Profiles of Valor
Throughout its years of existence, the U.S. Air Force has attracted many talented individuals. Keeping this last statement in mind, Red Ruffing is highlighted as a major contributor to both Major League Baseball and the Army.
Born in Granville, Illinois, Charles Herbert Ruffing, better known as "Red," led a Hall of Fame career on the baseball diamond while also serving his country. In 1923, at the young age of 18, Ruffing embarked on his professional baseball career after signing a minor league contract with the Danville Veterans of the Illinois-Indiana-Iowa League. Following short stints in the minor leagues, he would use his remarkable talent to play in the big leagues from 1924-1947. Throughout his career, Ruffing played for the Red Sox, Yankees, and White Sox. Quoting another talented athlete, Hank Greenberg once said; that Ruffing is a wonder. “Always in there winning that important game for you."
To better document his exceptionalism, Ruffing would win seven out of the nine decisions during World Series play on baseball's biggest stage. The ace of a talented Yankees pitching staff during his prime, Ruffing made six All-Star teams and led the Yankees to six World Series Championships. He led the American League in strikeouts in 1932 and wins in 1938. Additionally, Ruffing won at least 20 games each year from 1936-1939. By the end of his long career, he won 273 games while posting an earned run average of 3.80 and 1,987 strikeouts.
Red Ruffing missed the 1943 and 1944 seasons to help his country during World War II and serve in the United States Army. He was drafted and served in noncombat duty for the Army Air Corps during his years of service. Ruffing was discharged in 1945 because he was over the age of 40 and had dependents. He would go on to pitch a few more seasons in the big leagues before finally retiring and staying in the game as a coach. To honor his accomplishments on the field, Ruffing was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame, the Yankees Monument Park, and the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Red Ruffing was the very definition of a world-class ballplayer and patriot.