Dick Ruthven 1981 Donruss – Sully Baseball Card of the Day for April 5, 2017


In 1980, the Phillies as a franchise were at a very frustrating crossroads. By that year, the franchise had not won a single World Series. In fact they had only won one World Series GAME.

And despite wonderful teams that made the post season in 1976, 1977 and 1978, they could not win a pennant. In fact the compounding losses in October and the lack of World Series appearances made the great collapse of 1964 hurt more and more.

1980 looked like more of the same in Philadelphia. Then they participated in one of the great October series in baseball history and turned the ball over to Dick Ruthven.

Ruthven was from northern California and was drafted by the Orioles in 1969 and the Twins in 1972 before being selected and signed by the Phillies in 1973 out of Cal State Fresno.

He made the major league squad that same year and in 1974, threw 212 2/3 innings for the Phillies.

In 1976, he was shipped off to Atlanta and missed the Phillies Division title during the Bicentennial. He did get selected to his first All Star team that year, establishing himself as one of the top pitchers on a non contending Braves squad.

After an injury plagued 1977 season in Georgia, Ruthven was traded back to the Phillies during the 1978 season. He won 13 games for the NL East champs. In his lone playoff start in 1978, he didn’t make it out of the 5th as the Phillies lost the game and eventually the pennant to Los Angeles.

In 1979, Ruthven began the season 6-0 with a 1.65 ERA but saw injuries derail his season. 1980 started in a rocky fashion.

He finished April with a 9.77 ERA and still saw it hovering at 5.71 by mid May. But he threw a complete game shutout against Houston on May 16th that helped turn his season around.

It would not be the last time he would be linked to Houston in 1980.

As the Phillies fought tooth and nail with the Expos for the 1980 NL East crown, Ruthven was a key contributor to Philadelphia.

He even threw a 12 inning complete game victory over his former team, the Braves. He would finish the season with 17 wins and a 3.55 ERA.

In the NLCS with the Astros, both franchises locked up in an all time battle. In Game 2 of the NLCS, Ruthven allowed 3 hits and 2 runs over 7 innings. But the Astros would take the game in 10 innings, winning with a 4 run extra inning rally.

Games 3 and 4 were also extra inning affairs, with the Phillies holding off elimination in Game 4 on the road, 5-3 in 10.

Phillies pitcher Marty Bystrom would get the start versus Houston legend Nolan Ryan. With the score tied 2-2 in the bottom of the 7th, the Astros rallied to take a 5-2 lead. But the Phillies bombed Ryan in the 8th. Capped by Manny Trillo’s RBI triple, Philadelphia took a 7-5 lead into the 8th, with ace reliever Tug McGraw pitching and the Phillies 6 outs from the World Series. With 2 outs, the Astros slapped back to back RBI singles to tie the game.

When George Vukovich pinch hit for McGraw with a grounder, Phillies manager Dallas Green turned to Ruthven.

With the pennant on the line with every pitch, Ruthven got the Astros 1-2-3 in the 9th. A 2 out double by Garry Maddox gave the Phillies the lead going into the bottom of the 10th. It was Ruthven on the mound, trying to close it out.

He retired pinch hitter Danny Heep and then Terry Puhl to start of the inning. Then on a 3-2 count, Enos Cabell hit a fly ball to Maddox to win the pennant. Ruthven got the final out and the Phillies won their first pennant since 1950, shedding the loser label once and for all.

He would get a start in the World Series that the Phillies would lose in extra innings. But eventually they won their first title ever.

Ruthven made the 1981 All Star team and eventually joined the Phillies exodus to the Cubs in the mid 1980’s where he was part of the 1984 NL East winner.

His career ended during the 1986 season after 14 seasons.

No moment in his career will outshine the 2 innings of relief in 1980 which gave great relief to Phillies fans everywhere.

