Johnny Rutherford

From BR Bullpen

John Rutherford.jpg

John William Rutherford

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

Right-hander Johnny Rutherford was signed as an amateur free agent by the Brooklyn Dodgers before the 1947 season. The 22-year-old was assigned to the Olean Oilers of the class D Pony League. He appeared in only 7 games that first year but went 4-2 with a 4.11 ERA. Johnny or "Doc" as he was sometimes called would spend five years (1947-51) in the minors before getting a look at Ebbets Field in 1952. Doc's best year would come in 1951 when he went 15-8 with a 2.94 ERA with the St. Paul Saints and making the American Association All-Star team, opening the door for his 1952 major league debut.

The Canadian-born Doc spent just one year in the majors, with the 1952 Brooklyn Dodgers. Rutherford's final statistics for that season are a numerologist's delight. Used as a spot starter and reliever for the National League champions, he had a record of 7-7 in 22 games, going 5-5 as a starter and 2-2 out of the bullpen. He gave up 97 base hits in 97 innings, striking out 29 and walking 29. One of his two victories was the pennant clincher against the Philadelphia Phillies in late September.

John, who hit .290 (9-for-31) in his only big league season, made one relief appearance against the New York Yankees in Game 4 of the World Series. The Dodgers were trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the 8th when Doc entered the game and gave up a lead-off triple to Mickey Mantle, who came around to score on an error on the relay throw from shortstop Pee Wee Reese as New York won, 2-0.

John appeared back in the minors in 1953 and had a 11-3 split season, going 6-0 with the Newport News Dodgers and 5-3 for the Fort Worth Cats with a 3.08 ERA.

John's 1953 performance appeared to impress no one and he was in the minors again in 1954, where he developed arm problems and went 2-2 with a 3.38 ERA. Disappointed with the way things were going, Rutherford went only 6-10 with a 4.88 ERA, his worst season yet, in 1955 with the St. Paul Saints. The 30-year-old decided to call it a career, finishing his minor league career with a 76-55 record with a 3.25 ERA.

The son of an osteopathic surgeon, Rutherford followed in his father's footsteps after his pitching days were cut short by an ailing arm. He went to Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in Missouri, where the emphasis is on the inter-relationship of the muscular and skeletal systems in diagnosis and treatments. John Rutherford, D.O., retired from the River Rouge Clinic in Dearborn, Michigan and passed away on Christmas Day in 2016.


Baseball Players of the 1950s

Related Sites[edit]