Book Review – Bring in the Right-Hander! by Jerry Reuss
Last year, Jerry Reuss published his memoir, Bring In the Right-Hander!: My Twenty-Two Years in the Major Leagues, through Nebraska Press.
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The former pitcher played for eight teams including two different stints with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Moreover, Reuss is one of only twenty-nine Major League Baseball players to have played in four different decades in his career. Since his retirement as a player, Reuss has worked has a broadcast analyst for ESPN, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (nee Anaheim Angels), and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Courtesy of University of Nebraska Press.
The St. Louis native made his debut for his hometown St. Louis Cardinals on September 27, 1969. Reuss pitched seven innings, allowing two hits, walking three and striking out three batters.
It’s interesting how he came to be drafted by the Cardinals after he had committed to attend Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. Reuss writes that he was “surprised that it was the hometown Cardinals because their scouts stayed in the background.” Scouting and farm director George Silvey lived a mile from the Reuss family and even his son, Tim, had played baseball with the pitcher.
Playing in the Minor Leagues for the Cardinals organization means having some memory of the longtime Cardinals coach, George Kissel, who passed away in 2008. Reuss writes that he remembers how Kissel would remind pitchers of “the correct height for every throw” that they would make.
His years with the Cardinals were short. He was with the club for three seasons. A second round pick in the 1967 amateur draft, Reuss would be traded to the Houston Astros on April 15, 1972, in exchange for Lance Clemons and Scipio Spinks. Reuss would never find out why he was traded until a chance meeting with Bing Devine in 1998. It turns out it was because the pitcher grew a mustache!
His last pitch came in October 1990.
Reuss writes of his attending the Winter Warm-Ups over the years. Of Cardinals fans, Reuss says that they “are among the nicest and most passionate fans in all of baseball.” He always listens patiently to those fans with alternate-universe theories of what the Cardinals of the 1970s would be like had Reuss and Steve Carlton not been traded. The 1970s will be the most debated period on what-could-have-been because of all those trades! Reuss, as his chapter with the Cardinals closed, writes about what the economic impact would have been like.