Athletics won their third consecutive World Series, defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers four games to one.

Two notable personal milestones were achieved during the 1974 season. The first came on April 8, when Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves blasted his 715th career home run, breaking the all-time career home run mark of 714 set by Babe Ruth. Aaron would finish his career with 755 home runs, a record that would stand until Barry Bonds broke it in 2007. The second milestone came on September 10, when the St. Louis Cardinals' Lou Brock stole his 105th base off pitcher Dick Ruthven and catcher Bob Boone of the Philadelphia Phillies. This broke the single-season stolen base record of 104, set by Maury Wills in 1962. Brock stole 118 bases, a record that would stand until 1982, when Rickey Henderson stole 130.

1976 Chicago White Sox season

The 1976 Chicago White Sox season was the team's 76th season in Major League Baseball, and its 77th season overall. They finished at 64–97 (.398), the worst record in the twelve-team American League. They were 25½ games behind the Kansas City Royals, champions of the American League West.

1977 Chicago White Sox season

The 1977 Chicago White Sox season was a season in American baseball. The team finished third in the American League West, 12 games behind the Kansas City Royals.

1978 Chicago White Sox season

The 1978 Chicago White Sox season was the team's 78th season in Major League Baseball, and its 79th overall. They finished with a record 71-90, good enough for fifth place in the American League West, 20.5 games behind the first-place Kansas City Royals.

1979 California Angels season

The 1979 California Angels season involved the Angels finishing first in the American League West with a record of 88 wins and 74 losses. They went on to lose to the Baltimore Orioles in the 1979 American League Championship Series, three games to one.

1979 Chicago White Sox season

The 1979 Chicago White Sox season was the team's 80th season overall, and their 79th in Major League Baseball. They finished with a record 73-87, good enough for fifth place in the American League West, 15 games behind the first-place California Angels.

Austin Braves

The Austin Braves were a Minor League Baseball team in the East Division of the Texas League and were affiliated with the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves. Known as the Austin Senators from 1956 to 1964, they played at Disch Field. In 1965, they became the Austin Braves, finishing in last place with a record of 70–70. In 1966, the Braves finished in fourth place with a record of 67–73. In 1967, the team also finished in fourth place with a record of 69–71. In 1968, the Atlanta Braves moved the Austin Braves to Shreveport, Louisiana, where they played as the Shreveport Braves of the Texas League from 1968 to 1970.

Members of the Austin Braves who went on to play in the majors include Dusty Baker (1967), Bobby Cox (1966), Ralph Garr (1966–1967), Clarence "Cito" Gaston (1966–1967), Mike Lum (1966), Félix Millán (1965–1966), Ron Reed (1966), and George Stone (1967).

Estrellas Orientales

Estrellas Orientales (also known as Estrellas de Oriente) is a baseball team in the Dominican Winter League. Based in San Pedro de Macorís, the team has historically struggled, winning championships only in 1936, 1954, 1968 and 2019.


Garr may refer to:

Allen Garr, journalist, author, and journalism instructor based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Ralph Garr (born 1945), former Major League Baseball player

Teri Garr, American actress

Garr King (born 1936), judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon

Grambling State Tigers baseball

The Grambling State Tigers baseball team is a varsity intercollegiate athletic team of Grambling State University in Grambling, Louisiana, U.S. The team is a member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, which is part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division I. The team plays its home games at Ralph Waldo Emerson Jones Park and Wilbert Ellis Field in Grambling, Louisiana. The Tigers are coached by James Cooper.

Jay Franklin (baseball)

John William "Jay" Franklin (born March 16, 1953) is a former Major League Baseball pitcher. Taken 2nd in the MLB draft in 1971 by the San Diego Padres at just 18-years old, Franklin pitched in three games before an injury caused him to sit out the 1972 season. He was relegated to the minors in 1973 and was released by the Padres organization in 1977.

List of Atlanta Braves team records

The Atlanta Braves are a Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise based in Atlanta. The Braves formed in 1876 as the Boston Red Stockings. After moving to Milwaukee for 12 years, the Braves relocated to Atlanta in 1966. Through 2010, the Braves have played 20,053 games, winning 9,945, losing 9,954, and tying 154, for a winning percentage of approximately .500. This list documents the superlative records and accomplishments of team members during their tenures in MLB.

Hank Aaron holds the most franchise records as of the end of the 2010 season, with ten, including most career hits, doubles, and the best career on-base plus slugging percentage. Aaron also held the career home runs record from April 8, 1974 until August 8, 2007. He is followed by Hugh Duffy, who holds eight records, including best single-season batting average and the best single-season slugging percentage record.Four Braves players currently hold Major League Baseball records. Duffy holds the best single-season batting average record, accumulating an average of .440 in 1890. Bob Horner and Bobby Lowe are tied with 13 others for the most home runs in a game, with four, which they recorded on May 30, 1890, and July 6, 1986, respectively. Red Barrett, a Brave for six years, holds the record for fewest pitches by a single pitcher in a complete game, with 58, which he achieved on August 10, 1944.

