Chuck Rainey

This article was written by Bill Nowlin

Chuck RaineyRight-hander Chuck Rainey was a first-round draft pick of the Boston Red Sox, the 19th pick overall in the January 1974 draft. A little more than five years later, he broke into the big leagues with Boston, pitching for the Red Sox, Cubs, and Oakland Athletics in a major-league career that lasted six seasons.

Red Sox scout Ray Boone recommended Rainey: “Rainey has a strong build; fast ball fair, but runs in good on the hitter; curve and control good, fast ball will come later.”1 Sox farm director Ed Kenney, with help from scout Bill Enos, made the selection of the 5-foot-11, 190-pound Rainey, who had been pitching for San Diego Mesa College.

Rainey was a native San Diegan, born there on July 14, 1954, as Charles David Rainey. “We were the dictionary definition of the nuclear family back in the fifties and sixties. My dad’s named William. My mom’s name was Betty. My dad was in the Navy. He grew up in Kosciusko, Mississippi. He joined the Navy a little underage but back in those days they didn’t care if you were 17 or 18; they took you.”

Rainey’s mother was a native of Perth, Australia. She and William Rainey met and were married there. “My oldest brother, another William, was born in Australia. I have an older sister Jan and an older brother Van, who were born in Hawaii as they made their way back across the Pacific. This was before Hawaii was a state. Myself and my little brother Mike were born here in the Navy hospital in San Diego. My mom was the cook, cleaner, buyer, all those things. She had five kids to take care of. I’m sure that wasn’t an easy thing for her.”2

After completing a 20-year stretch with the Navy, father William Rainey worked as a letter carrier and at a number of Postal Service and other civil service jobs at the Navy base in San Diego. His last job was as a foreman rigger, doing underwater welding, including submarine repair, and underwater demolition. Chuck recalls one time when an airplane crashed in one of the region’s reservoirs. “He went out and coordinated the whole effort to get that plane out of that lake.”

Chuck was a graduate of San Diego’s Crawford High School. Drafted in January, Rainey didn’t sign right away, because he wanted to finish his first year at college. He signed on May 10, 1974, in time to get in a full season in the New York-Penn League, playing for the Elmira Pioneers in the Class A league. He started in 12 of his 16 appearances, with a record of 4-5 and a 5.61 earned run average for the third-place (34-35) team playing under Dick Berardino. Another 19-year-old player on the squad was his future Red Sox teammate Bob Stanley (6-6, 4.60).

In the full-season Class-A Carolina League, Rainey pitched for the Winston-Salem Red Sox in 1975. He was 4-9 with an ERA of 4.38.

Rainey advanced to Double A in 1976, pitching for the Eastern League’s Bristol Red Sox. He posted a record of 7-4 with a 4.37 ERA. In each of his first three seasons, his ERA was more than a full run higher than the rest of the team, but the Red Sox clearly rated him as someone who was developing well enough to keep moving him up the ladder. In 1977, he produced distinctly better stats in a season split between Bristol (4-3, 2.29) and Triple-A Pawtucket (5-9, but with a very good 3.07 ERA.) He struck out 100 batters over the course of the season, though his 79 walks suggest he was still a work in progress.

Under manager Joe Morgan, Pawtucket placed first in the International League standings, beating the Richmond Braves in the playoffs before being swept by the second-place Charleston Charlies in the finals. Rainey lost the final game, 4-1. In October, the Red Sox purchased his contract from Pawtucket and he was placed on the 40-man roster.

He joined the Boston Red Sox for spring training in 1978 but in mid-March was optioned to Pawtucket. He put up a solid year in Triple A: 13-7, 2.91, with 104 strikeouts in 170 innings, with a slightly better than team average WHIP of 1.435. He didn’t impress Peter Gammons, though, during an in-season exhibition game against Boston on August 31. The PawSox won, 11-1, but Gammons called Rainey the “least impressive” among the players, writing that he “looked like he was throwing watermelons.”3 Rainey was, however, the best starter for the PawSox, though it was teammate (and reliever) John LaRose who was named to the International League All-Star team. The PawSox lost in the finals again, though this time taking it to seven games. Rainey won the deciding game in the first round of the playoffs, with a four-hit, 12-strikeout game. And he won the fifth game of the finals, beating Richmond, 7-3, for a total of 15 wins on the season.

