Rickey Eugene Reuschel (pronounced RUSH-el) (born May 16, 1949) is a former professionalbaseballpitcher from the early 1970s into the early 1990s. His nickname was "Big Daddy" because of his portly physique. He was known for his deceptive style of pitching, which kept hitters off balance by constantly varying the speeds of his pitches.
Reuschel was listed as 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds. Reuschel could run surprisingly well for his size (logging 4 triples in his batting career) and he was frequently used as a pinch runner on days he was not pitching. He was also a fair - though awkward-looking - hitter, batting well over .200 several times. His older brother Paul Reuschel also pitched for the Cubs for a few years while Reuschel was pitching, but was not nearly as effective as his younger brother and his career was much shorter. Both of them were Illinois farm boys, with strong physiques and plain-spoken ways. The two are the only siblings to combine on a shutout. On August 21, 1975, Rick started and went 61⁄3innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers, followed by Paul, who pitched the final 22⁄3 innings for the Cubs' 7-0 win.
Reuschel began his Major League Baseball career when he was drafted in the third round of the 1970 Major League Baseball Draft by the Chicago Cubs, at a time when they were declining in the post-Durocher era, and provided a strong arm for the Cubs' increasingly mediocre staff. After spending two years in the minor leagues, he joined the Cubs' major league team in 1972. His best season was in 1977, when the Cubs made a brief run at the pennant. Reuschel won 20 games and finished third in the Cy Young Award voting behind Steve Carlton and Tommy John. In addition, Reuschel pitched in a memorable game for Cub fans on July 28, 1977, when making a rare relief appearance on two days rest, he entered the 13th inning of a 15-15 tie between the Cubs and the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field. Reuschel retired two batters to end the top of the 13th. Then, he singled and scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the 13th, also picking up the victory in the 16-15 contest.
Reuschel was traded to the New York Yankees in 1981. That year, Reuschel made his first World Series appearances. The 1981 World Series marked the last chapter of the Dodgers-Yankees trilogy of that era, this one won by the Dodgers. Reuschel was ineffective in that Series, and it appeared his career might be finished. He returned to the Cubs and was on the roster in 1984 when they won the National League Eastern Division and made the playoffs, but, somewhat controversially, he was not named to the playoff roster.