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Red Ames

Red Ames

Position(s):
P
Born:
August 2, 1882
Bats:
Left
Throws:
Right
Height:
5' 10"
Weight:
185 lbs
Major League Debut:
9-14-1903 with NY1

In his major league debut, Ames threw a five-inning no-hitter against the Cardinals (9/14/03). He went on to pitch on four Giants pennant-winners; for the 1905 World Champions, Ames went 22-8, Christy Mathewson 31-8, and Joe McGinnity 21-15. Though Ames never again won more than 15, he remained a dependable New York starter through 1912. In the season opener on April 15, 1909, he no-hit Brooklyn into the 10th inning and went the route, losing 3-0 in the 13th.

Ames lost a league-high 23 games for Cincinnati in 1914 but, oddly, tied for the NL lead with six saves. With the Cardinals, his seven saves in 1916 and eight relief wins in 1917 were also NL highs.

 

Major league career

Born in Warren, Ohio, Ames was a third or fourth starter for the New York Giants during their early period of dominance under John McGraw. He made his debut on September 14, 1903, pitching an abbreviated five-inning no-hitter against the Cardinals. He did not join the rotation full time until 1905, when his 22 wins and 2.74 ERA helped the Giants win the pennant. This was by far his best season, for although the Giants were perennial contenders during this time, injury and wildness kept him from becoming a star despite being the opening day pitcher three years running. A career ERA of 2.63 ties him with Cy Young.

He pitched in three World Series total with the Giants (1905, 1911, 1912) but because he was only a third or fourth starter in an era when top pitchers pitched more games than they do today, he appeared almost entirely in relief, making only one World Series start in 1911, which he lost. He was traded to the Reds in 1913, and never approached his earlier success with the Giants for the rest of his career.

Ames' greatest distinction was being one of the wildest pitchers in history, his curveball charitably described as, "dramatic." He is tied with Walter Johnson for the most wild pitches in a career with 156 (though he pitched less than half the innings that Johnson did) and his 30 wild pitches in 1905 is a single season record. He led the league again in 1907 with 20. Other notables are leading the National League in saves with 6 in 1914 and 8 in 1916, and in strikeouts per 9 innings pitched in 1905 (6.78), 1906 (6.90), and 1907 (5.63).

His notorious bad luck was evident on opening day, April 15, 1909, where he achieved the unique feat of losing a no-hitter in a game where he didn't give up a hit until the 10th, or run until the 13th inning (but still got credit for 9 no-hit innings).

Sources:

Wikipedia and Baseball Library

 

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