7. Rube Waddell

7. Rube Waddell
  1. General
  2. Awards
  3. Career Stats
  • Born: October 13, 1876 in Bradford, PA USA
  • Weight: 196 lbs.
  • Height: 6'1"
  • Bats: R
  • Throws: L
  • Debut: September 08, 1897
  • Final Game: August 01, 1910
  • Pitching Triple Crown - 1905
  • Baseball Magazine All-Star - 1908

Rube Waddell’s reputation of being somewhat of an oddball was known before the Philadelphia Athletics signed him, so they knew what they were getting into.  What they may not have known was just how good he was going to be for them.

Waddell played for the Athletics for six seasons (1902-07), and he would lead the American League in Strikeouts in all of them.  He would win at least 20 Games in the first four years, peaking with 27 in 1905.  That year, he would lead the AL in ERA (1.48), and he would also finish first in FIP four times with Philadelphia.  The premier power pitcher of his decade, Waddell, would post a record of 131-82 with1,576 Strikeouts and a 1.97 ERA.  If the Cy Young Award existed back then, he would have been a contender for three of them.

Now for the not so good part of Waddell's career.  Waddell was considered eccentric, and based on what we know now about mental health issues, he likely suffered from some type of autism or severe ADD.  While his work mostly got the A's into the 1905 World Series, he was injured due to a scrap over a straw hat with a teammate.  Rumors persist that he was paid off by gamblers not to pitch in the series, though that is unproven.

As good as Waddell was, he was so high-maintenance that his teammates couldn't stand him.  While there was a problem with alcoholism in Baseball at that time, Waddell's issues with the booze were catastrophic.  He was sold to the St. Louis Browns before the 1908 Season, and his problems caught up with him, and he was out of the game a few years later.  He would die at the age of 37 from complications of pneumonia and tuberculosis.

Waddell was chosen for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1946, and forty years later, his name was etched on the Philadelphia Baseball Wall of Fame.  The Athletics would also select Waddell for their franchise Hall of Fame in 2021.

The Bullet Points

  • Position: Pitcher
  • Acquired: Jumped from Los Angeles (California League) 6/19/01.
  • Departed: Purchased by the St. Louis Browns 2/7/08.
  • Games Played: 251
  • Notable Statistics:

    131 Wins
    82 Losses
    1.97 ERA
    212 Games Started
    168 Complete Games
    37 Shutouts
    29 Games Finished
    1,869.1 Innings Pitched
    1,576 Strikeouts
    1.86 FIP
    1.062 WHIP
    3.18 SO/BB
    44.8 bWAR

    No Playoff Games

  • Major Accolades and Awards:

    Highest bWAR for Pitchers (1903, 1904 & 1905)
    Lowest ERA (1905)
    Most Wins (1905)
    Lowest H/9 (1905)
    Highest SO/9 (1902, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906 & 1907)
    Most Games Pitched (1905)
    Most Strikeouts (1902, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906 & 1907)
    Most Complete Games (1903)
    Highest SO/BB (1902)
    Highest ERA+ (1904 & 1905)
    Lowest FIP (1902, 1903, 1904 & 1907)

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