Red Wings Hall of Fame: K-R
BOB KEEGAN - Inducted in 1993
After six Major League seasons with the Chicago White Sox, Rochester native Bob Keegan won 24 games in two memorable years as a Red Wing. In 1959, Keegan led the International League with 18 victories, a mark no Red Wings hurler has matched since. He posted an 18-10 record an a 3.04 ERA for the '59 Red Wings, before posting a 6-9 mark and a 3.73 ERA in 1960.
BILL KIRKPATRICK - Inducted in 2007
This pitcher posted a 47-36 record over the course of six seasons in Rochester (1970-74,1976). His 47 wins are ninth-best in team history and his 419 strikeouts are sixth-highest. In 1974 he led the team and the International League with 15 victories, and his 11 wins in 1972 were a team best. Played a vital role with teams that won the Governors’ Cup and Junior World Series in 1971, Governors’ Cup in 1974, and the Division Champions and International League pennant winners in 1976. Enjoyed his finest season as a Red Wing in 1974, going 15-7 with a 2.83 ERA.
NUBS KLEINKE - Inducted in 2001
Right-handed pitcher Norbert “Nubs” Kleinke spent parts of five seasons with the Red Wings from 1934-38, compiling a 70-45 record. Kleinke spent parts of two seasons in the Major Leagues with St. Louis, compiling a 1-1 record with a 4.86 ERA in nine games. Kleinke still holds the record for the best start by a Red Wings pitcher, starting the 1937 season 11-0.
BILL KOENIG - Inducted in 2000
This proud Temple alumnus spent 17 years as a sportswriter for the Times-Union, most of which were spent as the main beat writer for the Red Wings. Bill was considered to be among the finest baseball beat writers in Rochester history and was named the Sportswriter of the Year by the Rochester Press-Radio Club in 1983. After leaving the Times-Union, Koenig held the position of Senior Writer for Baseball Weekly until his untimely passing in December, 1999.
RICK KRIVDA - Inducted in 2007
This left-hander pitched in parts of six different seasons with the Red Wings (1993-97, 2000) compiling a 46-27 record, the tenth-best winning percentage (.630) in team history. His 480 strikeouts are fourth-best in team history. Had his best season as a Red Wing in 1997 when he went 14-2 with a 3.39 ERA, walking only 34 in 146 innings. He finished fifth in the International league in ERA and led the league in both complete games (6) and shutouts (3) as the ace of Governors’ Cup champions. In 2000, he was second in the International League in ERA and represented the USA in the 2000 Olympics, winning a gold medal. He was a Triple-A All-Star in 1994 and 1997. Pitched in the major leagues for Baltimore, Cleveland and Cincinnati.
GEORGE "WHITEY" KUROWSKI - Inducted in 2000
Arguably the best third baseman of the Cardinals era, Kurowski was known for his clutch hitting and excellent defense during his three seasons with the Red Wings from 1939-1941. Named the third baseman on the Red Wings 50th Anniversary Team as a near-unanimous choice. Went on to become a four-time All-Star with the Cardinals and hit a key home run in the 1942 World Series to help St. Louis beat the Yankees.
GARY LARDER - Inducted in 2007
He was a long-time fan before joining the Board of Directors of Rochester Community Baseball as its Treasurer in 1982. A 32-year executive at Xerox, Larder spent many years diligently working behind the scenes for the ballclub before becoming President in 2000. As the longest serving Officer of the Board in the history of Rochester Community Baseball, he emphasized business integrity and the use of sound business principles. He was a major participant in the project to move the Red Wings to Frontier Field in 1997 and in the decision to align with the Minnesota Twins in 2003. During his presidency, the Red Wings won the John H. Johnson Award as the top Minor League Baseball franchise and the PRISM Award as the best Minor League sports operation.
DAVE LEONHARD - Inducted in 2012
Leonhard pitched four seasons for the Red Wings in 1966-67, 1971, and 1973, going 34-15 with a 3.41 ERA in 84 games (65 starts). The Virginia native ranks third in franchise history with an .833 winning percentage. Leonhard helped Rochester win the International League pennant in 1966 and the Governors' Cup and Junior World Series in 1971. He pitched in two World Series for the Orioles, in 1969 against the Mets and in 1971 against the Pirates.
