I thought I knew something about the person I'll be discussing. I remembered researching him a long time ago, but I didn't know what happened then. But now, it's my opportunity to dig deeper about this baseball player who played in the Major Leagues.
He was my 3rd baseball player I researched about. The other two I researched were Dick Harley (also in the Major Leagues, 1897-1903) and Jimmy Dean (Negro Leagues, 1946-1950).
Lewis Elwood Richie (1883-1936) was born on August 23rd, 5 years before Ambler was incorporated into a town. He was the son of Annie and Harry Richie who were well-known citizens in the Ambler borough.
He began playing baseball at an early age, and immediately became one of the best pitchers on his teams.
He played for his hometown in Ambler, then in Doylestown. Form 1903 to 1905, he made it into larger clubs and independent teams in Wilmington, Delaware and Oxford, Pennsylvania. The Williamsport baseball team, a semi-professional team, saw how great Lew was as a pitcher, and decided to sign him to be in their team.
"Richie is a natural born player, being able to fill almost any position on the team except possibly catcher. Has has a strong right arm with all the curves and drops known to the talent. His pitching is speedy and dependable, giving very few bases on balls and seldom striking a batsman. He has a speedy in-shoot, which fools the best batters, and his drop ball is under as perfect control as his other curves. Ambler lovers of the sport have taken interest in watching 'Lew's' record of victories during this and other seasons and are satisfied, with good care and no unforeseen bad luck, he will be able to hold his own in the speedy company for which he is signed for 1906."
- Ambler Gazette, "Ambler Boy For Phillies"
Lew pitched for Williamsport for 2 seasons until he was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1905. He was signed by the Philadelphia National League's J.H. Randall to play in their 1906 season.
His major league debut occurs don May 8, 1906, with the Philadelphia Phillies. He had a modest career with the Phillies as well as with the Boston Doves (known today as the Atlanta Braves). It was until he was traded with Chicago Cubs in 1910, where his career began to really build up. During his first 3 years with the Cubs, Lew won 42 games out of 23 loses!
Fun Fact #1: His nicknames while on the Chicago Cubs team were "Lurid Lew" for playing pranks on the team with fellow Cubs teammate Damon Runyon, and "Lew the Giant Killer" for defeating the New York Giants (known today as the San Francisco Giants) 3 times in 1 week!
His career began to decline after being traded from the Cubs. During World War I in 1918, he registered for the draft as a plumber for the Pennsylvania Railroad.
"Ambler Boy For Phillies." Ambler Gazette. July 13, 1905. http://digitalcollections.powerlibrary.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/wivp-gazett/id/2378/rec/6.
Faber, Charles F. Major League Careers Cut Short: Leading Players Gone by 30. (Jefferson: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2011): 255-256.
"Lew Richie Stats." Baseball Reference. Accessed February 2, 2021. https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/r/richile01.shtml.
Richie, Lew (Elwood Lewis), 1883-1936, Ernie Harwell Sports Collection, Detroit Public Library Digital Collections, Detroit Public Library. https://digitalcollections.detroitpubliclibrary.org/islandora/search?f%5B0%5D=mods_subject_topic_ms%3A%22Richie%2C%20Lew%20%28Elwood%20Lewis%29%2C%201883-1936%22.