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Tuesday, November 12, 2002
Raffensberger led NL in shutouts in '49 and '52
YORK, Pa. -- Ken Raffensberger, who twice led the National League in shutouts during a 15-year career in the majors, has died. He was 85.
Raffensberger died Nov. 10 in his hometown of York. The cause of death was not released.
Raffensberger was 119-154 with a 3.60 ERA for the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds.
In 1944, when many of baseball's stars were fighting in World War II, Raffensberger was the winning pitcher in the NL's 7-1 victory in the All-Star Game. It was one of his few bright spots that season for Philadelphia as he led the league with 20 losses.
The left-hander made his major league debut with the Cardinals in 1939, appearing in one game. He saw his first significant action the next year with Cubs, going 7-9 in 43 games, mostly as a reliever.
From 1943 until midway through the 1947 season, he pitched for the Phillies.
While he was with the Phillies, Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers, and many in baseball were angry about seeing a black player in the major leagues. Years later, Raffensberger said that Phillies manager Ben Chapman had instructed pitchers to throw the ball at Robinson whenever there were two strikes in the count.
''I didn't go along with it,'' Raffensberger said. ''I never believed in throwing at a guy.''
In 1947, he was traded to the Reds, where he had his best seasons. In 1949, he went 18-17 and led the league with five shutouts. In 1952, he was 17-13 with a 2.81 ERA and again led the league with six shutouts.
He once said one of his greatest thrills came when Hall of Famer Stan Musial appeared on ''The Ed Sullivan Show'' and said Raffensberger was the toughest pitcher he had ever faced.
In 1954, Raffensberger left the major leagues, then played baseball in Havana, Cuba, for a short time before returning to his hometown and pitching with the York White Roses, a minor league affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles.
Funeral plans were not immediately available.
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