Ray Morehart (Trading Card DB)

Ray Morehart

This article was written by Terry Bohn

Ray Morehart (Trading Card DB)Even casual baseball fans know of the 1927 New York Yankees, considered the best team of all time by many. Featuring “Murderers’ Row” at the heart of the batting order, they rolled to the American League pennant with a 110-44 record and swept the Pittsburgh Pirates in the World Series. But, as great as the team was, they faced several challenges during their record-breaking season. When shortstop Mark Koenig missed 31 games with injuries, Tony Lazzeri shifted over from his regular second base position and Ray Morehart filled in ably at second. Morehart is mostly forgotten today, but the Yankees hardly missed a beat when he was in the lineup.

Morehart was 5-foot-9, 157 pounds, and speedy. The lefty hitter batted .269 in the majors but lasted less than three years. It wasn’t for lack of ability or effort – bad luck and poor timing had more to do with him not having a longer or more successful career. When Morehart broke in with the 1924 Chicago White Sox, he was stuck behind future Hall of Famer Eddie Collins. At his next stop in New York, he mostly sat and watched another Cooperstown-bound second baseman, the 23-year-old Lazzeri.

In what may have seemed like a disappointing career, Morehart did have an especially memorable day on August 31, 1926. In a doubleheader against the Tigers in Detroit, he rapped nine hits in 10 at-bats. The record of nine hits in a twin bill had been achieved before, and would be again (most recently by Lee Thomas of the 1961 Angels as of 2022) – but it has never been surpassed.1

But the White Sox traded Morehart a few months later. Following the 1927 season, he was out of the major leagues, though he played on in the minors through 1933.

Raymond Anderson Morehart was born December 2, 1899, in Abner, Texas, a small town about 45 miles east of Dallas. Other sources indicate that he may have been born in neighboring Terrell. His parents were Samuel and Sallie (Anderson) Morehart. He had a younger sister, Mina. Ray experienced traumatic losses early in life. His mother died in 1908 and his father, a farmer, succumbed to tubercular laryngitis in 1911. Afterwards, Ray and his sister were raised by their maternal grandparents.

Morehart excelled in many sports as a teenager, including sandlot and high school baseball. After graduating from high school in 1918, he registered for the military draft with World War I not yet over. By the time an armistice agreement ended hostilities that fall, however, he was enrolled at Austin College in Sherman, Texas.

At Austin College, Morehart ran track, played shortstop on the baseball team, and was a halfback in football. He was named captain of the Kangaroos football squad in 1920. As a junior, he made the Texas Intercollegiate Athletics Association’s second team all-conference in baseball and first team in football.2 The Pittsburgh Pirates offered him a contract in February 1922, and one report said that he had signed.3 However, he changed his mind and returned to Austin to complete his Bachelor of Arts degree in English.

Upon graduating in June, Morehart received a sterling silver loving cup inscribed: “Presented to Raymond Morehart by Friends and Associates of Austin College, Sherman Texas – Captain Football Team ’20, All Star Halfback ’21, Captain Baseball Team ’22 – An Athlete, a Student, and a Friend.”4

He began his professional baseball career that summer in the Class B Michigan-Ontario League by hitting .309 in 94 games with the Flint (Michigan) Vehicles. Morehart also spent 1923 with Flint, other than being “loaned” to the Mitchell Kernels of the Class D South Dakota League for about a month in midseason.5

In 1924, Morehart’s strong start for Flint attracted the attention of major-league clubs. After 37-year-old second baseman Eddie Collins began missing time because of nagging leg injuries on July 31, the White Sox went looking for a fill-in. By coincidence, Morehart had met Collins a couple years earlier after watching him play in Chicago. “He [Morehart] got some new ideas on how to play second base” and began to emulate Collins in his play.6 In early August, the White Sox acquired Morehart to serve as Collins’ understudy, with the long-term plan for him to eventually replace the aging star.7

Morehart debuted on August 9, in the first game of a doubleheader against the Washington Senators at Comiskey Park. He batted seventh in the lineup and played shortstop, spelling Chicago’s regular starter, Bill Barrett. In his first at-bat, in the second inning against Washington’s Curly Ogden, he doubled to right, scoring Willie Kamm, who had walked. Morehart walked in his other three plate appearances and successfully handled five chances in the field.

