Chicago Cubs: Rube Waddell was anything but ordinary
Chicago Cubs: An auspicious start
His short stretch as a Chicago Orphan (Cub) began after numerous issues with the Pirates (and particularly manager Frank Clarke) earned him a trade out of Pittsburgh. He was relatively unspectacular in that year, posting an ERA+ of 116, but that’s not what made Waddell so memorable.
What Waddell is more well-known for is his antics both on and off of the field. He was easily distractable, occasionally leaving during one of his starts or outright missing the game altogether for a fishing trip or a set of marbles with the local boys. It’s also believed that Waddell’s fascination with firefighting led to occasions where his teammates had to prevent him from following firetrucks, though this may merely be a myth.
In exhibition games, Waddell would ask his teammates to leave the field and let him strike out the side. If this happened nowadays, the pitcher would likely earn boos from the fans and a stern conversation with his manager and teammates. The Rube, however, was the Rube.
The list of truly bizarre facts about Waddell is about as long as the 20-inning complete game battle he won against Cy Young in 1905: a game that ended with Waddell cartwheeling off of the pitcher’s mound in celebration. His activities outside of baseball were, well, just read the next slide shortcode. It only gets weirder from here.