July 19th, 2011

July 19 – Happy Birthday Marius Russo

Marius Russo was a southpaw with outstanding control and a sinking sidearm fastball that made him tough against right-handed hitters. Before joining the Yankees in 1939, he was a key starter on their Newark Bears farm team in 1937 and ’38. That club has been labeled by many baseball historians as the best Minor League team in history. Born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens, he went 8-3 during his rookie season in pinstripes including two shutouts. The following year, he went 14-8 for Manager Joe McCarthy’s third place team, becoming New York’s most efficient starter. He followed that up with a 14-10 season in 1941 as the Yankees rebounded to win 101 games and capture the AL Pennant. Then in that year’s World Series against the Cinderella Dodgers, Russo pitched a complete game, 2-1 victory in Game 3. An arm injury limited him to just nine appearances during the 1942 season and when he came back the following year, his arm didn’t hurt but he had lost a few miles on his fastball. Still, he had enough to duplicate his 1941 post season success by throwing another 2-1 complete game victory over the Cardinals in Game 4 of the ’43 Fall Classic.

He spent the next two years in military service and when he returned to the Yankees in 1946, he no longer had the stuff required to pitch in the big leagues. He retired with a career record of 45-34, a lifetime ERA of just 3.13 and those two sterling Series victories. He went to work for Grumman Aircraft and lived to be 90-years-old, passing away in 2005.

Russo shares his birthday with this former member and this former member of the famed 1927 Murderer’s Row Yankee team, as well as this much more recent ex-Yankee reliever.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1939 NYY 8 3 .727 2.41 21 11 5 9 2 2 116.0 86 37 31 6 41 55 1.095
1940 NYY 14 8 .636 3.28 30 24 2 15 0 1 189.1 181 79 69 17 55 87 1.246
1941 NYY 14 10 .583 3.09 28 27 1 17 3 1 209.2 195 85 72 8 87 105 1.345
1942 NYY 4 1 .800 2.78 9 5 3 2 0 0 45.1 41 15 14 2 14 15 1.213
1943 NYY 5 10 .333 3.72 24 14 6 5 1 1 101.2 89 53 42 7 45 42 1.318
1946 NYY 0 2 .000 4.34 8 3 2 0 0 0 18.2 26 9 9 1 11 7 1.982
6 Yrs 45 34 .570 3.13 120 84 19 48 6 5 680.2 618 278 237 41 253 311 1.280
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/18/2013.