August 19, 1910|
|Died: October 19, 1992
West Monroe, Louisiana
|April 21, 1938, for the New York Yankees|
|Last MLB appearance|
|July 13, 1945, for the New York Yankees|
|Earned run average||3.52|
|Career highlights and awards|
Richard Atley Donald (August 19, 1910 – October 19, 1992) was a Major League Baseball pitcher. A native of Morton, Mississippi, the right-hander played for the New York Yankees from 1938 to 1945. "Swampy", as he was nicknamed, stood 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) and weighed 186 lbs.
Donald was usually a fourth or fifth starter during his career, and sometimes used in relief. The Yankees won two American League pennants while he was on their staff (1941 and 1942), winning the 1941 World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers.
He made his major league debut on April 21, 1938 in a start against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. The Yankees lost 3–2, as Bosox starting pitcher Johnny Marcum earned the win. He started in one more game for New York that season, then returned to the minor league Newark Bears.
Donald was back for good in 1939, and set a league record for consecutive wins by a rookie. On July 25 he defeated the St. Louis Browns 5–1, increasing his record to a perfect 12–0. He finished the season 13–3 with an earned run average of 3.71 and led the league in winning percentage (.813).
He remained a consistent winner throughout the remainder of his career and never had a losing season after going 0–1 in 1938. He finished in the league's top ten twice more for winning percentage (1941 and 1942) with records of 9–5 and 11–3, respectively. In two World Series appearances, however, he was 0–1 with a 7.71 ERA.
Beset by eye and elbow injuries and now 34 years old, Donald made his last major league appearance on July 13, 1945. His season record was 5–4 with the lowest ERA of his career, 2.97.
Career totals include a 65–33 record (.663) in 153 games pitched, 115 games started, 54 complete games, 6 shutouts, 28 games finished, 1 save, and an ERA of 3.52. In 932.1 innings pitched he struck out 369 and walked 369. He hit .160 in 356 at bats with one home run.
Donald was a Yankee scout for many years after retiring as a player. He played college baseball for Louisiana Tech. He died at the age of 82 in West Monroe, Louisiana. Donald scouted New York Yankee pitcher Ron Guidry. In 1978, as a rookie, Guidry won 13 consecutive games, breaking Donald's American League record of 12 consecutive victories by a rookie set in 1939.