Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Ray Washburn (#399)

Ray Washburn pitched in the Cardinals’ rotation during the 1960s, first in the shadow of Curt Simmons and Bob Gibson, and later behind Gibson, Steve Carlton, and Nelson Briles.

Washburn was signed by the Cardinals in 1960, and made his major-league debut in September 1961. Ray had a good rookie season in 1962, compiling a 12-9 record in 34 games (25 starts).

After a few injury-filled seasons (when he also pitched a few games in the minors in ’63 and ’64), Washburn returned to double-figures in wins for ’66 (11-9), ’67 (10-7), and ’68 (14-8).

After missing a month with injuries in 1967, he returned just in time to pick up the slack when Gibson broke his leg in July (causing him to miss almost 2 months during the Cardinals’ march to the NL pennant). Ray relieved in 2 games in the 1967 World Series vs. Boston, and was 1-1 in 2 starts in the ’68 Fall Classic against the Tigers.

1968 was his best season, reaching career best in wins (14), ERA (2.26), and strikeouts (124). He also pitched a no-hitter against the Giants in September, one day after the Giants’ Gaylord Perry had no-hit the Cards.

After going 3-8 in 1969, Washburn was traded to the Reds for pitcher George Culver. Washburn was the #4 man in the Reds’ bullpen during his final season of 1970, which ended with a 1-game appearance in the World Series vs. the Orioles.

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