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Rube Marquard

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Rube Marquard

A photo of Rube Marquard.

Richard William "Rube" Marquard (October 9, 1886 - June 1, 1980) was an American left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball in the 1910s and early 1920s. He achieved his greatest success with the New York Giants.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, his playing rights were acquired for $13,000 - a then unheard-of sum to pay for a baseball player's contract - and his lack of success early on led to his being tagged "the $13,000 lemon". According to both Marquard himself in The Glory of Their Times and the Baseball Hall of Fame's entry on him, the price paid for his contract was actually $11,000, not $13,000. Later, however, he was to make baseball history by winning nineteen decisions in a row. He allegedly celebrated by buying an opal stickpin to reward himself. Upon being told by a friend that opals were a jinx, he threw the pin into a river; but apparently the curse had already done its work, as he lost his next decision.

Despite his nickname, he was a city kid. As he told it in The Glory of the Their Times, a writer in his minor league days compared him favorably with Rube Waddell, and very soon Marquard was being called "Rube" also. He retired in 1925 with a record of 201-177 and a 3.08 ERA; his 1593 strikeouts, at the time, ranked 3rd in major league history among left-handers (behind Rube Waddell and Eddie Plank), and stood as the NL record for southpaws until his total was surpassed by Carl Hubbell in 1942.

Marquard was a performer in vaudeville, appearing with Blossom Seeley and later marrying her. He died in Baltimore, Maryland at age 93. Marquard is interred in Baltimore Hebrew Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland.

He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971. His selection has often been criticized by the sabermetrics community, since Marquard's career adjusted ERA+ was only slightly better than league average. Bill James described Marquard as "probably the worst starting pitcher in the Hall of Fame."[1]

Marquard had been interviewed for the popular baseball book, The Glory of Their Times, in the early 1960s, and his chapter is thought to be one of the primary reasons for his election. However, most of the stories that he "recounted" were later found to be false.[2]

ReferencesEdit

  1. James, Bill (1994). Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame? Baseball, Cooperstown, and the Politics of Glory. New York, NY: Fireside, 170.
  2. Neyer, Rob and Epstein, Eddie (2000). Baseball Dynasties: The Greatest Teams of All-Time. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company, 100.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

Preceded by:
Earl Moore
National League Strikeout Champion
1911
Succeeded by:
Pete Alexander
Preceded by:
Grover Cleveland Alexander
National League Wins Champion
1912
(with Larry Cheney)
Succeeded by:
Tom Seaton
Preceded by:
Ed Lafitte
No-hitter pitcher
April 15, 1915
Succeeded by:
Frank Allen
Preceded by:
Wheezer Dell
Brooklyn Robins Opening Day
Starting pitcher

1918
Succeeded by:
Leon Cadore

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