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Ryne Duren
Pitcher
Born: February 22, 1929 (1929-02-22) (age 80)
Cazenovia, Wisconsin
Batted: Right Threw: Right 
MLB debut
September 25, 1954 for the Baltimore Orioles
Last MLB appearance
August 18, 1965 for the Washington Senators
Career statistics
Pitching record     27-44
Earned run average     3.83
Saves     57
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Rinold George "Ryne" Duren (born February 22, 1929, Cazenovia, Wisconsin) is a former relief pitcher in Major League Baseball.

He was known for his fastball pitching, but also noted for his very poor vision and thick glasses. He was rumored to have hit a player waiting in the on-deck circle, supposedly because he could not see which way to throw to home plate.

He was originally signed by the St. Louis Browns (now the Baltimore Orioles) as a free agent before the 1949 season. His first major league game was on September 25, 1954 (by which time the Browns had moved to Baltimore). That was the only game he ever played for the Orioles; he wore uniform number 21.

On September 21, 1956 he was traded to the Kansas City Athletics as part of a trade involving three other players (Jim Pisoni and Duren went to the A's in exchange for Al Pilarcik and Art Ceccarelli). Kansas City assigned him uniform number 26.

The Athletics and Yankees did a lot of trading in that era, and on June 15, 1957 Duren, Pisoni, and Harry Simpson were traded to the Yankees for Billy Martin, Ralph Terry, Woodie Held, and Bob Martyn. Duren kept his A's uniform number of 26 on the Yankees. Duren's best year in terms of winning percentage was 1958, when he won 6 and lost 4 for the Yankees; and he received the first of his 3 All-Star selections as well. He has also been retroactively credited with saving 20 games in 1958, the high mark in the American League that year. In 1959, his won-lost record was much poorer, but his earned run average of 1.88 was the best of his career. Duren was a showman. In those days the Yankee bullpen was a part of the short-porch right field and only a low chain link fence served as the boundary. When called upon by Casey Stengel to relieve, he wouldn’t use the gate, but would rather hop that fence with one hand and begin a slow walk to the mound with his blue Yankee warm-up jacket covering his pitching arm; even in the hottest days. When he finally took the ball from Casey and began his warm-ups, the first pitch was always a blazing fastball 20 feet over the catcher’s head. The 2nd warm-up pitch was a bit lower (but not slower) until on his 5th warm-up Ryne would finally find the plate. With his thick coke bottle glasses, no batter ever dug in against Duren.

Duren stayed with the Yankees until May 8, 1961, when he was traded to the Los Angeles Angels; Duren, Johnny James, and Lee Thomas went to the Angels in exchange for Tex Clevenger and Bob Cerv. With the Angels Duren wore uniform number 30. Shortly after being traded to the Angels, he struck out seven successive Red Sox batters, an American League record.

The Philadelphia Phillies purchased Duren's contract from the Angels on March 14, 1963, and assigned him uniform number 18.

The Cincinnati Reds purchased Duren's contract from the Phillies on May 13, 1964. Duren wore two different uniform numbers (33 and 53) in his short Cincinnati career.

On April 13, 1965, the Reds released Duren to free agent status. That same day he was signed by the Phillies and given uniform number 30 (not his old Phillies number, but the number he had worn with the Angels). Duren was released to free agent status again by the Phillies on June 8. He was immediately signed by the Washington Senators and assigned uniform number 17, but was released again on August 24 to bring a close to his 10-year Major League career.

In 1983, Duren was presented with the Yankee Family Award for his conquering alcoholism, and for service as an alcohol abuse educator.

Duren's nephew is singer Blackie Lawless (born Steven Duren on September 4, 1956 in Staten Island, New York) of the heavy metal band W.A.S.P..

Baseball Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg was named in honor of Duren.

In 2003, Duren and author Tom Sabellico wrote the book, "I Can See Clearly Now". Duren talks from the heart about life, baseball and alcohol. The foreword was written by Jim "Mudcat" Grant. ISBN 1-59330-013-151695

See also

External links

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