Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico is one of my favorite burial grounds. It's right by the ocean and yet, surprisingly, the statues are barely weather-worn. #GraveHour#puertorico#angel
Here lies Ken Raffensberger, one of the unluckiest pitchers in baseball history. Despite excellent control and a reputation as a tough pitcher to hit against, he was stuck on a string of terrible teams. He pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals (1939), Chicago Cubs (1940-1), Philadelphia Phillies (1943-7) & Cincinnati Reds (1947-54).
How unlucky was he? Raffensberger made his MLB debut by throwing a scoreless 9th inning for the Cards on April 25, 1939. It was the only time in his 15-year career he played for a team that finished over .500. He was an NL All-Star in 1944 for the Phillies while leading the NL in strikeout-to-walk ratio and walks per 9 innings — and still lost 20 games. He had just 2 seasons when he pitched the entire year in the majors and won more games than he lost. In each year (1949 & 1952) he led the NL in shutouts. He also led the league in saves once, WHIP once and walks per 9 innings 3 times.
Raffensberger had his best years with the Reds. He won a career-high 18 games for them in 1949 and went 17-13 with a 2.81 ERA in 1952. His SABR bio quoted some of the game’s best hitters, including Jackie Robinson and Stan Musial, stating how hard it was to hit him. He never had a blazing fastball, but pinpoint control, multiple arm release angles and good pitch movement kept batters guessing.
Raffensberger ended with a 119-154 won-loss record, with a 3.60 ERA, 1.258 WHIP, 133 complete games, 31 shutouts, 16 saves, 806 strikeouts and 449 walks in 2,151.2 innings.
Raffensberger briefly was a minor-league manager before moving to York, Pa., where he fished and tended bar in town. He died on November 10, 2002 at the age of 85.
SOURCE: SABR Bio Project