Dick Ruthven (Trading Card DB)

Dick Ruthven

This article was written by Dan Taylor

Dick Ruthven (Trading Card DB)In the spring of 1973 Dick Ruthven achieved a rare baseball feat. He became just the fifth pitcher since the abolition of the final bonus rule in 1962 to leap straight from college baseball into the major leagues. Stardom was predicted. He drew comparisons to Tom Seaver. Ruthven became an All-Star and earned a World Series ring. During 14 seasons he built a reputation for being tenacious, yet temperamental, and even irascible. Quarrels with Ted Turner and Pat Corrales led to trades. Ultimately, Ruthven suffered from a rare vascular condition similar to one that led to the debilitating stroke suffered by J.R. Richard. Experimental surgery remedied the problem but led to the end of Ruthven’s career.

Richard David Ruthven was born March 27, 1951, in Sacramento, California. He was one of three children of Dick and Wanda (Winslett) Ruthven. The senior Dick Ruthven was a civil engineer with the United States Geological Survey. Wanda Ruthven held a master’s degree and worked in the field of nursing.

The younger Dick Ruthven was 11 when he took up baseball, joining the area Little League. When he enrolled at Irvington High School in Fremont, California, he became a standout on the school’s basketball team and the shortstop on the baseball team. By the time he entered his senior year, Ruthven had grown to 6’2.” He earned 2nd team all-league recognition in basketball.1 As a junior he was discouraged from pitching regularly by a sore arm. After his coach altered his pitching mechanics to use his entire body, Ruthven became a standout on the mound.2  

The Baltimore Orioles selected Ruthven in the 20th round of the June 1969 draft. In the Ruthven household, the idea of a son playing professional baseball was out of the question. “They think I should have my head in books instead of baseball,” Ruthven said.3 He planned to follow several classmates to Chico State before a late scholarship offer from California State University, Fresno (a/k/a Fresno State) changed his plans.

It was during his sophomore season at Fresno State in 1971 that Ruthven blossomed. A hard throwing right-hander with a sharp-breaking curveball, Ruthven struck out 171 batters to break the school record held by Truman “Tex” Clevenger.4 His 13 wins led the nation and his ERA was 1.50.5 He was named Fresno State’s 1971 athlete of the year.6

In 1972, his junior season, Ruthven was even better. After throwing a one-hit shutout at Long Beach State, the 49ers coach, John Gonsalves, called Ruthven “the best college pitcher in America.”7 He struck out 20 in a game against UC Santa Barbara.8 Professional baseball scouts flocked in large numbers to see him. In one game 27 scouts representing 16 teams were in the stands.9 For the season, Ruthven struck out 153 in 113 1/3 innings. He was named the most valuable player in the Pacific Coast Athletic Association and a first team All-American by The Sporting News.10

On June 6, 1972, the Minnesota Twins selected Ruthven with the eighth pick in the first round of the amateur draft. Negotiations between the two sides bogged down, became contentious, then broke off completely. Ruthven returned to Fresno State in the fall of 1972 for his senior year.

Five months later the Philadelphia Phillies made Ruthven the first overall pick in the January 1973 Secondary amateur draft. The night before the draft he accepted a $100,000 bonus offer and signed a contract with the Phillies.11 Ruthven’s curveball was lauded by the Phillies’ west coast scout, Eddie Bockman. “It’s one of the best breaking balls I’ve ever seen on a right hander.”12

Ruthven joined the Phillies when spring training began. He was considered a long shot to make the almost unheard-of jump from college baseball directly to the big leagues. Ruthven’s expectation was to begin the season with the Phillies’ Triple-A team in Eugene, Oregon, in the Pacific Coast League. With each outing the likelihood of that happening grew increasingly remote. Danny Ozark, the Phillies’ manager, admitted he was “enthralled with his confidence and his arm.”13 By the middle of spring training, Bill Conlin wrote in the Philadelphia Daily News that the “odds are better than even money” Ruthven makes the team.14 On March 31, in one of the Phillies’ final exhibition games, Ruthven pitched into the sixth inning against a Cincinnati Reds batting order comprised of all but one starter. He scattered just four hits and didn’t allow a run as the Phillies won, 6–0.15 The performance clinched a spot for Ruthven on the 1973 Phillies.

