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Lorenzo Gray

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Lorenzo Gray

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Lorenzo Gray attended Lynwood High School in Lynwood, California, and was selected by the Chicago White Sox in the 8th round of the 1976 Amateur Draft. He made his pro debut that summer with the GCL White Sox, hitting .232 in 42 games. He split the next year between the Gulf Coast League club and the Appleton Foxes of the Midwest League and hit a combined .256 between the two stops. He returned to Appleton in 1978 and hit .293 and swiped 29 bases while splitting time between first base, third base, and the outfield, as the club captured a league championship. He also spent part of 1979 with the Foxes, hitting .313 with 18 stolen bases in 17 games, and played the rest of the year with the Class AA Knoxville Sox, with whom he hit .251 with 22 steals in 116 games.

In 1980, Gray was back at AA, this time with the Glens Falls White Sox. He hit .288 with 6 homers and 68 RBIs and 29 steals for the club. He hit a combined .251 between Glens Falls and the AAA Edmonton Trappers in 1981 but only stole 9 bases between the two stops.

Gray began 1982 back with Edmonton, where he put together a 40-game hitting streak (the longest in the minors that season). He earned a call-up with the Sox just before the All-Star break, when he was hitting .376 with the Trappers (second best in the Pacific Coast League at the time). He made his big league debut on July 8th against the Detroit Tigers. Entering the game as a pinch runner for Vance Law with two outs in the 9th inning, he scored when Jerry Hairston Sr. hit a two-run homer to give the Sox a 3 to 2 win. He earned his first start the next day, playing third base against the Toronto Blue Jays, and got his first big league hit as well, leading off the top of the 5th with a single against pitcher Luis Leal. He appeared in just one more game before being sent back to Edmonton when pitcher Richard Barnes was called up after the All-Star break. He ended the year with a .358 batting average, 16 home runs, and 79 RBIs with the Trappers to go along with 20 steals. He finished second in the PCL in average to Tack Wilson and was chosen as one of the league's All-Star outfielders alongside Ron Kittle and Mike Davis. He got another look with the Sox in September, appearing in 14 more games (5 starts).

Despite hitting .388 for the Sox in Spring Training in 1983, Gray began the season with the Denver Bears but was soon called back up when Jim Kern went on the disabled list. He replaced Vance Law as the team's regular third baseman in May and started 20 games that month. He hit his first (and only) major league home run on May 24th against the Boston Red Sox off pitcher Doug Bird. However, by the end of the month, his batting average had fallen below .200, and he was sent back down to the minors when Chris Nyman was called up. He was recalled again in June but sent back to AAA again when Nyman was brought back up a month later. Overall, he hit .179 in 41 games with Chicago and .331 in 42 games in the minors with Denver, as the Sox won the AL West and the Bears won the American Association championship.

Gray was released by the White Sox prior to the 1984 season and then signed with the Cleveland Indians organization. He moved on to the New York Yankees system in 1985, spending that entire season with the Columbus Clippers. He then signed with the Seattle Mariners organization in early 1986 but was unable to get back to the major leagues.

Gray has played for more than a decade in the Southern California Men's Senior Baseball League, most recently with the SoCal Blue Jays. As of 2003, he was living in Lynwood, California. More recently, he has been an instructor at the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton, California.

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