#427 Don Rudolph
I seem to have an inordinate number of cards featuring members of the Senators. I guess they’re the easiest and cheapest to find, since both incarnations were such dismal franchises. My example of this card is actually pretty good. Probably an EX or maybe a bit better. This is a nice shot of the full Sens uniform, though it’s pretty clear that this was shot in spring training, as I don’t know of too many palm trees outside of RFK Stadium. As a common from the semi-high series, an NM card lists for $9 in SMR.
Don Rudolph had a quite brief MLB career. In fact, 1964 would be his last season. He debuted in 1957 with the White Sox, but pitched just a grand total of 22 innings in three seasons in Chicago. He was traded to Cincinnati in mid-1959, but didn’t get much of a chance there, either. Eventually, he was claimed by the Indians in the 1961 Rule 5 draft. After getting just one out in a Cleveland uniform, he was shipped off to the Senators.
Rudolph was solid, if unspectacular, in 1962 for Washington. His ERA of 3.62 is actually quite a bit better than expected, considering he gave up more than a hit per inning and didn’t really strike anybody out (he did have good control, though). In 1963, things went south. His ERA soared to 4.55 and he finished with a 7-19 record in 174 innings. He continued to give up a lot of hits, but also started giving up a bunch of homers as well.
He was relegated to a bullpen role in ’64 and continued to be mediocre. The Senators didn’t offer him a contract for 1965, and he went to the Reds’ organization, where he spent two more years pitching in AAA.
Rudolph was, according to Wikipedia, married to an exotic dancer named Patti Wiggin. After his retirement, Rudolph went into contracting. Tragically, he was killed when he was thrown from his pickup truck while driving on a steep road in suburban L.A. in 1968, at the age of just 37. Here’s a short obituary that ran in the St. Petersburg Evening Independent.