Welcome back IronBirds fans! We hope you enjoyed the holiday weekend as we push closer and closer to the IronBirds season.
Many of our fans probably remember the name Chris Ray. Ray pitched for the IronBirds back in 2003. The 3rd round draft pick out of William & Mary came to Aberdeen with hopes of a bright future. Ray made his debut with the Orioles in 2005. After injuring his elbow and Tommy John surgery, Ray’s arm was never the same. While Ray battled back from surgery in 2008 and even making a rehab trip to Aberdeen, he would continue to play for multiple different teams before hanging up his cleats after the 2012 season.
Chris Ray was often one to dabble in different hobbies. In 2008, a former William & Mary teammate bought Ray a home brewing kit after Ray developed a finer taste for beer. Even former teammate Jim Johnson has said that Ray is a “beer snob.” Eventually Ray became hooked and loved to tinker with the different types of beer. He became so fascinated with brewing his own beer that he bought his brother his own kit. Soon their conversations were consumed with discussing their new brews. One advantage to Ray being traded to different teams was being able to experience the many different craft brews in great cities like San Francisco and Seattle.
In 2011, while playing in Seattle, Ray approached the founder of Fremont Brewing about brewing an IPA to benefit a military organization. While the owner was originally unsure of this idea, Ray quickly won him over with his knowledge of the craft. Eventually the Ray brothers created their Homefront IPA to benefit Operation Homefront and put one unique twist on the beer. The beer is actually aged using Louisville Slugger bats.
The brothers have since relocated to the Richmond, Virginia area where they brew more than three types of beer. You can currently find their beers at local restaurants around Richmond and they are trying to obtain a license to sell their beer in other states such as Maryland.
We hope everyone enjoyed this check in of another former IronBird. Make sure to keep sending any of your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Check back on Monday to see if you question was answered!
Until then…Go IronBirds!