Monday, August 26, 2013

Red Sox in Cooperstown Pt. 10: Red Ruffing

Years with Boston: 1924-1930 (39-96, 3.47 ERA, 1,122.1 innings, 450 strikeouts, 459 walks)
Best Year in Boston: 1928 (10-25, 3.89 ERA, 289.1 innings, 118 strikeouts, 96 walks)
No, those records are not typos.  Red Ruffing really did have that bad of a record after his first five-plus seasons.  That was mostly due to the fact that the Red Sox teams that Ruffing pitched for were, in a word, terrible.  Ruffing actually pitched reasonably well compared to most of his teammates.  He was probably a little too young to be the ace of the staff, but he was the ace by default.

Ruffing led the league in losses twice while with the Red Sox.  In 1928 he led with 25, and then in 1929 he lost 22.  But Ruffing also led the league in complete games in 1928 with 25.  He pitched a lot of innings because he was one of the few Red Sox pitchers who could actually pitch.  But his record never got any better in Boston.

After four games in Boston in 1930, Ruffing was traded to the Yankees for Cedric Durst and $50,000.00.  Yes, it was another bad deal for the Red Sox with the Yankees.  Durst played the rest of the season but was then out of the Majors for good, while Ruffing went on to a Hall of Fame career with the Yankees.  Harry Frazee was not behind this trade, but the result was the same.

If anything, Ruffing's time in Boston is a hindrance to his Hall of Fame numbers, though it does make for a more fascinating story.

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