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Eppa Rixey

Eppa Rixey

Position(s):
P
Nicknames:
Jephtha
Born:
May 3, 1891
Bats:
Right
Throws:
Left
Height:
6' 5"
Weight:
210 lbs
Major League Debut:
6-21-1912 with PHI
Hall of Fame:
1963

Intro

A tall left-hander, Eppa Rixey won 266 games in his 21-year career, which was split between the Phillies and Reds. Rixey was a fine athlete, despite his awkward size. He won 20 games four times, three times for Cincinnati, leading the National League with 25 in 1922. He pitched effectively until he was 42 years old, using his pinpoint control to keep the ball in play. Despite languishing on losing teams much of his career (they were .484 in games in which Rixey did not get the decision), Rixey was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1963.

Unform Number

#18 (1932-1933)

Minor Leages

While at the University of Virginia, Rixey was reportedly scouted by big league umpire Charlie Rigler, who was a coach at the college. Rixey attended the University of Virginia in the early 1910s, and his only break from studies was basketball. Charlie Rigler, a National League umpire, was named coach of the school's baseball team and soon went recruiting on campus. He spotted Rixey, who was 6'5" (very tall in those days), playing basketball and immediately urged him to try out for the baseball team. "Boy, a big kid like you should be playing baseball, too." Rigler said. Rixey went out for the team in less than three years he was in the major leagues.

Best Season

Rixey finally got some support, winning 25 of 38 decisions. He had a 3.53 ERA and walked just 45 batters in more than 300 innings. The southpaw completed 26 games for the Reds, who finished in second place - the highest mark they achieved while Rixey was on the club.

Factoid 1

While attending the University of Virginia, Rixey studied science and hoped to someday become a chemist.

Factoid 2

At the time of his retirement, Eppa Rixey's 266 victories were the most by a left-hander in National League history. The mark was finally surpassed in 1959, by Warren Spahn.

Transition

November 22, 1920: Traded by the Philadelphia Phillies to the Cincinnati Reds for Jimmy Ring and Greasy Neale.

Strengths

His remarkable control. Rixey walked just 2.16 batters per nine innings over his 21-year career. Despite his size (6'5", 210 lbs.), Rixey was not a power pitcher. He kept his fastball down in the strike zone and spotted his off-speed pitches.

Weaknesses

Hitting and baserunning.

Cooperstown Call

Rixey was a humble man, who unlike other players who waited their turn to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, was very patient. When Rixey finally received the call in 1963, he was modest. "I guess they're scraping the bottom of the barrel," he said in an interview. After his playing days, Rixey entered the insurance business, at which he was very profitable.

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Tagged:
1963 Hall of Fame, Baseball History, Cincinnati Reds, Eppa Rixey, Philadelphia Phillies

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