Rube Waddell

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George Edward Waddell (October 13, 1876 - April 1, 1914) was an American left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball. In his thirteen-year career he played for the Louisville Colonels (1897, 1899), Pittsburgh Pirates (1900-01) and Chicago Orphans (1901) in the National League, and the Philadelphia Athletics (1902-07) and St. Louis Browns (1908-10) in the American League. Waddell earned the nickname "Rube" because he was a big, fresh kid. The term was commonly used to refer to hayseeds or farmboys. He was born in Bradford, Pennsylvania.
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Rube Waddell

Waddell had an excellent fastball, a sharp-breaking curve, a screwball and superb control (his strikeout-to-walk ratio was almost 3-to-1). However, his eccentric behavior led to constant battles with his managers and scuffles with bad tempered teammates. In his career, Waddell had a record of 193-143, 2316 strikeouts, and a 2.16 earned run average, with 50 shutouts and 261 complete games in 2961 innings pitched.

Waddell was immortalized in the classic baseball book, The Glory of Their Times by Lawrence Ritter.

Rube Waddell died in San Antonio, Texas at 37 years of age. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1946.

Quotation

  • "He was among the game's first real drawing cards, among its first honest-to-goodness celebrities, and the first player to have teams of newspaper reporters following him, and the first to have a mass following of idol-worshiping kids yelling out his nickname like he was their buddy." --Alan Howard Levy, in his book Rube Waddell: The Zany, Brilliant Life of a Strikeout Artist.

Highlights

  • Won Triple Crown (1905: 27-10, 287, 1.48)
  • 4-time 20-game winner (24, 21, 25, 27: 1902-05)
  • Six consecutive strikeout titles (1902-07)
  • Set league record for strikeouts in a game (16, 1908)
  • Set record for strikeouts in a season (349, 1904)
  • First pitcher to strike out the side on just nine pitched balls (July 2, 1902)

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