Saturday, January 15, 2011

#47 - Dick Ruthven (PHI)

I would care to guess that this is Mr. Ruthven's first Topps card of his 14 year career.  I Googled 1973 Topps Dick Ruthven and came up with nothing.  So unless Mr. Stufflestreet at 1973 Topps Photography knows something I don't, I'm going with this card being his first.  In any case, his 1973 season was his rookie year.  His ML debut was in April of that year, so I think he was with the club through spring training '73 and this photo was taken there [see update below].  The pitcher's followthrough pose is one of my favorite poses in baseball card tradition.  His powder blue uni was the Phils' road outfit back then.  I must say I never liked the "swoopie P" Philly threads, and I hated the powder blues.  I much prefer today's modern/retro get-ups with the little blue stars as "i" dots. 

Ruthven pitched for the Phillies twice in his career, and saw post-season action with most of those powerful teams of the late 70's and early 80's.  He received a ring in '80, after getting a no-decision in game 3 vs. the Royals.  Dick pitched nine innings and left with a tie game.  The Royals won in the 10th for one of their two victories.  He also pitched for the 1984 Cubs team, but apparently didn't make an appearance in the playoffs against the Padres. 

Cartoon: Dick lists electronics among his hobbies, but the cartoonist is showing electricity.  Tharn't much 'lectronics that go into a regular light bulb.  A soldering iron fixing a transistor radio with the Phillies game on (Harry Kalas I'm guessing was the announcer in 1974) might be a better cartoon.  I'm launching my career on this blog of cartoon critic.  Gary Larson beware.

Ballpark background: This doesn't appear to be like any major league park I remember seeing, so I'm guessing that the Phils are playing at another team's spring training site. [Update: A reader named Shawn sent me a photo of a early/mid-70's era Shea Stadium showing this section of fence as being in front of the left field bullpen.  Shawn pointed out part of the "3" in the 358 sign right behind Ruthven's right behind.  His body is blocking the rest of the number.  Thanks Shawn!]


  1. Ruthven didn't appear in the '73 set, so you're right that this is his first Topps card.

    But...the name's Stufflestreet. There's no "H" there. It may be easier to just call me Chris.

  2. Ruthven is one of those guys who never played in the minors, so he wouldn't have been on any cards before his major league debut, since they didn't put college players on cards back then.

  3. Chris (yes, I'll call you Chris!),

    Bad timing on the typo (tail between legs), I apologize.

    I wondered about Ruthven as I read somewhere else that he was drafted in the '73 draft. I guess he was invited to spring training and made the big club.

  4. Actually, Ruthven DID pitch in the minors, but he didn't begin his pro career there.

    Ruthven and Larry Christensen were drafted the same year, with Ruthven making the majors first.

    He was also drafted by 2 other teams (1969, 1972).

  5. Jim, thanks for the info. Gee, with Chris on top of the '73 stuff and you on top of the Philly stuff, and reader Shawn on top of the Mets/Shea stuff, my next Phillie card post I could just place the picture in the middle and you guys can fill in the blanks in the comments! :-) I love the internet.