Bugs Raymond – Spitball and Alcohol


Raymond developed a spitball in 1906 after laboring with Waterloo Microbes a few years earlier. His new pitch allowed him to have a breakout season in 1907 in Charleston where he was 35-11. Raymond pitched a no-hitter that year, as well, and led Charleston to the pennant.

Five Shutouts Wins -Eleven Shutout Losses

When they Cardinals bought his contract he instantly became the best pitcher on a poor team. He sported a 2.03 ERA and fanned 145 batters for fourth best in the league. In 1908, he threw five shutouts and allowed less hits per game than Christy Mathewson. He also didn’t get much run support as he had eleven starts when the team didn’t get any runs in the game.


Raymond was known for his spitball and got his nickname because of his zany antics on the mound. What might have been a promising career was short-circuited by a perpetual addiction to alcohol. The only manager who could keep Raymond in line for any length of time was hard-nosed Giants manager John McGraw. McGraw picked him up in the Roger Bresnahan trade before the 1909 season, and Bugs won 18 games for him that year.

Drinking Did Him In

However, Raymond could never stay sober for long. McGraw tried everything – including fining him so there wouldn’t be any money left for drinks and hiring a detective to trail Bugs – but nothing worked. In addition, Raymond had a subpar performance on the mound in 1910, going 4-11. He was released midway through the Giants’ 1911 pennant-winning season.

He tried pitching in the United States League for the Cincinnati Pippins in 1912 but that didn’t go well. Also, with a drinking problem, he got into many fights and he died at the age of 30 when he had his skull fractured in a Chicago fight.

For the Cardinals he wasn’t good but the best they could put on the mound. He played in 1907 and 1908 with a 17-29 record but a good 1.97 ERA. In 389 innings pitched, he allowed 292 hits, walked 116 and fanned 179 batter.

“What a terrific spitball pitcher he was. Bugs drank a lot. He didn’t spit on the ball, he blew his breath on it and the ball would come up drunk.” – Rube Marquard (1965)


Great article about Bugs Raymond here.