Toad Ramsey

From BR Bullpen

Toad Ramsey.jpg

Thomas H. Ramsey

  • Bats Right, Throws Left
  • Height 5' 9½", Weight 180 lb.

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

Toad Ramsey pitched six seasons in the big leagues, most notably in 1886 and 1887 when he won 38 and 37 games respectively, both years with the Louisville Colonels. He holds the record for most wins in a single season by a pitcher who finished with a career losing record.

Ramsey was 38-27 in 1886 although his team went 66-70 on the season.

He is the only major leaguer (through 2009) with the name Toad.

Ramsey's entire major league career was in the American Association, split between Louisville and the St. Louis Browns.

The book Chris Von der Ahe and the St. Louis Browns indicates that Ramsey was traded to the Browns for Nat Hudson, who had been suspended. Ramsey was 1-16 at the time and had a "reputation for drinking", but the Browns were tired of Hudson and felt Ramsey had potential. Von der Ahe later accused Ramsey of being drunk, and when Ramsey was thrown out easily trying to steal second base, Von der Ahe suspended him for a couple of weeks.

The book says that Ramsey was reputedly the inventor of the Toad Ramsey cocktail: a pint of whiskey poured into a pitcher full of beer, which the inventor supposedly drank down three times per day.

The Complete Armchair Book of Baseball indicates that Ramsey worked to perfect Charley Radbourn's slow pitch, and was discovered at age 16 in Indianapolis, IN. He was a bricklayer at the time who was signed to pitch for a semi-pro team. Over the years he became famous as a left-handed strikeout artist - due to an injury he had suffered as a bricklayer, he could not flex one of his fingers properly and so threw something akin to a knuckleball. The book indicates that after his major league days he did some umpiring, organized a minor league in which he played for Kokomo, and went back to bricklaying.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • AA Innings Pitched Leader (1886)
  • AA Strikeouts Leader (1887)
  • AA Complete Games Leader (1886)
  • 20 Wins Seasons: 3 (1886, 1887 & 1890)
  • 30 Wins Seasons: 2 (1886 & 1887)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 4 (1886-1888 & 1890)
  • 300 Innings Pitched Seasons: 4 (1886-1888 & 1890)
  • 400 Innings Pitched Seasons: 2 (1886 & 1887)
  • 500 Innings Pitched Seasons: 2 (1886 & 1887)
  • 200 Strikeouts Seasons: 4 (1886-1888 & 1890)
  • 300 Strikeouts Seasons: 2 (1886 & 1887)
  • 400 Strikeouts Seasons: 1 (1886)

Further Reading[edit]

  • Michael Clair: "The story behind the first knuckleball may surprise you: An origin story fitting for such a strange pitch",, March 28, 2020. [1]

Related Sites[edit]