March 28th, 2014

March 28 – Happy Birthday Vic Raschi

VicRaschiCard.jpgI will always have a special affinity for Victor John Angelo Raschi, even though I never saw him throw a pitch in a single big league game. That’s because he started his professional and Yankee career in my home town of Amsterdam, NY, pitching for the Amsterdam Rugmakers in 1941. At the time, the Rugmakers were New York’s minor league affiliate in the old Canadian American League.

Notice that year, 1941 again. Raschi was born on March 28, 1919 in West Springfield, MA. That was not a particularly good time to be born if you turned out to be an aspiring big league baseball player. Why? Because just as you reached the age at which most professional baseball careers began, your country got involved in WWII and you were called to serve. So after going 10-6 for the Rugmakers that first season and becoming a legend in my home town, Raschi got to spend just one more season in the Yankee farm system before  joining the air force for the next three years.

By the time he returned, in 1946, the Springfield, Massachusetts native was already 27-years-old and by the time he became a starter for New York he was 29. For a half-dozen seasons from 1948 to 1954, this fire-baller was as good as any pitcher in baseball. Raschi was a three-time twenty-game winner for the Yankees, compiling a .706 winning percentage and a 120-50 record during his nine years in pinstripes. He combined with Allie Reynolds and Eddie Lopat to give New York one of the top trio of starters to ever pitch in the same Yankee rotation and that rotation led them to five straight World Series victories from 1949 to 1953.

Unfortunately, Raschi’s Yankee career ended on a sour note when he complained vociferously about a pay cut the Yankees forced upon him after he went 13-6 in 1953. Yankee GM George Weiss sold the then 34-year-old veteran to the Cardinals. It turned out to be the right move by the heartless Weiss as Raschi never again had a winning season in the big leagues. If military service had not stalled the start of his career, I feel Raschi would be in Cooperstown today. He died in 1988 at the age of 69. It was Yankee announcer, Mel Allen who gave this great Yankee right-hander the nickname, “The Springfield Rifle.”

Raschi shares his March 28th birthday with this former Yankee reliever and this one too.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1946 NYY 2 0 1.000 3.94 2 2 0 2 0 0 16.0 14 7 7 0 5 11 1.188
1947 NYY 7 2 .778 3.87 15 14 0 6 1 0 104.2 89 47 45 11 38 51 1.213
1948 NYY 19 8 .704 3.84 36 31 2 18 6 1 222.2 208 103 95 15 74 124 1.266
1949 NYY 21 10 .677 3.34 38 37 0 21 3 0 274.2 247 120 102 16 138 124 1.402
1950 NYY 21 8 .724 4.00 33 32 1 17 2 1 256.2 232 120 114 19 116 155 1.356
1951 NYY 21 10 .677 3.27 35 34 0 15 4 0 258.1 233 110 94 20 103 164 1.301
1952 NYY 16 6 .727 2.78 31 31 0 13 4 0 223.0 174 78 69 12 91 127 1.188
1953 NYY 13 6 .684 3.33 28 26 2 7 4 1 181.0 150 74 67 11 55 76 1.133
10 Yrs 132 66 .667 3.72 269 255 5 106 26 3 1819.0 1666 828 752 138 727 944 1.316
NYY (8 yrs) 120 50 .706 3.47 218 207 5 99 24 3 1537.0 1347 659 593 104 620 832 1.280
STL (2 yrs) 8 10 .444 4.88 31 30 0 6 2 0 180.2 187 103 98 24 72 74 1.434
KCA (1 yr) 4 6 .400 5.42 20 18 0 1 0 0 101.1 132 66 61 10 35 38 1.648
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/16/2014.