Jay Ritchie

Jay Seay Ritchie (born November 20, 1936 in Salisbury, North Carolina) is a former right-handed Major League Baseball pitcher who played from 1964 to 1968 for the Boston Red Sox, Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds. He was 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) tall and weighed 190 pounds.

He attended Granite Quarry High School in Granite Quarry, North Carolina shere he starred in baseball and basketball. His combined pitching record his junior and senior years was 24-0 and upon graduation he was also the county's all-time basketball scoring leader.

He was originally signed by the Red Sox as an amateur free agent in 1955. He spent several years in the minors before making his big league debut with the Red Sox on August 4, 1968 in a road game against the Minnesota Twins. Entering the game in relief of Bill Monbouquette, the first batter he faced was Baseball Hall of Fame slugger Harmon Killebrew, who singled. In four innings pitched that game, he allowed two hits and three walks, but did not allow an earned run in the 12-4 loss.

His rookie season overall was the best season of his career—in 21 games, he had a 1-1 record with a fine 2.74 ERA in 46 innings. The 1965 season was also a successful one for Ritchie, as he was 1-2 with a 3.17 ERA in 44 relief appearances, as was 1967, when he was 4-6 but again posted a 3.17 ERA in 52 relief appearances (which ranked10th in the National League.

On January 11, 1966, Ritchie was sent to the Braves as the player to be named later in a deal that was made on December 15, 1965. The deal went as such: The Red Sox sent Lee Thomas, Arnold Earley and a player to be named later (Ritchie) to the Braves for Bob Sadowski and Dan Osinski.

He spent two seasons with the Braves, appearing in 22 games and posting a 4.08 ERA in 1966 and appearing in 52 games in 1967, posting a 3.17 ERA. In 1967, he tied for 10th in the league with Bob Miller in pitching appearances. While with the Braves in 1967, he pitched the equivalent of a perfect and then some, retiring 28 batters in a row over a span of four consecutive outings.

Following the 1967 season, Ritchie was traded to the Reds with Jim Beauchamp and Mack Jones for Deron Johnson.

He played his final season in 1968, appearing in 28 games for the Reds, starting two of them. Overall, he posted a 4.61 ERA that year, which was nearly a point and a half higher than the league average.

Overall in his career, Ritchie posted an 8–13 record in 167 games. In 29113 innings of work, he struck out 212 batters, walked 94 and had a 3.49 ERA. As a batter, he hit .200 in 35 at-bats, with the highlight of his hitting career being a triple he hit off a Don Cardwell of the New York Mets on May 16, 1967. It was the only extra base hit of his career. He had a .940 career fielding percentage.

In 2004 he was inducted into the Salisbury Rowan Sports Hall of Fame. He currently lives in Kannapolis, North Carolina.

  1. ^ http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/r/ritchja01.shtml
  2. ^ http://www.ci.salisbury.nc.us/pkrec/HallofFameClass2004%20(Rev)l.htm
  3. ^ http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/MIN/MIN196408040.shtml
  4. ^ http://www.ci.salisbury.nc.us/pkrec/HallofFameClass2004%20(Rev)l.htm

By Dean Hanley

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