Ruthven became the fifth pitcher to jump directly from college baseball to the major leagues since the abolition of the final Bonus Baby rule in 1962. There had been various iterations of the Bonus Baby Rule, the worst of which was the 1953-1957 Bonus Baby Rule, which required a team to keep a player in the major leagues if he received a signing bonus equal to or greater than $4000. Prior to Ruthven, Mike Adamson (1967), Steve Dunning (1970), Pete Broberg (1971), and Burt Hooton (1971) had gone directly from a college campus to the big leagues based upon their skills rather than the mandates of a bonus baseball rule.16 That same season, another pitcher, Eddie Bane, plus outfielder Dave Winfield would make that same jump from college straight to the majors, while pitcher David Clyde would go straight from high school to the Texas Rangers.

Ruthven made his major-league debut on April 17, 1973, as the Phillies starting pitcher against Balor Moore and the Expos in Montreal.17 He hit the first batter he faced, Ron Hunt, but first baseman Willie Montanez turned a Tim Foli line drive into a double play. After a single by Mike Jorgenson, Ron Fairly grounded back to Ruthven to end the inning. That was as easy as things would get, however. On a cold and windy afternoon in Parc Jarry, Ruthven failed to make it out of the second inning. He allowed four more singles and walked two before being removed with the Phillies trailing 4-1. But the Phillies came back to win the game and Ruthven emerged from his first appearance with no decision. “His ball was moving so much in the wind, he couldn’t control it,” said Phillies catcher Mike Ryan. “His fast ball was running as much as a foot. The ump asked me if it was a slider.”18

In his next start five days later, Ruthven would show the rest of the National League the skills that impressed the Phillies. He was matched in Philadelphia against St. Louis Cardinals pitching ace Bob Gibson, and the two engaged in a classic pitcher’s duel for seven-innings. In the first inning, Ruthven retired future Hall of Fame players Lou Brock and Ted Simmons and future Ford C. Frick Award winner Tim McCarver, while allowing singles to future Hall of Fame manager Joe Torre and previous Rookie of the Year Ted Sizemore. After that notable inning, Ruthven retired 15 of the next 16 Cardinals batters, striking out seven. In the eighth inning he finally tired. He surrendered two walks and a single to McCarver that tied the game, 1–1, before departing. The Phillies won 2–1 in dramatic fashion when rookie Mike Schmidt homered off Gibson with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning.19 After the game, Red Schoendienst, the Cardinals’ manager, said of Ruthven, “The kid does look especially good and maybe all he needs is experience.”20

Ruthven’s third start, on April 28, resulted in his first major-league win. It was a masterful pitching performance against the Cincinnati Reds. With three future Hall of Famers plus Pete Rose in the starting lineup for the Big Red Machine, Ruthven pitched seven innings of scoreless one-hit ball with eight strikeouts as the Phillies won 1–0. The only hit Ruthven allowed was a single by Rose in the third inning. During that start, Ruthven experienced a flare-up of shoulder tendinitis that had once bothered him in college. When Steve Carlton learned of the problem, he explained how lifting weights helped him conquer the same issue. The next day Ruthven arrived to find a set of weights in his locker, a gift from Carlton.

