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Old 08-26-2006, 12:59 AM   #498
JCMElway
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Those Cheap Bastards select:

Rube Waddel, P, Pirates/A's/Browns

I did a little research and found out that Waddel had 2,316 strikeouts in 2,962 innings pitched. Almost a strikeout per inning. Damn impressive. He will be great to have as a powerful lefty in the bullpen, especially in a tight situation where strikeouts are need to end the inning/game.

Ty Cobb said that the "Rube" was one of the greatest pitchers he ever faced.

Bio
One of the top lefties in history, Rube Waddell was also among the most eccentric and colorful players. Waddell possessed a great fastball and curve, aided by pinpoint control. Connie Mack harnessed Waddell’s early promise beginning in 1902, his first of four straight 20-win seasons. In 1905, Waddell captured pitching’s “triple crown,” with 27 wins, 287 strikeouts and a 1.48 era, leading the lead in all categories. Known for his strikeout prowess, he led the American League for six years in a row.

Quote
"He had more stuff than any pitcher I ever saw."
— Connie Mack


Did You Know... that on July 1, 1902, Rube Waddell became the first major league pitcher to strike out the side on just nine pitched balls?

While it is true that Waddel had some issues...

"Recent commentators (such as Bill James) have suggested that Waddell may have suffered from a developmental disability, mental retardation, or autism."

I am willing to look pat those for his sheer ability. I am assuming that we are taking these players in their prime and bringing them to the year 2006 to play ball. That being said, today we have a much better understanding of mental illness and autism. If Connie Mack was able to motivate Waddell at the turn of the century, then Sparky Anderson should have an easier time now. With therapies and medications, Rube's mood swings and short attention span should be able to be controlled. It's worth it for a guy with this much talent. When focused Waddell is, arguably, the best leftie in baseball history.

And his distractions are not of the T.O. variety. Rube was just a big hearted, good natured kid.

"He made my team. He was the greatest pitcher in the game and although widely known for his eccentricities, was more sinned against than sinning. He was the best-hearted man on our team and every man with whom he came in contact will verify my statement. When a comrade was sick the Rube was first on hand to see him and the last to leave and if he had money it went for some gift or offering to the sick man."
Connie Mack


and

Baseball was more joyous because of him. He was a fun-maker extraordinary. He drove away gloom like the sun dispersing the fog. He made everybody happy. Millions smiled at his antics.
Washington Post

and

To our way of thinking the man who causes laughter and chases care is a philanthropist and a doer of most goodly deed, even though his antics may sometimes be exaggerated by over indulgence. Poor Rube at least made millions smile, his escapades rocked the nation with the richness of their humor, and his capers left no sting.
Rube Waddell left no enemies behind; he hurt no one save himself; and even there, who has a right to say damage was done? For the Rube lived his life and enjoyed it to the fullest.
The Sporting News

And many of Rube's exploits have been exaggerated.

"No, Waddell didn't regularly bolt from the mound to chase a passing fire wagon. But his fascination with fires was genuine. However, he regularly assisted firefighters, from a bucket brigade in Pewaukee, Wisconsin to large metropolitan departments in Philadelphia, Cleveland, Detroit or Washington.

Yes, on occasion Waddell did direct his infielders to the sidelines and strike out the side in the final inning - but only in exhibitions, never in a regular season game."


It is also said the Waddell over the course of his life, may have saved up to thirteen lives. (Some of the reports aren't verifiable.)

"The Rube also demonstrated his more compassionate side when Athletics' centerfielder Danny Hoffman was knocked unconscious by a fastball to the temple.

"Someone went for an ambulance, and the players crowded around in aimless bewilderment," wrote Connie Mack. "Somebody said that Danny might not live until the doctor got there. Then the man they had called the playboy and clown went into action. Pushing everybody to one side, he gently placed Danny over his shoulder and actually ran across the field."

Rube flagged down a carriage, which carted the pair to the nearest hospital. Rube, still in uniform, sat at Hoffman's bedside for most of the night, and held ice to Hoffman's head"

and

"The Rube" was cited as a hero for preventing a serious fire in a crowded department store (he picked up a blazing oil stove and carried it from the building")

A really interesting character. I'm proud to call him a Bastard.
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