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Ray Narleski

MLB Player information
NameRay Narleski
MLB debutApril 17, 1954 for the Cleveland Indians
Last MLB appearanceSeptember 13, 1959 for the Detroit Tigers
Career statistics
Earned run average3.60
*Cleveland Indians (1954-1958) *Detroit Tigers (1959)

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Raymond Edmond Narleski (born November 25, 1928 in Camden, New Jersey) is a former relief pitcher in Major League Baseball who played with the Cleveland Indians (1954 58) and Detroit Tigers (1959). He batted and threw right-handed. His father, Bill Narleski, was a shortstop for the Boston Red Sox from 1929 to 1930.

In a six-season career, Narleski posted a 43-33 record with 454 strikeouts, a 3.60 ERA, and 58 saves in 702 innings. He made the American League All-Star team in 1956 and 1958.

Narleski was an overpowering pitcher with a blazing fastball which he mixed with a sharp-breaking curve and a change-up that can kept hitters guessing. Unfortunately, Narleski had a simple problem: he was overshadowed by one of the greatest pitching staffs in major league history, the Indians Big Four Bob Feller, Bob Lemon, Early Wynn and Mike Garcia. Nevertheless, in his rookie season Narleski posted 13 saves for the 1954 AL Champions. In 1955 he went 9-1 and led the league with 19 saves and 60 appearances, and in 1957 he finished 11-5 with 16 saves. At this time, he gradually joined the starting rotation.

In 1958 Narleski went 13-10 in 44 games, 24 as a starter. At the end of the season he was sent to Detroit along with bullpen teammate Don Mossi, in the same trade that brought Billy Martin to the Indians. Hampered by shoulder problems in 1959, Narleski finished 4-12 with a 5.78 ERA and five saves in 42 games. He retired for good at the end of the season.

Narleski was selected to the Top 100 Greatest Indians Roster as part of the club’s 100th Anniversary Celebration in 2001.

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