Rainey had impressed Joe Morgan. Asked in January 1979 who he thought had the best chance to make the majors that year, Morgan named Chuck Rainey and Bobby Sprowl.4

The Red Sox had lost the pennant to the Yankees in a single-game playoff at the end of the 1978 season. During spring training in 1979, there were a host of pitchers aiming to make the team in Boston. Right-hander Joel Finch said, “One bad outing and it could be ‘sayonara.’ It’s pressure like we’ve never known.” Rainey said, “There isn’t one of us who isn’t going to be a little tight when it’s our turn.”5 The next day, he threw three scoreless innings, only allowing one base hit. Before the end of March, manager Don Zimmer named Rainey as his fifth starter. “He throws a sinker, a changeup, knows how to pitch, throws a slider and curve…he’s shown me that without a doubt he’s a big-league pitcher.”6

The Boston Globe’s Gammons posed four possibilities for how well Rainey might do: “Chuck Rainey is: a. Capable of winning 10-12 games; b. A reliable long man, c. The new Al (Bull) Schroll or d. An interesting, intelligent kid who just isn’t ready.”7

His 1979 season proved that he was ready. Rainey’s debut came in relief, in Cleveland on April 8, in the third game of the season. He relieved Bob Stanley on a damp 34-degree afternoon. Taking over in the sixth with a 6-5 lead he held the Tribe to one hit over three-plus innings. Bill Campbell relieved him after he walked the leadoff man in the ninth and wild pitched him to second. The run eventually scored, but Rainey had earned a hold. The Red Sox won the game, 7-6, in the 12th.

His next appearance was a start, at Fenway Park on April 19. It was the first time he’d ever been on the mound at Boston’s home field. He worked 7 ⅔ innings, allowing three runs, and won his first major-league game, 8-3. “I came to spring training and my name wasn’t even on the roster,” he said after the game. “Fifteen wins last year and no one knew who I was. I was nervous at the start, but I guess that’s natural. I was just trying to do the same things I did last year.”8

Completing a trifecta of sorts, Rainey earned a save in his third outing. The Red Sox held a 4-1 lead with the Seattle Mariners batting in the bottom of the ninth on April 25. Tom Burgmeier got the first out in the ninth, but then gave up back-to-back singles. Zimmer called on Rainey, who induced a groundout and a fly ball to end the game.

Rainey’s second start was on April 28, against the California Angels. He pitched 6 ⅓ innings, giving up three runs, but saw his teammates held scoreless. The game ended as a 5-0 shutout, and Rainey had his first loss. When the Angels came to Fenway on May 6, they bombed him for six runs in just one-plus inning of work. He rebounded, though, with a complete-game three-hitter, an 8-2 win against Oakland five days later. In Toronto on the 27th, he shut out the Blue Jays for a razor-thin 1-0 win — even though he’d seen at least runner on base in every one of the first seven innings.

After an appearance on July 5, Rainey — who had suffered shoulder problems and had to miss a couple of starts –was kept in the bullpen but not used until he was finally placed on the 21-day disabled list on July 24, retroactive to the 20th.

He got in 17 innings of rehab work at Pawtucket and returned in September. He won his last three decisions, starting with the September 12 game in which Carl Yastrzemski collected his 3,000th base hit.

When the 1979 season was done, Rainey’s record was 8-5; his 3.82 ERA was better than the team’s 4.03 average. His WHIP was 1.331. He struck out 41 and walked 41. Pitching coach Al Jackson was told at the end of September that he would not be rehired for 1980. Rainey spoke in praise of Jackson, saying, “He taught me about bat speed, about adjusting to hitters who adjust to you. We talked a lot about the mental side of pitching, and every time he offered advice, it was helpful.”9

Rainey stayed in the Boston area after the season and worked out with Dennis Eckersley and Jerry Remy at Tufts University. Near the end of spring training, when it was observed that he was throwing harder than ever, he said, “I don’t know what it is. It could be that I’m completely healthy. It could be the conditioning or the Nautilus. It may be confidence that I can pitch here now.”10

His 1980 season started out oddly. He got into his first game on April 12 at Milwaukee’s County Stadium, after starter Mike Torrez had been banged around for six runs in one inning of work, leaving after giving up a grand slam in the second inning before he got an out. Rainey gave up seven more runs, the first four on yet another Brewers grand slam. The Brewers won, 18-1.

