McDonald: Hub Pruett heir rememberes Ruthian legacy

From SABR member Anna McDonald at on March 3, 2014:

Dr. Don Pruett still walks quickly through his house for a 78-year-old. As he moves from room to room he limps a little, more from the passage of time and a life spent walking up and down hospital hallways than from an injury. We stop at the kitchen window overlooking the pool and he focuses his attention on a tree filled with birds.

Watching the birds and feeding them is an important daily activity now in his new, slower-paced life as a retired surgeon. Pruett said he wanted to make sure I saw the birds before he begins to tell me how all of this — the beautiful colonial-style house on a sprawling estate, his family, his life of hard yet rewording work — all came from one pitch that Babe Ruth couldn’t hit.

Pruett’s father, Hub Pruett, was born in Malden, Mo., on Sept. 1, 1890. Hub was a major league pitcher from 1922 to 1932. Hub’s nickname was Shucks, a childhood moniker kept even as a baseball player because he never swore. Hub would just say, “Aw, shucks.”

“[Hub’s] parents died at an early age,” Don Pruett said. “His dad was a doctor and he died in a horse and buggy accident making a house call. He was raised by his aunt.”

Pruett said Hub loved to play baseball, but his real ambition was to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a doctor. He was trying to figure out how to raise money to go to medical school when a serendipitous chain of events unfolded.

“They had a town baseball team and he was asked to play on the team.” Pruett said. “While he was playing in one of these games it just so happened that a St. Louis Cardinals scout, Charlie Barrett, was down there looking at two players — two brothers — a catcher and pitcher.”

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Originally published: March 4, 2014. Last Updated: March 4, 2014.