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Rube Marquard


Position: Pitcher
Teams:
New York Giants, 1908-1915; Brooklyn Dodgers, 1915-1920; Cincinnati Reds, 1921; Boston Braves 1922-1925

A sandlot star in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, Richard William Marquard (1886-1980) signed his first contract with Indianapolis in 1907. After two strong years on the farm, the Giants purchased the tall lefty's contract for a then-record $11,000.

Hall of Famer Rube Marquard
Rube Marquard used pinpoint
control rather than power
to compile 201 career wins.

He joined the Giants as an 18-year-old rookie in 1908, just in time to watch Fred Merkle make his infamous boner. Marquard became a footnote to the exhilarating 1908 pennant race when he was pushed around in his greatly anticipated debut.

An Indianapolis newspaper tagged him with the name "Rube," not because of his physical resemblance to the great Rube Waddell, but rather because his pitching abilities were reminiscent of Waddell. The thin Marquard (6-foot-3, 180 pounds) had two mediocre seasons in 1909 and 1910 before he exploded in 1911.

Rube went 25-7 that year, leading the league in winning percentage and strikeouts. Teamed with ace Christy Mathewson, Marquard led the Giants to the first of three consecutive pennants. In the World Series that fall, it was a Marquard fastball that Frank Baker of the Athletics turned on, knocking it out of the park, and earning the nickname "Home Run."

Rube turned in his best seasons for McGraw's Giants in those three pennant years, 1911 to '13. He won 73 games and lost just 28 in that span, including 19 straight in 1912, tying the mark set by Tim Keefe. Marquard was good in the 1911 Series, terrific in 1912, and bad in 1913, but to little effect; the Giants lost all three championships. He compiled a 201-177 lifetime record by relying on pinpoint control and a forkball and changeup rather than a fastball, insisting he never once had a sore arm.

When Rube dropped to 12-22 in 1914, McGraw lost patience with him. McGraw was spoiled, because during the flag-winning years the New Yorkers also had front-line hurlers Jeff Tesreau, Doc Crandall, Red Ames, Al Demaree, and Hooks Wiltse, besides Matty.

In 1915, Marquard arranged his own trade to Brooklyn, with the Giants receiving the minimum waiver fee. In his first two full seasons with the Dodgers, Rube was 13-6 and 19-12, his last outstanding seasons. He appeared in two more World Series with the Dodgers but came up short both years. He pitched with Cincinnati and Boston before retiring after the 1925 season.

A popular personage with show-business aspirations, Marquard appeared in vaudeville sketches and in movies and skits with his wife, Broadway actress Blossom Seeley, during his baseball career. He managed and scouted for several minor-league teams before working for many years at horse racetracks. The Veterans Committee recognized him in 1971.

Here are Rube Marquard's major league totals:

W L ERA G CG IP H ER BB SO
201 177 3.08 536 197 3,306.2 3,233 1,130 858 1,593

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