March 12, 1889|
Jackson, Mississippi, U.S.
|Died: September 30, 1973
Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.
|April 18, 1913, for the Chicago White Sox|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 30, 1923, for the Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Earned run average||2.33|
Russell was drafted by the White Sox as a pitcher in 1912. In his rookie season, his won-loss record was 22–16 and he led the league in games pitched, with 52. The lefty had a sterling 1.90 ERA while leading the team in innings pitched (317) and wins. Only Washington's ace Walter Johnson topped Reb’s eight shutouts, and Russell tied a record that still stands with five 1–0 victories in a season. In 1916, he was Chicago's opening day starter; that year he led the team in wins (18), innings (264), and shutouts (5), and led the league in fewest walks allowed per inning.
Russell helped the White Sox win the 1917 American League pennant, with a won-loss record of 15–5 and an ERA of 1.95. He was the starting pitcher of Game 5 of the 1917 World Series, but was unable to retire a batter and was replaced in the first inning by Eddie Cicotte.
Russell developed arm trouble in 1918 and, after a poor start, he was released by Chicago. However, in the minor leagues the decent-hitting Russell converted to playing the outfield and returned to the majors in 1922, playing for Pittsburgh. That year, he batted .367 with 75 RBI in 60 games. He was released by the Pirates at the end of the 1923 season, after which he returned to the minor league American Association (the highest level of minor league play in his era). Russell remained a highly paid star in the AA through age 40, and won the league batting title (.385) when he was 38 years old.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- Biography at SABR's Baseball Biography Project
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