Monday, April 2, 2012 | 2:12 a.m.
Every baseball team needs a dependable left-handed starting pitcher who counts durability and fastball speed among his strengths.
Ray Hayward, the 10th overall pick out of the University of Oklahoma in the 1983 MLB Amateur Draft, filled that void for four years with the Las Vegas Stars from 1984-1987.
Hayward started an average of 25 games per year for the Stars, twice leading the team in innings pitched. He’s the Las Vegas franchise leader with 599 innings pitched, 99 games started and 456 strikeouts.
But he leads a few negative categories, too, with 302 walks, 274 earned runs allowed and 58 wild pitches. Control issues kept the one-time top prospect out of the majors, as Hayward started only 15 MLB games with a 6.75 ERA.
He was part of a 1988 trade that sent Hall of Fame pitcher Rich “Goose” Gossage from the San Diego Padres to the Chicago Cubs. Hayward had a few more productive years in the minors, but his best moments came with Las Vegas.
In addition to his memorable tenure with the Stars, Hayward was an All-American at Oklahoma. He eventually made his way back to the school and served as an assistant coach.