After four outings in April, he had neither a win nor a loss but an ERA of 11.85. Given a start on May 3, in Kansas City, he shut out the Royals, 7-0, on five hits. “Any time I can go nine, I’m surprised,” he said with remarkable candor. “I don’t think my control was still that great, but they swung at some good pitches. There are still a lot of things I have to work on, but this is a good start.”11 He really didn’t know what his role was, wrote columnist Ernie Roberts, who talked with Rainey on the phone and was told, “I’ve been trying to figure out why I keep coming out of the bullpen when I’m supposed to be the fourth starter.” He said he understood they were trying to accommodate lefty Bruce Hurst, but said the “only thing I’m disturbed about is being sat down for two weeks and then suddenly being thrown into the starting rotation. That’s what hurt me last year. You can’t trick your body. This is like running a mile a day for two weeks and then going out to run a marathon.”12  

On May 11, he won a complete game, 5-2, over the Royals at Fenway Park. In Cleveland on the 16th, he beat the Indians, 2-1, giving up four hits in 6 ⅔ innings. Someone called him Boston’s ace, and he replied, “I’m not the ace of this staff. Not by a long shot. If anybody is, it is Tom Burgmeier. If I can pitch 6 ⅔ in the next 30 games, I hope he’s the man who finishes up.”13

He won his fourth game in a row on May 20 in Toronto, again giving up four hits, in five innings. He was 4-0, and had brought his ERA down to 4.57.

His first loss was to the Indians, 3-2, on May 25, but then he beat the Brewers, 5-3, on May 30. He was named American League Pitcher of the Month.14

In June, he won three and lost two. On July 3, he pitched his last in the big leagues that year, giving up a single to Baltimore’s Al Bumbry before leaving the game mid-batter when Bumbry stole second base. After only nine pitches, he felt a twinge in his right elbow and departed. It was more than a twinge; he had suffered a muscle tear in his right elbow and was placed on the disabled list. Rest was prescribed. The winningest pitcher on the Red Sox at the time he left, he missed the rest of the season.

New Red Sox manager Ralph Houk was optimistic about the team’s pitching staff heading in to 1981. Rainey pitched some in spring training but only twice in April and five times in May, with only one start. The team’s medical staff suggested using him only sparingly, to try and allow his elbow time to fully come back. Three innings of one-hit relief on June 6 in Oakland seemed to offer optimism. A start against the Angels on June 11 saw him give up six runs — though only two were earned. It was his first decision of the year — he was 0-1, but with a good ERA of 2.95.

The players went on strike the next day and didn’t return for two months. When the players came back, most of the pitchers were in good shape but Rainey had apparently not kept us his throwing. It’s not that he gained weight; he had exercised and kept in good physical shape, but he had not followed a throwing program. “My elbow feels fine,” he said when he turned. “What frustrates me is that at the time of the strike I was just starting to come into a groove, so stopping then really bummed me out. Not only was I throwing well, but I felt I’d begun to use some new ideas about pitching…I was trying some different pitches, but most of all I was changing speeds with my existing pitches, using my curveball more and changing some philosophies of working certain hitters. I felt I was evolving into a different type of pitcher. The strike may have made me lose track of some of it. I hope it will come back as soon as I start pitching.”15

He was optioned to Pawtucket and started four games there (1-1, 3.15). When brought back up, he only pitched in two September games, for a total of 3⅓ innings, not giving up a single run — earned or unearned — in either game.

In January 1982, Peter Gammons reported Rainey “says he has rearranged his priorities toward baseball.”16 Just before preseason exhibition games started, Houk said that the difference he saw in Rainey from a year earlier was “like night and day,” while Rainey himself said the difference was “like life and death. I feel pretty good throwing the ball. This year I know what I can do…all the hard work I did over the winter conditioning and rehabilitating myself has paid off.”17 He added that he and his manager had spent more time together and, with the strike over and him in better shape, they had established a better rapport.

Heading into his option year, Rainey got in a pretty full season’s work in 1982, starting 25 games and appearing in two others. He posted a 7-5 record, but with a subpar 5.02 earned run average. The team ERA was 4.03.

He’d started the season strong again, 3-0 through May 8 with an April 26 shutout against the White Sox (his first win since June 27, 1980) followed by 6-2 and 2-1 wins against the Twins and the Rangers. As his ERA indicates, though, there were several games where he gave up multiple runs in briefer stints. One game he would no doubt wish to forget was the 7-0 loss to the Brewers on July 3, when he gave up four home runs in 5 ⅓ innings. In his next outing, he shut out the Rangers in Texas, 3-0. His third shutout of the season was on August 31 against Oakland. The Red Sox finished in third place, six games behind the Brewers in the AL East.

