A native of High Point, North Carolina, Ray Hayworth was a solid defensive catcher but a modest hitter. Hayworth, who worked in baseball for more than 50 years, spent 15 seasons in the majors, almost all of it with the Detroit Tigers. He played with Ty Cobb in 1926, Hayworth's rookie season, and Cobb's final season in Detroit.
Hayworth was a member of two World Series teams with Detroit in 1934 and 1935. He set an American League record for most consecutive chances by a catcher without an error at 439, from September 2, to August 29, , and his glove is exhibited in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The record was later broken by Hall of Famer Yogi Berra.
Hayworth also had two stints with the Brooklyn Dodgers and played briefly for the New York Giants and St. Louis Browns. He posted a .265 career batting average with five home runs and 238 RBI in 699 games played.
Following his playing career, Hayworth worked for several teams, including the Chicago Cubs, the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves and the Montreal Expos. Hayworth retired from baseball in . After that, he threw out the ceremonial first ball in the last game played at Tiger Stadium on September 29, .
Hayworth died in Salisbury, North Carolina, at age of 98. At the time of his death, he was the oldest surviving major league player.
His younger brother, Red Hayworth, also was a major league catcher, and his son, J. D. Hayworth, was a Republican Party member of the United States House of Representatives from Arizona between 1995 and 2007.