Richard William “Rube” Marquard
Born: October 9, 1886 - Cleveland, OH
Died: June 1, 1980 - Baltimore, MD
MLB Pitching Record: 201–177
New York Giants NL (October 9, 1886 - June 1, 1980)
Brooklyn Robins NL (1915–1920)
Cincinnati Reds NL (1921)
Boston Braves NL (1922–1925)
Rube Marquard won 103 games between 1908 and 1915, not too shabby. Unfortunately, he was on the same New York Giants staff as Christy Mathewson, who won 195 in that same time span. Both men would culminate their legacies in the Hall of Fame, but for Marquard, the early road to Cooperstown was rocky. In 1908, the Giants paid a then-astronomical sum of $11,000 to sign Marquard, but the young pitcher was mocked by sportswriters as he won just nine games in his first three seasons. Thanks to coach Wilbert Robinson, Marquard blossomed in 1911, posting a record of 24–7 with a league-leading 237 Ks. His confidence at an all-time high, Marquard won 26 games in 1912, highlighted by a still-record 19-game winning streak.
Like many of baseball’s cherished records, there was a twist to Marquard’s mark. His streak began in April against the Brooklyn Dodgers and opposing pitcher Nap Rucker. It reached 19 games in July against, you guessed it, Nap Rucker and the Dodgers. Marquard actually won three more games than Mathewson in 1912, and followed that up with 23 more wins in 1913. Marquard became the toast of the Big Apple, and he took a fairly big bite out of it, endorsing numerous products and even starring in his own silent movie, “Rube Marquard Wins.” He performed on the Broadway stage and had a scandalous affair with married actress Blossom Seeley, who eventually became his first of three wives.
Marquard’s curtain began to fall in 1914 when he went 12–22. He tossed a no-hitter against Brooklyn on April 15, 1915, which, ironically, would be his next stop as he bolted the Giants in August that year. His record more up and down than the Cyclone roller coaster at Coney Island, Marquard moved to the Reds in 1921 and won 17 games. After four mediocre seasons with the Boston Braves, Marquard left the majors to play and manage in the minors, finally retiring in 1933 at age 46. A true character who reveled in telling stories of his colorful baseball life, Marquard was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1971.
– Tom and Ellen Zappala, The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball's Prized Players. For more information on their book and/or to order a copy at a special PSA discount, visit http://crackerjackplayers.com/PSA_order.html