On December 10, 1982, Rainey was traded to the Chicago Cubs for right-hander Doug Bird. It’s not clear why. Bird had given up more home runs than anyone else in the National League in 1982 and his ERA was higher that Rainey’s, at 5.14. When the deal was announced, Houk said it “wasn’t anything major” but that he thought Bird could keep the ball low and be a good pitcher at Fenway, maybe working as a swing man.18 The Cubs saw Rainey as perhaps having more upside because he was four years younger than Bird.19 (Bird was 1-4 with the Red Sox in 1983 with a 6.65 ERA.)

The Cubs gave him more self-confidence. “It’s the first time anybody has ever come to me and said, ‘You’re going to be one of our starting pitchers. It feels good. There are enough things to think about in this game without having to worry about whether you have a job.” He added that Ralph Houk had seemed to be too quick to turn to the bullpen. “Any time I’d get in trouble, he’d get the bullpen up. That was his strategy and a lot of times I suffered because of that strategy. There were a lot of times when I was jerked in the third or fourth inning with a two- or three-run lead. He wouldn’t hesitate for a minute. That’s not very good for your confidence.”20

Rainey gave the Cubs good value. He credited pitching coach Billy Connors with working closely with him. Manager Lee Elia said in midseason, “Every time we’ve really needed a victory, Rainey has been there. He went through some trying times this spring and I think that has made him tougher.”21

He was the winningest pitcher on the Cubs (14-13), a workhorse who started 34 games and threw 191 innings. His ERA was 4.48 with a WHIP of 1.534. In contrast to a couple of hot starts for Boston, he lost his first three games — though his teammates only scored a total of eight runs for him over the three games and he’d only given up five earned runs. He won his next four decisions.

He had just one shutout on the season, of Cincinnati on August 24. He had a no-hitter until two outs in the ninth. Eddie Milner singled up the middle. “It was a back-door slider,” Rainey said after the game. “It was a good pitch.”22

He bookended the year the way he’d begun it, with three consecutive losses. After the season, he said, “I wasn’t much different as a pitcher. I just matured a little. I had a time to grow.” The Cubs looked at him differently. “They gave me the chance to be the burro, the horse. I never had that before.” He added, looking back at his time with the Red Sox, “They’ve never really given pitchers who come up through their organization a lot of time for development. Who have they developed and kept, outside of Bob Stanley? And he’d got a unique talent. He came in and did it right away. If you don’t do it right away, you’re gone.”23

Rainey put in another full season in 1984. He began with the Cubs, and was 5-7 with a 4.28 ERA when he went through waivers and was traded to the Oakland Athletics on July 15 for a player to be named later.24 The Cubs were banking on Dick Ruthven coming back after a couple of months on the sidelines. He did, but didn’t make any significant difference, finishing the season 6-10 with a 5.02 ERA. Rainey credits Dallas Green of the Cubs for helping place him with the A’s. “He and I got along really good. He was kind enough to find a place for me. He was a pitcher, and he was a players’ GM. He could have just told me to get lost, or sent me to Triple A or something like that. But they found a spot for me and they traded me to Oakland the day after my 30th birthday. I got to Oakland and they kind of said, ‘Well, you know, since we traded for you the other day, we’ve kind of gone off in a different direction and we’re going to put you in the bullpen. We’ve got one of our young kids we’re going to put into the starting rotation.’ I pitched the rest of 1984 out of the bullpen and I didn’t make a very good adjustment. I didn’t do very well. I didn’t leave a very good impression on anybody in Oakland.” Joking, he added, “There was no excuse for it…except that the catcher was telling the hitter what was coming.”

For Oakland, Rainey was used exclusively as a reliever, appearing in 16 games (eight of them closing the game). He was 1-1 with a 6.76 earned run average, mostly the result of just two bad outings.

In the National League with the Cubs, Rainey took his turns as a batter. He hit .138 (12 for 87), every base hit being a single. He drove in three runs, two of them on April 5, 1984 (one of the two on a bases-loaded walk), helping get his first victory of 1984.

As a fielder, Rainey had a career fielding percentage of .935 (13 errors in 201 chances, 7 of the errors in 1983, the season in which he worked the most innings.)

