On this day in 1963, ballplayer Harold “Muddy” Ruel passed away, aged 67.
Muddy played in the Majors for twenty years with the Browns, Yankees, Red Sox, Senators, Tigers, and White Sox. He logged nearly 5300 Plate Appearances; he won World Series titles both as a player and a coach. After retiring as a player, he remained in pro baseball many more years as a coach, manager, and executive. He had a fucking law degree from Washington University in Saint Louis, and he was actually certified to practice.
The guy led a full life, one might say.
Muddy was a catcher. He guarded home plate. He scrapped his way to 20+ career WAR. He was, as you can see here, handsome enough. Yet even Muddy had his shortcomings. In all his years, he hit but four homeruns, for example. He hit a homerun when he was 31, and then never hit one again. I’m 31 right now and I have never hit a homerun; never will.
Look at Muddy Ruel, I tell myself.
Look at Muddy Ruel and know you are going to die.
Perhaps you are visiting this baseball website, which is known for its whimsy, in hopes of distracting yourself from the fact of your mortality. I know that I continue to write for this site for that very reason. No distraction today, though. Not on Muddy’s watch.
From now on, when I don’t know what to write about, when I dread longing into WordPress, I will visit Baseball-Reference’s database of deaths by day.