- ‘Gay Jeans’ that fade into rainbow-colored denim created
- Divided court strikes down big porn award
- Jimmy Carter: Don’t hurt Russian people with sanctions
- Oldest ex-MLB player dies in Cuba, 2 days shy of 103rd birthday
- ‘Top Gun’ for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy’s approval
- Bill Clinton to endorse Charlie Rangel for re-election
- Pfc. Bradley Manning is now Pfc. Chelsea Manning: Court says so
- Secret base U.S. special forces used to train Libyans now under terrorist control: report
- 9th suspect in N.C. kidnapping turns self in to FBI
- L.A. sheriff admits to testing flyover spy program without notifying residents
Former major league reliever Ryne Duren dies at 81
LAKE WALES, FLA. (AP) - Ryne Duren, an All-Star pitcher known for a 100 mph fastball, occasional wildness and Coke-bottle glasses that created a most intimidating presence on the mound, has died at his winter home in Florida. He was 81.
Duren died Thursday, stepson Mark Jackson said Friday.
Duren’s unique first name lives on in baseball history. Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg’s plaque in Cooperstown includes this note: “Named after former Yankees pitcher Ryne Duren.” They are the only major leaguers named Ryne, according to baseballreference.com.
But it was Duren’s blazing heater _ and 20/200 vision in his left eye, 20/70 in his right _ that always attracted attention. The look was very Ricky Vaughn from the movie “Major League.”
Duren was known for coming out of the bullpen and throwing at least one of his warmup pitches to the backstop on the fly. He later kidded that he sometimes did it on purpose. Either way, opposing batters took notice, and Duren’s reputation grew.
“Ryne could throw the heck out of the ball. He threw fear in some hitters. I remember he had several pair of glasses but it didn’t seem like he saw good in any of them,” Yankees Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra said Friday.
“He added a lot of life to the Yankees and it was sad his drinking shortened his career,” he said.
Duren wrote about his alcohol problems in his books “I Can See Clearly Now” and “The Comeback.” He spent many years working with ballplayers, helping them with their addictions, and was honored by the Yankees for his efforts.
Duren played for seven teams during a big league career from 1954-65. He went 27-44 with a 3.83 ERA in 311 appearances, all but 32 in relief. The right-hander struck out 630 and walked 392 in 589 1-3 innings, and threw 38 wild pitches.
“It got to be a thing at the Old-Timers’ games. He’d come in and throw one into the stands. It was a lot of fun. But I can tell you, it was no fun to hit against him. Everyone was afraid he was going to hit them.”
Richardson recalled being on second base in a game when Duren was pitching for the Los Angeles Angels. Richardson noticed the catcher was softly tossing the ball back to Duren, so he started running and stole third without a throw.
“Ryne took it as a slight and came over and told me that the next time he faced me, he was going to throw one right at me,” Richardson said.
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Obama's veil of secrecy is pierced
- 'Top Gun' for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy's approval
- Pentagon plans to replace flight crews with 'full-time' robots
- America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic, university study finds
- Obama avoids 'red line' for China; prepared to impose tougher sanctions on Russia
- Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy hailed as patriot, ripped as lawless deadbeat
- Kansas will nullify local regulation of guns
- Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear
- Brain surgery victim struggles with Obamacare: 'It's scary'
- Protesters, police clash in Philippines ahead of Obama visit
- CARSON: When government looks more like foe than friend
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Celebrity deaths in 2014