Ruthven’s rookie season was filled with lessons in both baseball and humility. He displayed professional and personal immaturity. Failings saw him press and brood. Ruthven reacted angrily to umpires calls he disagreed with. He stomped about the mound or glared with hands on hips – all of which annoyed umpires and did him no favors.21 The rookie chafed at teammates when they committed errors. Opponents seized on the rookie’s petulance. They taunted Ruthven in an effort to break his concentration and make him lose effectiveness. Ruthven lacked understanding of the nuances of pitching. In high school and college, he had been able to fire a superior fastball past hitters to escape trouble. In the big leagues, that was more often than not a futile tactic. By June 11, Ruthven’s record was 1-5. “I’ve never met a young man just out of college who was ready to pitch major league baseball,” said former Phillies pitcher Jim Bunning.22

On July 1, Ruthven pitched his best game of the season, a complete game two-hit shutout of the Cardinals. On August 2, Ruthven pitched the Phillies past the Chicago Cubs, with a 4–1 complete game victory. But during that game he felt tired, had pain in his neck, a sore throat, and swollen glands. He was taken to Methodist Hospital, where a blood test determined Ruthven was suffering from mononucleosis.23 The Phillies sent Ruthven home to California to recuperate. He returned to the active roster on September 1 and two nights later pitched six innings against the Mets to earn his sixth win of the season. Ruthven finished his rookie year 6-9 with a 4.21 ERA. His win total was the most by a pitcher who had jumped straight from college to the major leagues.24

Ruthven spent the off-season lifting weights.25 The results were evident early in 1974 spring training. “Ruthven is stronger, fitter, and wiser,” wrote Bill Conlin of the Philadelphia Daily News. 26 His second big league season was one of inconsistency. There were games in which he struggled with control, and games in which he pitched well but received little or no support. “They’ve got to be patient with him and keep remembering he’s getting his minor-league experience in the big leagues,” said Reds manager, Sparky Anderson.27 But Ruthven also had nights that made observers believe he could be one of the best pitchers in baseball. When he scattered three hits over eight innings with nine strikeouts to beat Pittsburgh, 3–2, on May 10 manager Danny Ozark said, “I don’t think anybody can throw any harder in the National League than he did tonight.”28 After he beat Houston 8–1 on a complete game three-hitter in September, Phillies’ second baseman Dave Cash said, “Ruthven is gonna be another Tom Seaver.”29

During a game late in the 1974 season Ruthven was startled by swelling in his right elbow. He had begun the month of September by earning three consecutive complete game victories. But against the Cubs on September 19, he was hit hard. His fastball velocity dropped. Ruthven was pulled before the end of the first inning, having surrendered three hits, three walks, and four earned runs. Three days later in Montreal he gave up six runs to the Expos in the first inning. Despite flashes of brilliance and six complete game wins, Ruthven finished the season with a record of 9-13 and a 4.02 ERA.

During the offseason Ruthven underwent surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow. The procedure was called minor, but when spring training began in February 1975, it was clear the effects of surgery were significant. Ruthven’s fastball velocity fell. In exhibition games he was hit hard. “I’m not sure my fastball is over the operation,” he said.30 As Opening Day approached with Ruthven still struggling to get hitters out, the Phillies were left with no choice. They sent him to the minor leagues.

With Toledo, Philadelphia’s Triple-A affiliate in the International League, Ruthven struggled to rebuild his arm strength. By mid-July his record stood at 7-10. Then on July 17 he shut out Memphis on a four-hitter. Ten days later he came four outs from pitching a no-hitter against Charleston. The following week Ruthven was back in the major leagues.

Upon his return on August 5, Ruthven was staked to a 10-run lead in the first inning against the Cubs. He pitched eight innings, scattering six hits as the Phillies won 13–5. “I think he’s got a different approach to the game now,” said Ozark.31 Ruthven ended the 1975 season with a major league record of 2-2 with a 4.20 ERA.

Following the season, life took a major turn for Ruthven. First, he married Sue Harper, the twin sister of his teammate Tommy Hutton’s wife.32 Then, on December 10 the couple’s place of residence changed, as the Phillies traded Ruthven, along with reserve Alan Bannister, and minor leaguer Roy Thomas to the Chicago White Sox for future Hall of Famer Jim Kaat and minor leaguer Mike Buskey. Kaat, coming off two straight twenty-win seasons, and Ruthven were the key players in the trade. But Ruthven’s tenure with the White Sox lasted just 48 hours before he was traded again, packaged with Ken Henderson and Dan Osborn and sent to the Atlanta Braves for Larvell Blanks and Ralph Garr.

