In 1982 Ray became the first Pirate selected as NL Rookie of the Year, playing 162 games and hitting .281. Though he led NL second basemen in errors, he also led in putouts, assists, and total chances. The disciplined, switch-hitting, gap hitter tied for the NL lead with 38 doubles in both 1983 and 1984, and proved one of baseball’s toughest batters to strike out. In 1986 he tied an ML second basemen’s record for fewest errors (150 or more games), with five.
Traded to the Angels late in 1987, he was tried in left field, but moved back to second base when Mark McLemore was injured. Ray, who had twice led the league in doubles, had 42 in 1988 and beat out more prominent teammates like Wally Joyner and Chili Davis for California’s lone All-Star spot. Though his batting average remained respectable over the next two years, his gap power dropped, and he retired after the 1990 season.