April 15, 2013
By the time Dick Bray got into sports broadcasting, he was already well known in the Cincinnati athletics community. Born in Hyde Park, a Cincinnati suburb, in 1903, Bray was a three-sport star at Xavier University. He played 2nd base for the Comello Clothiers 1928 National Amateur Championship baseball team, was an Ohio Boys Tennis Champ representing the state at the Forest Hills Amateur Tournament, and was a referee for both Big 10 and SEC football and basketball while still in his 20s. But in 1933, Dick Bray discovered a keen interest in radio and after working at WKRC for a few years, he was hired by Red Barber at WSAI/WLW in 1937. In addition to his baseball broadcasts assisting Barber, Bray originated the hosting chores of a new pre-game program created by legendary syndicator Frederic Ziv called “Fans in the Stands.” Before each game, Bray would hike up and down the aisles of Crosley Field selecting fans to interview. Wearing a 32-lb backpack transmitter with a long antenna pole, Bray would conduct his brief chats over the radio and each “guest” would receive a coupon for a free loaf of Rubel's bread. In the off-season, Bray would alter the show a bit by interviewing people on the streets of downtown during a program called “Fans on the Street.” As baseball broadcasts jumped from WSAI to WKRC to WCPO and back to WKRC in the 1940s and 50s, Bray continued to host the “Fans in the Stands” program for 17-years, until 1954. Occasionally, Bray would help out in the booth, too assisting Barber, Roger Baker and Waite Hoyt with play-by-play. Bray left broadcasting in the 1960s and was PR director for A & A Auto Glass…he died in January 1986.
Find more biographies from this series: Cincinnati Reds Broadcasters