The 1976 season saw Ruthven blossom. Three weeks into the season his 1.00 ERA was the best in the National League. At the All-Star break he had 10 wins. Ruthven was selected to the All-Star team and was heralded as the ace of the Braves pitching staff.33 Ruthven gave credit for the success to his teammate Andy Messersmith, who had been through similar elbow surgery that diminished a once-daunting fastball. “Andy taught me that pitching can be a thing of beauty, like an artist working on a canvas. Each pitch setting up the next pitch like brush stroke on brush stroke.”34 In the second half of the 1976 season, Ruthven’s productivity waned. Run support faltered, and he lost seven games in which his teammates scored two runs or less. By his own admission he too was to blame. “I had no juice at the end,” he said.35 After August 8, Ruthven dropped eight of his last nine decisions to finish the season 14-17 with a 4.19 ERA (90 ERA+). Ruthven’s 112 earned runs allowed led the NL, and his 17 losses tied for the league lead.

Another offseason lifting weights put nine pounds on Ruthven’s frame when spring training began. Optimism for an improved 1977 season, though, was shattered by injury. Again Ruthven got off to a promising start with wins in his first three starts to go with a 1.09 ERA. On May 1 he stepped awkwardly on first base and suffered ligament damage to his left ankle. The injury would sideline Ruthven for two months. He finished the season with a 7-13 record and a 4.23 ERA.

In 1978 Ruthven was a brooding, feuding pitcher. The object of his ire was the owner of the Braves, Ted Turner. Ruthven accused Turner of making a pass at his wife. Turner said he was merely being playful. Ruthven demanded an apology. When it was made in front of a large group of people, Ruthven was offended and said he could no longer play for Turner. He demanded a trade. On June 15 the Ruthvens, who had been out with teammates, returned home at 3:00 am to a ringing telephone. The call brought elation. Ruthven had been traded back to the Phillies in exchange for relief pitcher Gene Garber. His record for Atlanta at the time of the trade was 2-6 with a 4.11 ERA.

The Phillies team that Ruthven returned to was far different than the one he had left after 1975. Trades, draft picks, and the ascension of prospects had turned the Phillies into back-to-back National League East champions. The 1978 version was in pursuit of another pennant. A week after the trade, Ruthven pitched seven innings of one-run ball, as the Phillies beat the Cubs, 6 – 1, to take over first place in the National League East. Ruthven was the winning pitcher in 10 of his next 12 decisions. On September 8 Ruthven pitched a complete game three-hit shutout to beat St Louis, 1–0. The win gave the Phillies a three-game division lead. The Associated Press wrote, “and if the pacesetting Phils go on to win it this year there is no doubt in the mind of Danny Ozark that the catalyst will have been pitcher Dick Ruthven.”36 Ruthven took to the new environment well, going 13-5 with a 2.99 ERA for the Phillies in 1978.

Philadelphia won the National League East. In the National League Championship Series, Ruthven started game 2 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He retired the first nine men he faced before being knocked out of the game in the fifth inning as the Phillies fell, 4–0. The Dodgers -won the best-of-five series, 3–1.

The Phillies rewarded Ruthven with a new contract, one that covered five years and would pay $1.5 million. He began the 1979 season by winning his first six decisions. On May 9 his career reached a zenith. That night in San Diego, Ruthven was seven outs from pitching a no-hitter. He threw a changeup to Dan Briggs that strayed over the heart of the plate. Briggs was fooled yet managed to get the end of the bat on the ball and record the only San Diego hit. Ruthven’s complete game one-hit shutout put his ERA at 1.65. His six wins equaled Vida Blue, then with the Giants, for the most in the National League.

