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Ralph Worrell

 

Date and Place of Birth: August 20, 1897 Carroll County, VA
Date and Place of Death:    November 4, 1918 Charlottesville, VA
Baseball Experience: Minor League
Position: Pitcher
Rank: Private
Military Unit: Students’ Army Training Corps US Army
Area Served: United States

Ralph Worrell won 25 games his rookie year with the Baltimore Orioles and great things were expected of the youngster, but before the year was over he was dead.

Charles R. “Ralph” Worrell was born on August 20, 1897 in Carroll County, Virginia. He attended the College of William and Mary, and the left-hander was pitching for Pulaski Works, the semi-pro team of the General Chemical Company in Pulaski, Virginia, in 1917.

Attracting attention for his outstanding performances on the mound, Worrell was signed by the Baltimore Orioles of the Class AA International League for the 1918 season. He was a sensational success in his rookie year with 25 wins against 10 losses. On May 14, he beat Rochester 7-1, allowing just four hits. “Ralph Worrell, the Oriole twirler,” declared the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, “certainly had the goods today. He deserved a shut-out over Rochester in the opening contest of the series, but a muff by Mulvey permitted a run and the count was 7 to 1. The four hits gathered off Worrell were not of the honest-to-goodness sort. They were scratchy and up to the eighth only one man had reached the initial base as a result of a safe drive. Despite the fact that he issued four passes, the local twirler had splendid control when danger threatened. His curve ball, especially, a puzzling slow one, had the lads from the Empire State popping, twelve batters dying by the aerial route. This slant, mixed in with the fast one, gave the lanky Virginian a splendid change of pace, for he threw everything with a big motion.”

On August 17, he also showed his iron-man qualities by hurling both ends of a double header against Jersey City, beating them 6-2 and 10-3. In all, he made 40 appearances, pitching 321 innings for a 2.24 ERA.

Orioles’ manager, Jack Dunn, predicted a bright future for the youngster but Worrell was in military service before the summer ended, a private in the Students’ Army Training Corps (SATC). As America entered World War I, the U.S. War Department had inaugurated the Students’ Army Training Corps, a program designed to use existing colleges and universities as training facilities for new military personnel. Private Worrell was stationed at the Automobile Training School at the University of Virginia when he contracted influenza. Aged just 21, he died on November 4, 1918, and is buried at Newbern Cemetery in Dublin, Virginia.

Sources
Pulaski Southwest Times Sept 17, 1917
Pulaski Southwest Times Sept 21, 1917
Pulaski Southwest Times Nov 21, 1917
Rochester Democrat & Chronicle May 15, 1918
New York Sun Aug 18, 1918
Rochester Democrat & Chronicle Nov 8, 1918

Date Added July 10, 2012

 

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