Glendon Rusch is a classic case of the left-handed pitcher who sticks around forever in the Majors simply because of his left-handedness (see: Jeff Fassero). Rusch finished his MLB career with a 67-99 career record and a 5.04 ERA, numbers which remained consistently obscure through his 12 seasons in the big leagues. The Seattle-born pitcher made his Major League debut for the Royals in April of 1997, and almost immediately solidified himelf as one of the most mediocre pitchers in baseball. Rusch made 27 starts in that ’97 campaign, going 6-9 with a 5.50 ERA–numbers that would land most young major league starters in the bullpen.
Rusch wasn’t done as a back-end-of-the-rotation hero in KC, though. He followed that rookie season with a dismal 6-15 record, complete with a 5.88 ERA in 24 starts in 1998. Numbers like these would have ended most pitchers’ careers as starters. Yet Rusch managed to stick around through those seasons in Kansas City.
The following three seasons saw Rusch land in New York to play for the Mets, where he was a key cog out of the bullpen for Bobby Valentine’s 2000 team which made it to the World Series. Rusch, by now 26 and in his “prime,” made stops with the Brewers and Cubs. As a Cub in 2004 he put up his most effective season, going 6-2 with a 3.47 ERA, mostly out of the bullpen. Remarkably it would be the only season in which Glendon Rusch put up an ERA better than 4.0. Rusch played briefly for the Padres before ending up in Colorado in 2009. There he went 2-0 in 11 innings out of the bullpen but with an era of 6.75, before being designated for assignment by the Rockies.
Glendon Rusch is one of the true kings of “hanging around” in the Majors. He played independent Minor league ball after his time was up in the big leagues. He’s a friend of OA and today we shine the Obscure Spotlight on him.