Ralph Russell Rickey
- Bats Both, Throws Left
- Height 6' 3", Weight 205 lb.
- School University of Oklahoma
- Born December 8, 1946 in Oklahoma City, OK USA
Ralph Rickey was taken by the Chicago Cubs in the first round of the 1968 amateur draft, 15th overall. He spent six years in the minors, including parts of four seasons at Triple-A, but never reached the majors. He began his career as an outfielder; however, by 1971, he converted to pitching.
The first college outfielder picked in '68, he was the 5th outfielder overall (following Bobby Valentine, Curtis Moore, Donnie Castle and Dick Sharon). He debuted with the 1968 Caldwell Cubs (.243/.381/.480, 10 HR in 173 AB) and Lodi Crushers (10 for 39, 4 2B, 3B, HR). In the Year of the Pitcher, his .243 average was good for 10th in the Pioneer League while his 10 dingers were second to Steve Garvey. He also led the league's outfielders in both fielding percentage (.956) and assists (8, tied with Valentine). The Oklahoman was very good in 1969 with the Quincy Cubs (.318/.387/.692, 11 HR in 27 G) but bombed in AA with the San Antonio Missions (.183/.299/.235, 1 HR in 41 G).
In 1970, Ralph continued to show pop and walk ability but not much else as he moved to first base. He hit .208/.360/.385 with 9 homers in 69 games for San Antonio and .218/.329/.346 with 5 home runs in 50 games for the Tacoma Cubs. With San Antonio, he had 50 walks but struck out 85 times in 221 at-bats.
In his first season as a pitcher, Rickey appeared for Quincy (5-4, 5 Sv, 3.39, 62 K in 61 IP), San Antonio (1-2, Sv, 2.84, 20 K in 19 IP) and Tacoma (0-2, Sv, 3.60). He split 1972 between the Midland Cubs (3-2, 7 Sv, 1.10, 24 H in 41 IP) and Wichita Aeros (2-0, 2 Sv, 8.31, 11 BB in 13 IP). He was with Wichita for all of 1973, going 6-12 with a 5.12 ERA. He was one loss shy of Bill Butler and Ken Reynolds, the 1973 American Association co-leaders.
For his career, at the dish, he hit .232 with 40 home runs in 365 games. As a pitcher, he went 17-22 with a 4.15 ERA in 93 games (30 starts).
Sources: 1969-1974 Baseball Guides