The A’s declined to renew their option for 1985; the 1984 season was Rainey’s last in baseball. He readily admits, “That had a little numbing effect on me. You’ve done something for 10 years of your life and the idea was to continue on with it, but it wasn’t going to be with the Oakland A’s.”

He hadn’t given up trying. A news story in early 1985 reported: “Former Cubs’ pitcher Chuck Rainey is so desperate for a job he had his future brother-in-law write a letter to the general managers of all 26 teams. Each letter traces Rainey’s career and personal data. Each letter begins, “My name is Chuck Rainey, you don’t know me, but . . .”25

One GM called him — Syd Thrift of Pittsburgh, “and he just said, ’You know, there comes a time if life when you have to move on. He was kind enough to call me, and blunt enough to say, ‘Your best years are behind you.’” It was time to seek other work.

“The day I didn’t go to spring training I went to work for my first father-in-law. I worked for him for about two and a half years. He was in the soils engineering business.” He was essentially a consultant with an expertise in soils. Rainey was learning from a man with a degree in engineering and a master’s in business. He learned a lot, working on residential properties.

In August 1985, while Rainey was on his honeymoon in Europe, a convict named Mark Liebl, speaking from his prison cell, claimed he had snorted cocaine with Vida Blue, Ron LeFlore, and had once “spent the night snorting cocaine with Dennis Eckersley, Mike Torrez and Chuck Rainey,” from midnight to 11 the next morning.26 The story broke the day the Raineys got back from Europe.

Asked about this in 2020, Rainey said, “I’m glad you brought that up. I don’t want to dodge the whole drug thing. I honestly don’t remember the guy. I don’t remember partying with him. I don’t remember doing anything with him. But that doesn’t mean it couldn’t have happened. I wasn’t real happy with the whole thing but there wasn’t…I put myself in that situation.

“The whole thing blew over, but it really gave me an opportunity to find out a little more about my family and my relationship with my family. I’ve always considered the whole drug thing one of the dumbest things I’ve ever done. I think it’s really important for people to know — it’s not just cocaine, it’s whatever drug you’re dealing with. If you don’t need to do it, then don’t do it. Alcohol is no different.

“I really feel like I cheated myself by doing some of the things that I did back then.”27

Liebl’s testimony had been divulged to baseball clubs in the summer of 1984 and, as Peter Gammons wrote in the Boston Globe, now that it was known that the allegations had been provided to the ballclubs the prior year, “Chuck Rainey knows why he was blackballed — without his being able to answer the word of a convicted felon.”28

Did Rainey have the feeling he had truly been blackballed? Years later, Rainey joked, “You have to be important in order to be blackballed. I was a journeyman player. I got caught in a bad situation.”29

Looking back with perspective, he says, “If I had gone to spring training with somebody in 1985, I don’t think I would have gotten a job. No, when I got out of it, I was done.”

Rainey’s name cropped up again in 1995. With major-league baseball players on strike since August 1994, the big-league clubs were stocking their spring training camps with replacement players. Among the players said to be coming to try out with the Texas Rangers was Chuck Rainey, now 40 years old. At the last minute, he chose not to. As reported in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, “Chuck Rainey, who could have given the Rangers’ replacement pitching staff 141 games of major-league experience, did not show up at training camp yesterday. Rainey, who had tentatively agreed to come to spring training with the Rangers, has decided instead to tend to his construction business in San Diego rather than attempt to pitch in the major leagues for the first time in 10 years.”30 He was not the only one who appears to have committed, but had second thoughts. Ken Oberkfell was another. He said, “The more I thought about it, the more reality and common sense set in.”31

It was only after baseball that Rainey married, the result of a conscious decision. Even though most other players had married, some of them when still teenagers, he had determined to wait. To some extent, this meant that he traveled in different social circles.

He has been married twice — and both times to classmates at Crawford High School in San Diego. His first wife, Carolyn, happened to be in Chicago visiting a friend and turned on a TV — and saw Chuck pitching. She called Wrigley Field and convinced the operator to leave a message. They met up, connected, and sometime after the season he gave her a call. A couple of years later, on August 4, 1985, they married. The marriage ended in a divorce finalized in December 1996.

Chuck and Carolyn had two children. “My daughter Carly is 31. My son William is 27 years old. They’re great kids. There’s just not enough good things I can say about them. They had a good mom. In spite of us being separated and all that, we both still took our parenting part of it seriously. I think that helped them out a lot.”

