Remembering Red Ruffing: Sports Profile
"Run, run, run."
Pain was a constant for Charles Herbert Ruffing as a result of the loss
of four toes on his left foot from a mine accident. But he looked past
the pain and pitched his way to the top in the 1930s becoming one of the
great hurlers in Yankee history.
Born May 3, 1905 in Granville, Illinois the kid they called "Red" was
already playing for the Nokomis mining company team piloted by his
father at age 15. Four years later Ruffing was on the Red Sox.
With Boston, Ruffing twice led the league in losses. In l930, the
Yankees acquired him for $50,000 and Cedric Durst. It was another case
of a player coming to the Yankees and shining. Ruffing won 22 games in
his first New York season.
Utilizing a moving fast ball with a sharp breaking curve, the powerfully
built Ruffing went 23l-l24 in l5 Yankee seasons. He had four
consecutive 20-victory seasons and won seven of nine World Series
decisions for the Yankees. His three main rules of training were "Run,
A superb all around athlete, Ruffing was one of the best fielding and
hitting pitchers ever. Eight times he batted over .300.
Number 15 was so good with the bat (he hit .29l with 5 home runs in
l932) that McCarthy liked to use him as a pinch hitter. He had more than
200 career pinch hit at bats. The all time leader among Yankee pitchers
in home runs, RBIs' and batting average for a season, eight times
Ruffing batted over .300.
Ruffing played on seven championship teams. First among all Yankee
pitchers in complete games, Ruffing is second in innings pitched, wins,
third in strikeouts and games pitched, and ninth in winning percentage.
Bill Dickey said of him: "If I were asked to choose the best pitcher
I've ever caught, I would have to say Ruffing."
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Harvey Frommer is in his 38th year of writing books.
A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 42 sports
books including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and
"Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE
STADIUM was published in 2008 and his REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL
AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION was published to
acclaim in 2011. The prolific Frommer is at work on When It Was
Just a Game, An Oral History on Super Bowel One.
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