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Ralph García

From BR Bullpen

1973 Topps #602 Ralph Garcia

Ralph García

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

Ralph García is a member of the Salon de la Fama, ranking among the best pitchers in the history of the Mexican League in terms of winning percentage as well as ranking in the top 10 in several categories in the Mexican Pacific League. He led the LMB in wins three times and strikeouts four times. In addition, he tied the Pacific League single-game strikeout record and finished second in his league in strikeouts three times in six years in the US minors. He was 189-129 in Organized Baseball and 100-108 in the LMP for a pro record of 289-237.

1970-1975: In the USA[edit]

After college, García was drafted in the 18th round of the 1970 amateur draft by the San Diego Padres. He debuted that year with their Tri-City Padres and Lodi Padres affiliates, going 3-7 between the two stops. With Tri-City, he struck out 16 in 7 innings but allowed 10 runs (only 3 earned), walked nine, hit three batters and allowed nine hits. With Lodi, he struck out 108 and walked 53 in 84 innings of work. In 1971, Ralph was 11-12 with a 3.67 ERA for Lodi. He led the California League with 11 complete games and tied two others for the lead with 3 shutouts. Unfortunately, he also led in wild pitches (32). The hard-throwing right-hander walked 115 in 179 innings but struck out 199, only three shy of the league leader, Don Durham. García finished 5th in the Cal League in ERA.

In 1972, Ralph was 8-8 with a 4.42 ERA for the top Padres farm team, the Hawaii Islanders. He was 10th in the Pacific Coast League in ERA. He was second in strikeouts, whiffing 157 in 177 innings, trailing only Steve Luebber. His walks fell to 83 but he allowed 192 hits in the high-offense league. He was a September call-up to the 1972 Padres, appearing in 3 games, allowing one run in five innings. He debuted on September 26, relieving Mike Caldwell in the second inning. He gave up a hit to pitcher Mike Strahler, walked Davey Lopes and allowed a hit to Bill Buckner but then settled down to retire the next six hitters, batters 3 through 8 in the Dodgers lineup.

García returned to Hawaii in 1973 but did not fare as well. He slipped to 6-10, 4.89 and was not called up to the majors. His strikeout rate remained solid (119 in 127 IP) but his walk rate got worse again (79 free passses issued). That winter, he led the Mexican Pacific League with 159 strikeouts, 12 complete games and four shutouts.

Ralph began the 1974 season with San Diego and did okay for 7 games, with a 3.12 ERA, but he got roughed up for 5 runs in 1 2/3 IP on April 21 against the Big Red Machine, drastically skewing his career ERA to 4.70 after it had been 2.63 for his MLB career before that. He never would pitch in the majors again to show whether the career mark or the pre-final outing mark was more representative.

Sent back to Hawaii, García was 7-5 with a 4.66 ERA. He struck out 122 in 116 innings, though he walked 65. On June 20, he whiffed 19 Spokane Indians, tying the PCL record for single-game strikeouts. Overall, only Butch Metzger struck out more in the PCL, taking 88 more innings to strike out 26 more batters.

In his last year in the US, Ralph pitched for the Alexandria Aces. He was 7-6 with a 3.65 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 116 innings.

1976-1988: Mexico[edit]

García went to pitch in the Mexican League for the first time in 1976. Signing with the Indios de Ciudad Juarez, he went 11-8 with two saves and a 3.02 ERA, striking out 122 and walking 73 in 155 innings. In a low-scoring era of the LMB, these were not particularly impressive numbers. In 1977, Ralph pitched a no-hitter on April 16 against the Nuevo Laredo Owls and went on to an excellent year. He was 14-5 with a 1.78 ERA, allowing only 104 hits in 167 innings. He completed 14 of 20 starts and finished second in the LMB in ERA, behind only Horacio Pina and ahead of more-accomplished major leaguers (past or future) like Aurelio Lopez and Vicente Romo.

García slipped to 5-10, 2.94 in 1978. He only walked 38 and struck out 114 in 141 innings as his control continued to improve. He completed 14 of 18 starts. In 1979, Rafael made the Mexican League All-Star team with a strong 20-6, 1.70 season. He led the Liga in ERA, complete games (finishing 27 of 29 starts) and strikeouts (222). He allowed only 199 hits in 260 innings and walked just 60. His six shutouts tied for second behind Vicente Romo. He tied for fourth in wins.

