Wednesday, December 15, 2010

#494 Jay Ritchie

#494 Jay Ritchie
As much as this Orioles fan hates to admit it, I like the Red Sox uniforms. That thin red piping is a great understated touch and a nice contrast to the navy blue hats. Naturally, they've gone and cocked it up in the past few years by adding red caps and jerseys that are about as subtle as a heart attack.

Fun facts about Jay Ritchie:

-Jay was born in Salisbury, NC and signed with the Red Sox as a teenager in 1955.

-Patience must have been one of his virtues. Boston did not summon him to the major leagues until August 1964, by which time he was 27 and in his ninth year of pro ball.

-Ritchie had a baptism by fire in his August 4, 1964 debut. Starter Bill Monbouquette had been knocked out after allowing five runs in two innings to the Twins, and the 27-year-old rookie came out to start the third inning...facing Harmon Killebrew. "Killer" greeted him with a single, but the righthander bore down and tossed four shutout frames. He left with the BoSox trailing by a single run, but the rest of his 'pen mates coughed up seven runs as Minnesota romped.

-Jay appeared in 21 games for Boston as a rookie, compiling a 2.74 ERA and 35 strikeouts and 14 walks in 46 innings.

-He was summoned from the Red Sox bullpen 44 times in 1965, posting a team-low 3.17 ERA and a pair of saves.

-Prior to the 1966 season, Jay was dealt to the Braves. He spent the first four months of the season in the minors before Atlanta recalled him. His 4.08 ERA in 22 games was unimpressive, but he did record saves in four straight appearances in early September.

-1967 was a more rewarding campaign for Ritchie. He led all Braves pitchers with 52 appearances and matched his 3.17 ERA of two seasons prior. From May 5 through May 16, he retired 28 straight batters spanning four games - the equivalent of a 9.1 inning perfect game!

-He was traded to the Reds for the 1968 season and once more spent a chunk of the year in the minors. During the three months he spent in the bigs, he racked up a career-worst 4.61 ERA in 28 games.

-Jay pitched in the minors through the 1970 season, but 1968 was his last taste of the majors. In parts of five seasons he was 8-13 with 8 saves and a 3.49 ERA.

-At last check, he still lives in his hometown of Salisbury.
#494 Jay Ritchie (back)