Rube Waddell

Rube WaddellGeorge Edward Waddell (October 13, 1876 – April 1, 1914) was an American southpaw pitcher. Waddell, a remarkably dominant strikeout pitcher in an era when batters mostly slapped at the ball to get singles, had an excellent fastball, a sharp-breaking curve, a screwball, and superb control (his strikeout-to-walk ratio was almost 3-to-1). He led the Major Leagues in strikeouts for six consecutive years.

“There was delicious humor in many of his vagaries, a vagabond impudence and ingenuousness that made them attractive to the public,” wrote the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch.

Waddell’s on- and off-field exploits became instant legends.

Waddell was so unpredictable, and into fire fighting, that a myth was circulated that he had a habit of leaving the dugout in the middle of games to follow passing fire trucks to fires.

He performed as an alligator wrestler in the offseason.

Fastballs, fishing, fire fighting, females and firewater – all were favorite pasttimes of Rube Waddell. And, not necessarily in that order – as long as it added up to fun.

Waddell was known to occasionally miss a scheduled start, off fishing or playing marbles with street urchins. At spring training, he might disappear for days only to be found leading a parade down the main street of Jacksonville, Florida or wrestling an alligator in a nearby lagoon.