Ruthven, however, would not win another game for more than a month. A recurrence of bone chips in his right elbow left him pitching in immense pain. He altered his delivery to try and alleviate the pain but in doing so injured his hip. Another modification produced back pain. In July he went on the 21-day disabled list. In late August the decision was made to end his season and undergo surgery. “Why does it have to happen to a guy like that,” said Ozark. “He could have had a Cy Young season.”37 Paul Owens, the Phillies’ general manager, said, “He started out so good it looked like he’d win 25.”38 Instead he wound up 1979 with a 7-5 record and a 4.27 ERA, as the Phillies missed the postseason for the first time since 1975.

At the start of the 1980 season, Ruthven was pain free but struggling with control and velocity. It was a month into the season before Ruthven allayed fears of a repeat of 1975. He threw a complete game shutout to beat Houston, 3–0. “That is the Dick Ruthven,” said Phillies catcher Bob Boone after the game.39 Over the final month of the season Philadelphia fought the Expos for the NL East pennant. The teams were dead even at 89-70 as they faced each other in the season’s final three games, a winner-take-all series in Montreal. Ruthven drew the start in the first game. He pitched the Phillies to a 2–1 win which vaulted the team into first place by a game. The win was Ruthven’s 17th, his career high. The next afternoon the Phillies clinched the division title with a 6–4 win to advance to the NLCS against Houston. With a 17-10 record and 3.55 ERA, the 29-year-old Ruthven clearly stood behind only Cy Young Award winner Steve Carlton at the top of the Phillies’ rotation.

Ruthven started Game Two of the NLCS against Houston’s ace, Nolan Ryan. Tied 2-2 after seven innings, Ruthven was lifted for a pinch-hitter in a game the Phillies lost, 7–4. When the series went to a fifth and deciding game, Ruthven pleaded to start. He was rebuffed. Dallas Green, the Phillies’ manager, wanted him to start Game One of the World Series should Philadelphia get there. But with the deciding NLCS game tied, 7–7, after 8 innings, Green brought Ruthven out of the bullpen to pitch the ninth. He retired the side in order. The Phillies took the lead, 8–7, in the top of the 10th inning. Ruthven earned the victory by setting the Astros down in order again in the bottom of the 10th (the only two 1-2-3 innings of the game for the Houston offense) to clinch the Phillies’ first National League pennant in 30 years and send the team to the World Series.

Ruthven was the starting pitcher for Game Three of the 1980 World Series against the Kansas City Royals. For nine innings Ruthven pitched what Green called, “a magnificent ballgame.”40 He allowed three runs but with the game tied, 3–3, after nine innings, was removed. The Phillies lost the game in 10 innings, 4–3. In six games, however, the Phillies prevailed to win the first World Series championship in franchise history.

The 1981 season was marred by a players’ strike. On June 11, players went on strike. At the time, Ruthven had fashioned an 8–3 record and a 4.05 ERA. After the season resumed 49 days later, Ruthven’s performance dropped, and he finished with a 12–7 record and a 5.15 ERA. For the second time in his career, Ruthven received all-star recognition, thanks to his strong first-half performance. He retired the only batter he faced in the All-Star Game before being removed for a pinch-hitter. In the post-season, Philadelphia met Montreal in the National League Division Series. Ruthven started Game Two and left after four innings trailing, 3–0, in a game the Expos would win, 3–1. Montreal prevailed in five games.