“My current wife, Deborah, was also a high school classmate. They knew each other then, know each other now. Deborah and I hooked up at what I think was our 30th class reunion. I was divorced and she was working on getting divorced. She was living in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, and I was living out here. We had kind of a long-distance phone call type of thing for a year and a half or so and then I finally convinced her to move out here. Her dad was still alive at the time. Another retired Navy man, a retired commander. He became a schoolteacher. It was a good fit for her. She got to come home.” They married on September 23, 2006.

Rainey kept working throughout. The work changed somewhat over the years. At first he was working for developers who were tearing down old houses and putting up multi-unit places, like six to eight units. “I didn’t know anything about business,” he says. “I just started asking questions: ‘How do you do this? How do you do that?’ I went to the bank and met with his guy who I had played high school football against. He was the manager of the bank. He guided me down the path to writing the business plan a bit more effectively. He ended up loaning me the money. I did that five or six times and I got pretty good at it. But then I did it two times in the very early ‘90s where I did really bad at it. My baseball money ended up in San Diego real estate. I lost all that money.”

From around 1992 until sometime in 1996 or 1997, he had to do some really hard and sometimes unpleasant work. Some properties were reclaimed by banks in the early 1990s real estate crunch. “I knew a guy who was a commercial apartment broker. The banks were looking for somebody to gussy up these old places that had gone back to the bank. They needed somebody to clean them up. I changed toilets and I changed plumbing stuff and I did things that, every day, I swore I would never do it again. If a job was big enough, I had a buddy help me out.

“Then I got into contracting. I had had my license for probably seven or eight years at that time. My daughter started playing softball. The lady who was the president of the league asked me if I could remodel a kitchen. I started remodeling thing, and that’s what I’ve been doing for the last 20-some years. Remodeling homes. Doing room additions. I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s a good way to stay physical. I think I had a pretty good aptitude for it. I was able to make the transition.

“I’ve basically been a sole proprietor. I’ve got guys who are licensed subcontractors who do work, but I don’t have any employees or any people who I keep on staff.

“I’m getting to the point, though, where everything just hurts. I try to leave it to the young bucks to take care of the physical part. My cellphone is my most important tool right now.”

Asked to look back on his time in baseball, Rainey started with a bit of humor: “If I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t — but that’s because I’ve already done it. But to be honest with you, I learned so much from baseball. You’ve heard a hundred times that it’s a game about failure. It’s a game about overcoming your weaknesses. A lot of the lessons I learned about playing baseball are lessons I still put to work, to this day.

“Whenever I talk to people about pitching, they’ll ask, ‘What’s it like?’ Hey, it’s a very lonely spot out there. Kids go out there and as soon as they step on that rubber, some of them will start crying. It’s a very scary spot. There’s a lot of responsibility. Nothing in baseball happens until you pitch the ball. That, to me, is pretty heady stuff.”

He doesn’t follow baseball that much during the regular season — until it gets to the crucial part of the season. “I’ve kind of weaned off of it, but I still like watching the playoffs. I like the aspect of either you put up or you shut up. You win or you go home. There are some reality TV shows that I like watching that are along the same theme. People ask me, ‘You watch American Idol? Really?’ Do you realize how much pressure those kids are under to perform, and what that feels like? I do know what it feels like. I do know what it’s like to wake up in spring training and wonder if I’m going to make the team or not. That’s a frickin’ scary spot.” Simply put, Rainey admires people who will step out and are ready to put pressure on themselves.

The remodeling work takes a toll. Rainey says he was thinking of working until he is 70, but the prospect of retirement maybe just a few years before that has begun to have more appeal.

Last revised: May 26, 2020



This biography was reviewed by James Forr and Jack Zerby and fact-checked by Chris Rainey.



In addition to the sources cited in the Notes, the author relied on and Thanks to Chuck Rainey for sharing information during our interview and subsequent communications.



1 Associated Press, “Red Sox Select Pitcher in Draft,” Newport Daily News (Newport, Rhode Island), January 10, 1974: 16.

2 Author interview with Chuck Rainey on March 31, 2020. Unless otherwise indicated direct quotations from Chuck Rainey come from this interview.

