Lismore baseball legend Ray Buckley with his son Matt.
Lismore baseball legend Ray Buckley with his son Matt. contributed

Ray did it his way for 41 years in local baseball

THE fourth entry into the Far North Coast Baseball Legends series is Ray Buckley.

Buckley was one of the most dynamic players in the mid 1960s through to the early 1980s.

He was classed as one of the fastest players to ever play in the FNC competition and was renowned for introducing the stand-up slide.

Ray was arguably one of the finest baseballers the FNC has produced and was a consistent thorn to the opposition teams with his speed and overall ability.

His fielding was outstanding together with an above average batting ability, he could single-handedly put the opposition into disarray.

Buckley started his baseball career when he was a student at St John's Woodlawn College.

At the age of 14 he signed up with Marist Brothers and played his whole baseball career with them until his retirement when he was 55

At an early age he showed his talent, where due to his speed and quick foot he spent most of his playing years at shortstop and in the outfield.

He gained Queensland State selection in 1963 and every year from then on until 1970.

In 1968 he was awarded the Wills Trophy as the most outstanding Queensland player.

In 1967 The Northern Star stated that "Ray is regarded as Lismore's number 1 sportsman."

Buckley gained Australian selection in 1966-1968 and in 1969 was awarded the Lismore Sportsman of the Year for his outstanding performances.

In 1970 again The Northern Star praised Ray as "being the most outstanding player in the FNC Association for the past three years."

In 2004 he was awarded Hall of Fame status in both the FNC and Queensland Associations.

Ray won endless awards for Brothers and FNC over his career including many MVP, batting and fielding trophies.

Buckley not only excelled on the field for many years but put in many years of coaching and passing his knowledge to the younger players.

From the mid 1970s through to the mid 1980s he took on coaching Brothers, FNC and Queensland juniors.

He was also player-coach for Brothers Major League team for a number of years.

Buckley held every executive position for Brothers and took on the treasurers position on the FNC board in 1982 and 1983.

He was ultimately awarded Life Membership to Marist Brothers in 1976 and was also inducted into the Queensland Hall of Fame in 2004.

Ray not only was an outstanding talent on the baseball field but excelled at cricket and rugby league for Marist Brothers.

He scored 15 tries and was the leading try scorer in just nine games of first grade in 1967.

In the same year he played three games in reserve grade where he tallied up 53 points comprising of nine tries and 13 goals and was declared as the fastest footballer in the competition.

His three sons, Matt, Mark and Andrew, also became very talented baseballers in their own right and achieved great heights in the game.

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