2006-07-13 / Front Page
Braves give Barry a shot at major league pitching
BY JANE MEGGITT
UPPER FREEHOLD - It has been a roller-coaster ride for a township native and her husband as his baseball career has gone from the minors to the majors, back to minors, and, at press time, into the major leagues once again.
Kevin Barry, 27, worked his way through the minor leagues and was recently promoted to pitcher for the Atlanta Braves. His wife, Samantha Barry, 27, is the daughter of former Upper Freehold Mayor Richard Osborn. Her grandparents, Les and Evelyn Osborn, also live in town on their Burlington Path Road farm.
Evelyn Osborn said she and her husband are quite pleased about their grandson-in-law's move to the majors. Her husband watches more baseball on television than he ever did before, she said, adding that he was always more of a wrestling fan than a fan of baseball. Now, of course, their favorite team is the Atlanta Braves.
Samantha said she met her future husband on a snowmobile outing when she was 16 years old and he was 17.
Kevin grew up in West Windsor, and the two dated while Samantha attended Allentown High School and The College of New Jersey in Ewing. He went to West Windsor High School and Rider University in the Lawrenceville section
of Lawrence. The couple married
Samantha said the Oakland Athletics drafted her husband during his junior year in college, but he decided to continue school to complete his degree in business administration.
After graduation, he started working for the Atlanta Braves through their minor league teams, she said.
According to the Richmond Braves, which is Virginia's minor league baseball team, Kevin made the first eight starts of his five-year professional career last season and turned in outstanding numbers. He had an earned run average (ERA) of 1.65 as a starter and won his last three decisions. He also earned two Pitcher of the Week awards.
Kevin began the season in the Richmond Braves bullpen and spent time with the AA Mississippi Braves, which is the AA Southern League franchise of the Atlanta Braves. He held opponents to a .209 average, was part of the Richmond Braves 2004 South Division championship club, and pitched in five games in the 2004 playoffs, during which he did not allow a single run, according to the Richmond Braves Web site.
This season, Kevin also went to camp with Atlanta as a nonroster invitee. He was a Carolina League All-Star in 2002, who was named to Baseball America's short-season All-Star Team as a pro rookie in 2001. He joined the Braves in 2001 as a 14th-round draft pick out of Rider, and was signed by J.J. Picollo, according to the Web site.
In the off season, the Barrys live in southern Illinois, in a small town called Kinmundy that has a population of 900.
"We can't afford the East Coast," Samantha said, adding that she would like to live somewhere that reminds her of the Cream Ridge of her childhood.
Samantha said she was very sad to leave the Cream Ridge section of Upper Freehold.
"But it's so much more crowded and expensive now," she said.
The couple also has an apartment in Richmond, where Kevin plays with the Braves' minor league team.
When asked why they don't live in Atlanta, Samantha said there is no security for her husband right now.
Kevin was sent back to the Richmond club after an Atlanta Braves member came off the disabled list. However, Kevin remained on the team's 40-man roster, which allows the team to move him up and down as he is needed, according to his father-in-law. Then within a matter of days, someone else got hurt and Kevin was back to the major leagues again.
Samantha has done her fair share of traveling as she follows her husband's baseball career. She didn't watch baseball on television much or even go to local games before she met Kevin, she said, but she now finds the game very interesting, especially since she has learned the rules and met the players.
"There's a lot to learn about baseball," she said. "I learn something [new] every day."
Samantha said she enjoys hanging out with the other baseball players' wives and girlfriends.
"It's a fun night out," she said.