Reb Russell

Ewell Albert "Reb" Russell (March 12, 1889 in Albany Mississippi – September 30, 1973 in Indianapolis Indiana) was a Major League Baseball player for the Chicago White Sox and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Russell was drafted by the White Sox as a pitcher in 1912. In his rookie season, his won-loss record was 22–16 and he led the league in games pitched, with 52. The lefty had a sterling 1.90 ERA while leading the team in innings pitched (317) and wins. Only Washington's ace Walter Johnson topped Reb’s 8 shutouts, and Russell tied a record that still stands with five 1–0 victories in a season. In 1916, he was Chicago's opening day starter; that year he led the team in wins (18), innings (264), and shutouts (5), and led the league in fewest walks allowed per inning.

In 1917 Russell helped the White Sox win the 1917 American League pennant, with a won-loss record of 15–5 and an ERA of 1.95.

Russell developed arm trouble in 1918 and after a poor start that season, he was released by Chicago. However, in the minor leagues the decent-hitting Russell converted to playing the outfield and returned to the major leagues in 1922 playing that position for the Pittsburgh Pirates. That year, he batted .367 with 75 RBI in 60 games. He was released by the Pirates at the end of the 1923 season, after which he returned to the minor league American Association (the highest level of minor league play in his era). He was a highly paid star in the AA through age 40, and won the league batting title (.385) when he was 38 years old.

By Dean Hanley

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