View Full Version : Bob Purkey, Reds Pitcher Dies at age 78

Vada Pinson Fan
03-18-2008, 04:11 PM
Just saw this. Another sad day in Redsland.


03-18-2008, 04:17 PM
try this one -


03-18-2008, 04:19 PM
Purkey threw a nice knuckler. RIP to one of the Reds great pitchers of the 50's and early 60's.

Vada Pinson Fan
03-18-2008, 04:40 PM
Purkey threw a nice knuckler. RIP to one of the Reds great pitchers of the 50's and early 60's.

I was too young at that time to remember Bob Purkey pitching but I know from what I've read about the man... he was good.
I second what you wrote, Randy, Rest In Peace Bob. You will be missed.

Sorry about the link not working. This was what it mentioned:

BETHEL PARK, Pa. (AP)—Bob Purkey, who pitched in three All-Star games and one World Series with the Cincinnati Reds (http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/teams/cin/;_ylt=AoOhXCsY7EN3muQ7X_MRVw.pu7YF), has died. He was 78.
Purkey died Sunday, according to the Paul L. Henney Funeral Home.
Purkey had a 129-115 record and a 3.79 ERA over 13 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates (http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/teams/pit/;_ylt=AuZ.2QrRfTcdeI0KL4hpNf.pu7YF), Reds, and St. Louis Cardinals (http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/teams/stl/;_ylt=AmfmZoYOm57RlIfNEylB85Kpu7YF), last appearing in a game in 1966.
He tossed a complete game in the Reds’ 3-2 loss to the New York Yankees (http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/teams/nyy/;_ylt=AoNn_RTbbBCndayTd.b2Tj6pu7YF) in Game 3 of the 1961 World Series. He was used in relief later in the series and had an ERA of 1.64 over 11 innings. The Yankees won the title in five games.
Purkey’s best season was in 1962, when he went 23-5 with a 2.81 ERA and 18 complete games.
Purkey was 103-76 in 217 starts over seven seasons with Cincinnati (1958-64) and was inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame in 1974.

Purkey is survived by his daughter, Candy Holland, and was preceded in death by his wife, Joan, and their son, Bobby Jr.

03-18-2008, 04:43 PM
Talk about bad Karma. I was flipping through my cards, compiling what Reds I had from certain sets, when I realized I have a lot of Purkey cards just a few moments ago.

May he rest in peace.

03-18-2008, 06:10 PM
Purkey was a fave of mine back when I was a kid. As I understand it, he was one of the last few guys to throw a knuckleball as a change of pace in addition to a full fastball-curve repertoire. Plenty of guys used to do that, but somewhere in the '60s the idea took hold that you had to devote yourself to throwing the knuckler almost exclusively, like taking monastic orders...

03-18-2008, 06:39 PM
Bob Purkey always reminds me of my grandmother (who incidently died 41 years ago tomorrow) - she had a parakeet named Purkey - although now as an adult I assume it probably really was named "Perky"; but I thought it was named after the pitcher since she was such a huge Reds fan.

Boy that Reds staff in the 60's was loaded, probably one of the best pitching eras for the Reds (Purkey, Jay, O'Toole, Maloney, etc.)

03-18-2008, 11:24 PM
... she had a parakeet named Purkey - although now as an adult I assume it probably really was named "Perky";

We also had a parakeet named Purkey (or Perky) back in the late 1950's, early 1960's. He used to say, "Perky the turkey." Maybe he had an identity crisis.

Anyway, he was a great part of Reds' history. I remember when he was traded for Roger Craig and my dad told me they had traded a one time twenty game winner for a one time twenty game loser. It made the trade seem a lot worse.

We need Reds37 to chime in here.

03-19-2008, 12:27 AM
Bob Purkey was my favorite Red as a kid. He had that infectious smile and won games. ONe player once said facing Purkey was like going to the dentist. He was a gentleman and a damn good pitcher.

Purkey, as someone already mentioned, didn't throw the knuckler all the time, but boy was he effective, especially in 1962 when he led the league in winning percentage, but didn't win the Cy Young because he wasn't a Dodger named Drysdale. That year, Drysdale was 25-9, but had a 3.59 ERA. Purkey's was 2.81.

He was 17 games in 1958 and 1960 and won 16 in the championship year of 1961.

I was such a fan that in 1986, when I was considering going into the insurance business, I found his agency adress and asked him if he thought going into the insurance business was a good idea. Purkey was a successful insurance agent after leaving baseball. To my surprise, i got a response from him advising me to go into the business and inviting me to visit him sometime at his Bethel Park office. I always planned to do so since my in-laws live in Pittsburgh, but never got around to it. I am regretting that now.

For years I used Purkey's card as an avatar, and I will put it up again, replacing the picture of James Hylton and me. He'll always be my favorite Red. Watching Willie Mays look stupid on one of his floaters is a constant memory.

03-19-2008, 12:54 AM
One moe thing about my hero.

When the Pirates traded Purkey to the Reds, the Pittsburgh press had a field day with the exchange. I may have mentioned this before, but the Charleston, WV paper reprinted a poem about him coming to the Reds as supposedly authored by a Pittsburgh sports writer:

There once was a pitcher named Purkey,
Whose major league future was murkey,
On Thanksgiving Day they'll trade him away,
For two infield vets and a turkey.

Some turkey. He won nearly 100 games for the Reds in only six seasons. We should be so lucky to have a pitcher like him today. Typical Pirate misjudgment.

03-19-2008, 08:03 AM
I was just looking at that 1962 season when Purkey won 23 games. That Reds team won 98 games that season, but finished third behind the Giants (103-62) and the Dodgers (102-63). The Pirates at fourth place won 93 games and all in all, seven of the ten NL teams had winning records.

The staff that year was Joey Jay (21-14), Purkey (23-5), Jim O'Toole (16-13), Jim Maloney (9-7) and Joe Nuxhall (5-0). This is how the staff was listed by baseball-reference.com, but five other pitchers started games that season. I can't recall if the 1962 season is the year about which reliever Jim Brosnan wrote his classic book "The Long Season".

This is also the period of Reds history where I became cognizant of the team - I turned seven the previous December and these are the guys I first knew. These clubs from the early 60's were good teams. The next year, 1963, the first of the Big Red Machine would enter the stage with Pete Rose making his debut. Later that summer, an integral piece, Joe Morgan, would also get a late summer call-up. In Purkey's final season with the club, the Reds would come down to that magnificent (albeit heartbreaking for Reds and Phillies fans) fnish to the 1964 season when the Cardinals clinched the pennant.

We had some sterling starters back then.

03-19-2008, 08:10 AM
RIP, Bob.

03-19-2008, 10:30 AM
The staff that year was Joey Jay (21-14), Purkey (23-5), Jim O'Toole (16-13), Jim Maloney (9-7) and Joe Nuxhall (5-0).

If those late 60's teams would have had that pitching, they would have been hard to beat.