Change came to the Phillies in 1982 with a new manager, Pat Corrales. Ruthven got off to a rough start, with the Phillies losing all five of his April starts. However, they won five of his six starts in May, when he went 4-0 with a 1.18 ERA, earning him National League Pitcher of the Month honors. At the end of June, the Phillies won nine of 10 games to move into a tie for first place in the National League East with St. Louis. Over the next two-and-a-half months, the Cardinals and Phillies engaged in a game of pennant-chase leapfrog, alternately gaining then relinquishing first place. On September 15, having lost three of their last four to fall behind the Cardinals by a half game, the teams met in Philadelphia for the rubber match of a three-game series. Ruthven was scheduled to start but was inexplicably bypassed in favor of newly acquired John Denny, who came into the game with a 6-11 record and 5.01 ERA with Cleveland, compared to Ruthven’s 11-10 record and 3.45 ERA. Further, the Phillies had won Ruthven’s last six starts, two of them behind his complete game performances. After the Phillies lost, 8–0 (with Ruthven relegated to a mop-up role), teammates questioned the move. “How can you take a guy who’s pitched 10 years in the major leagues and just rip him out of the rotation?” Larry Christenson asked.41 In the opposing locker room, a Cardinals player said, “I hope he (Ruthven) gets so upset he won’t pitch for him anymore.”42 That night, a rift broke out between Ruthven and Corrales that never healed.43 The Phillies never regained first place, and Ruthven ended the season at 11-11 with a 3.79 ERA.

On May 22, 1983, Ruthven was traded to the Cubs for relief pitcher Willie Hernandez. As soon as the trade was completed, Ruthven and his new team agreed to a three-year contract that would pay the pitcher $700,000 per season.44 After a 1-3 start with the Phillies, he went 12–9 on a Cubs team that finished in fifth place.

Ruthven was the Cubs’ Opening Day starter in 1984. But four weeks into the season he suffered a physical malady that caused deep alarm. In five consecutive starts Ruthven lost strength and sensation in his right arm an inning or two into the game.45 He lost all five games. Ruthven was sent to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago for tests. Doctors found that every time Ruthven raised his right arm to throw, an overdeveloped muscle pressed on an artery that carried blood to the arm and head. It caused the arm to lose circulation. The problem was similar to what caused Houston pitcher J. R. Richard to suffer a stroke in 1980.46 “Fortunately, it was detected sooner than J.R.’s,” said Cubs trainer Tony Garafalo.47 To correct the problem, a first-of-its kind procedure was performed. A three-inch muscle, the scalenus, running from the neck to the right shoulder was removed.

Ruthven began rehabilitation work within days of the surgery. One month after the procedure he pitched three innings in a minor league game for Lodi, the Cubs Single-A affiliate in the California League.48 Two weeks later he pitched six innings and scattered four hits for the same team.49 On July 16, just six weeks after the operation, Ruthven returned to the mound for the Cubs. He pitched eight innings, allowed six hits, and gave up three runs in a 4–0 loss to San Diego. “This is damn near a miracle,” said Cubs manager Jim Frey.50 Ruthven won four and lost five games after the surgery. On September 24, the Cubs ended 39 years of futility when they won the National League East. Ruthven’s role in the post-season was scheduled to be long relief, but he saw no action in the NLCS, which San Diego won, 3–2.

Ruthven turned 34 in the final days of spring training in 1985. He no longer had a repertoire of dominant pitches. How best to use him was a constant question Jim Frey pondered. Ruthven made 15 starts. In July he was moved to the bullpen for a spell before being returned to the rotation. On August 9, in the first inning of a start against the Mets, Ruthven was struck on the foot by a line drive and suffered a broken bone. The injury ended his season. He had a 4-7 record and 4.53 ERA.

Throughout spring training in 1986, rumors persisted that the Cubs would release Dick Ruthven. While he did make the Opening Day roster, he pitched just six games in relief, the last on May 1. After pitching in 355 games over 14 seasons and earning 123 career wins against 127 losses, with a 4.14 ERA, Ruthven was placed on waivers on May 6 for the purpose of giving him his release. “You can’t have any less fun than I’ve been having,” Ruthven said as he cleaned out his locker. “That’s the way you’ve got to look at it.”51

After baseball, Ruthven founded Access Management Group, a property management company. Dick and Sue Ruthven have three sons, two of whom were professional athletes. Sean pitched at the University of Georgia where he was a member of the Bulldogs’ 2004 College World Series team. He was a 27th-round draft pick of the Colorado Rockies and spent one season in the Rockies’ farm system. Tyler Ruthven played professional soccer with the New York Red Bulls in Major League Soccer and two teams in Finland, retiring from the sport in 2019.

