Astros in the Sky
Born: Jan 25, 1951
The Michigan native started with the Tigers in 1974 and pitched there for four seasons. The Astros claimed Ruhle (Pron: RULE) on waivers before the 1978 season and, despite some arm woes, turned into a hero of the 1980 season.
He had a 5-9 record with a 3.08 ERA as a spot starter for his first two seasons in Houston but was pressed into service in 1980 when J.R. Richard was felled by a stroke and produced a 12-4 mark with a 2.37 ERA as the Astros took their first division title.
He also had a controversial triple play reduced to a double play during the 1980 NLCS against Philadelphia when he caught a lazy liner in front of the mound and flipped it to Art Howe at first who then ran to second for the disputed third out. Ruhle got a no-decision in a game the Astros eventually lost in extra innings.
Splitting time between starting and the bullpen for another four seasons, Ruhle wound up with a 39-46 record over seven seasons in Houston with a 3.35 ERA and seven saves. He signed as a free agent with the Indians and the Angels before his pitching career concluded. Overall, Ruhle earned a 67-78 mark with a 3.73 ERA and 11 saves in 13 seasons.
Ruhle returned to the Astros in 1997 as Larry Dierker's pitching coach and was part of three division champs to end the decade. He was fired after a disasterous 2000 season and later held the same capacity with the Reds. He developed cancer and passed away in Houston on January 20, 2007 from complications of his cancer treatment at age 55.