Randy Ready played 13 MLB seasons, 1983-to-1995. He won a 1980 college batting title; 1980, 1982 minor league hitting titles; 1986 Caribbean Series MVP and batting crown. Tony LaRussa, his 1992 Oakland manager, appreciated Ready. Tony Gwynn, a San Diego teammate, 1986-to-1989, stated: “I don’t know what’s going on in that little man’s head, but something is definitely clicking that keeps [Ready] going…that man is tough.” Ready played at 5’11, 180 pounds.
Randy Max Ready was born in San Mateo, California, on January 8, 1960. His favorite MLB teams were the Oakland A’s and San Francisco Giants. “Mom loved Willie Mays,” recalled Ready. “She ran into him at the airport and got to meet/talk to him.” Ready witnessed this. He loved the 1970-to-1975 Oakland A’s with Reggie Jackson, Gene Tenace, Joe Rudi, Sal Bando…
In Ready’s final year of college baseball (1980) at Mesa College (Colorado), 35 games, .522-9-39, 50 runs, 59 hits/113 AB, .850 SLG, .626 OBP, 1.476 OPS. The SLG, OBP and .522 BA remain Colorado Mesa single-season records. Sam Suplizio, a Milwaukee Brewers scout, signed Ready for $11,000 in the 1980 draft, 155th overall, sixth round.
Ready’s .375-20-99 campaign with 1982 class AA El Paso Diablos earned him League All-Star plaudits at third base, batting crown and league-best 122 runs/178 hits, but Darryl Strawberry of the Jackson Mets was MVP. Ready noted: “Jackson had the million dollar outfield: Strawberry, Blocker and Billy Beane. Ready was promoted to Milwaukee in September 1983 after hitting .329-13-59 for Vancouver class AAA.
“Harry Dalton (Milwaukee GM) called me into the office and told me: you’re coming to the major leagues.” Harry Dalton was a friend of Hiram Cuevas, 1983-84 Mayagüez Indios GM. Cuevas-Dalton worked closely together from 1966-to-1971 when Dalton was Baltimore Orioles GM and Cuevas owned the Santurce Crabbers. This resulted in Earl Weaver and Frank Robinson managing Santurce; Paul Blair, Jim Palmer, Don Baylor, Dave Johnson, Elrod Hendricks and other Orioles playing for Santurce.
Ready received his first opportunity to play Puerto Rico winter ball, October 1983. “Harry Dalton made arrangements to send me to Mayagüez,” said Ready. “Frank Verdi was my [1983-84] manager.” Ready was involved in a close batting title chase with Don Mattingly of Caguas. “In fact, we were playing each other on the last day,” recalled Ready. “I said to him: I’m going to catch you, but Mattingly got a hit his first at-bat and then two more.” Caguas manager Víctor Pellot later told Van Hyning he offered to sit Mattingly, but Mattingly wanted to be in the line-up. Mattingly (.368) topped Ready’s .361, followed by Arecibo’s Candy Maldonado (.346), Santurce’s Jerry Willard (.338) and San Juan’s Tony Gwynn (.327).
Ready’s 20 doubles, 1983-84, were second to 22 by Santurce OF Juan Beniquez. Ready tied for third, 44 runs, with teammate Dion James and Santurce’s Steve Lubratich. Ready’s 43 walks-19 strikeouts were excellent as were 38 RBIs in 169 AB, .491 OBP, .615 SLG, 1.106 OPS. Mayagüez (38-22) won regular/post-season titles with fine pitching from Kevin Hagen, Brad Havens, Bob Gibson and Juan Agosto. They defeated Arecibo and Ponce, respectively, in semi-finals/finals. Ready did not participate in the 1984 Caribbean Series hosted by Puerto Rico, won by Venezuela’s Zulia Lions, managed by Rubén Amaro.
Rene Lachemann, Ready’s 1984 Brewers skipper, managed Mayagüez to 1977-78 league/1978 Caribbean Series titles. A 1985-86 winter in Puerto Rico featured a league title for 31-22 Mayagüez, but Ready sub-par stats: .207, 2-11. “Puerto Rico was one of the top (winter) places in the 1980s; very competitive,” said Ready. “Winter ball was so much fun—the crowds, a learning experience; prepared me for the next season.” Ready added: “we had a good team, a good group of guys with José Guzmán, Tim Belcher, Juan Agosto, Jesús Hernaiz, Luis de León [pitchers], Willie Lozado, Paul O’Neill, Bobby Bonilla, Harold Reynolds, John Cangelosi, Wally Joyner…” Manager Nick Leyva led Mayagüez to a 12-6 round robin record and final series win over San Juan, and to Maracaibo, Venezuela, for the 1986 Caribbean Series.
