Some of the Top Cards of 1976

Thursday, May 6, 2010

1976 Topps #431 - Dick Ruthven

  • Dick "Rufus" Ruthven pitched in the majors from 1973-1986. He had two stints with the Philadelphia Phillies -- the first one wasn't real successful (mostly due to an elbow injury) but he did much better during the second one. Ruthven was drafted by the Phillies in 1973 (first player taken in the draft). Dick had been drafted by other teams before (Baltimore in 1969 and Minnesota in 1972) but he decided to stay with California State-Fresno. He was an All-American pitcher in 1972 and pitched a no-hitter against Long Beach State.
  • Ruthven went right into the  majors and was 6-9 with a 4.21 ERA in 25 games (23 starts). He started 35 games in 1974 wnd was 9-13 with a 4.02 ERA.
  • Dick started the 1975 season at AAA Toledo and pitched there through July. He went 2-2 with a 4.20 ERA in 11 games (7 starts) for the Phillies in August and September.
  • After the 1975 season Dick was traded twice. On December 10 he was traded with Alan Bannister and Roy Thomas to the Chicago White Sox for Mike Buskey and Jim Kaat. He never pitched for the White Sox -- on December 12 he was traded with Ken Henderson and Ozzie Osborn to the Atlanta Braves for Larvell Blanks and Ralph Garr.
  • Ruthven led the NL with 17 losses in 1976. He went 14-17 with a 4.19 ERA in 36 starts. Dick made the NL All Star team but he wasn't used in the game. In 1977 Dick was 7-13 with a 4.23 ERA in 25 games (23 starts). He missed two months (most of May and all of June) when he had to have tendons in his heel repaired after slipping on a wet base.
  • In 1978 Ruthven started with the Braves (2-6, 4.11 in 13 starts) but he had a dispute with Braves owner Ted Turner. On June 15 Dick was traded back to the Phillies for Gene Garber. He went 12-5 with a 2.99 ERA in 20 starts and helped the Phillies to the NL East title. Ruthven started and lost game 3 of the 1978 NLCS.
  • Ruthven struggled with injuries in 1979. He missed three weeks in July and didn't pitch after August 8. In 20 starts Dick was 7-5 with a 4.27 ERA.
  • Dick's best overall year was probably 1980. He went 17-10 with a 3.55 ERA in 33 starts as the Phillies won the NL East for the fourth time in five years. Ruthven started game 2 of the NLCS and allowed 2 runs in 7 innings. He didn't get the decision as the Phillies lost that game in 10 innings. Dick pitched the last two innings of game 5 and earned the win. He started game 3 of the World Series and left with the score tied 3-3 after nine innings (the Phillies lost that game in 10 innings).
  • Ruthven started the 1981 season 8-3 and made the NL All Star team. Dick retired the only batter he faced (Al Oliver) in the sixth inning. Ruthven tailed off and ended up 12-7 with a 5.15 ERA. Dick Ruthven Says the Starters Need Time - Reading Eagle August 6, 1981. He started and lost game 2 of the Divisional Series.
  • Dick went 11-11 with a 3.79 ERA in 33 games (31 starts) in 1982. He started the 1983 season with the Phillies (1-3, 5.61 in 7 games) and was traded with Bill Johnson to the Chicago Cubs for Willie Hernandez on May 22. Ruthven started 25 games for the Cubs in '83 and went 12-9 with a 4.25 ERA.
  • Ruthven had injury problems again in 1984 and missed two months from mid-May to mid-July. He went 6-10 with a 5.04 ERA in 22 starts and wasn't used in the postseason. During the 1984 season Dick got into a fight with Cubs outfielder Mel Hall during spring training.  Ruthven had taken exception to Hall walking by without picking up balls on the field. After both players were "sent to neutral corners" manager Jim Frey gathered the rest of the team in center field and told the players that individualistic attitudes weren't needed on his team. Hall was traded to Cleveland for Rick Sutcliffe in June and the rest is history.
  • In 1985 Dick went 4-7 with an ERA of 4.53 in 20 games (15 starts). He pitched in six games in 1986 (0-0, 5.06) and was released on May 6.
  • When Dick's former minor league manager Jim Bunning decided to go into politics Dick thought it was a bad idea. Ruthven and Bunning had similar personalities and weren't considered to be suited for politics.
  • Former Phillies first baseman Tommy Hutton married Dick's twin sister.
  • Liked to face: Andre Thornton (.000 in 14 AB); Gary Thomasson (.083 in 24 AB); Dave Rader (.100 in 30 AB)
  • Hated to face: Bake McBride (.536 in 28 AB); Garry Maddox (.444 in 27 AB); Cesar Geronimo (.417 in 36 AB)

1 comment:

  1. The U in "Shut-" in the cartoon is so narrow it looks like an I - I totally did a double-take when I thought Topps put a bad word on the card!

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