Rube Marquard Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

Born: October 9, 1886 in Cleveland, Ohio
Died: June 1, 1980 in Baltimore, Maryland
Player Career
Bat: Both Throw: Left Height: 6' 3" Weight: 180
First Game: September 25, 1908; Final Game: September 18, 1925
Awards and Achievements
Selected to the Hall of Fame in 1971
Biography | show moreshow less
Rube Marquard
This article was written by Larry Mansch and is presented in part, courtesy of the Society for American Baseball Research
Tall and gangly, with a cannon for a left arm, Rube Marquard made headlines around the country in 1908 when the New York Giants purchased his contract for the unprecedented price of $11,000, by far the largest amount of money ever paid for a ballplayer. Initially the New York reporters called him the "$11,000 Beauty" or "$11,000 Peach," but two years later, when he was still in search of his 10th major-league victory, they derided him as the "$11,000 Lemon." Just when John McGraw was about to give up on him, Marquard won a total of 73 games from 1911 to 1913, including a 19-game winning streak in 1912 that remains the record nearly a century later; suddenly the manager was calling him the "best left-handed pitcher in baseball." With a wicked curveball to compliment his blazing fastball, and a fine screwball learned from his friend and roommate Christy Mathewson, the 6'3", 180 lb. southpaw finally lived up to New York's high expectations.

The son of Lena and Fred Marquard, who worked for the city as an engineer, Richard William Marquard was born in Cleveland on October 9, 1886. His mother's death in 1899 gave rise to a stubborn independence in young Richard. To his father's dismay, he had no inclination toward schoolwork; all he wanted to do was play baseball. Richard became a standout pitcher, earning the nickname "Rube" because he reminded observers of Rube Waddell. His most notable success came with the Telling Ice Cream Company, which paid him $15 per week to deliver ice cream and $10 to pitch on Sunday afternoons for the company team. In his free time Rube hung around poolrooms and smoke shops, mingling with older players. Occasionally he served as batboy for the Cleveland Naps, even befriending Bill Bradley and the great Nap Lajoie. During the off-season Rube even pitched to the local major leaguers on occasion.

One night in June 1906, the 19-year-old Marquard stole out of the house and rode freight trains, hobo-style, to Waterloo, Iowa, where he was invited to tryout for the local team in the Iowa State League. The trip took five days and nights, and he arrived hungry, broke, and exhausted, but he pitched twice against Keokuk and beat them once. To his disappointment, Rube didn't receive a contract; he returned home dejected but not defeated. Marquard continued to shine in Cleveland semipro leagues and waited for another opportunity, which came the next spring when he signed with Canton of the Central League and left home for good. For two years Rube dominated the minor leagues. He won 23 games at Canton in 1907 and 28 the next year for Indianapolis in the prestigious American Association, breaking league records at both stops. By late summer 1908 Rube had drawn the attention of several major-league teams, including the Giants.

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