Historical Hitter

Historical Hitter September 18: Red Ruffing

In a game not noted of its pitching, Red Ruffing is the batter of the day. It was a nail bitter with the Yankees winning 7-6 in 10 innings at St. Louis’s Sportsman’s Park.

The St. Louis star this day was Hall of Famer Goose Goslin who hit a double and triple in the losing cause.

Red RuffingBut it was the Yankee pitcher to out did his fellow Hall of Famer with the bat by hitting two home runs. His first home run was hit in the 2nd Inning and his second was in the top of the 8th Inning with one on. He hit both off of Brownie pitcher Fred Stiely.

Stiely did not have a long or successful career. It was just three years long and consisted of nine games, three of which he stared. His final record was 1-1 with an ERA of 5.97. He gave up a total of four home runs of which Ruffing had his two. But in this game Stiely did well at the bat. He was two for two with a double and two RBIs.

Combined the pitchers Ruffing and Stiely struck 4 hits, (3 of them extra base hits), one double, two home runs, and knocked in 5 RBI’s.

Ruffing’s career lasted from 1924 to 1947, with time off for World War II. A six time all-star, he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1967. He first pitched as a 19-year old for the Red Sox and was traded mid-season in 1931 to the Yankees for Cedric Durst and 50,000 dollars. Durst was a part-time seven year veteran who had a career .244 average. This might be the second worst deal between the Red Sox and Yankees.

It gave new life to Ruffing, who did not have a winning record for the pathetic Sox, he was 39-96. He has the worst record of Hall of Fame Pitchers when they reached their 100th loss at 53-100. He went 231-124 and had a 119 ERA+ with the Yankees. His Hall of Fame candidacy was helped by a Bob Feller article in The Saturday Evening Post in which Ruffing, Satchel Paige and Luke Appling were most deserving to be Hall of Famers.

As a youth Ruffing lost four toes on his left foot in a mining accident, which precipitated his switching to pitcher from outfield. So on this day we say bat, 10 fingers, and only 6 toes equates to two home runs.

Ruffing was a good hitter with a career average of .269 he hit 36 home runs, knocked in 272 RBI’s with an 81 OPS+. He is fourth on the list of Home Run hitting pitchers with 34 and he hit two more as a pinch hitter. In the 1934 All-Star game at the Polo Grounds he was 1 for 1 with 2 RBI’s. It was a one-out single that plated Dickey and Averill in the top of the 5th off of Lon Warneke. This was the famous game were Carl Hubbell struck out six including Ruth, Gehrig, Foxx, Simmons, and Cronin in a row.

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