Jan 24, 2015

Former Mets Pitching Coach: Vern Ruhle (2003)

Vernon Gerald Ruhle was born January 25, 1951 in Coleman Michigan. The right hander was drafted out of Olivet College in Michigan, where he had a pitcher’s mound built outside his fraternity house.

In 1972 he was drafted by his home state team, the Detroit Tigers in the 17th round. By 1975 he was in the Tiger rotation having his best season in Detroit going 11-12 with a 4.03 ERA. After going 24-29 in four seasons in Detroit he signed as a free agent with Houston in 1978. After seeing 14 starts or less in three years at the Astrodome he had a big season in 1980. He went 12-4 with a .750 winning percentage, posting a 2.37 ERA with two shut outs & six complete games.

He allowed three runs, pitching seven innings in the 1980 NLCS getting no decision against the Phillies. In the strike shortened 1981 season, he was 4-6 with one save (15 starts in 20 games) but still posted an ERA under three (2.91).

Post Season: In the 1981 NLDS he lost a 2-1 pitchers duel to the Dodgers Fernando Valenzuela in Game #4. Ruhle pitched 8 innings allowing just two runs on four hits, but one was a HR to Pedro Guerrero.
He began pitching more as a reliever posting three saves with an 8-5 record in 1983 then fell to 1-9 in 1984 completing a seven year career in Houston. He went to the Cleveland Indians & California Angels, pitching his last career game in the 1986 ALCS vs. Boston. In his13 year career Ruhle finished at 67-88 with 11 saves and a 3.73 ERA.

Coaching: After his playing days he became a coach for his old Astros team (1997-2000) then the Phillies (2000-2002).

In 2003 he became the New York Mets pitching coach under manager Art Howe. The Mets lost 95 games finishing in fifth place with the leagues 10th best ERA (4.46) that season. On a good note, Ruhle’s staff did have two 15 game winners in Al Leiter & Steve Trachsel.

Tom Glavine didn’t seem to understand Vern’s coaching style since he went 9-14 in his first season in New York. Ruhle only served one season as the Mets pitching coach & was replaced by Rick Peterson the following season. He was originally assigned with another position in the organization.

Passing: Ruhle went on to coach the Reds until 2006, when he was diagnosed with cancer. He passed away in

Houston, Texas in January 2007, he was only 55 years old.

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