Ready was Series MVP: 14 hits/30 at-bats, .467 series-leading BA, .667 SLG. His seven RBIs led all hitters. Mayagüez (2-4) was last, trailing Mexicali Eagles (4-2), host La Guaira Sharks (3-3) and Aguilas Cibaeñas (3-3). Ready recalled a game three win versus Mexicali and series-ending loss to Mexicali and their hitting star John Kruk, a close friend/future teammate in San Diego and Philadelphia. Ready was 3B on the 1986 Caribbean Series All-Star team, along with SS José Oquendo, CF John Cangelosi, catcher Tony Peña, 1B Andrés Galarraga, etc. Ready’s 14 hits are the most ever by an American player in this regional tournament, and tied with Cuba’s Pedro Formental (14/25, .560 BA), 1953 Series hosted by Havana, Cuba, and Puerto Rico’s Roberto Alomar (14/25, .560 BA), 1995 Series held in San Juan. Roberto Alomar and Ready are the only MLB teammates with 14 hits in a Caribbean Series.
After a slow start with 1986 Milwaukee, Ready (23 games, .190, 1-4) was traded to San Diego for a player to be named later, June 12, 1986. Jack McKeon, San Diego’s director of baseball operations, stated: “Randy’s a good right-handed hitter off the bench or he can play several positions.” Ready’s best MLB big league season came in 1987: 124 games, .309-12-54. His .423 OBP, .520 SLG and .943 OPS were career MLB bests. McKeon was Ready’s manager in 1988, after Larry Bowa’s firing, until June 2, 1989, when Ready and Kruk were traded to the Phils.
On April 24, 1988, the Padres beat the Houston Astros, 4-0, with “another diving catch by that new second baseman named Roberto Alomar,” wrote Bill Plaschke. “But they won on fortitude, in the person of Ready and his fourth-inning, self-made run that broke a scoreless tie and eventually the Astros’ will.” Ready led off with a double. One out later, Benito Santiago hit another shot to left. Sandy Alomar Sr., third base coach, waved Ready home. Ready slid in safe around the tag of Alan Ashby. Houston manager Hal Lanier said: “I don’t know how somebody can go from second to home on a ball hit that hard…that play really hurt.” Ready, when asked about his speed, answered: “Average, make that aggressive average.”
Jim Fregosi replaced Nick Leyva two weeks into the 1991 Phillies season. Ready liked Fregosi, opining: “Jimmy Fregosi was a great guy—loved to hold court; stood out as a manager; a former great player and good communicator…you saw the rise of the 1993 team…” Ready’s .249, 1-20, in 76 games; 47 walks contributed to a .385 OBP. He nearly pulled off an unassisted triple play, April 28, 1991: “I had Bip Roberts on second and Tony Fernández on first,” (versus San Diego) recalled Ready. “I was thinking about leading off in the home first; Tony Gwynn hit a shot; [I] caught it, so I stepped on second and threw it to first to get the third out. I’m getting ready to hit and led off with a double! Could have tagged Tony Fernández but threw it to Ricky Jordan.”
Ready’s big league career highlight took place late 1992 season when A’s manager Tony LaRussa called him “the quintessential professional.” Ready noted a [game four] home run by Toronto’s Roberto Alomar changed the 1992 American League Championship Series momentum. Ready’s only at-bat (strike out) came as a pinch-hitter for Lance Blankenship in the ninth inning of game six at the Sky Dome, versus Tom Henke.
Ready’s 40 games for 1993 Montreal: .254-1-10, 23 walks, eight strikeouts. Ready, on Expos manager Felipe Alou. “He could command attention—no nonsense. He commanded respect of the club. Everyone wanted to perform well for him…” Ready’s MLB playing career ended June 9, 1995 with the Phillies. He managed in the minors for many years and was a San Diego Padres hitting coach, 2009-to-2011.
Everyone should appreciate Ready’s work ethic, attention to detail and positive human qualities. He has fond memories playing for Mayagüez and representing Puerto Rico in the February 4-9, 1986 Caribbean Series. His Mayagüez regular season hitting stats: 100 games, 343 AB, 71 runs, 97 hits, 27 doubles, 4 triples, 9 home runs, 49 RBIs, 9 SB, 44 strikeouts, 73 walks, .283 BA, .409 OBP, .464 SLG, .873 OPS
Ready’s SABR bio by Tom Van Hyning is at: https://sabr.org/bioproj/person/dcd5104d.