Sunday, June 3, 2012

Reds gave Ramsdell little run support

Uncommon commons. Based on contemporary accounts from The Sporting News; tidbits that as a collector of baseball and football cards I found interesting because they help bring to life the faces on the cards I collected. I figure that if I found these items of interest, so would other vintage card collectors.

Knuckleballer Willard Ramsdell had an undistinguished five-year career in the National League (Dodgers 1947-48, 1950; Reds 1950-51; Cubs 1952). His lifetime record was 24-39 with a 3.83 ERA.

His record might have been better if Cincinnati had given him more run support. 

A tidbit in The Sporting News early in the 1951 season related that in his last 21 innings pitched in 1950, and his first 19 innings in 1951, the Reds failed to score a run.

Finally, in the top of the 1st inning at the Polo Grounds on May 6, Reds third baseman Grady Hatton homered off Giants pitcher Dave Koslo. It was not enough to help Ramsdell's record, however, as he was chased from the mound in the second and tagged with the 8-5 loss.

The Reds inability to score for Ramsdell was not the first time he had pitched in such hard luck. In 1949, with the first-place Hollywood Stars of the Pacific Coast League, his Twinks' teammates scored only one run for him in 30 innings, dropping his record at the time from 12-3 to 12-7.

I have a special affinity for Ramsdell as he was one of the few former or future major leaguers to play pro ball at Iola (Kansas, not Wisconsin). He managed the Indians for most of 1954. The team ended up dead last in the Western Association with a 39-101 record . . . 49 games out of first place.

Despite his modest big league career, Ramsdell can be found on a few mainstream early 1950s baseball cards: 1951 and 1952 Bowman (Reds) and 1952 Topps (Cubs).

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