January 25, 1951|
|Died: January 20, 2007
|September 9, 1974, for the Detroit Tigers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 4, 1986, for the California Angels|
|Earned run average||3.73|
Vernon Gerald Ruhle (January 25, 1951 – January 20, 2007) was an American right-handed pitcher and coach in Major League Baseball who played thirteen seasons from 1974 to 1986, primarily with the Detroit Tigers and Houston Astros.
Ruhle was born in Coleman, Michigan, and attended Olivet College, where he was a member of the Kappa Sigma Alpha fraternity. He was selected by the Tigers in the 17th round of the 1972 amateur draft and made his debut with the club in September 1974. He joined the Tigers' starting rotation the following year, posting a record of 11 wins and 12 losses on a team that finished 57–102. On August 12, Ruhle was presented with his university degree from Olivet College during a pre-game ceremony at Tiger Stadium.
Ruhle gave up a third inning single to Hank Aaron on May 1, 1975 driving in Sixto Lezcano for his record breaking 2,210th run batted in to surpassed Babe Ruth's record of 2,209. On May 12, 1975, Ruhle allowed 12 baserunners in his 7 1/3 innings to earn a win. The Royals left a record-tying 15 men on base without scoring in a 5-0 loss to the Tigers. The 15 runners in a shutout had been done 3 times before‚ the last on August 1‚ 1941. The mark was finally eclipsed by the Cards in 1994. After a 9–12 season in 1976, he finished 1977 with a 5.70 earned run average in only 66 innings pitched. He was released by Detroit toward the end of spring training in 1978, but was signed by the Astros the following day.
Ruhle made sporadic appearances for Houston over the next two years before finishing with a 12–4 win-loss record and a 2.38 ERA in 1980, when the team won its first division title, and started Game 4 of the 1980 National League Championship Series against the Philadelphia Phillies; he left the game with a 2–1 lead in the eighth inning, with Houston needing only one last victory to reach their first World Series, but Philadelphia came back to win 5–3 in 10 innings and took the series in five games.
Ruhle was the center of a controversial play in his Game Four League Championship Series start. With two runners on in the fourth inning, Ruhle fielded a soft liner off the bat of Garry Maddox and threw to first base for the double play. However, Philadelphia players raced out of the dugout to argue that Ruhle had trapped the ball. During the argument, first baseman Art Howe stepped on second base and claimed a triple play. After 20 minutes, it was ruled a catch, but the triple play was completed after time and had been called, was disallowed. Ruhle had a no-decision as the Astros lost in the tenth inning. He later started at Game 4 of the 1981 National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, losing a complete game 2–1 pitchers' duel with Fernando Valenzuela as Houston again wasted a 2–1 series advantage to lose in five games.
Ruhle continued to start less regularly before primarily shifting to relief work in 1983–84. He signed with the Cleveland Indians as a free agent after the 1984 season, and made 16 starts and 26 relief appearances for the club in 1985. He joined the California Angels in June 1986 and closed his career that year working mainly out of the bullpen. His last appearance was in Game 4 of the 1986 American League Championship Series against the Boston Red Sox, entering with the Angels trailing 1–0 with two out in the seventh inning; he surrendered two more runs in the eighth inning, but the Angels won in 11 innings after tying the game with three runs in the ninth.
In a 13-year major league career, Ruhle posted a record of 67–88 with 582 strikeouts and a 3.73 ERA in 327 games. He later became a pitching coach with the Astros, Phillies and New York Mets, and finally the Cincinnati Reds from 2004 to 2006.
- Mackin, Bob, "The Unofficial Guide to Baseball's Most Unusual Records"
- "Vern Ruhle, ex-pitcher and coach, dies at 55". ESPN.com. Associated Press. January 21, 2007. Retrieved June 10, 2015.
- Sheldon, Mark (January 21, 2007). "Ruhle passes away from cancer". MLB.com. Retrieved June 10, 2015.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball Almanac, or Baseball Library, or Retrosheet, or Pelota Binaria (Venezuelan Winter League)
|Houston Astros pitching coach
|Philadelphia Phillies pitching coach
|New York Mets pitching coach
|Cincinnati Reds pitching coach