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Vern Ruhle
Vern Ruhle 1975.jpg
Ruhle in 1975
Born: (1951-01-25)January 25, 1951
Coleman, Michigan
Died: January 20, 2007(2007-01-20) (aged 55)
Houston, Texas
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 9, 1974, for the Detroit Tigers
Last MLB appearance
October 4, 1986, for the California Angels
MLB statistics
Win–loss record67–88
Earned run average3.73
As player
As coach

Vernon Gerald Ruhle (/ˈrl/ ROOL;[1] January 25, 1951 – January 20, 2007), was an American professional baseball right-handed pitcher and coach, who played in Major League Baseball (MLB), primarily for the Detroit Tigers and Houston Astros for thirteen seasons, from 1974 to 1986.

Early life

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 Detroit Tigers, in the 17th round of the 1972 Major League Baseball draft.

Baseball career

Ruhle made his debut with Detroit, 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.[2]

Ruhle gave up a third-inning single to Hank Aaron on May 1, 1975, driving in Sixto Lezcano for Aaron’s record-breaking 2,210th run batted in (RBI), to surpass 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. That night, the Royals left a record-tying 15 men on base, without scoring, in a 5–0 loss to the Tigers. The 15 runners left-on-base (LOB) in a shutout had been done 3 times before‚ the last on August 1‚ 1941. The mark was finally eclipsed by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1994. After a 9–12 season in 1976, he finished 1977 with a 5.70 earned run average (ERA) in only 66 innings pitched. Ruhle was released by Detroit toward the end of spring training in 1978 but was signed by the Houston 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. Houston needed only one more victory to reach their first World Series, but Philadelphia came back to win, 5–3, in 10 innings and took the series after winning the decisive fifth game.

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 immediately threw to first base. 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 had been called, and was disallowed. Ruhle had a no-decision as the Astros lost in the tenth inning. He later started in Game Four 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 and lost in five games.

Ruhle continued to start less regularly before primarily shifting to relief work in 19831984. 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.

Ruhle later became a pitching coach for the Astros, Phillies, New York Mets, and finally the Cincinnati Reds, in 9 of 10 consecutive seasons, from 1997 to 2006.


Ruhle died in Houston, Texas after a yearlong battle with multiple myeloma, on January 20, 2007.[3] He was married to Sue at time of death. He had two children from his first marriage to Darlene Mekulen Ruhle, Kenny and Rebecca.[4]


  1. ^ Detroit Tigers 1977 Press-TV-Radio Guide (pronunciations on page 32). Retrieved June 7, 2020
  2. ^ Mackin, Bob, "The Unofficial Guide to Baseball's Most Unusual Records"
  3. ^ "Vern Ruhle, ex-pitcher and coach, dies at 55". Associated Press. January 21, 2007. Retrieved June 10, 2015.
  4. ^ Sheldon, Mark (January 21, 2007). "Ruhle passes away from cancer". Retrieved June 10, 2015.

External links

Preceded by
Brent Strom
Houston Astros pitching coach
Succeeded by
Burt Hooton
Preceded by
Galen Cisco
Philadelphia Phillies pitching coach
Succeeded by
Joe Kerrigan
Preceded by
Charlie Hough
New York Mets pitching coach
Succeeded by
Rick Peterson
Preceded by
Don Gullett
Cincinnati Reds pitching coach
Succeeded by
Dick Pole
This page was last edited on 14 December 2020, at 22:17
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