List of Chicago White Sox nicknames

In the last 100-plus years, the Chicago White Sox have had many players with colorful and memorable nicknames from "Shoeless Joe" Jackson to "Old Aches & Pains" Appling, Minnie the "Cuban Comet" Minoso, "Little Louie" Aparicio, "Black Jack" McDowell, and Frank "The Big Hurt" Thomas. These are some of the best.

Dick Allen: "Wampum"

Sandy Alomar: "Iron Pony"

Luis Aparicio: "Little Louie"

Luke Appling: "Fumblefoot" or "Kid Boots" or "Old Aches & Pains"

Cuke Barrows, Roland Barrows: "Cuke"

Bruno Block, James John Blochowicz: "Bruno"

Ken Boyer: "Cap" or "Captain"

Smoky Burgess, Forrest Harrill Burgess: "Smoky"

Iván Calderón: "Ivan The Terrible"

Norm Cash: "Stormin’ Norman"

Eddie Cicotte: "Knuckles"

Rocky Colavito, Rocco Colavito: "Rocky"

Eddie Collins: "Cocky"

José Contreras: "Commander"

Joe Crede: "Clutch Norris"

Bucky Dent, Russell Earl O’Day: "Bucky" or "Bucky 'Fucking' Dent"

Octavio Dotel: "Ol' Dirty"

Richard Dotson: "Dot"

Brian Downing: "Incredible Hulk"

Red Faber, Urban Clarence Faber: "Red"

Carlton Fisk: "Pudge"

Nellie Fox, Jacob Nelson Fox,: "Nellie", "Little Nel", or "The Mighty Mite"

Freddy García: "Chief"

Ralph Garr: "Road Runner"

Kid Gleason, William Gleason: "Kid"

Goose Gossage, Richard Michael Gossage: "Goose" or "The White Gorilla"

Craig Grebeck: "The Little Hurt"

Bo Jackson, Vincent Edward Jackson: "Bo"

Joe Jackson: "Shoeless Joe"

Bobby Jenks: "Big Bad Bobby Jenks"

Lance Johnson: "One Dog"

Ted Kluszewski: "Big Klu"

Paul Konerko: "Paulie"

Carlos Lee: "El Caballo"

Ted Lyons: "Sunday Teddy"

Jack McDowell: "Black Jack"

Catfish Metkovich, George Michael Metkovich: "Catfish"

Minnie Miñoso, Saturnino Orestes Armas (Arrieta) Miñoso: "Minnie" or "The Cuban Comet"

Blue Moon Odom, Johnny Lee Odom: "Blue Moon"

Magglio Ordóñez: "El Caribe Mayor (The Caribbean Mayor)" or "Mags"

Tom Paciorek: "Wimpy"

Don Pall: "The Pope"

Herbert Perry: "The Milkman"

Bubba Phillips, John Melvin Phillips: "Bubba"

Billy Pierce: "Billy the Kid"

Scott Podsednik: "Pods"

Carlos Quentin: "TCQ"

Tim Raines: "Rock"

Alexei Ramírez: "The Cuban Missile"

Ray Schalk: "The Cracker"

Tom Seaver: "Tom Terrific"

Bill Skowron: "Moose"

Moose Solters, Julius Joseph Soltesz: "Moose" or "Lemons"

Nick Swisher: "Dirty Thirty"

Frank Thomas: "The Big Hurt"

Jim Thome: "Big Jimmy" or "Mr. Incredible"

Javier Vázquez: "The Silent Assassin"

Robin Ventura: "Batman"

Dayán Viciedo: "The Tank"

Ed Walsh: "Big Ed"

Skeeter Webb, James Laverne Webb: "Skeeter"

Hoyt Wilhelm: "Old Sarge"

Walt Williams: "No Neck"

Taffy Wright, Taft Shedron Wright:: "Taffy"

Early Wynn: "Gus"

List of Major League Baseball annual triples leaders

In baseball, a triple is recorded when the ball is hit so that the batter is able to advance all the way to third base, scoring any runners who were already on base, with no errors by the defensive team on the play. In Major League Baseball (MLB), a player in each league is recognized for leading the league in triples. Only triples hit in a particular league count toward that league's seasonal lead.

The first triples champion in the National League was Ross Barnes; in the league's inaugural 1876 season, Barnes hit fourteen triples for the Chicago White Stockings. In 1901, the American League was established and led by two members of the Baltimore Orioles: Bill Keister and Jimmy Williams each had 21.

Nestor Chylak

Nestor George Chylak Jr. (; May 11, 1922 – February 17, 1982) was an American umpire in Major League Baseball who worked in the American League from 1954 to 1978. He umpired in three ALCS (1969, 1972, 1973), serving as crew chief in 1969 and 1973. He also called five World Series (1957, 1960, 1966, 1971, 1977), serving as the crew chief in 1971 (in which he called balls and strikes in the decisive Game 7) and 1977. He also worked in six All-Star Games: 1957, 1960 (both games), 1964, 1973 and 1978, calling balls and strikes in the second 1960 game and in 1973.

Veteran players
(pre-1947 era)

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