High School: Tim Barry

POTW: Barry has record-setting week

May, 8, 2011
5/08/11
1:01
AM CT

OAK FOREST, Ill. -- Few baseball records can be deemed unbreakable, but Oak Forest coach Thaddeus Gatton believes Tim Barry’s Illinois home run record is just that.

[+] EnlargeTim Barry
Scott Powers/ESPNChicago.comTim Barry will play his college baseball at Kansas State.

After Barry, an Oak Forest senior, cranked his 50th career home run and broke the state’s record on Friday, Gatton immediately stamped it as one that will stand forever.

“You talk about baseball records all the time,” Gatton said. “This obviously isn’t a Major League record, but I don’t think it is something that will ever be broken. You don’t have four-year starters anymore. You don’t have players who hit consistently for power their entire career. Plus, the bat regulations are changing next year. Hitting a home run is going to be a 100 times harder.”

With his two-run home run on Friday, Barry also broke the state’s career RBI record. Barry has 194 RBIs in his career.

For his achievements, Barry is the ESPNChicago.com/Muscle Milk Prep Athlete of Week.

Barry, who 6-feet and 215 pounds, has been terrorizing area pitchers since he first stepped to the plate at Oak Forest. As a freshman, he slugged 14 home runs. He hit 10 more as a sophomore and had a career-best 17 home runs last season. His home run on Friday gave him nine for this season.
Earlier in the week, Barry hit four home runs in a doubleheader to tie the state’s record.

“He caught up to it quickly,” Gatton said. “He didn’t have much time to think about it.”


p>Barry was unable to break the record on Thursday. On Friday, he took care of it in the fifth inning on a changeup. His shot sailed well over the fence in left-center field.

“He crushed it,” Gatton said. “He probably hit it 450 feet.”

Barry said, “I was told by people that it hit the street on the fly.”

As nearly a dozen family members celebrated in the stands, Barry circled the bases, received a hug from Gatton as he rounded third base and was mobbed by his teammates after stepping on home plate.

“It was exciting, joyful,” Barry said. “Everyone was cheering and excited I finally broke the record. I was very proud of myself.”

It was a moment, as Gatton said, that may not be seen again.


Oak Forest's Barry breaks state records

May, 7, 2011
5/07/11
2:06
AM CT

Oak Forest senior Tim Barry broke Illinois' career home run and RBI records with a single swing on Friday.

Barry crushed an approximate 450-foot home run against Bremen at Oak Forest on Friday, setting new state records with 50 career home runs and 194 RBIs.

Odin’s Curtis Parrish (2000-2003) owned the previous home run record with 49. Greenville’s Stefan Neece (2002-2005) had the RBI record with 193.
Iowa’s Jeff Clement (1999-2002) holds the national record with 75 career home runs. Michigan’s Drew Henson (1995-1998) possesses the RBI mark with 290.

“It was exciting,” said Barry, who bats righty and uses a 31-ounce, 34-inch bat. “I was very proud of myself. I knew I could do it. It means a lot. I put my name out there and also my family’s.”

Oak Forest coach Thaddeus Gatton stopped Barry after he rounded third base, hugged him and told him he was proud of him.

“It was very touching,” Gatton said. “It was a neat little moment. I think it was a huge burden off him. I think it was finally good for Timmy to get it out the way, and he can now just play baseball.

“He’s the best high school, let alone college, maybe even higher hitter I’ve ever seen. I say this all the time. My assistant coach played juco and Division I, my other assistant played Double-A with the Dodgers, and I played Division III, and none of us have seen a hitter like him in our lives.”

Barry set up the record-breaking day by knocking in four runs during a doubleheader on Wednesday. He went without one on Thursday.

Barry hit 14 home runs as a freshman, 10 as a sophomore, 17 as a junior and has nine this season. Pittsfield’s Scott Riley holds the single-season home run record with 19 in 1999.

“I think it’ll be possible to break my record, but I’m going to make it extremely difficult for them,” Barry said. “I will be hitting more. I’m trying to push it up to 60.”

Gatton doesn’t believe anyone will touch the home run record wherever Barry leaves it at.

“You talk about baseball records all the time,” Gatton said. “This obviously isn’t a Major League record, but I don’t think it is something that will ever be broken. You don’t have four-year starters anymore. You don’t have players who hit consistently for power their entire career. Plus, the bat regulations are changing next year. Hitting a home run is going to be a 100 times harder.”

Barry is signed with Kansas State, but could opt to play professional baseball depending on where he’s selected in June’s draft.

“I’m not worried about it,” Barry said. “Right now is right now. I worry about how I play now.”

Oak Forest will hold ceremony to commemorate Barry’s accomplishment at a future home game.


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