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Don Carlos Patrick “Pat” Ragan

Don Carlos Patrick “Pat” Ragan (1885-1956) holds a Major League record that will never be broken. It can only be tied. On the last game of the 1914 season the burly right-handed pitcher from Blanchard, Iowa struck out three Boston Braves hitters in the eighth inning on nine pitches. The first two batters never offered at the ball, while the third batter took three healthy swings, and missed on all three. To the delight of the cheering and laughing fans, Ragan hammed up his perfect inning by tossing his hat and bowing to the fans.

Playing in an era when ballplayers tended to stay with the same club, Ragan was the exception as he played for seven different Major League teams over his eleven-year career. Even though he posted a losing record for his career (77-104), he showed promise at times, such as when he won nine games in a row in 1913 while pitching for a dismal Brooklyn team. Ragan made his Major League debut in 1909 for the Cincinnati Reds. After pitching in two games with the Reds, he was sold to the defending World Champion Chicago Cubs, where he also appeared in only two games. He spent the rest of 1909 and all of the 1910 season in the Eastern League with Rochester. After posting a 22-13 record over two seasons, he joined Brooklyn in 1911.

Even though Ragan had an overall career losing record, he developed a reputation with Brooklyn of being a “Giant-killer,” meaning he pitched exceptionally well against John McGraw’s talented New York Giants teams. No doubt this was partially why the Boston Braves, after their “Miracle” 1914 season, acquired Ragan shortly after the start of the 1915 campaign. The move bore fruit on June 1, 1915 when Ragan outdueled the legendary Christy Mathewson in a 7-0 victory over the Giants. Ragan enjoyed his best success on the mound over the next four seasons with the Braves. After beginning the 1919 season with the Braves, the New York Giants traded Jim Thorpe to acquire the “Giant-killer.” Ragan only appeared in seven games with the Giants before being released. Looking to add some depth to their depleted pitching staff, the Chicago White Sox signed Ragan. He ended up only appearing in one game for the team that went on to infamy by throwing the 1919 World Series.

In 1920 Ragan was out of Major League Baseball, and he moved to Omaha where he resumed playing for semi-pro teams in the area, which he had done on his way up to the Majors. He also barnstormed in Southwest Iowa with Lefty Williams of the infamous Black Sox. This was just prior to Williams’ ban from baseball due to the Black Sox Scandal. Ragan scouted for the Braves in 1921, and managed the Waterloo, Iowa team in the Mississippi Valley League in 1922. In 1923 the Philadelphia Phillies hired Ragan to work with their pitchers. With the team mired in last place, Ragan made his last appearance in the Majors on July 5, nearly four years after his last Major League appearance. He went three innings and gave up two runs on six hits in the 16-12 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

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