JEFF MANTO- Inducted in 2002
Although he didn't play a full season with the Red Wings, this infielder's actions on and off the field made him one of the most popular Red Wings of the modern era. After joining the team in May of 1994, he enjoyed one of the most prolific offensive seasons ever by a Red Wing. He led the league in homers (31) and RBI (100) while hitting .297 en route to capturing International League MVP honors. The slugger endeared himself even more to fans by driving through a blizzard to appear at the "Stadiumstock" rally in February of 1995 in support of the construction of Frontier Field. To date, he is the only player ever to receive a stadium ovation at Frontier Field after hitting a home run for visiting team, as he did for Syracuse in 1997.
DENNIS MARTINEZ - Inducted in 2005
RHP Dennis Martinez pitched parts of three years for the Red Wings, compiling a 16-9 record. El Presidente put together one of the greatest seasons ever by a Red Wings hurler in 1976, when he captured the International League pitching Triple Crown by leading the league in wins (14), ERA (2.50) and strikeouts (140). Nobody has won the International League pitching Triple Crown since. Martinez was named the International League Most Valuable Pitcher in 1976 and helped anchor a Red Wings staff that went 88-50 while capturing the I.L. pennant. Martinez went on to enjoy a stellar Major League career, compiling 245 wins for Baltimore, Montreal, Cleveland, Seattle, and Atlanta.
BOB MATTHEWS - Inducted in 2008
The Brighton native began his sportswriting career in 1970 for the Democrat and Chronicle and helped cover the legendary 1971 Junior World Series champion Red Wings. He has been a columnist since 1977 with the Times-Union and Democrat and Chronicle, and a radio sports talk-show host on 1180 WHAM-AM since 1987, devoting countless words to the Red Wings.
Honored four times for sportswriting excellence and once for broadcasting by the Rochester Press-Radio Club, plus recipient of the 1998 Morrie Silver Award, he was the driving force in the media behind the building of Frontier Field in the mid-1990s. Also an inaugural class inductee into the Frontier Field Walk of Fame, Bob was a lone voice in the wilderness for a new stadium and never gave up in his quest to ensure that future generations of Red Wings fans would enjoy professional baseball.
FRED MERKLE - Inducted in 2012
The former slugger was a veteran of 1,630 major league games before joining the Rochester Tribe in 1921. The right-handed hitter played five years for Rochester and he hit better than .340 in each of his first four IL seasons. In the history of Rochester baseball, he ranks third with a .343 batting average, 915 hits, and 699 games played. Merkle also ranks second in Rochester history with 471 RBI, 585 runs scored, and 105 stolen bases. He led the league with 130 RBI in 1922 and 166 RBI in 1923.
PAUL MITCHELL - Inducted in 2010
Right-handed pitcher Paul Mitchell played parts of three seasons (1973, 1974 & 1975) with the Red Wings, going 32-14 with a 3.16 ERA. Mitchell’s best year with Rochester came in 1975 when he went 10-1 with a 2.06 ERA. Mitchell, who went 54-23 in his first five professional seasons, ranks 2nd on the Red Wings all-time winning percentage list for pitchers (32-14 record, .696) only behind fellow Red Wings Hall of Famer Fred Beene (46-20 record, .697). In 1976 Mitchell was in a blockbuster trade that sent him to Oakland with Mike Torrez and Don Baylor in exchange for Bill VanBommell, Ken Holtzman and Baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson.
JOHNNY MIZE - Inducted in 2004
Is one of twenty former Red Wings inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and is considered one of the all-time greatest Red Wings to ever play during the Cardinals era. This slugging first baseman played parts of three seasons with the Red Wings (1933-35) with his best campaign coming in 1934 when he clubbed 17 homers, drove in 66 runs, and batted .339 while leading the Wings to the playoffs. "The Big Cat" went on to play fifteen years in the major leagues- a career interrupted by three years in the service during World War II- and finish with a .312 batting average and 359 home runs with the Cardinals, Giants and New York Yankees.
CURT MOTTON - Inducted in 2006
Outfielder Curt Motton played parts of four seasons (1966, 1967, 1973 & 1974) with the Red Wings. He was the offensive catalyst for Earl Weaver’s 1967 Red Wings that finished second in the IL. Motton went on to play parts of eight seasons in the major leagues with the Orioles, Brewers and Angels. He was also Johnny Oates’ hitting coach when the Red Wings captured the 1988 Governors’ Cup. He endeared himself to fans at Silver Stadium as a coach by throwing candy into the stands on his way to the first base coaches’ box.
JOHNNY OATES - Inducted in 2000
This catcher accomplished the rare feat of winning a Governors' Cup both as a player (1971) and manager (1988). Oates appeared briefly in 1970 before hitting .277 with 7 home runs and 44 RBI in 114 games in 1971.
