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Ray Berres - Boston Bee and Brave

Ray Berres – Boston Bee and Brave

Raymond Frederick Berres played for the Brooklyn Dodgers (1934, 1936), Pittsburgh Pirates (1937–40), Boston Bees/Braves (1940–41) and New York Giants (1942–45). He batted and threw right-handed.

Born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Berres on August 31, 1907, he was a 5 ft 9 in 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 Lopez 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. The Pittsburgh Pirates, short of catching, signed 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.

Berres died in his hometown of Kenosha, Wisconsin on February 1, 2007 from pneumonia at the age of 99. Berres was elected to the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999.