Collins was in the lineup for all but two of Chicago’s remaining 48 games at second, but Morehart began supplanting Barrett regularly at shortstop. Although “Whispering Bill” played only 77 games at the position that season, his 39 errors there were the second-most in the AL. Morehart struggled as well, committing 15 errors in his 27 appearances at shortstop and batting just .200 in 31 games overall. Reviews were critical, saying that he “flivvered somewhat” and “hasn’t come up to the expectations of Manager Johnny] Evers.”8

Morehart accompanied his teammates on their postseason European tour. In March 1925, though, the White Sox farmed him out to the Wichita Izzies of the Class A Western League.9 He made a case for another opportunity in the majors by stealing 44 bases, collecting 216 hits and batting .330.10 This led the White Sox to bring him to spring training in 1926.

The White Sox had a hole at shortstop. While Barrett hit .363 in 1925, he had mainly backed up Collins as Chicago turned instead to 30-year-old Ike Davis, who displayed “weak hitting and erroneous fielding” in his only full year in the majors. Davis then “broke a knee cap in the [postseason] City Series” and did not play at all in either 1926 or 1927.11

Although Morehart preferred to play second base, his natural position, Collins – by then doubling as the club’s manager – still showed no signs of slowing down, having hit .346 in 1925. Chicago acquired shortstops Bill Hunnefield, from Portland of the Pacific Coast League, and veteran Everett “Deacon” Scott, leaving Morehart in a utility role. Moe Berg – later a catcher but still an infielder when Chicago acquired him the previous September – spent the first two months of the season in law school but became Hunnefield’s primary backup upon returning.12 The White Sox waived Scott in July.

Morehart was relegated to pinch-hitting and pinch-running over the first six weeks of the season. Although he collected five hits in 11 at-bats, he didn’t make his first start at second base until June 9, after Collins injured his leg. By the second week of August, the sub-.500 White Sox had slipped into the bottom half of the AL standings to stay, while Morehart kept his batting average near .300 in limited duty. So even when Collins was healthy, he continued to play Morehart, whose chance to finally play regularly culminated in his historic day.

On August 31, the White Sox played a doubleheader at Navin Field in Detroit. Facing Tigers starter Earl Whitehill in the top of the first inning, Chicago’s Johnny Mostil led off with a double and scored the game’s first run on Morehart’s single to center. Morehart was retired in the third, but he singled in the White Sox’ three-run fifth and again in the following inning. With Sam Gibson pitching for Detroit in the seventh, Morehart’s two-run single increased Chicago’s lead to 8-2. When the White Sox batted around in eighth, Morehart doubled home two of their eight runs against the Tigers’ fourth pitcher of the day, Ken Holloway. In Morehart’s final plate appearance, he collected his sixth RBI of the game when he was hit by a Holloway pitch with the bases loaded in the ninth inning of Chicago’s 19-2 victory.

Morehart wasn’t done yet. In the nightcap, he singled in his first three plate appearances against Tigers’ starter Ed Wells. With the White Sox trailing, 6-3, in the eighth inning and Hooks Dauss on in relief for Detroit, Morehart completed his 4-for-4 game (and 9-for-10 day) with a two-run double to bring Chicago to within a run. The White Sox tied the score, but the Tigers prevailed in the bottom of the ninth, 7-6. The Chicago Tribune game story quipped, “His batting average for the day was .900 which sounds more like a fielding average.”13

The record-tying day came in the midst of an eight-game stretch beginning on August 27 in which Morehart batted .556. (20-for-36). He wound up hitting safely in 12 consecutive games through September 7, and 17 of 18 through September 13. During those 18 contests, he batted .413 (31-for-75) to lift his batting average from .259 to .319. Morehart finished the season hitting .318 in 73 games after making just one plate appearance in Chicago’s last 12 contests.

The White Sox released Collins in November, seemingly opening up the second base job for Morehart full-time. Instead, on January 13, 1927, Chicago traded Morehart and catcher John Grabowski to the Yankees for infielder Aaron Ward. As a final slap in Morehart’s face, new White Sox manager Ray Schalk called Ward, “Just the man we need to fill Collins’ place at second base.”14 (As it happened, Ward was released after just one season with Chicago). For three years, Morehart had waited patiently while he was stuck behind Collins. Now he would need to do the same in New York with budding star Tony Lazzeri, who was coming off a superb 1926 rookie season.

