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Leon Kessling "Red" Ames (August 2, 1882October 8, 1936) was an Americanmarker pitcher in Major League Baseball for the New York Giants, Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, and Philadelphia Phillies.

Major league career

Born in Warren, Ohiomarker, Ames was a third or fourth starter for the New York Giants during their early period of dominance under John McGraw. He made his debut on September 14, 1903, pitching an abbreviated five-inning no-hitter against the Cardinals. He did not join the rotation full time until 1905, when his 22 win and 2.74 ERA helped the Giants win the pennant. This was by far his best season, for although the Giants were perennial contenders during this time, injury and wildness kept him from becoming a star despite being the opening day pitcher three years running. A career ERA of 2.63 ties him with Cy Young.

He pitched in three World Series total with the Giants (1905, 1911, 1912) but because he was only a third or fourth starter in an era when top pitchers pitched more games than they do today, he appeared almost entirely in relief, making only one World Series start in 1911, which he lost. He was traded to the Reds in 1913, and never approached his earlier success with the Giants for the rest of his career.

Ames' greatest distinction was being one of the wildest pitchers in history, his curveball charitably described as, "dramatic." He is tied with Walter Johnson for the most wild pitches in a career with 156 (though he pitched less than half the innings that Johnson did) and his 30 wild pitches in 1905 is a single season record. He led the league again in 1907 with 20. Other notables are leading the National League in saves with 6 in 1914 and 8 in 1916, and in strikeouts per 9 innings pitched in 1905 (6.78), 1906 (6.90), and 1907 (5.63).

His notorious bad luck was evident on opening day, April 15, 1909, where he achieved the unique feat of losing a no-hitter in a game where he didn't give up a hit until the 10th, or run until the 13th inning (but still got credit for 9 no-hit innings).

Later years

After leaving the majors, he pitched in the minors for three more years and managed briefly in the minors in 1923. Ames's son, Red Ames Jr., played in the minor leagues for several years.

See also



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