February 3, 1944 |
|September 17, 1967, for the Detroit Tigers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|August 2, 1972, for the Detroit Tigers|
|Runs batted in||67|
|Career highlights and awards|
Harry Wayne Comer (born February 3, 1944) is a former Major League Baseball outfielder. He played professional baseball for 13 seasons from 1962 through 1974, including stints with four Major League teams: the Detroit Tigers (1967, 1968, 1972), the Seattle Pilots (1969), the Milwaukee Brewers (1970), and the Washington Senators (1970).
In 1969, Comer's only full season in Major League Baseball, he led the Seattle Pilots in runs scored, led the American League in double plays turned as an outfielder, and ranked second in the American League in assists from the outfield. He was also a member of the 1968 Detroit Tigers and compiled a perfect 1.000 postseason batting average with a pinch-hit single off Joe Hoerner in his only at bat in Game 5 of the 1968 World Series.
Comer was born in 1944 in Shenandoah, Virginia. He was raised there and attended Page County High School. He was an all-around athlete in high school, playing baseball, basketball and football. He was selected as an all-state player in football.
In March 1963, Comer was traded to the Detroit Tigers for Bobo Osborne. He spent the 1963 season with the Lakeland Tigers in the Florida State League. He next played for the Duluth–Superior Dukes in 1964 and the Montgomery Rebels in 1965. In 1965, he led the Southern League with 31 stolen bases, compiled a .285 batting average, and hit nine home runs. At the end of the 1965 season, he was named to the Southern League All-Star Team.
Comer began the 1966 season with the Syracuse Chiefs of the International League. However, after only 35 games with the Chiefs, he was traded by the Chiefs to the Toledo Mud Hens in exchange for outfielder Art Lopez. He was the Mud Hens starting center fielder in 1966 and compiled a .266 batting average with 11 home runs and 52 RBIs.
During the 1967 season, Comer compiled a career high .290 batting average with a .363 on-base percentage. He also led the International League in runs scored, total bases, and putouts and assists by an outfielder. At the end of the 1967 season, he was named by the National Association of Baseball Writers to the 1967 East Triple-A All-Star team.
In September 1967, Comer was called up by the Detroit Tigers. He made his Major League debut on September 17, 1967, and appeared in four games for the 1967 Tigers. With one hit in three at bats, he compiled a .333 batting average.
The following year, Comer began the season in Toledo but was called up by the Tigers after Al Kaline broke a bone in his forearm in late May 1968. Comer appeared in 48 games for the 1968 Detroit Tigers, principally as a backup outfielder. He compiled a .125 batting average with one triple and one home run in 48 at bats. Comer made an appearance in Game 5 of the 1968 World Series, getting a pinch-hit single off Joe Hoerner in his only at bat for a perfect 1.000 World Series batting average.
In 1969, Comer was an every day starter for the Pilots in the outfield, mostly in center field. In the first year of Major League Baseball in Seattle, Comer led the team in runs scored with 88. He was also second on the Pilots in home runs with 15 (trailing Don Mincher). Comer also stole 18 bases for Seattle in 1969, and his combined "Power/Speed Number" was 16.4 — eighth best in the American League. He also led the American League in 1969 with six double plays turned as an outfielder. His 14 assists from the outfield ranked second in the American League.
On May 10, 1970, Comer was traded by the Brewers to the Washington Senators for Hank Allen and Ron Theobald. Comer appeared in 77 games for the Senators, compiling a .233 batting average (.346 on-base percentage) in 129 at bats.
On December 5, 1970, Comer was purchased by the Detroit Tigers from the Senators. He spent the 1971 season with the Toledo Mud Hens, appearing in 136 games with a .279 batting average (.373 on-base percentage). He was called up by the Tigers for a portion of the 1972 season, appearing in 27 games mostly as a defensive replacement in the outfield. He had only one hit in nine at bats for the 1972 Tigers.
Later years and family
After retiring from baseball, Comer returned to Virginia. He served as the baseball coach at Spotswood High School for several years, was named Coach of the Year in 2000, and resigned after the 2006 season.
Comer was married in January 1963 to Joyce Nauman. They had three sons, Timothy Wayne (born 1965), Paul Allen (born 1968), and Shaun Christopher (born 1980).
- "Wayne Comer". Baseball-Reference.com.
- Jack Hewins (July 13, 1969). "Comer Means Homer To Seattle Fans". Reading Eagle (AP story).
- Brian Borawsksi (2008). "Wayne Comer". Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).
- "Wayne Comer Minor League Statistics".
- "Tigers Get Comer From Washington". Boston Globe. March 28, 1963. p. 46.
- "Lakeland Wins on Comer's Hit". Lakeland Ledger. June 10, 1963.
- Hal Shanahan (June 16, 1966). "Ex Chief Aids Hens In Sweep". Toledo Blade.
- Bill Reddy (June 10, 1966). "Chiefs Get Lopez From Hens in Trade for Comer". Syracuse Post-Standard.
- "Thumbnail Sketches of Mud Hens". Toledo Blade. April 24, 1967.
- "Comer's Back, But Not Bitter". Toledo Blade. April 2, 1971.
- "Matchick, Comer All-Stars Again". Toledo Blade. October 6, 1967.
- Mike Recht (May 23, 1969). "Wayne's Real Comer". Ocala Star-Banner (AP story).
- "Comer To Nats". The Windsor Star. May 11, 1970. p. 22.
- Bill Fox (August 20, 1971). "Comer – Fence-Buster Deluxe". Toledo Blade.
- "Hamstring Sidelines Comer". Toledo Blade. June 6, 1973.
- "OF Comer With Reading". Reading Eagle. April 9, 1974.
- "Cave Player Of Year". Daily News-Record (Harrisonburg, Virginia). June 5, 2000.
- Dustin Dopirak (June 22, 2006). "Comer Out At SHS". Daily News-Record (Harrisonburg, Virginia).