In Memory

Garth M. Bray

Garth Max Bray

1942 - 2020

On Oct 9, 2020 Garth departed for his personal Field of Dreams. His years would take him all throughout the world, creating a vast cache of tales to be shared. However, his most treasured years were the first 18 he spent growing up in Provo. During these years he developed a life long love and talent for baseball, sweetened by the dear friendships that were established and survived a life time. The last 10 years he had the opportunity to join once again with that fraternity of brothers, re-visiting anecdotes of the exceptional escapades they all shared in the 1950's. Ball games were re-played, cars re-cruised Center Street, teenage romances recalled, and the associated laughter once again re-filled his existence. Thank you men for this gift to Garth.!

Born to Max and Helen Bray on Jan 15, 1942. Survived by son Steven Bray, siblings Marsha Ann (Jack) Brendlinger, Richard Bray, and Debra (Bob) Stafford. Also 4 nieces, 2 nephews and their familes whom he adored. Special thanks to Symbii Hospice, Bobi Jo Larson, and Gary Davis for all their support.

GO PITCH ANOTHER NO-HITTER GARTH!

Dear Classmates:  If you have additional information about Garth's passing, please share on this site or send the information to me at ryv@me.com  Bob Valentine



 
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10/14/20 10:21 PM #1    

Robert Y Valentine

Jim Griffiths shared this memory today, October 14, 2020

 

Bob …..

Garth Bray was a classic!  Most of us who played baseball with him referred to him as “Booger Nose Bray!  However, his notoriety came from his 100+ mph fastball, that, for a high school baseball pitcher was nearly impossible to hit.

 

My first recollection of Garth Bray was as a nine year old Little Leaguer in Provo in 1950-51.  Garth’s dad, Max Bray, was coaching one of the Little League teams and Garth was his ace pitcher.  My older brother, Don Griffiths, was coaching the A.L. Duckett Little League Team. We had just finished one of our practices  when Max called out to my brother Don, “Hey Griff, bring your little brother over here and let my son, Garth, throw a few pitches to him.” Well, the fear of almighty heaven struck me down. I had seen Garth pitch, knew of his exceptional speed (even as a nine year old), but also knew that he didn’t have any control of his pitches. Well, my brother agreed, handed me a bat, and pushed me into the batters box! Garth was anxious to impress my brother, so he reared back and threw with all his might, and to my dismay the ball struck me in the rib cage. From that time forward, for another nine to ten years, whenever I faced off with Garth Bray, I always remembered that first encounter, his lack of control, and getting hit in the ribs. (By the way, I still have a bruise where he hit me!)

 

Fast forward to 1960 and the old Timp Baseball Park where Provo High School played its home games. Our battery (Pitcher & Catcher) for that particular game was Garth Bray, pitcher, and Wayne Clarke, catcher. I was playing second base for that game. The game was in the first inning when Wayne Clarke came charging from behind home plate toward the pitching mound. Wayne was livid, furious! I got to the mound about the same time as Wayne to find out what had made him so angry. He screamed at Garth and shouted, “* * * dammit Garth, when I signal for a fast ball, I expect you to throw a fast ball, and when I signal for a curve ball, I expect you to throw a curve ball!  What the * * * * are you doing???  Garth’s reply was, “Wayne, I can’t see your fingers!”  Wayne wheeled around and called for Coach Leonard McKay. When Coach McKay got to the mound, Wayne calmly reported that Bray couldn’t see the signals and was blind. To make a long story short, within a couple of days, Garth was fitted with eyeglasses, which greatly improved his eyesight, his pitching control, and his relationship with Wayne Clarke, his catcher. We ended up winning the region baseball title and went on to play for the State Championship behind the pitching of our ace, Garth Bray.

 

It was an honor to be his teammate.

 

Jim Griffiths

 


10/16/20 06:08 PM #2    

Gerald (Jerry) Jacobson

 

Nice commentary, Jim. I didn't know the old fireballer as long as you did. I didn't play little league but was around a bit because friends plus one of my cousins did play. In Pony league years I ran around with Mike Neeley and wound up at a lot of the games so I saw Garth pitch quite a bit. True fireballer and dominating on the mound. That last game at PHS with Olympus in the state semi-final when we lost (they easily beat the northern team for the title) has another Bray connection. Since Mike had moved to Salt Lake and was at Olympus and playing for them they asked about who he thought Provo would pitch. He told them Garth who was this big guy who was going to scare you to death with a blazing fastball and limited control. Unfortunately,  luck was not with us that day and we lost. Sad for us. Often wondered if being forced to play two extra games for the region title after being snookered with rain and sandy/muddy basepaths in Price didn't take something away. Incidentally, the Olympus coach was Karl Tucker, the long time BYU golf coach. Found that out while I was taking a golf class at the Y and learned he had coached baseball at Olympus. Asked him if he remembered  his team being locked out from their clothes after the game. Answered yes and how did I know that? So told him how it came to be. After that he remembered me! Great guy.

Rest in Peace old fireballer!! Will miss you.

Jake


10/17/20 10:38 AM #3    

Clyde Nielsen

I played alot of baseball against and finally in high school with Garth Bray.    Wow what a pitcher.  He had such a big windup that scared you, then the ball game very fast.   I mostly got out........of the way.

He did pitch for Provo High and we won the state title our junior year...beat Ogden.  Loved playing with him.

We also had John Lant, John Boswell, Wayne Clarke, Mike Neeley, Jim Griffiths from our class that year.


10/17/20 10:38 AM #4    

Clyde Nielsen

I played alot of baseball against and finally in high school with Garth Bray.    Wow what a pitcher.  He had such a big windup that scared you, then the ball game very fast.   I mostly got out........of the way.

He did pitch for Provo High and we won the state title our junior year...beat Ogden.  Loved playing with him.

We also had John Lant, John Boswell, Wayne Clarke, Mike Neeley, Jim Griffiths from our class that year.


10/18/20 05:11 PM #5    

Gerald (Jerry) Jacobson

Don't forget Bob Leonard and Gaylen Robbins!

Jake

 


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