Ricky L. Stone
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 168 lb.
- High School Hamilton (OH) High School
Ricky Stone entered his 13th year in professional baseball in 2007, having sat out a year. He led major league rookies in 2002 in games pitched.
Stone was a 4th-round choice by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1994 amateur draft. He debuted with the Great Falls Dodgers, going 2-4 with 2 saves and a 4.44 ERA. Baseball America rated him as the #8 prospect in the Pioneer League. In 1995, Stone split the year between the San Bernardino Spirit (3-5, 6.52, 79 hits in 58 IP) and the Yakima Bears (4-4, 2 Sv, 5.25).
Ricky pitched in 1996 for the Savannah Sand Gnats (2-1, 3.98) and Vero Beach Dodgers (8-6, 3.83). He continued his rise in 1997, pitching for the Spirit (3-3, 3.35) and the San Antonio Missions (0-3, 3 Sv, 5.47).
In 1998, Stone threw the most innings of any Dodgers farmhand (187) and won the most games (12). He was 7-2 with a 3.84 ERA for San Antonio and 5-5, 5.38 for the Albuquerque Dukes. His first full year at one stop came in 1999, when the 24-year-old spent all year with the Dukes. The results were uninspiring - 6-10, 5.50 with 205 hits allowed, 123 runs (102 earned) and 71 walks in 167 IP (with 132 strikeouts). Stone allowed the most runs in the Pacific Coast League and tied Bob Scanlan for the most earned runs allowed. He was just three hits allowed behind leader Scanlan.
Returning to Albuquerque worked out well for Stone in 1999, though he was in a new role, mostly relief. He went 9-5 with 5 saves and a 4.94 ERA in 48 games. Opponents still hit .308 against him.
A free agent, Stone signed with the Houston Astros. The move worked out well. Ricky went 6-3 with 2 saves and a 3.59 ERA for the New Orleans Zephyrs and cut his opponent batting average to .269 while walking only 27 in 95 1/3 IP and 51 games. He was a September call-up to the majors. In his first game, he relieved Wilfredo Rodriguez (who had left for a pinch-hitter) in the 9th inning of a 12-3 Astros rout. He fanned Augie Ojeda, the first batter he faced in the majors, then retired two more to rap up the contest. He finished with a 2.35 ERA in 6 games for the 2001 Astros.
Stone became a common face out of the bullpen in a quick fashion. In 2002, he led the 'Stros with 78 relief stints. He tied Braden Looper and Scott Sauerbeck for fifth in the 2002 NL in games pitched. He went 3-3 with one save and a 3.61 ERA. He tied Tim Burke's record for appearances by a National League rookie.
The Ohio native remained active with the 2003 Astros, pitching 65 games (4th on the staff), going 6-4 with one save and a 3.69 ERA. His ERA+ was 120, one point better than it had been a year prior.
A rough couple years
Stone struggled after his two fine seasons. For the 2004 Astros, the reliever went 1-1 with a 5.68 ERA in 16 games, allowing a .317 average. He was demoted back to New Orleans and allowed one run in two innings, winning one game. On June 17, he was designated for assignment. The San Diego Padres claimed him. He had a 3.38 ERA in three games for the Portland Beavers (.409 average allowed) and 6.89 in 27 games for the 2004 Padres (1-1, .301 average allowed).
Stone signed with the Cincinnati Reds for 2005. He had a 6.75 ERA and .364 average in 23 games for the 2005 Reds and went 2-1 with three saves and a 2.57 ERA for the Louisville Bats. Cincinnati released him on July 4.
Ricky then decided to open up his own business, starting a drywall business. He ran this for a year and a half before he decided to give pitching another crack.
Stone signed once more with Cincinnati. After a strong start with Louisville (4-4, 9 Sv, 1.70, .176 opponent average in 39 games), Stone was called up in late June to replace Victor Santos on the Reds roster. Stone had a 10.13 ERA in five games for the 2008 Reds and finished the year back with Louisville, where his final record was 5-6, 16 Sv, 1.87 in 59 games. He was named in the Mitchell Report that December.
In May of 2008, he was signed by the Uni-President Lions of Taiwan.
In August of 2008, Stone was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor.