Thursday, February 5, 2009

Tweedledum and Tweedledee

The Deans never did it. Neither did the Niekros or the Forschs. The Perry boys and Maddux boys didn't either. In fact, in the history of the major leagues, only one pair of brothers has ever pitched a combined shutout . The brothers...

...Chicago Cubs Rick and Paul Reuschel. They tossed a combined shutout against the Dodgers on August 21, 1975. Rick started and went the first 6 1/3. Big brother Paul finished the last 2 2/3 as the Cubs topped LA 7-0.

This Big League Brothers card was one of a subset of 4 pairs of brothers in the 1977 set. On the other three cards, the first name of the brother is on the same side of the card that he was on. For some reason, the names are reversed on the Reuschel card, with Paul's name on Rick's side of the picture and vice versa.

Tweedledum and Tweedledee is how we referred to these two. Not the kindest of names, but, you know, there was a sort of resemblance.

Actually, I really did like Rick Reuschel. He had some decent years with the Cubs in the late 70's, winning 20 game in his best season, 1977. And despite his size, he was a very good athlete. I remember him pinch running a couple of times. He was the staff workhorse. He also pitched a shutout at the second Cubs game I ever attended, on July 30, 1972.

Topps 1973 - Rick Reuschel's first card

Topps 1974 - Rick Reuschel in action

Topps 1986 - His last card as a Cub, a much more veteran look

Paul Reuschel, the older brother, was not nearly as good as his little brother. He spent several years in the minors before making it with the Cubs in 1975 at the age of 28. He had three and a half unspectacular years with the Cubs before being traded to the Indians. After a year and a half with the Tribe, his career was finished.

Topps 1977 - Paul's first card; note the ugly dark glasses

But that August day in 1975 put Paul in the record book and that is impressive.

Fast forward to April, 2008. It is spring break and I decide that we are going to.....Pittsburgh! Where else would you go for spring break? The Cubs were in town and I like going to see them in other ballparks (I've seen them in Cincinnati, Denver, Detroit, and Milwaukee, too), where there is usually a large contingent of Cubs fans. This was true at PNC, where the crowd(?) for both games we attended was about 9,000 each, with at least a third in blue.

The Pirates had brought back some former players to sign autographs before the game and one of the ex-Bucs was Rick Reuschel. When I heard that, I hopped right over the the signing area and got in line. With such a small crowd, the line was very short and I came away with two of his autographs. I also told him that in my mind, he was always a Cub. He just smiled and nodded.

The autographed picture with Rick looking very strange in a Pirates uniform

I had him sign my ticket stub, too.


  1. As a kid, I enjoyed watching him pitch for the cubs. The ticket stub he signed looks sharp!!!!!!!!!

  2. Is it just a bad photo or are Paul's uniforms different. In the first photo, it looks like he is in powder blue. The second photo of him looks like he is in grey or off-white (maybe even white).
    Also, that '72 Reuschel looks like that number is in the middle of his belly. Is that how the unis where back then or is it just twisted up a bit?
    Either way, those are pretty cool. I have never seen a Cubs powder blue jersey without pistripes or a baseball jersey with the numbers centered like that. The latter reminds me of the Atlanta Thrasher alternate jersey this year.

  3. Zman -
    The 72 jersey did have centered numbers, for just that one season only. I believe it is the only time it has happened in MLB history.

    The Cubs wore grey road jerseys through 1975. From 76-77 they were powder blue. In 1978 they started wearing the powder blue pinstripe uniforms (we called them pajamas-I'll have more on those in a post sometime)

  4. More great pix of these two (you're right - they were not the most photogenic pair in the majors) right here: