Sunday, November 15, 2009

#501 Indians Rookies: Ralph Gagliano and Jim Rittwage

#501 Indians Rookies: Ralph Gagliano and Jim Rittwage
Hm, we haven't done a two-rookie card in a while. It's nice to see that Ralph Gagliano wore his softball uniform to the photo shoot. Meanwhile, Jim Rittwage is smirking at him. That's not very nice...

Fun facts about Ralph Gagliano:

-After graduating from Christian Brothers High in his hometown of Memphis, TN, Ralph was signed by the Indians in 1964.

-His brother Phil Gagliano was a utility player for the Cardinals, Red Sox, and Reds from 1963-1974.

-He struggled in his first pro season, hitting .226 at single-A Dubuque.

-Ralph became a true "cup-of-coffee" player, appearing in just one game with the Indians in September 1965 as a pinch runner. That was the sum total of his major league career: one game, no at-bats, no defensive plays.

-Ralph's minor league stat line is odd; he played for single-A Reno in 1966, hitting .243, then didn't reappear until 1970. In his second go-round at Reno, he hit .275. The following year, he was at AA Jacksonville, a club that was not affiliated with any big league organization. He batted .182 in 29 games, and apparently called it a career.

-If anyone has more information about Ralph, feel free to chip in, comments-wise.

Fun facts about Jim Rittwage:

-Jim was a hometown Cleveland boy, and the Tribe signed him at age 19 during the 1964 season.

-After his first pro season, he was claimed on waivers by the Athletics. A year later, Cleveland reacquired him in a four-player deal; one of the players sent to Kansas City was future star Joe Rudi.

-He had a gradual progression through the minors, with his best effort coming in 1968: 5-9 with a 2.33 ERA as a swingman at AA Waterbury.

-In his seventh pro season, Rittwage was called to Cleveland. The 25-year-old pitched in eight games with a 4.15 ERA, as his control abandoned him (21 walks and 16 strikeouts in 26 innings).

-Earned his lone major league win on September 19, 1970, allowing two runs on six hits in a complete-game victory over the Orioles. He outdueled 23-game-winner Dave McNally in that contest, and struck out Brooks Robinson with the bases loaded to end the game!

-He did not allow a home run in his brief MLB career.

-Continued to tour AAA from 1971-1974 (Wichita, Portland, Oklahoma City, Tulsa), but struggled in all four seasons before hanging up his spikes at age 29.

-Again, that's all she wrote. I usually like to have ten tidbits per player, but both of these guys had pretty brief careers!
#501 Indians Rookies: Ralph Gagliano and Jim Rittwage (back)


  1. The Indians probably lost confidence in Ralph when they saw him in that ridiculous looking hat

  2. One other thing about Rittwage. His B-R line shows one game at 3B. He was shifted there for 3 batters in the 4th inning against Baltimore September 25.

    Tricky move by Alvin Dark, but it didn't work. Reliever Rick Austin gave up a 2-run double to Boog Powell to make it 5-0. Rittwage came back in the 5th and went another 3 innings.

  3. Anon - I really wonder what's with the hat. Maybe it was a minor league uniform that Topps airbrushed.

    sjhax - Wow, good catch!

  4. It was only the lack of a better name that kept Ralph from being Moonlight Graham.

  5. Ralph hereby proves that, contrary to popular belief, the '86 Mets did NOT invent the rally cap!

    Kevin - nice blog, very nicely done on a subject close to my heart (I collected in the 70s)

  6. Ralph Gagliano served 3 years in Vietnam after his cup of coffee...good reason why he never returned to the bigs.