Seventeen years later he led the Red Wings to their eighth Governors' Cup in his only season as manager. He later managed the Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers.
LOU ORTIZ - Inducted in 2007
This outstanding defensive second-baseman played five seasons with the Red Wings, 1950-1954. He ranks third all-time in games played with 689. Played a pivotal role with the 1950 and 1953 teams that won the Division and the International League pennant. He played in 138 games in 1952 and hit .263 with 9 HR and 73 RBI when the Red Wings captured the Governors’ Cup and Junior World Series. Was paid the ultimate compliment when Wings manager Harry “The Hat” Walker named him captain of the team in 1953 and 1954.
RAY PEPPER - Inducted in 1991
Before joining the famed St. Louis Cardinals "Gashouse Gang," Ray Pepper spent five seasons in the Red Wings' outfield from 1929-33. His .316 career batting average is the sixth-highest in team history, and his 419 career RBI rank him second all-time. His best season was 1931, when he hit .356 with 121 RBI.
TOM POHOLSKY - Inducted in 1990
Poholsky led the Red Wings pitching staff in 1949 and 1950, compiling a combined 32-16 record.
In 1950 he won 18 games with an International League-leading 2.17 ERA for Rochester's division champions. On August 13 of that year, Tommy accomplished the incredible feat of hurling a 22-inning complete game performance. In that game, he pitched 20 consecutive scoreless innings, while leading the Wings to a 3-2 victory. He was named IL MVP in 1950.
The book "Silver Seasons" details the macthup between Poholsky and Jersey City's Andy Tomasic on August 13 at Red Wing Stadium.
"Two pitchers....22 innings, including 20 stratight scoreless by both men...at the time, the longest game in franchise histroy. the game was tied at 2-2 after two. in the bottom of the 22nd, 3B Don Richmond drilled a Tomasic pitched into the right field corner that scored shortsop Dick Cole, ending the contest and making a winner out of 20-year-old Poholsky."
In five seasons with St. Louis, Poholsky posted a 31-52 worksheet with a 3.93 ERA.
BOOG POWELL - Inducted in 1993
Boog Powell was one of the most physically imposing figures ever to wear a Red Wings uniform, and in one season in Rochester, he put up some rather imposing numbers. The 6-foot- 4, 230-pounder led the International League with 32 home runs and paced the team with a .321 batting average and 92 RBI in 1961. Called up by Baltimore late in the '61 campaign, he spent the next 14 seasons playing first base for the Orioles, a key member of one of the dominant Major League teams of the era.
GEORGE PUCCINELLI - Inducted in 1999
This hard-hitting outfielder spent parts of three seasons with the Red Wings from 1931-1933. He hit .295 with 16 home runs and 73 RBI as the Red Wings captured the International League Pennant and Junior World Series in 1931. "Push 'em up" followed his stellar 1931 campaign with an even more impressive season in 1932 when he set a Red Wings record by hitting .391 while swatting 28 home runs and amassing 115 RBI. His 31-game hitting streak set in 1932 remains a franchise record.
DON RICHMOND - Inducted in 1990
Richmond left a distinctive mark on the Red Wings record book during his six-year career from 1949-54. His 857 hits rank third all-time, while his .327 career average and 374 RBI are both good for the fifth spot on the all-time Red Wings charts. He won back-to-back IL batting titles, hitting .333 in 1950 and .350 in 1951, and never hit below .296 during his six seasons in a Rochester uniform.
CAL RIPKEN, JR.- Inducted in 2003
Before embarking on one of the most celebrated careers in the history of Major League Baseball, this icon had a stellar season at third-base for the Red Wings in 1981. Playing in 114 consecutive games, before his promotion to Baltimore for good in August of '81, the player they called "Junior" batted .288 with 23 home runs, 31 doubles, and 75 RBI to earn the International League Rookie of the Year honors. In 2000, he was named the third-baseman for the Red Wings All Century Team. In addition to becoming baseball's all-time "Iron Man" with 2,632 consecutive games played, he redefined the shortstop position both offensively and defensively, setting Major League records at the plate and in the field. He is the Orioles' all-time leader in virtually every offensive category, and his contributions in the community are largely unsurpassed as well.
MIKE RYBA - Inducted in 1991
After four seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, and before his six-year stint with the Boston Red Sox, Ryba pitched the 1939 and 1940 campaigns in Rochester. He posted a 2.82 ERA for Rochester, while his 42-20 (.677) record ranks him fifth in winning percentage among Red Wings hurlers.
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