Ray Knight

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Charles Ray Knight

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Biographical Information[edit]

Ray Knight played thirteen years in the majors and also managed for parts of three seasons.

Knight was a tenth round pick of the Cincinnati Reds in the 1970 amateur draft and first came to the majors with the club in 1974 at age 21. He was not up with the Reds during the great Big Red Machine years of 1975 and 1976 but was a frequently used backup the next two seasons. Knight was highly touted as the replacement for third baseman Pete Rose, which was a hard role to play. Rose, who had hit .302 with 103 runs scored while playing third base for the Reds in 1978, moved to the Philadelphia Phillies as a free agent in 1979, where he hit .331. Knight, meanwhile, hit .318 with 37 doubles for the 1979 Reds, who won a division title while the Phillies finished out of the postseason. He was an All-Star in 1980, but his offensive production slipped and he was traded to the Houston Astros for Cesar Cedeno after the 1981 season.

With the Astros, he hit .294 and was named to the All-Star team in 1982 and batted .304 in 1983. However, when his average slipped in 1984, he was sent to the New York Mets in a late season deal. After hitting just .218 in 90 games for New York in 1985, he bounced back and hit .298 with 11 homers and 76 RBI in 1986, earning National League Comeback Player of the Year honors. The Mets won the World Series, and he hit .391 with 5 RBI en route to being named the Series MVP. He mostly hit 6th in the lineup in the Series. Howard Johnson was his backup at third base in 1986, and in 1987 became the Mets' regular third baseman after Knight had left.

Knight became a free agent following the 1986 season, and expecting a bigger payday as a result of his postseason heroics, turned down the Mets' offer. He moved to the Baltimore Orioles in 1987 and the Detroit Tigers in 1988 for his last two major league seasons. He ended up with 1,495 major league games played, of which 1,021 were at third base and 339 were at first base. He never led the majors in any key offensive statistic, coming closest in 1979 when his .318 average was third in the National League.

Knight came back to the Reds as a member of their coaching staff from 1993 to 1995 and was their manager in 1996 and 1997. He rejoined the club as a coach in 2002 and 2003 and as interim manager for one game in the latter season. He has also been a broadcaster for ESPN and from 2007 to 2018 worked on MASN's broadcasts of Washington Nationals games. On October 22, 2017, he was arrested in Alexandria, VA on suspicion of assault and battery stemming from an early-morning violent dispute with another man. He was booked on a single misdemeanor count but the case was dropped by prosecutors in early January 2018.

During his career, Knight received attention as the spouse of professional golfer Nancy Lopez.

A member of the Golden Gloves boxing association, Knight's punch to the jaw of Cincinnati's Eric Davis, triggering a mammoth Reds/Mets brawl in 1986, impressed a young boxer named Mike Tyson, who would meet Knight later that season.

Notable Achievements[edit]

Preceded by
Davey Johnson
Cincinnati Reds Manager
Succeeded by
Jack McKeon

Year-By-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1996 Cincinnati Reds National League 81-81 3rd Cincinnati Reds
1997 Cincinnati Reds National League 43-56 -- Cincinnati Reds Replaced by Jack McKeon on July 25
2003 Cincinnati Reds National League 1-0 -- Cincinnati Reds interim between Bob Boone (46-58) and Dave Miley on July 28

Further Reading[edit]

  • Ray Knight (as told to George Vass): "The Game I'll Never Forget", Baseball Digest, February 1989, pp. 77-80 [1]

Related Sites[edit]