‘Doc’ Payne has ties to both Reds, Indians

Published 1:31 am Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Jim Walker



Ray ‘Doc’ Payne is allowed to sit on the outfield fence during the Ohio Cup Series between the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians.

Payne, 84, is not only a Reds’ fan but a former pitcher in the Indians’ organization.

A 1948 graduate of Ironton High School, Payne was one of the top pitchers in the area. He began playing semi-pro baseball after high school and was signed in 1951 by Cleveland scout Hank Gowdy who saw Payne pitching in Dayton.

Payne was sent to Pittsfield, Mass., the to Fort Smith, Ark., and finally to Bakersfield, Calif.. Oddly, Payne never played for any of the three teams because he was serving in the armed forces.

After his military stint, Payne pitched two seasons for the Indians’ farm team in Wichita, Kan., and posted a 4-1 record during the National Baseball Congress Tournament.

A lefthander, Payne was now 23 years old due to his time in the service and he needed to make a career decision.

“If you were 24 or 25 years old and you were in Triple-A, teams would usually let you go,” said Payne.

Payne made the decision to quit baseball and returned to Ironton to find a steady job.