Friday, February 23, 2024

The Worst Red Sox Team of All Time Pt. 32: Jack Russell

Failure is often even more fascinating than success. I am definitely intrigued by the 1932 Boston Red Sox, the worst Red Sox team of all time. The team finished with a record of 43-111, for a winning percentage of .279 and very little went right.

Jack Russell actually had a lengthy career.  This is even more surprising when one considers his .376 career winning percentage at a time when winning games was everything.  Russell spent most of his time pitching for terrible teams, which somewhat made up for his abysmal winning percentage.

Russell came up with the Red Sox at the age of 20 in 1926, appearing in 36 games with five starts and 98 innings pitched.  He was 0-5 with a 3.58 ERA (114 ERA+, 3.82 FIP), which was his best mark during his eight seasons in Boston.  He had his best season with the Red Sox in 1928 when he had a record of 11-14 with a 3.84 ERA (105 ERA+, 3.82 FIP) in 201.1 innings pitched.  He struck out 27 while walking 41.  He followed that up with a 6-18, 3.92 ERA season in 1929, then led the league in losses in 1930 when he went 9-20 and this time pitched as poorly as his record with a 5.45 ERA (85 ERA+).  He improved somewhat in 1931.

1932 was Russell's final season with the Red Sox, and he did not make it all the way through the year.  He pitched in just eleven games with the Red Sox before being traded to Cleveland in June for Pete Jablonowski (Appleton).  At the time of the trade he was just 1-7 with a 6.81 ERA.  His numbers improved after the trade.  

After the trade, Russell became a reliever primarily.  He was an All Star for Washington in 1934, a year after he went 12-6 with a 2.69 ERA and a league-leading 13 saves.  He was traded back to Boston in June of 1936 in exchange for Joe Cascarella and went 0-3 with a 5.63 ERA in 23 games, mostly in relief.  He was released after the season.

In eight seasons with the Red Sox, Russell's record was 41-94, but his ERA was 4.58 (94 ERA+, 3.85 FIP).  He threw 1,215 innings with 202 strikeouts and 294 walks.  He was generally a much better pitcher than his record showed and was generally pretty good at avoiding walks and fielding.

No comments:

Post a Comment