Last revised: January 10, 2024



This story was edited by Gregory H. Wolf and Rick Zucker and fact-checked by Steve Ferenchick.



Personal Interviews:

Bob Bennett, Lance Fisken, John Van Ornum.


Ancestry.com, BackToBaseball.com, Baseball_Reference.com, Newspapers.com, Paperofrecord.com, Retrosheet.org, and SABR.org.



1 “1969 All-MVAL,” Argus (Fremont, California), March 7, 1969: 12.

2 Mike Elvitsky, “Ruthven Co-Prep of Week,” Argus, May 23, 1969: 14.

3 Paul Giordano, “Baseball doesn’t interest mom and dad,” Delaware County (Pennsylvania) Daily Times, March 25, 1974: 14.

4 “Ruthven Betters Strikeout Mark,” Fresno Bee, May 1. 1971: 9.

5 “FSC Baseballers Set 21 Records,” Fresno Bee, May 23, 1971: 32.

6 “Ruthven Heads Honors Parade at Fresno State Awards Fete,” Fresno Bee, May 21, 1971: 13.

7 “Bulldogs Win on Ruthven 1-hitter,” Fresno Bee, May 6, 1972: 13.

8 Eddie Lopez, “Ruthven Hurls 3-Hitter, Fans 20 – Bulldogs Lose,” Fresno Bee, March 25, 1972: 9.

9 “Bulldogs Win on Ruthven 1-Hitter,” Fresno Bee, May 6, 1972: 13.

10 Lou Pavlovich, “College All-America Picks Swing at .382 Clip,” The Sporting News, July 22, 1972: 21.

11 Eddie Lopez, “Phillies Sign Ruthven,” Fresno Bee, January 10, 1973: 34.

12 Paul Giordano, “Fresno State’s Dick Ruthven ready to pitch in the Majors,” Delaware County Daily Times, March 17, 1973: 12.

13 Bill Conlin, “Schmidt’s Injury Dislocates Owens’ Trading Plans,” Philadelphia Daily News, March 27, 1973: 58.

14 Bill Conlin, “For Starters, Christenson Has Carlton’s Confidence,” Philadelphia Daily News, March 23, 1973: 68.

15 Bruce Keidan, “Honest Blanking of Reds ‘Earns’ Ruthven Phils Job,” Philadelphia Inquirer, April 1, 1973: 40.

16 Jason Catania, “Players go Straight from MLB Draft to the Show,” mlb.com, September 18, 2020.

17 A few months earlier, on September 16, 1972, Balor Moore had allowed a home run to Phillies rookie Mike Schmidt, the first of 548 in Schmidt’s long career, much of which was spent as Dick Ruthven’s teammate. Schmidt did not play in Ruthven’s debut, being on the 10-day disabled list to start the 1973 season.

18 Bill Conlin, “Ozark Hunches Win It for The Rippers,” Philadelphia Daily News, April 18, 1973: 71.

19 The next game that Gibson pitched against the Phillies was over two months later, on June 26. After walking Schmidt and then allowing a run-scoring single to him, in the 5th inning with two outs and a base open, Gibson hit Schmidt with a pitch and then retired the next batter to get out of the inning safely. Some would argue that Gibson served that dish of revenge cold to the rookie.

20 Neal Russo, “Easter Debacle Leaves Egg on Cards’ Faces,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 23, 1973: 29.

21 Ray Kelly, “Ruthven Sheds Spoiled-Brat Label,” The Sporting News, September 24, 1974: 12.

22 “Bunning Helped Ruthven Dampen His Short Fuse,” News Journal (Wilmington, Delaware), March 26, 1975: 19.

