Harvey Frommer / Players / Yankees
Remembering Red Ruffing: "Run, run, run."
by Harvey Frommer
Pain was a constant for Charles Herbert Ruffing as a result of the loss of four toes on his left foot from a mine accident. But he looked past the pain and pitched his way to the top in the 1930s becoming one of the great hurlers in Yankee history.
Born May 3, 1905 in Granville, Illinois the kid they called "Red" was already playing for the Nokomis mining company team piloted by his father at age 15. Four years later Ruffing was on the Red Sox.
With Boston, Ruffing twice led the league in losses. In l930, the Yankees acquired him for $50,000 and Cedric Durst. It was another case of a player coming to the Yankees and shining. Ruffing won 22 games in his first New York season.
Utilizing a moving fast ball with a sharp breaking curve, the powerfully built Ruffing went 23l-l24 in l5 Yankee seasons. He had four consecutive 20-victory seasons and won seven of nine World Series decisions for the Yankees. His three main rules of training were "Run, run, run."
A superb all around athlete, Ruffing was one of the best fielding and hitting pitchers ever. Eight times he batted over .300.
Number 15 was so good with the bat (he hit .29l with 5 home runs in l932) that McCarthy liked to use him as a pinch hitter. He had more than 200 career pinch hit at bats. The all time leader among Yankee pitchers in home runs, RBIs' and batting average for a season, eight times Ruffing batted over .300.
Ruffing played on seven championship teams. First among all Yankee pitchers in complete games, Ruffing is second in innings pitched, wins, third in strikeouts and games pitched, and ninth in winning percentage.
Bill Dickey said of him: "If I were asked to choose the best pitcher I've ever caught, I would have to say Ruffing."