Eppa Rixey

Eppa Rixey
Inducted to the Hall of Fame in: 1963
Primary team: Cincinnati Reds
Primary position: Pitcher

“I finally made it!” Eppa Rixey said in a postcard to his family and friends while visiting Cooperstown after his retirement.

Eppa Rixey was an atypical ball player, coming to the big leagues from the University of Virginia after graduating in 1912 with a degree in chemistry. The left-hander’s talents were spot-ted by National League umpire Charles Rigler, who was a part of the baseball and basketball staff at the university, both teams on which Rixey participated. Thanks to Rigler’s recommendation, Rixey was brought up to the Philadelphia Phillies without ever having spent any time in the minor leagues. During the off-season, Rixey went back to school to get his master’s in chemistry, also studying math and Latin. He fought off the resentment that other players had for his education by engaging in their hazing and standing his ground when initiated.

With the Phillies, the southpaw won a National League pennant in 1915. However, after leaving baseball in 1918 to serve in World War I with the Chemical Warfare Division in Europe, Rixey returned not quite the same ball player he was when he left. After being traded to the Cincinnati Reds before the 1921 season, things turned around for the pitcher. He won 20 or more games in a season three times, racking up eight consecutive winning seasons with his new team. In 1921, Rixey allowed only one home run in the 301 innings he pitched. In 1922, he led the league with 25 wins and between July 24 and August 28, 1932, the hurler threw 27 consecutive scoreless innings.

The 266-251 career record he compiled came while pitch-ing for many second-division teams. During his 21 seasons, Rixey posted a 3.15 lifetime ERA and completed 290 games. He threw 4,494⅔ innings and struck out 1,350 batters. In 1969, he was named the Reds’ most outstanding lefty by the fans. He was also later inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame. Rixey’s win total stood as the National League record for left-handed pitchers until Warren Spahn topped it in 1959. Always witty, at the time Rixey said that he was glad Spahn beat his record because it was a reminder to everyone that he had set it in the first place.

"He was a fierce competitor and a hard loser. When he pitched, you didn’t have to ask who won the game, all you had to to was look at the clubhouse later. If he’d lost, the place would look like a tornado had gone through it. Chairs would be broken up, tables knocked over, equipment thrown around. "
Clyde Sukeforth

Career stats

ESSENTIAL STATS
Year Inducted: 1963
Primary Team: Cincinnati Reds
Position Played: Pitcher
Bats: Right
Throws: Left
Birth place: Culpeper, Virginia
Birth year: 1891
Died: 1963, Cincinnati, Ohio
Played for:
Philadelphia Phillies (1912-1917)
Philadelphia Phillies (1919-1920)
Cincinnati Reds (1921-1933)
CAREER AT A GLANCE
GamesG
692
HitsH
4633
RunsR
1986
Innings PitchedIP
4494.2
WinsW
266
LossesL
251
Winning %Winning %
.515
Games StartedGS
554
ERAERA
3.15
Complete GamesCG
290
ShutoutsSHO
37
WHIPWHIP
1.272
SavesSV
14
Earned RunsER
1572
WalksBB
1082
StrikeoutsSO
1350