3 Peter Gammons, “Brohamer, Hobson On Deck,” Boston Globe, September 2, 1978: 18.

4 Peter Gammons, “Is This Year of the Angels? Fregosi Thinks So,” Boston Globe, January 14, 1979: 60.

5 Peter Gammons, “Tudor’s ‘Dumb’ Pitch Ruins Red Sox, 4-1,” Boston Globe, March 10, 1979: 20.

6 Peter Gammons, “Rainey Names Fifth Starter; Sox Roll, 15-1,” Boston Globe, March 29, 1979: 44.

7 Peter Gammons, “New Red Sox game: 20 questions,” Baseball ‘79 section, Boston Globe, March 30, 1979: 27.

8 UPI, “Boston’s Chuck Rainey Winner in HIs First Major League Start,” Berkshire Eagle (Pittsfield, Massachusetts), April 20, 1979: 22.

9 Jack Craig, “Jackson’s ‘Students’ Feel Loss,” Boston Globe, September 28, 1979: 49.

10 Peter Gammons, “Rainey and Hurst Make Their Pitch, 1-0,” Boston Globe, March 31, 1980: 35.

11 Peter Gammons, “Rainey and Hoffman Sparkle for Sox, 7-0,” Boston Globe, May 4, 1980: 48.

12 Ernie Roberts, “Rainey Given A Fast Shuffle,” Boston Globe, May 7, 1980: 77.

13 Larry Whiteside, “Red Sox Deck Indians with a Pair of Aces, 2-1,” Boston Globe, May 17, 1980: 21.

14 Associated Press, “Rainey, Oglivie Win League Honors for May,” Pantagraph (Bloomington, Illinois), June 3, 1980: 12.

15 Peter Gammons, “Rainey Placed on Hot Spot,” Boston Globe, August 5, 1981: 53.

16 Peter Gammons, “Wanted: A Big Three,” Boston Globe, January 30, 1982: 28.

17 Larry Whiteside, “Houk Impressed By a Different’ Rainey,” Boston Globe, March 5, 1982: 36.

18 Peter Gammons, “Sox Get Bird; Torrez Goes to Mets (Maybe),” Boston Globe, December 11, 1982: 31.

19 Jerome Holtzman, Cubs Get Pitcher, Nordhagen,” Chicago Tribune, December 11, 1982: section 2, 1.

20 Robert Markus, “Rainey Days in Boston Are Over for New Cub,” Chicago Tribune, February 28, 1983: D3.

21 Fred Mitchell, “Rainey Talks A Good Game,” Chicago Tribune, July 31, 1983: B4.

22 Fred Mitchell, Rainey Rolls A 1-Hitter,” Chicago Tribune, August 25, 1983: C1.

23 Leigh Montville, “Matter of Style,” Boston Globe, December 7, 1983: 57.

24 As it happened, it took a couple of players to consummate the trade. The Oakland Athletics sent Davey Lopes (August 31, 1984) to the Chicago Cubs to complete the trade, but almost six months later, the Cubs sent minor-leaguer Damon Farmer to Oakland on March 18, 1985.

25 Steve Nidetz, “Pincay Hits Milestone with 3,000th Winner,” Chicago Tribune, February 18, 1985: 13.

26 Michael Goodwin, “Talking Baseball, Snorting Cocaine,” New York Times, August 21, 1985: A21.

27 Author interview March 31, 2020. Interestingly, Rainey adds, “Since they’ve legalized cannabis, I’ve gotten into the THC thing. I have a lot of side effects from baseball and a lot of side effects from my job as a general contractor for 35 years. I’m 65 years old and all of this stuff is starting to catch up with me. I’ve had my right shoulder scoped and I’m going to get my left shoulder replaced. Don’t ask me why it’s my left shoulder, because my throwing arm was my right arm. But I have a lot of pain issues that the THC helps with. It’s not a recreational thing for me; it’s purely medicinal and I manage it like an adult instead of like a 30-year-old.”

28 Peter Gammons, “Sox in the Black and in the Dark,” Boston Globe, August 25, 1985: 52.

29 Author interview with Chuck Rainey on April 8, 2020.

30 T. R. Sullivan, “Rangers Ready for First Workout; Veteran Pitcher Bows Out,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, February 17, 1995: 1.

31 AP, “Orioles Stick to Guns, Won’t Compete Against Replacements,” Times-Picayune (New Orleans), February 18, 1995: 99.

Full Name

Charles David Rainey


July 14, 1954 at San Diego, CA (USA)

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