Monday, September 14, 2009

#211 Steve Ridzik

#211 Steve Ridzik
This picture doesn't really elicit much of a response from me, except that it makes me realize once again that the Senators uniforms were far superior to the gold-accented, block-lettered, stars-and-stripes hodgepodge that is the Nationals uni set. However, I will take this opportunity to call your attention to the left sidebar on the blog. Under "The Scoreboard", you'll see that I've surged past the 90% mark in my attempt to complete the 1965 Topps set! Just 59 more cards to go, though there's no telling how much longer it will take me to finish posting about all of the cards that you great folks have sent! I'll keep plugging along with a few posts a week as long as you keep reading. Thanks again!

Fun facts about Steve Ridzik:

-Yonkers, NY native Steve signed with the Phillies in 1945, when he was just sixteen! His mother signed the contract with the understanding that he would finish high school, which he did, pitching in minor league ball during the summers of 1945 and 1946.

-After pitching three innings in Philly in 1950, Ridzik had a solid rookie season in 1952. In nine starts and fifteen relief appearances, he went 4-2 with a 3.01 ERA.

-Turned in two more workmanlike seasons with the Phils (9-6, 3.77 ERA in 1953, 4-5, 4.13 ERA in 1954), and pitched sparingly with the Phillies and Reds in 1955.

-Tossed 119 innings for the Giants (1956-1957), highlighted by his only career shutout: on August 25, 1956, he blanked the Cubs on seven hits. In that game, he had two hits of his own and scored twice.

-Spent most of 1958 - and all of 1959 through 1962 - in the minors, going 64-51 in that span.

-Returned to the big leagues at age 34 with the Senators. He'd developed a knuckleball during his hiatus from the majors, and controlled it masterfully in 1965, allowing 96 hits in 112 innings en route to a 2.89 ERA in his second season in D.C.

-Finished his career back in Philadelphia in 1967. In parts of 12 seasons, he went 39-38 with a 3.79 ERA and 11 saves.

-Held Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski to four hits and one RBI in 19 career at-bats (.211 AVG, .634 OPS).

-Worked in Washington, D.C. for a military food distributor for several years until moving to Florida in the late 1980s. There, he partnered with former Senators teammate Chuck Hinton to found the MLB Players Alumni Association.

-Sadly, Steve has passed away recently, succumbing to a decade-long battle with heart disease in January of 2008. He was 78 at the time.
#211 Steve Ridzik (back)

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