Ray Clark Washburn (born May 31, 1938 in Pasco, Washington) is a former Major League Baseball pitcher. Washburn, a right-hander, pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1961 to 1969 and the Cincinnati Reds in 1970.
A 1961 graduate of Whitworth University, Washburn, a $50,000 "bonus baby," went 12-9 with the Cardinals as a rookie in 1962. A shoulder muscle tear midway into the 1963 season sidelined him for the remainder of the year and limited his effectiveness for the next two years afterwards. Relying mostly on a curveball, Washburn returned to the starting rotation in 1966, winning 11 games against 9 losses; in 1967, he won 10 games against 7 losses on a Cardinal team that won the World Series, defeating the Boston Red Sox in seven games. He had missed nearly a month of action that season after his thumb was dislocated by a Johnny Roseboro line drive single on June 21.
1968 was Washburn’s best season; he posted a 14-8 record with a 2.26 earned run average on a Cardinals team that repeated as National League champions. The wins and ERA were a career best, as was his strikeout total (124). Washburn also no-hit the San Francisco Giants 2-0 at Candlestick Park on September 18 of that year; the no-hitter was the first by a Cardinal since Lon Warneke in 1941 and came one day after the Giants’ Gaylord Perry had pitched a no-hitter of his own, defeating the Cardinals and Bob Gibson—the first time in Major League history that back-to-back no-hitters had been pitched in the same series. In Game Three of the World Series against the Detroit Tigers, Washburn allowed home runs to Al Kaline and Dick McAuliffe but only two hits otherwise, and defeated the Tigers 7-3. However, he was shelled in Game Six, giving up five runs in two innings, the last three coming in a record-tying 10-run third inning for the Tigers, who won the game 13-1. The Cardinals then lost Game Seven the very next day, and with it the Series, which they had been leading three games to one.
Washburn slumped to 3-8 as a spot starter during the 1969 season, after which the Cardinals traded him to the Cincinnati Reds for another 1968 no-hit pitcher, George Culver. Washburn pitched mostly in relief on a Reds team that won the 1970 National League pennant, its first in nine years. His last Major League appearance was in the final game of that year's World Series, in which the Baltimore Orioles defeated the Reds in five games.
In his career, Washburn won 72 games and lost 64 with a 3.53 earned run average and struck out 700 batters in 12092⁄3 innings pitched.
On May 12, 1966, Washburn threw the first pitch in the history of Busch Stadium II; the Cardinals defeated the Atlanta Braves in 12 innings. He also pitched, as a Red, in the first game at Riverfront Stadium on June 30, 1970, also against the Braves.
- ^ Washburn injured; Cards win
- ^ "No-hit Game By Washburn Beats Giants". Milwaukee Journal. 19 September 1968. p. 18. Retrieved 27 August 2010.
By Dean Hanley
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