Worcester Ruby Legs
1880: Playing at the Worcester Driving Park Grounds in the Worcester Agricultural Fairgrounds, the Worcester Ruby Legs were a successful minor league team in the National Association. The team drew interest from the National League after the Syracuse Stars failed after one season, due in part to their December trip to Cuba, when they became the first professional baseball club to visit the island nation. The path to minors to majors was not easy as the NL board of governors needed a unanimous vote after the league’s population requirement was waived. Cities joining the National League were required to have a population at least 75,000 (Worcester’s population was 58,000). The Troy Trojans were unwilling to support Worcester’s entry into the National League, but the Ruby Legs were admitted any way after and aggressive fund raising and ticket sales promotion, that included selling stock shares in the team for $35, a race walk, discount ticket and train packages, and benefit concerts with stage plays. In their first season, the Worcester Rub Legs, with their unique pink and black colors finished in fifth place with a record of 40-43. Harry Stovey was the Ruby Legs top hitter batting .265 with six home runs and 28 RBI. Lee Richmond was Worcester’s leading pitcher, posting a record of 32-32 with an ERA of 2.15. On June 12th Richmond made history by becoming the first pitcher to retire all 27 batters without a batter reaching base. Lee Richmond’s Perfect Game saw the Ruby Legs blank the Cleveland Blues 1-0 at the Driving Park. Perhaps Worcester’s biggest impact came when they made complaint to the league that got the Cincinnati Reds, baseball’s first professional team expelled from the National League. The Reds would be forced to sit out the 1881 season, before returning in the American Association in 1882. The offense that the Ruby Legs complained about was selling beer to fans attending games.
1881: The Worcester Ruby Legs struggled in their second season, finishing dead last among eight National League teams with a record of 32-50. Buttercup Dickerson was the Ruby Legs top hitter, posting a .316 average with 31 RBI, while Pete Hotaling hit .309 with team highs in home runs with three and a RBI. Lee Richmond again was Worcester’s top pitcher with a record of 35-36 with an ERA of 3.39.
1882: The realities of a small town like Worcester competing in the National League came home to roost in the Ruby Legs third season, as attendance plummeted. In the penultimate game of the season on September 28th only six fans were in attendance to see the Ruby Legs suffer a 4-1 loss at the hands of the Troy Trojans. The crowd would be the smallest in the history of baseball for a game that was open to the public. The Worcester Rub Legs would again finish in last place, posting a record of 18-66, and folded after the season. Harry Stovey was the Ruby Legs top hitter, with an average of .289 with five home runs and 26 RBI. Lee Richmond again was the top pitcher, with a record of 14-33, with a 3.74 ERA.
©MMVI Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, statistics, logos, and team names are property of Major League Baseball. This site is not affiliated with the Worcester Ruby Legs or Major League Baseball. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on August 4, 2016. Last updated on August 4, 2016 at 11:05 pm ET.