Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sunday School: Phillies History Lesson- Eppa Rixey

Eppa Rixey signed as a free agent with the Phillies in 1912. The lefty hurler was a graduate of the University of Virginia.

In 1916, Rixey had a break-out season, to bounce back from taking the loss in the deciding game of the 1915 World Series against the Red Sox. Rixey won 22 games for the Phillies and had an ERA of 1.85. He also threw an impressive 20 complete games that year.

The following season, Eppa Rixey's record was 16-21. His high loss total was mainly due to a lack of run support. There was a stretch in the 1917 season when Rixey lost 5 straight starts, during which the Phillies offense could amass just 3 total runs. Rixey threw a career high 4 shutouts that season.

Rixey served in the military in 1918, missing the entire baseball season, and served in the chemical warfare division of the United States army in World War 1. Upon his return to baseball in mid-1919 he struggled and posted a 6-12 record. In 1920, Eppa led the National League with 22 losses, despite completing 25 of his 33 starts. The Phils scored one run or less in 11 of his 22 losses that season.

Following that season, the Phillies traded Eppa Rixey to the Cincinnati Reds for pitcher Jimmy Ring and outfielder Greasy Neale. With the Reds, Rixey was reunited with former Phillies manager Pat Moran, which helped rejuvenate his career. Rixey threw 300 innings, or more, for three straight seasons with Cincinnati. In 1922, Rixey led the NL in wins, with 22, and he went on to reach 20 wins, or better, in two of the following three seasons.

A well educated man, Rixey took graduate school classes in chemistry, mathematics as well as latin.

Eppa Rixey remained a Red until 1933. When he retired, at age 42, Eppa held the record for wins by a left-hander at 266. He held that honor until Warren Spahn surpassed it in 1959. Rixey was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1963, and passed away one month later, before he could attend the ceremonies.


This is a repost of's very first Phillies History Lesson, in honor of the Cincinnati vs. Philadelphia National League Division Series.

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