In 1980, García had a 10-3, 2.28 record in the regular season, striking out 112 in 130 IP. In the post-strike second shorter season that year, he was 6-0 with a 1.20 ERA, second to Angel Hernandez in ERA. Garcia tied for the lead in complete games by finishing 7 of 8 starts. He tied Romo for the lead in strikeouts (47) and tied for the lead with 4 hit batters. His 75 innings led the way. That winter, García led the Mexican Pacific League with five shutouts.

In his 6th year for Ciudad Juarez, the UNLV alumnus went 20-5 with a 1.83 ERA. He completed 24 of 26 starts, had a WHIP of just 1.03 and whiffed 187 in 212 innings. He was sixth in the LMB in ERA but led in complete games, wins and strikeouts. He again led in winning percentage, tying Salome Barojas. On May 17, he no-hit the Azules de Coatzacoalcos. He became the third Mexican Leaguer with two no-hitters, following Chet Brewer and Andrés Ayón.

Ralph was 19-8 with a 2.29 ERA in 1982, completing 21 of 27 starts. He got a save in his lone relief appearance. He struck out 177 in 208 1/3 innings with a WHIP of 1.04. He was 14th in the Mexican League in ERA but led in complete games and tied Eric Rasmussen and Alfredo Ortiz for the shutout lead (6). García led the Liga in wins for the second consecutive season. He was second in strikeouts, breaking his streak of years leading the League at three.

García did not pitch in 1983 but returned in 1984 and was 16-9 for the Indios, completing 16 of 28 starts and posting a 3.96 ERA. He whiffed 184 in 225 IP. He was second in strikeouts behind Jesus Rios. In 1985, the 36-year-old veteran slipped to 4-4, 5.74 in just 12 starts, walking 42 and striking out 63 in 80 innings. He allowed 98 hits. After 7 seasons with Juarez, he had pitched that year for the Algodoneros de Torreon. In 1986, Rafael moved on to the Saraperos de Saltillo, going 11-13 with a 5.59 ERA. In the year of the Comando ball, he surrendered 30 homers in 198 innings, striking out 155 in 198 innings. He led the Liga in strikeouts for the fourth and final time. It was the 8th time (at least) that he had finished in the top two in strikeouts in his circuit during his 17-year career.

After a second year off, García returned to baseball with the Rieleros de Aguascalientes, going 11-10 with a 4.53 ERA and 152 K in 182 2/3 IP. He did what he had done in his first full pro season - throw 30 wild pitches to lead his league. He was second in strikeouts yet again, trailing Rios.

Total Career Summary[edit]

García was 42-48 in the US-based minors and 0-0 in the majors over six seasons north of the border. His high strikeout rates were foiled by his poor control.

In the Mexican League, Ralph was 147-81 with a 3.03 ERA. He completed 173 of 258 starts, including 32 shutouts. He had 4 saves in 8 relief appearances. In 2,035 innings, he allowed 1,808 hits, 626 walks and 118 homers. He struck out 1,649 and threw 115 wild pitches. He holds the record for most consecutive years leading the league in complete games with four, and for leading the league in wins, with three (if you discount the strike season). Through 2000, he was tied with Ricardo Sandate for 12th all-time in complete games, only 6 behind 7th-place Miguel Solis. He was tied for 15th all-time in shutouts and 12th in strikeouts. He was 7th all-time in wild pitches. Among pitchers with over 2,000 innings pitched, he was 7th in ERA, right behind Antonio Pollorena. He was first all-time in winning percentage among those with over 2,000 innings, at .645. Ayón was second at .633, followed by Vicente Romo at .632 and Rios at .630.

He played for 16 years in the Mexican Pacific League with Ciudad Obregon, Guaymas, Navojoa, Guasave, Mexicali and Mazatlan. His career record is 100-108, with 1,410 strikeouts and a 2.91 ERA. As of 2006, he is eighth all-time in wins and third in strikeouts. He threw two no-hitters in his career, sharing the record for this feat as well. He holds the following Pacific League records: most consecutive hitless innings, with 17, accomplished for Guasave in 1980; most seasons as ERA leader, with three; most consecutive seasons as ERA leader with two.

In 2005, Ralph was elected to the Salón de la Fama.

Primary Sources[edit]

1971-1989 Baseball Guides, The Mexican League: Comprehensive Player Statistics by Pedro Treto Cisneros

Related Sites[edit]

Garcia's Salon de la Fama page