Tuesday, May 26, 2009

1976 Topps #89 - Vern Ruhle

  • Vern Ruhle pitched for 13 seasons, mainly for Detroit and Houston. He started with the Tigers in 1974 and became a regular member of their rotation in 1975. He was 11-12, 4.07 for a bad Tiger team. He had a better ERA in 1976 (3.92), but slipped a bit to 9-12.
  • Ruhle struggled in 1977, going 3-5, 5.70 in Detroit and 1-4, 6.86 in Evansville. The Tigers released Vern in spring training of 1978. The Houston Astros picked him up and he pitched well for AA Columbus and AAA Charleston (8-5, 2.50 for both teams). Vern was promoted to the majors started ten games for the Astros in 1978, going 3-3 with a 2.12 ERA.
  • Vern went 2-6 with a 4.07 ERA in 66 innings for Houston in 1979.
  • His best year by far was 1980. After JR Richard had a stroke, Vern stepped into the starting rotation and went 12-4 with a 2.37 ERA. Ruhle started game 4 of the NLCS and left in the 8th inning with a 2-1 lead, but the Phillies came back and won the game 5-3 in 10 innings. Here is a little article that talks about a key play Vern was involved in.
  • Vern was a spot starter in 1981, going 4-6 with a 2.91 ERA in 15 starts. He started game 4 of the 1981 NLDS but lost a complete game duel to Fernando Valenzuela 2-1.
  • He continued to pitch for the Astros through the 1984 season. He had a poor year in 1984 (1-9, 4.58) and was granted free agency. Vern signed with Cleveland in 1985 and went 2-10 with a 4.32 ERA. He moved on to California in 1986. Vern pitched some for AAA Edmonton and moved up to the Angels in the second half of the season, going 1-3, 4.15 in 47.2 innings. He pitched for AAA Edmonton in 1987 and hung 'em up after going 0-7, 6.26.
  • After his playing career Vern did a lot of coaching. He worked as a pitching coach for Houston, Philadelphia and the New York Mets prior to joining the Reds organization in 2004. He began 2006 as a pitching coach, but was diagnosed with cancer (multiple myeloma) in February during a routine physical and missed the entire season. Ruhle died on January 20, 2007 after complications from a stem cell transplant.

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