23 Bruce Keidan, “Phils Await Tests on Ailing Ruthven,” Philadelphia Inquirer, August 7, 1973: 25.

24 Tom Singer, “Win No. 7 Gives Abbott a Record,” The Sporting News, July 17, 1989 :20.

25 Bill Conlin, “’Loosey-Goofey’ Ruthven Wiser Now,” Philadelphia Daily News, March 14, 1974: 52.

26 Conlin, “’Loosey-Goofey’ Ruthven Wiser Now.”

27 Bill Conlin, “Phillies ‘Clay’ Pigeons in Non-Support of Ruthven,” Philadelphia Daily News, June 17, 1974: 47.

28 Allen Lewis, Ruthven, Phils Top Brett, 3-2,” Philadelphia Inquirer, May 11, 1974: 19.

29 Bill Lyon, “When a Pitcher’s Head Catches Up with His Arm,” Philadelphia Inquirer, September 2, 1974: 9.

30 Allen Lewis, “Phils Rout Cubs On 10-Run First,” Philadelphia Inquirer, August 6, 1975: 31.

31 Frank Dolson, “Sent Down as a Thrower; Ruthven’s Back as a Pitcher,” Philadelphia Inquirer, August 11, 1975: 19.

32 Many references on the internet erroneously describe Hutton as having married Ruthven’s twin sister, but in fact Sue Harper Ruthven and Debby Harper Hutton are the twin sisters who married ballplayers. Steve Wulf, “Out but Not Down,” Sports Illustrated, October 6, 1980: 20 (available at https://vault.si.com/vault/1980/10/06/out-but-not-down-with-one-week-of-the-season-remaining-the-phillies-trailed-the-expos-in-the-national-league-east-and-the-dodgers-were-behind-the-astros-in-the-west-but-both-races-were-still-far-from-over).

33 Wayne Minshew, “Braves See Happy Huntin Behind Ruthven’s Firing,” The Sporting News, July 24, 1976: 18.

34 Bill Conlin, “Ruthven Misunderstood in Philly,” Philadelphia Daily News, May 23, 1983: 86.

35 Wayne Minshew, “Dick Was Ruthven of Early,” The Atlanta Constitution, March 31, 1977: 57.

36 “Phils Find the Combination,” The Times Tribune, September 9, 1978: 20.

37 Frank Dolson, “Dick Ruthven’s season ends early,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, August 22, 1979: 41, 44.

38 Frank Dolson, “Dick Ruthven’s season ends early,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, August 22, 1979: 41.

39 Jayson Stark, “Ruthven Slams Door on Astros in 3-0 Win,” Philadelphia Inquirer, May 17, 1980: 23.

40 Bill Conlin, “Phils Left Stranded,” Philadelphia Daily News, October 18, 1980: 48.

41 Jayson Stark, “Searching,” Philadelphia Inquirer, October 5, 1982: 59.

42 Frank Dolson, “Ruthven Appears in wrong scene,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, September 16, 1982: 49.

43 Hal Bodley, “Ruthven Unsure of 1983 Status,” The Sporting News, January 10, 1983: 46.

44 “Ruthven signs pact with Cubs,” News Journal (Wilmington, Delaware), May 24, 1983: 27.

45 Bob Verdi, “Pitchers’ ailments toss Cubs a curve,” Chicago Tribune, May 21, 1984: 32.

46 Joe Goddard, “Ruthven, Sanderson Bolster Cubs’ Staff,” The Sporting News, July 23, 1984: 22.

47 Goddard, “Ruthven, Sanderson Bolster Cubs’ Staff.”

48 “Cubs ailing pitchers work in Class A,” Chicago Tribune, June 30, 1984: 21.

49 “Redwood wins 15th straight in Cal League, Sacramento Bee, July 7, 1984: 15.

50 Phil Hersch, “Ruthven rushes back,” Chicago Tribune, July 16, 1984: 37.

51 Fred Mitchell, “Ruthven put on waivers, just wants to be wanted,” Chicago Tribune, May 7, 1986: 45.

Full Name

Richard David Ruthven


March 27, 1951 at Sacramento, CA (USA)

If you can help us improve this player’s biography, contact us.