Wednesday, October 20, 2010

#406 Ralph Terry

#406 Ralph Terry
Whaddaya know? It's another hastily assembled Yankees-to-Indians card. It's a good thing that Topps didn't give Ralph Terry the Stan Williams treatment, otherwise we would have been denied the sight of his luscious mop of hair.

Fun facts about Ralph Terry:

-A native of Big Cabin, OK, Ralph signed with the Yankees in 1953 at age 17.

-New York called him up to the big leagues in August 1956, in just his third season of pro ball. He won his major league debut against the Red Sox, but was knocked around in all three of his starts and sent back to the minors.

-By the following year, Terry was in the bigs to stay. Unfortunately for him, a midseason trade to Kansas City left him with a 5-12 record despite a 3.33 ERA. He led the A's with just 80 strikeouts.

-He endured two more consecutive losing seasons, but was reacquired by the Yankees in 1959 and went 10-8 with a 3.40 ERA in the proceeding season. However, he also had the misfortune of losing two games in the World Series. The second loss went down in baseball history, as he served up Bill Mazeroski's walkoff, Series-deciding home run.

-Ralph shook off his role in the Yanks' Fall Classic failure, rebounding to post a 16-3 record with a 3.15 ERA and 1.08 WHIP to earn a regular slot in the team's rotation in 1961. Though he was again uneven in the postseason, New York bested the Reds to claim the world championship.

-1962 was an immensely successful year for Terry. He received his only All-Star nod and led the A.L. in wins (23, against 12 losses) and innings pitched (298.2). He was third in strikeouts with 176 and fourth in complete games with 14. Even with such a heavy workload, his 3.19 ERA was eighth-best in the league, the third straight season he landed in the top ten. He also shone at last in the Fall Classic, winning World Series MVP honors for three great starts. He lost a 2-0 heartbreaker to Jack Sanford in Game Two, went the distance in a 5-3 win in Game Five, and outdueled Sanford in a 1-0 classic in Game Seven. The Yankee hurler held the Giants to four hits and won by a razor-thin margin when second baseman Bobby Richardson speared Willie McCovey's line drive with two runners in scoring position to end the game and the series.

-He was just as good if not better the next year, posting a 3.22 ERA and leading the league with 18 complete games and a 1.06 WHIP. But when he was good, he was great (1.53 ERA in his wins) and when he was bad, he was terrible (6.24 ERA in his losses), contributing to a mediocre 17-15 record.

-Ralph's struggles became more acute in 1964, and he eventually lost his place in the starting rotation. This jump-started the itinerant phase of his career, as he played for three teams in the final three years of his career: Indians (1965), Athletics (1966), and Mets (1966-1967).

-In parts of 12 seasons, he was 107-99 with a 3.62 ERA. He completed 75 of 257 starts and also saved 11 games.

-After retiring from baseball, Terry became a pro golfer. He was a PGA of America Sectional Champion, which qualified him to play in four PGA Tour events spanning 1981 and 1982. He joined the PGA Senior Tour in 1986, and his best result was a tenth-place finish at the 1989 Showdown Classic.
#406 Ralph Terry (back)

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