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Sugar Bear Sighting!


BillySmith

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There's actually a pretty big debate about that amongst fans. As I recall the result here on the OH, you're right. But I swear he was really Sugar Bear back in the day. Who knows. I guess Floyd does.
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.

The Sun

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