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Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Todd Ritchie took long road to bigs: Baseball Profiles

Todd Ritchie 1990 Elizabethton Twins card

After spending seven seasons in the minors and essentially missing a year to shoulder surgery, former first-round pick Todd Ritchie finally made the majors in 1997, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune wrote.

Ritchie was just relieved to finally get there, he told The Star-Tribune.

"You put up with other people talking about you, and your friends and family asking why you haven't made it," Ritchie told The Star-Tribune. 'I told them, "It takes time.' Hey, it's been a long road."

Ritchie's long road to the majors led to a comparatively long major league career. He eventually saw time in eight major league seasons and even came close to a major league no-hitter.

Ritchie's career began in 1990, taken by the Twins 12th overall out of Duncanville High School in Texas.

Ritchie started with the Twins at rookie Elizabethton. He went 5-2 in 11 starts, with a 1.94 ERA.  He then moved to single-A Kenosha. He went 7-6 there, with a 3.55 ERA.

That June in 1991, he spoke with The Racine Journal Times about the pressures of being a first-round draft pick.

"I'm improving a lot," Ritchie told The Journal Times. "The stats probably don't show it. But my arm's feeling really good. If I get all my pitches going, I'll be fine."

Ritchie made high-A Visalia for 1992, then AA Nashville for 1993. He then had his shoulder surgery and missed most of 1994. He returned to AA Hardware City in 1995 and made AAA Salt Lake for 16 games in 1996.

He then made the majors with Minnesota in 1997. He saw 42 relief outings for the Twins that year, with a 4.58 ERA. He then saw another 15 there in 1998.

He moved to the Pirates for 1999 and turned starter. He went 15-9, with a 3.49 ERA in 26 starts. He then saw another 31 starts with Pittsburgh in 2000 and 33 in 2001.

In July 2001, Ritchie he took a no-hitter into the ninth inning, before losing it with one out on a clean hit, The Associated Press wrote.

"I'll remember this the rest of my life," Ritchie told The AP afterward. "It's probably the most excitement I've ever felt on a baseball field. The way the crowd was reacting and the way the game was going, I was getting chills at times."

Ritchie moved to the White Sox for 2002 and went 5-15, with a 6.06 ERA in 23 starts. He then saw five starts with the Brewers in 2003 and four outings with Tampa Bay in 2004. 

Ritchie then returned four years later for five final outings in the minors with the Rockies to end his career.

Todd Ritchie 1990 Elizabethton Twins card

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,389
Made the Majors:1,415-32.2-X
Never Made Majors:2,974-67.8%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:576-X
10+ Seasons in the Minors:354

1 comment:

  1. I'm such a goofball--I clicked on the b-r link, and was looking at what teams he played for. I saw "2004 TBD" and my first thought was "To be determined? How do they not know by now?" Of course that's Tampa Bay Devil Rays....