Ray Berres
Born: (1907-08-31)August 31, 1907
Kenosha, Wisconsin
Died: February 1, 2007(2007-02-01) (aged 99)
Kenosha, Wisconsin
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 24, 1934, for the Brooklyn Dodgers
Last MLB appearance
September 30, 1945, for the New York Giants
MLB statistics
Batting average.216
Home runs3
Runs batted in78

Raymond Frederick Berres (August 31, 1907 – February 1, 2007) was an American professional baseball catcher and pitching coach. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Boston Bees / Braves and New York Giants.[1]

Born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Berres was a 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m) 170-lb, light-hitting catcher who, thanks to his fine glove, managed to play in 11 major league seasons for four National League teams, usually in a backup role. He provided fine catching, quality game-calling, and a respectable throwing arm. Drafted by the Brooklyn Dodgers from the Birmingham Barons (Southern Association) in the 1933 Rule 5 draft, he debuted with Brooklyn in 1934, backing up Al López behind the plate.

He returned to the minor leagues in 1935, but became Brooklyn's starting catcher when Lopez was traded to Boston in December 1935. His most productive season came as a 1936 rookie, when he posted career highs in batting average (.240), hits (64) and doubles (10). The Pittsburgh Pirates, short of catching, acquired him a year later.

Before the 1940 season, Berres was traded by Pittsburgh to the Boston Bees in exchange for Lopez. He played in part of two seasons with the Boston franchise, including their first year as the Braves in 1941, when he appeared in a career-high 120 games while hitting .201 (56-for-279); he also led the NL in fielding percentage with a .995 mark. After backing up a series of Giants catchers for four seasons, he finished his career with that team in 1945. In an 11-season career, Berres was a .216 hitter with three home runs and 78 runs batted in in 561 games played.

After serving as a bullpen catcher for the Boston Braves (1947) and a coach for the Triple-A Milwaukee Brewers (1948), Berres was the pitching coach for the Chicago White Sox for nearly two decades (1949–1966, then midseason of 1968–1969), primarily under manager López. During that time, he was a member of the 1959 American League champions.

Tommy John pitched for Berres in the coach's last years with the White Sox. "With the White Sox, I became a pitcher," John recalled. "The key to my success was pitching coach Ray Berres. I just didn't know what I was doing as a pitcher until he got me. Berres didn't teach pitches. He didn't show you how to throw the slider, forkball, screwball, or split-fingered fastball. But he had a tremendous understanding of pitching."[2] Berres would study pitcher's mechanics and let them know adjustments which needed to be made.[3] According to John, Berres's theory was that "the slower and more easy your motion, the more of an opitcal illusion it becomes to the batter when the ball gets released."[4]

Berres died in his hometown of Kenosha, Wisconsin from pneumonia at the age of 99. Berres was elected to the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999.


  1. ^ "Ray Berres Statistics and History". "baseball-reference.com. Retrieved on 2017-05-12.
  2. ^ John and Valenti, p. 92
  3. ^ John and Valenti, p. 119
  4. ^ John and Valenti, p. 93
Sporting positions Preceded byRed FaberMarv Grissom Chicago White Sox pitching coach 1949–19661968–1969 Succeeded byMarv GrissomHugh Mulcahy