Rube Marquard

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Richard William Marquard

  • Bats Both, Throws Left
  • Height 6' 3", Weight 180 lb.

Inducted into Hall of Fame in 1971

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Biographical Information[edit]


Hall of Fame pitcher Richard "Rube" Marquard won 201 games in his 18-year major league career.

Marquard began his baseball career in the sandlots of Cleveland, Ohio and defied his parents by signing his first pro contract. He won 23 games with the Canton Chinamen in 1907 and 28 games with the Indianapolis Indians in 1908. The New York Giants then paid a record $11,000 to get him to join their team. Initially nicknamed the "$11,000 Beauty", he became known as the "$11,000 Lemon" after winning just 9 games in his first two full seasons with the club in 1909 and [1910 Giants|1910]]. However, he rebounded in 1911, winning 24 games and leading the National League with 237 strikeouts. Between August 24th and September 1st, he threw a two-hitter followed by back-to-back one-hitters. Only one other pitcher has given up two hits or fewer over the course of three consecutive complete games since 1900: Eddie Plank, who did so in 1916.

Rube signs his contract to pitch for New York. His wife Blossom Seeley is at his side. Dick Kinsella is at the far left, the scout who brought about the deal. Friends of the Rube are in the back

In 1912, Marquard won 19 consecutive decisions, beginning on Opening Day, including picking up the win in a record 15 straight appearances at one point. He finished at 26-11, leading the National League in wins. No one has since won that many games from the start of a season, and only three pitchers - Don Newcombe in 1955, Roy Face in 1959 and Max Scherzer in 2013 have won 18 of their first 19 decisions in a season. What was not clear at the time was whether the feat constituted a record: It was thought that the record belonged to Pat Luby with 20, but that was not the case (he only won 17 straight in 1890). There were others who credited Charley Radbourn with up to 20 consecutive wins in his overwhelming 1884 season, but a closer look at his record reveals that his longest win streak that year was 18 games. The streak that does match Marquard's is one by Tim Keefe, in 1888 but it took place at a time when pitching was very different, however, and includes a win that is problematic as it came in an abbreviated outing of two innings, and would not be considered a win by modern standards. As a result, while Marquard's streak is tied with Keefe's, it is considered the modern record for having been set under conditions not much different from the present, and for none of the wins composing it being controversial in any way. In the World Series that year, he threw a pair of complete games, winning both and giving up only one earned run, although the Giants lost the Series to the Boston Red Sox.

Manquard "pitching with the whole body" ca. 1913

In his first start of the 1915 season, Marquard threw a no-hitter against the Brooklyn Robins on April 15th.

Marquard later went on to play for the Dodgers, where he was reunited with his former coach, Wilbert Robinson, who was then managing Brooklyn. Later, he spent a year with the Cincinnati Reds and then finished his playing career with the Boston Braves.

Rube was not only known for his fastball but for his ability to control the ball, as well as a forkball changeup.

After his playing days, Marquard was a manager, coach, scout, and even an umpire - but not in the major leagues. Also active in horse racing, he worked at various tracks from 1930 until at least 1947. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1971, among other players who were featured in the highly influential book The Glory of Their Times.

Marquard and Seeley musical skit. Sheet music cover from 1912.

Marquard did not earn his nickname because he was unsophisticated. Instead, he was given the nickname because he was considered "the next Rube Waddell" early in his career. Away from the diamond, he married well-known Broadway actress Blossom Seeley; they performed together regularly on Broadway, including in a skit called the "Breaking the Record or the 19th Straight".

"I had a lot of fun playing ball and made pretty good money, too. ...The only regret I have in baseball is that never in my life did I get to see Ty Cobb play." - Marquard

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • NL Wins Leader (1912)
  • NL Winning Percentage Leader (1911)
  • NL Strikeouts Leader (1911)
  • 15 Wins Seasons: 5 (1911-1913, 1917 & 1921)
  • 20 Wins Seasons: 3 (1911-1913)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 9 (1911-1914, 1916-1918, 1921 & 1923)
  • 200 Strikeouts Seasons: 1 (1911)
  • Baseball Hall of Fame: Class of 1971

Records Held[edit]

  • Consecutive wins, season, 19, 1912 (tied)

Further Reading[edit]

  • Noel Hynd: Marquard & Seeley: This Is Their Captivating Story, Parnassus Imprints, Yarmouth Port, MA, 1996. ISBN 978-0940160644
  • Brian Marshall: "A Pitching Conundrum", Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Vol. 46, Nr. 1 (Spring 2017), pp. 70-77.
  • Lawrence Ritter: The Glory of Their Times, The Macmillan Company, New York, NY, 1966, pp. 1-19.

Related Sites[edit]