November 25, 1928|
Camden, New Jersey
|Died: March 29, 2012
Gloucester Township, New Jersey
|April 17, 1954, for the Cleveland Indians|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 13, 1959, for the Detroit Tigers|
|Earned run average||3.60|
|Career highlights and awards|
Raymond Edmond Narleski (November 25, 1928 – March 29, 2012) was a relief pitcher in Major League Baseball who played with the Cleveland Indians (1954–58) and Detroit Tigers (1959). He batted and threw right-handed. His father, Bill Narleski, was a shortstop for the Boston Red Sox from 1929 to 1930.
Narleski was an overpowering pitcher with a blazing fastball which he mixed with a sharp-breaking curve and a change-up that can kept hitters guessing. Unfortunately, Narleski had a simple problem: he was overshadowed by one of the greatest pitching staffs in major league history, the Indians Big Four Bob Feller, Bob Lemon, Early Wynn and Mike Garcia. Nevertheless, in his rookie season Narleski posted 13 saves for the 1954 AL Champions. In 1955 he went 9–1 and led the league with 19 saves and 60 appearances, and in 1957 he finished 11–5 with 16 saves. At this time, he gradually joined the starting rotation.
In 1958 Narleski went 13–10 in 44 games, 24 as a starter. At the end of the season he was sent to Detroit along with bullpen teammate Don Mossi, in the same trade that brought Billy Martin to the Indians. Hampered by shoulder problems in 1959, Narleski finished 4–12 with a 5.78 ERA and five saves in 42 games. Narleski missed the entire 1960 season due to a ruptured disc that required surgery. Narleski went to Tigers spring training camp in 1961 but quit the club when Detroit wouldn't tell him whether he would make the roster or not. Narlesi saying "I won't go back to the minors", because it "means another year out of my arm and I'm too old for that."
After his retirement, Narleski lived in Laurel Springs, New Jersey. A resident of Gloucester Township, New Jersey at the time of his death, Narleski died at the age of 83 on March 29, 2012. He is buried in Eglington Cemetery, Clarksboro, New Jersey
- List of Major League Baseball annual saves leaders
- List of Major League Baseball all-time saves leaders
- List of second-generation Major League Baseball players
- Staff. "Chronicling local legends", The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 4, 2004. Accessed November 22, 2013. "Narleski, who was born in Camden and played at Collingswood High, is the relief pitcher, and Burlington's Eddie Miksis is the utility player."
- Duhart, Bill. "Glimpse into the major league career of South Jersey's Ray Narleski", Courier-Post, April 13, 2000. Accessed November 22, 2013. "Ray Narleski, a pitcher, was playing in a South Jersey high schoolbaseball game, but something wasn't right. ... Narleski's Collingswood High School squad still won, 2- 1."
- Tiger special camp opens here
- Narleski placed on disabled list
- Narleski quits Tigers in huff
- Won't go to minors- Narleski
- "Top 100 Greatest Cleveland Indians Players". Cleveland State University Library. Retrieved 2007-11-29.
- Staff. "Glimpse into the major league career of South Jersey's Ray Narleski", Courier-Post, April 13, 2000. Accessed june 1, 2015. "'When you're there in the major leagues, you're on top of the world,' said Narleski, 71, now retired and living in Laurel Springs."
- Peticca, Mike. "Ray Narleski, 2-time all-star and part of Indians' great bullpen in historic 1954 season, dies at age 83", The Plain Dealer, April 2, 2012. Accessed November 22, 2013. "Narleski died of natural causes, his wife of 63 years, Ruth, said through the funeral home near the Narleski home in Gloucester Township, New Jersey."
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference