Nostalgia: Whatever Happened to … Rick Reuschel?

rick_reuschel_autograph.jpgRick “Big Daddy” Reuschel was the anchor of the Giants staff in the late 1980s. He was not the anchor because of his girth– listed as a healthy 235–but he was actually pretty good on the mound. After a successful and noteworthy stint in the 70s with the Cubs, he resurrected his career upon his 1987 arrival in San Francisco, after Roger Craig taught him the split-fingered fastball.

Thanks to his cat-like reflexes, he won a Gold Glove in ’87. He even pinch-ran several times, a testament to his surprising athleticism.

In 1988 and 1989, he compiled 36 victories, with ERAs of 3.12 and 2.94, respectively. He was the National League starter in the ’89 All-Star game and led the G-Men to the World Series.

His real name is Rickey, but he went by Rick. Weird, huh?

In 1997, Reuschel found himself on the Hall of Fame ballot. He received two votes. His 0.4% of the vote fell 74.6% shy of the requisite.

Since hanging up his cleats, “Big Daddy” has retreated to the bucolic Midwest, where he runs his family’s farm along with his brother Paul, who also pitched in the big leagues.

Rick Reuschel [The Baseball Page]


29 Responses to Nostalgia: Whatever Happened to … Rick Reuschel?

  1. John says:

    Hey, thanks for posting this nostalgic stuff, guys. I didn’t know about Big Daddy being on the HOF ballot in ’97… 2 votes, that’s awesome.

    I just found your blog today, so I’ve missed a lot of great content. But, I, like the Giants, am lookin’ ahead, not back.

  2. Andy says:

    And he was Robby Thompson’s brother-in-law!

  3. Kazie Reuschel says:

    Hey, I’m Rick’s daughter and I just thought I’d chime in that we don’t live in the midwest on a farm. Also, Scot Thompson was his brother-in-law, not Robby Thompson. However, I do like the page, it’s pretty cool learning stuff about my dad from the internet. Thanks for creating it!!

  4. Tom Ekstrand says:

    Kazie, your dad was my favorite Cubs pitcher of all time. One of my favorite moments was in 1977 when he popped the Dodgers’ Reggie Smith with a pitch, Reggie charged the mount, and catcher George “the Baron” Mitterwald jumped in and beat the tar out of Smith. Yes, it gave the Baron an essentially career-ending shoulder injury, but it was worth it to see a Dodger sweetheart like Smith get his. I was sad to see dad move on to the Yankees, and later leave the Cubs for Pittsburgh. But every time I see a current Cub wearing number 48, I think of your dad! Hope he’s doing well!

  5. Cody says:

    he’s my great uncle and if i recall correct he lives in Pennsylvania

  6. Tom Ekstrand says:

    Where in PA does he live, Cody?

  7. Andrew says:

    pittsburg penn with his wife where he retired with a nice chunk of change you can imagine.
    he doesnt farm with his brother paul anymore though even though paul has started to purchase more land.
    paul is retired as well and was a subsitute physcial education teacher at the high school where all the resuchel children went to school.

  8. Mark Komo says:

    Wow, thanks for the great info. I also have been a big fan of the Reuschels. And I did here the same thing. Rick married a wonderful gal (lawyer I think) and lives on a horse farm outside pittsburgh.

    I cant tell you the number of autographed cards of rick I have (close to 40). Favorite, favorite player. Sure would like to meet him sometime.

  9. Bud Amon says:

    Big Daddy: With the start of baseball season I look forward to playing for you again next spring in Mesa!! Work on that golf game and we’ll see ya soon

  10. Beth Reuschel says:

    I love that there is so much info on here about our Dad, but horse farm, lol.. He farmed growing up in Illinois, and never had horses. He is currently the vice president of the Pirate Alumni and it keeps him very busy with golf and raising money for many different charities. The bio forgot to mention the years he spent on the Pirates, where he also won a Golden Glove.
    Thanks for the page!

    • Eugene Gross says:

      Beth, i was or thought i was a good friend of yours where we met doesn’t really matter i not only had great respect for your Father Rick but i had great respect for you and your son who i think about alot you know how hard i’ve been looking for you i don’t know why you stopped talking to me i never did nothing but have respect for you and then you just walked out of my life you have know idea how many nights i lay in bed thinking of you and your son you know i still carry the ticket stub from the day we went to the movies

    • Jim Gallo says:

      Beth, I just ran across this page because there was a history fact about your dad and uncle being the first brother team to combine to pitch a shutout on this day…Anyway, your dad was a friend (sort of) of my brother’s. He and Billy Williams were always my favorite Cubs. I had an accident in 1980 and your dad signed a menu at my brother’s restaurant for me that was brought to the hospital and I later sat behind the dugout when he pitched a game – it’s funny the little things we remember. Anyway -please tell your dad that 52-year-old Cub fans still have great memories of him!

      Jim Gallo

  11. Ken in Half Moon Bay CA says:

    Thanks for the note, Beth. I didn’t know that your dad won a Golden Glove with the Pirates as well. What I do know is that he was very popular with the fans in San Francisco. Many of us went out of our way to see him. And the sportscaster of the time, I believe it was still Lon Simmons, always had good stuff to say about your dad. And was amazed, of course, at his athleticism. If you hit a ball anywhere near the mound, you were going to be thrown out.

  12. Patricia a. Braun says:

    I am from Brodhead, Wi. where Rick Reuschel bought a farm and would come up during all-star break when he
    wssn’t pitching. My husband and I and Rick and a team
    mate would start out with a round of golf and watch the all star game at night. One of my most pleasant memories was when his little son (about 3 yrs. old) climbed on his lap to watch the game. Rick as who was that pitching and the little boy (I think his name was Darrell) said Daddy that’s Boooce (Suiter) who was pitching in the all star game. It was a precious moment.

  13. Rick Emery says:

    Iam from butler pa. I own a small auto repair shop were Rick and his wife Barb bring there cars.both are wonderful people. Rick has signed balls for my ailing brother in law and a special needs individual mike,both are charished posessions.He recently threw the first pitch out for the start of the local little leauge season were he signed some autographs and had a lengthly conversation with the same special needs individual he signed the base ball for.(mike)said it was the best day of his life.thank you Rick

  14. Jim says:

    Kazie & Beth: I was a big fan of your fathers mainly because I played college baseball with your dad’s brother Terry. Terry took me and two other teammates to a game at Wrigley in 1976 (?)when your dad started against the Big Red Machine. Enjoyed very much meeting him then and setting 2 rows behind home plate. Also had the chance to meet you Uncle Paul who was pitching for the Cubs at the time. Very nice family with strong midwestern roots. Hope everyone is doing well.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Hi Kazie & bath . my name is Greyling Sargeant and I live in galesburg il, . I always been a fan of your dads . And I know he played in galesburg in hes teens. Thank you .

  16. Anonymous says:

    My Dad went to high school and lived near your dad growing up in Golden, IL. We went and seen him several times over the years and got to sit near the bullpen and talk with him when he had the day off. He invited me and Dad to his hotel in St Louis when he played for the Pirates and he introduced us to all the players. He even gave me a ball that was fouled down the line in the bullpen. That was the COOLEST DAY EVER when I was a kid. You should ask him sometime about my Dad. His name is Gerry Pratt.

  17. Anonymous says:

    he gave up a bomb to Bo Jackson in the all star game

  18. Mike Raymond says:

    To the Reushel family,
    Growing up a baseball fan in Chicago, I always looked forward to the days your dad pitched. I would count the number of pitches he used to get through each inning. It was normal for him to go 9 innings using less than 80 pitches. Unheard of today! A true master of the mound. My brother and I often fantasized about going to downstate Illinois, walking into a tavern, and unexpectedly meeting Rick and Paul and talking baseball over a beer or two. Now that I hear he lives in Pennsylvania, I guess it won’t happen. But, I guess we would settle for just Paul.
    Mike Raymond
    Orland Park, Illinois

  19. Andrew says:

    He’s my math teachers brother, I live in central Illinois, she grew up with like or 8 older brother and rick and Paul went on to the majors

  20. obsessivegiantscompulsive says:

    I have great memories of Big Daddy pitching for the Giants. One of our best trades ever! I enjoyed reading this post, about what he is doing now, plus all the comments from his family members and friends and acquaintances.

    I would note one thing about the post, Reuschel had already resurrected his career while with the Pirates, he was a great pitcher for them, that is why it was so exciting that the Giants got him in trade. I was kind of hoping we might get him back as a Giants ambassador, but I’m glad he’s still in baseball somewhere.

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  22. Anonymous says:

    He was from Camp Point il and went to school with me at Western Il University.

  23. Koch says:

    Rick Russell what a beast he was

  24. Jeff Monkman says:

    Very cool info on this page. I grew up in Chicago watching Harry Caray. Hadn’t heard the name Rick Reuschel in a while.

    Here’s a R.R. game from 1984 on youtube.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Rick Reuschel was one of my favorite Cubs, and one of my all-time favorite pitchers. Not only could he pitch, he could hit. He could run, too, as attested by his high OBP. He has even been used as a pinch runner. Thanks to his size, I don’t remember him ever being on injured list. Personally, I think Rick was best all-round pitcher.

    • Clinton Taylor says:

      Grew up as a Cubs fan starting in the early 1970’s. Rick Reuschel was the Cubs most reliable pitcher for nearly a decade. What a great comeback he made in 1985 for Pittsburgh when he won his first Gold Glove, the Hutch Award, N.L. Comeback Player of the Year and the Roberto Clemente Award as Pirates team MVP. He made Chicago pay for releasing him with an 11-3 career record against the Cubs (12-4 including playoffs) and 1.66 ERA. Despite playing on alot of bad teams in Chicago & Pittsburgh, Rick still managed over 200 wins and 2,000 strikeouts. He also had 529 career starts which puts him amongst the all-time leaders in games started. During his final season in 1983, Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench told USA Today that Rick Reuschel was the toughest pitcher he ever faced. For those interested, a black & white kinescope of a June 1972 Cubs @ Reds NBC telecast (featuring Rick Reuschel in one of his earliest big league performances) is available on DVD from Rare Sports Films:

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