Swap Shop: Pedro Ramos for PTBNL
On September 4, 1964, the New York Yankees looked like they might not repeat as American League champions after four consecutive pennants.
After going 7-10 for the Cleveland Indians in 1964, Pedro Ramos turned into a lights-out reliever for the Yankees in September, going 1-0 with eight saves and a 1.25 ERA in 13 relief appearances.
After beating the Kansas City Athletics that day, the Yankees found themselves in third place, three games behind the Baltimore Orioles and Chicago White Sox. The Yankees had been stuck in third place for nearly a month after leading the league at the end of July. They struggled through a 14-16 August, and were 2-2 thus far in September.
That was about to change in 24 hours.
On September 5, the Yankees announced that they had acquired pitcher Pedro Ramos from the Cleveland Indians for cash and players to be named later. Ramos had started and relieved for the Tribe, and brought with him a record of 7-10 with a 5.14 ERA.
Ramos was a proven innings-eater who had made a career of pitching for bad teams – and mostly losing. He led the American League in losses for four consecutive seasons from 1958 through 1961, when he lost 20 games for the Minnesota Twins. The Twins traded him to Cleveland in 1962, when he posted only the second winning season (9-8) of his nine-year career.
No one in the media saw Ramos as a season saver. But that’s what he turned out to be.
Over the final 24 games of the season, the Yankees would capture the American League pennant by winning 20 games. Ramos appeared in 13 of those games, finished 11 and saved eight games. He was 1-0 with a 1.25 ERA for the Yankees, and his addition, along with the emergence of Mel Stottlemyre following his call-up in August, propelled the Yankees to their fifth consecutive American league pennant.
And best of all, the Yankees gave up nothing for Ramos until after the season. The players to be named later turned out to be two pitchers: right-hander Ralph Terry, who was 7-11 with a 4.54 ERA in 1964, and Bud Daley, a lefty who went 3-2 with a 4.63 ERA in 1964. Essentially, the Yankees traded two pitchers on the downside of their careers for a pennant. No brainer.
There was one downside for the Yankees. Since Ramos was acquired in September, he was not eligible for the World Series. They could have used him, dropping the 1964 World Series four games to three to the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Ramos acquisition continued to pay benefits to the Yankees in 1965. Working exclusively out of the bullpen, Ramos made 65 appearances in 1965 with a 5-5 record and a 2.92 ERA. He finished 42 games and saved 19, eighth most in the league.