Barney in 1948.
December 19, 1924|
|Died: August 12, 1997
|Batted: Right||Threw: Right|
|August 18, 1943 for the Brooklyn Dodgers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 4, 1950 for the Brooklyn Dodgers|
|Earned run average||4.31|
|Career highlights and awards|
As a teenage phenom, Barney was signed by the Dodgers at the age of 18, in 1943. He pitched 45 innings that year.
Barney returned to the majors in 1946. He was one of the hardest throwers in the league but struggled with wildness early in his career. In 1948, however, he gained control of his fastball and had his greatest season; he won 15 games and finished second in the National League with 138 strikeouts. The highlight was hurling a no-hitter against the New York Giants on September 9. He had to sit through a one-hour rain delay and showers in the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings to finish the game.
The next season, Barney pitched semi-effectively while suffering lingering effects from a leg injury. He got knocked out early in his only World Series start against the New York Yankees. In 1950, he walked 48 batters in just 33 innings and never played in the majors again.
After his retirement as a player, Barney briefly worked as a broadcaster, calling games for Mutual radio in 1958. That same year he also teamed with Al Helfer to call several Philadelphia Phillies games on New York station WOR-TV, helping to fill that city's void of National League baseball following the departure of the Dodgers and Giants to the West Coast.
Rex Barney was the PA announcer for the Baltimore Orioles from 1974 until his death in 1997. He was famous for often using the phrase "Give that fan a contract!" when a fan snared a foul ball on the fly. However, if the fan misplayed the ball, Barney would intone, "Give that fan... an error!" This was an expansion on the old radio and TV announcers' comment, "Sign him up!" He would also announce after every game, "Thank youuuuu."
Barney's famous "Thank youuuuu" were the last words to come over the PA system at Memorial Stadium after the Orioles' last game there on October 6, 1991. Barney was in the hospital at the time, and the message was recorded from there and played over the PA system to end the Orioles' tenancy.
Barney co-authored (with Norman L. Macht) two books about his life in baseball, "Rex Barney's Thank Youuuu for 50 Years of Baseball" and "Orioles Memories: 1969-1994." He had become famous as an announcer, but to the end of his life, Barney always regretted his failure to last as a major league pitcher:
Believe me, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about what I could and should have been. It still hurts.
- Barney in 1992
Rex Barney died on August 12, 1997. In tribute to him, the Orioles game that day was held without a public address announcer.
- Gould, Jack (April 24, 1958). "We Want the Bums!; Phillies Bow as Video Regulars Here, and Brooklyn Was Never Like This". The New York Times. p. 63.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- Rex Barney at Find a Grave
September 9, 1948
|Brooklyn Dodgers Opening Day