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View Full Version : What Was Floyd Rayford's Nickname?



BillySmith
03-20-2009, 04:48 PM
Say it to yourself, then read if interested:

http://www.eveningsun.com/ci_11958931

OrangeJerseys
03-20-2009, 05:33 PM
Say it to yourself, then read if interested:

http://www.eveningsun.com/ci_11958931

The world as I knew it has completely changed.

BillySmith
03-20-2009, 05:38 PM
The world as I knew it has completely changed.


Me, too. I couldn't believe I was wrong. :eek:

OrangeJerseys
03-20-2009, 05:41 PM
Me, too. I couldn't believe I was wrong. :eek:

"Sugar" Bear is one of my all time faves.

Edit: God that sounds weird.

Can_of_corn
03-20-2009, 05:42 PM
Havn't you folks ever read Thomas Boswell's 100 reasons baseball is better then football?

http://www.baseball-almanac.com/legendary/libvf100.shtml

#6: Baseball has Blue Moon, Catfish, Spaceman and The Sugar Bear. Football has Lester the Molester, Too Mean and The Assassin.

BillySmith
03-20-2009, 05:46 PM
"Sugar" Bear is one of my all time faves.

Edit: God that sounds weird.


Baseball Almanac agrees with us: Old baseball card and autograph from "Honey Bear" in this link:

http://www.baseball-almanac.com/players/player.php?p=rayfofl01

Beltwayman
03-23-2009, 02:54 PM
I thought I remembered Cal and friends calling him something other than Sugar or Honey Bear in a pre-game interview with what's his name that does the talk show now (sorry whats your name-mind blank). Maybe it was what Tippy called him "Dough Boy" because I do remember it had something to do with his physical stature. All in fun of course. Thats one thing that stood out with that team....thier sence of humor.

BillySmith
03-25-2009, 01:11 PM
I thought I remembered Cal and friends calling him something other than Sugar or Honey Bear in a pre-game interview with what's his name that does the talk show now (sorry whats your name-mind blank). Maybe it was what Tippy called him "Dough Boy" because I do remember it had something to do with his physical stature. All in fun of course. Thats one thing that stood out with that team....thier sence of humor.

He's looking almost svelte on the baseball card in the link above. I remember much more dough boy'ish.

Beltwayman
04-03-2009, 02:56 PM
He's looking almost svelte on the baseball card in the link above. I remember much more dough boy'ish.

By today's standards he's not that big, but back then, baseball players didnt get enough to eat. :laughlol:

Plus, with the steroid era, the boys grew bigger and could extend thier careers well into thier 30's; not experiencing the very, very common slump that occurs in players over 34. That doesnt happen anymore, and all of us over the age of 34 know what happens around the middle.......Very interesting to study the best of the best hall of famers by looking at thier career numbers at 34 years and older and compare with thier younger years. Then do a comparison on players known and suspected of steroid use. Some of them have better numbers after 33!!!! Unbelievable.

Boy Howdy
04-03-2009, 09:43 PM
The link doesn't work for me, as I'm too late to this thread, but here's how I remember it.

Floyd Rayford was nicknamed "Huggy Bear" after the Antonio Fargas character in the Starsky & Hutch TV show. (See 55 seconds into this video of the opening credits)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gecPGuteITk

So what did the article say?

OrangeJerseys
04-03-2009, 10:02 PM
He will always be Honey Bear.

BillySmith
04-04-2009, 09:22 AM
The link doesn't work for me, as I'm too late to this thread, but here's how I remember it.

Floyd Rayford was nicknamed "Huggy Bear" after the Antonio Fargas character in the Starsky & Hutch TV show. (See 55 seconds into this video of the opening credits)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gecPGuteITk

So what did the article say?


Or Yogi Bear. :wedge: The article says there is a great debate on whether Rayford's nickname was "Honey Bear" or "Sugar Bear". I believe it says that most of us would say it's "Honey Bear", but the author actually calls Rayford up, who is a hitting instructor somewhere in Florida, and he says his nickname is "Sugar Bear". Apparently a google search will lead to heated onlilne debates about Rayford's nickname.

Tony-OH
04-04-2009, 09:26 AM
Or Yogi Bear. :wedge: The article says there is a great debate on whether Rayford's nickname was "Honey Bear" or "Sugar Bear". I believe it says that most of us would say it's "Honey Bear", but the author actually calls Rayford up, who is a hitting instructor somewhere in Florida, and he says his nickname is "Sugar Bear". Apparently a google search will lead to heated onlilne debates about Rayford's nickname.

