Glew: Colorful Hall of Famer Rube Waddell in Chatham, Ontario

From SABR member Kevin Glew at Cooperstowners in Canada on March 25, 2013:

He was born on Friday the 13th and he died on April Fools’ Day.

That somehow seems fitting for Hall of Fame pitcher Rube Waddell, who was one of baseball’s most colourful and impulsive characters, not to mention the American League’s top left-handed pitcher during the first decade of the 20th century.

In parts of 13 big league seasons, Waddell racked up 193 wins, tossed 50 shutouts, recorded the best ERA by a left-hander in history (2.16) and was the first to register back-to-back 300-strikeout seasons.

“He was a dominant strikeout pitcher in an era when there weren’t many strikeouts,” noted Dan O’Brien, who has written an award-winning screenplay about Waddell. “He pitched in the Deadball Era when players were choking up to make contact. During his prime, Rube was striking out eight to 8.5 batters per nine innings and the next closest guy would be four or five (strikeouts per nine innings).”

However, Waddell is at least as renowned for his off-the-field adventures, which included, among other things, chasing fire engines, playing marbles with street urchins, a foray into acting and wrestling alligators.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: March 26, 2013. Last Updated: March 26, 2013.