The 1927 Yankees infield of Lou Gehrig at first, Lazzeri at second, Mark Koenig at short, and Joe Dugan at third was set, so one of manager Miller Huggins’ spring training objectives was to identify reserves to back up his starters. Mike Gazella had the inside track for the primary role, but the competition for the second utility infielder came down to Julian Wera and Morehart.During the first six weeks of the season, Morehart saw no action except for occasional pinch-hitting and pinch-running duties. He made his first eight starts beginning on May 31, when Lazzeri filled in at third base while Dugan recuperated from a twisted ankle. On June 8, Koenig left the game early with a leg injury. Later that afternoon at Yankee Stadium, Morehart made an impact with an RBI single in the bottom of the 11th to beat his former team, the White Sox, 12-11. While Koenig missed most of the next month and spent time in a hospital, Lazzeri filled in at shortstop and Morehart manned second base. On June 9, Morehart had two singles and a three-run, inside-the-park homer in an 8-3 win over Chicago. Two days later, he collected three more hits, including a double, in a 6-4 victory over the Indians. In the 47 games that he started between May 31 and July 18 (he came off the bench on June 25 and left the July 18 game after one at-bat), Morehart batted .260 and the Yankees went 37-10.The Yankees clinched the AL pennant on September 11. They finished 19 games ahead of the second-place Athletics and faced the Pirates in the World Series. New York took the opening game, 5-4, but nearly paid a costly price. Koenig was knocked unconscious in a collision at second base, and Lazzeri injured his wrist on another play, affecting his grip on the bat. Both players finished the game, but Morehart proclaimed himself ready to go if needed. After pregame practice before Game Two, however, both Koenig and Lazzeri were in the starting lineup. The Yankees went on to sweep the Pirates, and Morehart did not see any action in the series. He was voted a full winner’s share of $5,702.In December, the Yankees released Morehart outright to the St. Paul (Minnesota) Saints of the Class AA American Association. He was only 28, and it is likely that he had no idea that his major-league career was complete after just 177 games across three seasons. Among his 131 hits were 21 doubles, seven triples, and the one inside-the-park home run. He scored 82 runs and stole 10 bases.At least one person, identified only as a “Cleveland commenter,” took exception to the move. He noted that Morehart “played such sterling ball for the Yankees last season as a substitute for Tony Lazzeri and Mark Koenig,” and expounded, “Why do club owners and baseball managers allow a player the caliber of Ray Morehart to be waived out of the big leagues? We have watched Morehart in a number of games and he always impressed us favorably. We liked his spirit for one thing – gee, how he likes to play baseball! And we like him because he was fit and ready for the call to arms for the third thing – golly, but he sure impresses us as being physically fit all the time.”15After two seasons in St. Paul, Morehart was sold to another American Association club, the Columbus (Ohio) Senators. Despite hitting .308 for Columbus in 1930, he was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Class AA International League.16 He played in Toronto until the middle of the 1932 season, when he was sent to the Scranton (Pennsylvania) Miners of the Class B New York-Penn League. When he refused to report, the deal was called off, and he was released.17 Morehart returned to his native Texas and signed with the Dallas Steers of the Class A Texas League shortly thereafter.18 Still able to hit, he batted .307 in 62 games. Morehart became a free agent after the season, but he re-signed with Dallas for 1933. That August he was traded to Little Rock (Arkansas) Travelers of the Class A Southern Association for pitcher Charlie Barnabe.19 There, Morehart finished the 1933 season, and as it happened, his professional career.Morehart had already planned his retirement from baseball in April 1933, when he accepted the football coach’s position at his alma mater, Austin College, with his duties to begin in September.20 He faced a major rebuilding job when he arrived on campus. In their season opener, Austin faced the reigning Southwest Conference champions, Texas Christian University, who had thrashed them, 68-0, the previous year. There was some improvement in 1933, as the Horned Frogs won by only a 33-0 margin. After one season as coach, Morehart resigned and went to work for the Sun Oil Company in Dallas. He first worked in the oil fields and later as an accountant, where he remained until his retirement. When he arrived at Sun Oil, he organized and played on a semipro team sponsored by the company. In 1935 he was picked up by another company’s squad, Overton Oil of Humboldt, Texas, to play in the prestigious Denver Post semipro tournament. The team finished second, losing to United Fuel of Denver in the championship game.Right before going to spring training with the Yankees in 1927, Morehart had married Mary Elizabeth Palmer in Dallas on February 19. They had two daughters, Betty Jean and Marianna, and were living in Dallas by the 1940 Census, which listed Ray as an accountant with Sun Oil. In 1960, Morehart participated in a reunion game sponsored by the Old Timers’ Professional Baseball Association of North Texas, of which he was a member. Other former Dallas players in attendance were Dizzy Dean, Lloyd Waner, Monty Stratton, and Dickey Kerr.21On January 13, 1989, Morehart died at his home in Dallas of a heart attack. He was 89, and his death left Koenig as the last living member of the ’27 Yankees. Ray was survived by Mary, his wife of 61 years; their two daughters; five grandsons; and two great-grandsons. After services at Anderson-Clayton Bros. Funeral Home in Terrell, Texas, he was buried at Restland Memorial Park in Dallas.