I remembered Sugar Bear. One of my favorite moments when I first starting doing this was sitting in the outfield grass with Floyd at Twin Lakes Park while players warmed up. We had a pretty cool conversation.

BillySmith
04-05-2009, 05:48 PM
Wouldn't it be nice if Floyd would let us know what the deal is? Looks like he is a very successful hitting coach for the Twins AA team:

Floyd Rayford, the 50-year-old resident of Silver Spring, MD who played 7 years in the Baltimore and St. Louis organizations, will return in 2008 for his fourth season as New Britain 's Hitting Coach. Under Rayford's tutelage, the Rock Cats led the Eastern League in Hitting last season with a Team Batting Average of .277.

The New Britain Rock Cats are the Double-A, Eastern League affiliate of the American League's Minnesota Twins

It's Sugar Bear
04-14-2009, 08:43 AM
Hey guys. I saw people were trying to link to the column I wrote, but the link's now expired, so I'm just going to post the whole thing so it's here if anybody wants to read it. Warning, it's definitely on the long side.

Travis

----

O's Rayford was sweet by any name

TRAVIS LAU
The Evening Sun

Does the name Floyd Rayford mean anything to you?
It did to me when it came up in a recent conversation I was having by e-mail with former Evening Sun sportswriter Pat Abdalla.
I remembered the roly-poly catcher-turned-third baseman from his playing days in Baltimore - back before the Orioles added buttons and belts to their uniforms, and when each part of their hats was a different color.
And I remembered Rayford well enough to respond back to Pat with just two words - two words I was sure made clear the fact I have at least some knowledge of baseball history and the small part Rayford played in it. Those two words:
"Sugar Bear."
Pat responded back, "Was that his nickname?" - a seemingly innocent question, but one for which I would find no easy answer in the days to follow.
Initially, I felt pretty sure Rayford was known as Sugar Bear, but the more I thought about it, the more I began to believe I might be wrong.
While the drop of Rayford's name rang a bell, and could remember what he looked like, I didn't have much recollection of Rayford as a player. I was just a kid when he played for the Orioles - and I'm a Phillies phan in the phirst place.
In fact, the only real memory I had linking Rayford to the name Sugar Bear was an image of my dad saying "Sugar Bear" in reference to Rayford.
This was no cause for confidence.
While my dad knows a lot of stuff, and I love him, he has been known to bungle details like nicknames.
Granted, Dad is way better than my grandfather ever was at keeping sports facts straight. Pop-Pop never fully understood that Curt Ford and Curt Flood were two different people.
But I definitely wasn't viewing a 20-odd-year-old memory of my dad saying "Sugar Bear" as clear and convincing evidence of the ballplayer's nickname.
I got hold of my friend A.J., a lifelong Oriole fan and one of the sharpest people I know.
"Did Floyd Rayford have a nickname?" I asked him in an e-mail.
Promptly and confidently he responded back, "Honey Bear."
"Well how do you like that," I thought to myself, "Dad bungled another one."
But I thought I'd keep the dialogue going, and let my friend know I remembered Rayford's nickname differently, as "Sugar Bear."
A.J. tells me I'm not alone and proceeds to relate a wholly unbelievable tale about Rayford's nickname being a frequent topic of hot Internet debate.
Yeah, right.
I mean, sure, a couple of friends and I got into some half-cooked conversation about an old ballplayer's nickname - that's actually pretty normal. But I'm not buying into the idea there's hot debate - or any debate - on the subject on a larger scale.
Still, I'm a journalist, so I google "Floyd Rayford Bear"
And I'm floored.
For pages on end, the word "Bear" appears in bold face in each entry; and the word before it alternates evenly between "Sugar" and "Honey."
The Baseball Almanac – the definitive reference for a lot of fans - gives Rayford's nickname as "Honey Bear."
The Baltimore Sun, however, insists execs in the Orioles' front office confirm "Sugar Bear" is correct.
Baseball-reference.com also says "Honey Bear."
And it goes on and on like that.
A.J. says whenever the subject heats up on online message boards, the older fans tend to go with "Honey Bear," which carries weight with him.
At this point I don't know what to think, and even throw into the mix my own creation, Floyd "Four Walls of" Rayford. But I quickly realize that name only seems clever to me or anybody else with a Lynyrd Skynyrd tattoo on each arm.
