Weed, Ray (1997)
Ray Weed led the University of Maine in batting average for three consecutive seasons after hitting .451 as a freshman.
In 1958, Weed was team captain as the frosh completed a 9-0 season. His slugging percentage of .903 established a freshman record. He scored 18 runs and contributed a game-winning hit to preserve Jack Holmes’ no-hit 2-1 win against MCI.
But it was Weed’s three-year career on the Black Bear varsity that earned the Stonington native his lasting reputation as one of Maine's elite hitters.
Weed led Maine in hitting for three consecutive seasons: .395 in 1959: .411 in 1960; and .321 in 1961. He was named an outfielder on Maine’s All-Time College Team by the Maine Sunday Telegram in 1989.
How good was Weed at the plate?
John Winkin (HoF’75) who coached at Colby College 1959-74 and Maine 1975-1996 was selected as coach of the All-Time College Team. He coached against Weed.
“In all the years I was at Colby, he was the toughest hitter we faced, "said Winkin. “He was a wicked line drive hitter and had an uncanny eye. If I had to name an all-opponent team, he'd be on It.” Weed, who had several opportunities to sign professional baseball contracts, made his career as a public school teacher in Maine. In 1989, Weed said he occasionally had second thoughts about his decision to turn down the pros, but doesn't dwell on it.
He said he preferred to remember playing under the late Jack Butterfield (HoF’80) and his experience at Maine.
Butterfield’s brother, Jim, who coached Ithaca College to three NCAA Division Ill football championships, was Weed’s freshman coach in 1958.
“Ray was a very quiet competitor,” remembers Butterfield. “He certainly was not a holler guy, yet he was one of our real leaders. He was first in line for a drill and the last to leave the drill. Ray made better bat contact that any other player I coached.”
Teammates also recall Weed’s talent.
“It should not go unmentioned that Ray was also an outstanding student,” said Deane E. Deshon who played with Weed for two seasons and was a longtime coach at Salisbury (Md.) College. “He had a good eye, great reflexes and literally “crunched” the ball. Ray ran well and was a very good fielder. He was probably one of the few of the 1950’s and 1960’s players who would compete favorably with current Maine baseball players.”
Phil Curtis, teacher and coach at Thornton Academy, was a teammate of Weed’s in 1959 and 1960.
“Ray’s statistics clearly show his value,” said Curtis. to me, what separates Ray from other quality players was his hitting talent and especially his dynamite swing. In game after game he would hit “ropes” each time at bat. The only way teams got him out was when he lined one right at them.”
Raymond H. Weed, Jr.
March 21, 1940 - April 22, 2003