If Morehart was disappointed about not having more opportunities or a longer career, he never said so. He was always proud of calling Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig friends, and of the small but important role he played on one of the greatest baseball teams of all time. The following probably best sums up Ray Morehart as a ball player. “He was diligent and likeable…Unlike most bench warmers, he didn’t grow fat loafing, but improved himself with constant work, and lo and behold, he flowered into a real major leaguer…Never a star, but always steady, he stayed under the big top for quite a few years.”22



This biography was reviewed by Rory Costello and Malcolm Allen and checked for accuracy by members of SABR’s fact-checking team.



Unless otherwise noted, statistics from Morehart’s playing career are taken from Baseball-Reference.com, and genealogical and family history was obtained from Ancestry.com. The author also used information from clippings in Morehart’s file at the National Baseball Hall of Fame.



1 Joe Frisaro, “Yelich’s 8 Hits in Twin Bill is 1 Shy of MLB Mark,” MLB.com, October 4, 2015, https://www.mlb.com/news/christian-yelich-has-8-hits-in-doubleheader/c-153096304 (last accessed November 19, 2022).

2 “El Paso Boy Wins Letter on the Grid,” El Paso (Texas) Herald, December 16, 1920: 9.

3 “Austin College Star Gets Pirate Contract,” Austin (Texas) American, February 24, 192: 3.

4 “Austin College Gives Loving Cup to Star,” Waxahachie (Texas) Daily Light, June 8, 922: 6. The actual inscription was found at https://sports.ha.com/itm/baseball-collectibles/others/1922-ray-morehart-trophy-from-austin-college.

5 Harry Dayton, “Just A Little Dope,” Flint (Michigan) Journal, June 3, 1923: 17.

6 Harry Dayton, “Just Dope,” Flint Journal, September 11, 1923: 14.

7 “Evers Gets Rookie’” Pittsburgh Press, August 18, 1924: 18.

8 “Not So Good,” New York Daily News, September 21, 1924: 58.

9 “Morehart Helps Coach Austin’s Early Practice,” Dallas Morning News, March 1, 1925: 2.

10 “Chicago Teams to Try Out lock o Rookie shortstops,” from Morehart’s file at the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

11 Rick Huhn, Eddie Collins: A Baseball Biography, (Jefferson, North Carolina, McFarland & Company,2008), 222.

12 Nicholas Davidoff, The Catcher Was a Spy, (New York, Vintage Books, 1994), 52.

13 James Crusinberry, “Sox Put Tigers Away, 19 to 2; Then Lose, 7-6,” Chicago Tribune, September 1, 1926: 25.

14 “Morehart and Grabowski Go To New York,” Chicago Tribune, January 14, 1927: 21.

15 “Another Mystery,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, January 19, 1928: 24

16 Brooklyn Daily Times, December 6, 1929: 15

17 “Dave Danforth Given Released by Miners’ Boss,” Scranton (Pennsylvania) Times-Tribune, Jun 17, 1932: 30.

18 “Dallas signs McMullen,” Buffalo (New York) Evening News, June 29, 1932: 30.

19 “Steers Acquire Pitcher Barnabe,” Fort Worth (Texas) Star Telegram, August 2, 1933: 1.

20 “Former Athlete Star to Coach at Austin College,” Waco (Texas) News Tribune, April 26, 1933: 7.

21 “Dean, Waner, Stratton to Attend Monday Reunion,” Fort Worth Star Telegram, August 4, 1960: 16.

22 Flem R. Hall, “The Sport Tide,” Fort Worth Star Telegram, June 30, 1932: 17.

Full Name

Raymond Anderson Morehart


December 2, 1899 at Abner, TX (USA)


January 13, 1989 at Dallas, TX (USA)

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