Meanwhile, I'd relayed news of this handle scandal to Pat, who designs news pages for both The Evening Sun and our sister paper in York.
The whole thing clearly was starting to get to him.
One story he placed in the newspaper that night was authored by Associated Press writer Christopher S. Rugaber.
While I can attest from experience that sitting in front of the same computer screen for too long seriously clouds a guy's vision, I suspect more than tired eyes were responsible for Pat reading "S. Rugaber" as "Sugarbear" at first glance.
So what was I to do about this nickname nightmare?
Well, I could have just walked away. That's what any sensible person would have done.
In fact, that appears to be what everybody has done. For all the conflicting testimony that's out there, I can't find anything where anybody actually asked Rayford what his nickname was. Maybe he's faded so far into obscurity he can't be reached for comment.
I'm curious, so I press on.
Dropping the word "Bear" from my Google search, I find out that a Floyd Rayford - perhaps one nicknamed something or other - lives in Silver Spring, Md. and works summers in Connecticut as hitting instructor for the New Britain Rock Cats of the Eastern League.
I click on his name using the interactive roster on the Rock Cats' Web site.
Most details in the accompanying biography make me think I have the right guy. The coach is listed as having played parts of six seasons for the Orioles in the early to mid-1980s, hitting .306 with 18 jacks in 1985 - back when a home run meant something.
The write-up, however, also lists Rayford as being 0 feet, 0 inches tall and weighing 0 pounds.
Let's just say the Rayford I remember as Baltimore's sturdy backstop definitely topped the 0-pound mark, resembling his nickname, whatever it was.
Despite the red herring, I try my luck and put in a request with the Rock Cats to interview their hitting instructor.
Rayford calls the next day from the Minnesota Twins' training complex in Fort Myers, Fla.
Finally, a chance to put this moniker mix-up to rest.
So Mr. Rayford, what is your nickname?
"Everybody calls me Sugar Bear," Rayford says in a booming, jovial voice.
Well maybe not "everybody," I think to myself, but I get the point. And I couldn't be happier that to have reeled in a definitive answer on the subject from Rayford himself.
Then I realize he's still talking and hasn't completed his thought. I frantically start jotting in my notebook to try to capture the back end of his statement.
"But one season, they called me Honey Bear," he continues.
Oh, well this is just great. No wonder folks are confused.
But to listen to Rayford finish the story, there's not much room for debate on the matter.
As far as he's concerned, he's Sugar Bear. He was Sugar Bear first, before he was ever Honey Bear. He was Sugar Bear when he got to Baltimore. And he was Sugar Bear when his Major League career came to an end in 1987.
Pat even believes he heard Rayford announced as Sugar Bear a couple years later, when Rayford became the first-ever Scranton Wilkes-Barre Red Barron.
The whole "Year of the Honey Bear" thing was more of an appellation aberration. It happened while Rayford was in the minor leagues, perhaps as part of the Rochester Red Wings, which at that time was the Orioles' Triple A affiliate.
Rayford doesn't remember the specifics, or what might have triggered the name change.
But the bottom line, he explains, is that the novelty of Honey Bear wore off and people returned to calling him Sugar Bear - a name he says was pinned on him early in his minor-league career by Jimmy Anderson, a shortstop who came up with Rayford in what then was the California Angels organization.
And yes, Rayford confirms, the nickname is a reference to the cartoon cereal mascot. He was told he looked like his namesake.
For all Rayford's certainty he's Sugar Bear, he acknowledges people sometimes call him other things.
Just three days before we talked, he said, New Britain pitching coach Stu Cliburn called him Honey Bear.
And at a recent Orioles fantasy camp, Tippy Martinez referred to him as The Pillsbury Doughboy.
Now that's not even close to Sugar Bear. My dad will agree, I'm sure.
And that's probably the most ironic thing I found in clearing up this label fable: My dad was right and The Baseball Almanac was wrong.
Now somebody get me Curt Ford's phone number, I'm going to clear my Pop-Pop's name.

Travis Lau is the managing editor of The Evening Sun and an infrequent columnist.

glenn__davis
04-14-2009, 11:31 AM
I always remembered Sugar Bear. Never heard Honey Bear.

BTW, that was a nice column, Travis. Well-written and entertaining.