Phillies pitchers who clinched a post season Series: From Ruthven to Hamels

With Brad Lidge leaving Philadelphia for the Nationals today, I realized that exactly 1/2 of the pitchers who have clinched a World Series for the Phillies switched teams. The late Tug McGraw was the other one.

I asked the Phillies fans to pay to pay their respects to Lidge today. But later I realized that the fraternity of Phillies pitchers to clinch a post season series is actually very very small.

Despite being a member of the National League since the 19th century, the Phillies went from 1903, the year of the first World Series, to 1979, a World Series I remember watching, without a single post season series victory. They lost the 1915 and 1950 World Series. They lost the 1976, 1977 and 1978 NLCS. And less said about 1964 the better.

In fact if the Houston Astros got another hit in the 9th inning of Game 4 of the 1980 NLCS, their searched for post season victory would have been prolonged.

So like I did for The Red Sox, I decided to honor each and every Phillies pitcher who threw the last pitch of a post season series.

Here are the pitchers, the game they pitched, and how was the last out recorded.

1980 National League Championship Series – Game 5
Phillies, 8, Astros 7

October 12, 1980
At The Astrodome, Houston

2 innings of relief of five pitchers for the win.
LAST OUT: Enos Cabell flew out to center fielder Garry Maddox.

1980 World Series – Game 6
Phillies 4, Royals 1

October 21, 1980
At Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia

Two innings of relief to save the game for starter Steve Carlton.
LAST OUT: Strikeout of Willie Wilson.

1983 National League Championship Series – Game 4
Phillies 7, Dodgers 2

October 8, 1983
At Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia

1 2/3 innings of relief for starter Steve Carlton and reliever Ron Reed.
LAST OUT: Strikeout of Bill Russell.

1993 National League Championship Series – Game 6
Phillies 6, Braves 3

October 13, 1993
At Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia

One inning of relief and the save for starter Tommy Greene and reliever David West.
LAST OUT: Strikeout of Bill Pecota.

2008 National League Division Series – Game 4
Phillies 6, Brewers 2

October 5, 2008
At Miller Park, Milwaukee

1 inning of relief for starter Joe Blanton and reliever Ryan Madson.
LAST OUT: Jason Kendall grounded to Jimmy Rollins at shortstop who threw to Ryan Howard at first for the out.

2008 National League Championship Series – Game 5
Phillies 5, Dodgers 1

October 15, 2008
At Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles

1 inning of relief for starter Cole Hamels and reliever Ryan Madson.
LAST OUT: Nomar Garciaparra popped up foul to catcher Carlos Ruiz for the out.

2008 World Series – Game 5
Phillies 4, Rays 3

October 29, 2008
At Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia

1 inning of relief for starter Cole Hamels and relievers Ryan Madson and J.C. Romero.
LAST OUT: Strikeout of Eric Hinske.

2009 Division Series – Game 4
Phillies 5, Rockies 4

October 12, 2009
At Coors Field, Denver

1/3 of an inning for the save in relief of Cliff Lee, Ryan Madson and Scott Eyre.
LAST OUT: Strikeout of Troy Tulowitzki

2009 National League Championship Series – Game 5
Phillies 10, Dodgers 4

October 21, 2009
At Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia
1 inning of relief for pitchers Cole Hamels, J. A. Happ, Chad Durbin, Chan Ho Park and Ryan Madson.
LAST OUT: Ronnie Belliard flies out to center fielder Shane Victorino.

2010 National League Division Series – Game 3
Phillies 2, Reds 0

October 10, 2010
At Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati

Complete Game five hit shutout.
LAST OUT: Strikeout of Scott Rolen.

So there you have it, Phillies fans. All 10 Post Season Series that the Phillies won are listed here.
And how about some more respect for Brad Lidge?

He clinched HALF of them!

I thought for sure they would have added to this list in 2011.
The window is slowly closing on this squad.

Maybe I’ll add Papelbon.

But remember, they won’t have Harry Kalas call it.
Let’s savor his 2008 call.

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