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PASSINGS: Ryne Duren

Ryne Duren, All-Star pitcher, dies at 81

January 09, 2011
  • Ryne Duren helped the Yankees reach the World Series in 1958 and 1960.
Ryne Duren helped the Yankees reach the World Series in 1958 and 1960.

RYNE DUREN

All-Star pitcher

with Angels, Yankees

had blazing fastball

Ryne Duren, 81, an All-Star pitcher who joined the Los Angeles Angels during their first season and whose blazing fastball, occasional wildness and thick glasses provided the ingredients for an intimidating but unpredictable career, died Thursday at his winter home in Florida, his family said. No cause was given.

Duren, who was primarily a relief pitcher, helped the New York Yankees reach the World Series in 1958 and 1960. He led the American League with 20 saves for the Yankees in 1958.

"Ryne could throw the heck out of the ball. He threw fear in some hitters. I remember he had several pair of glasses, but it didn't seem like he saw good in any of them," Yankees Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra said.

Duren played for the Angels in 1961 and '62. He was the first Angels pitcher to strike out four batters in an inning and he struck out seven consecutive hitters during a 1961 game.

Duren struck out 630 batters but walked 392 while playing for seven teams in a career that was plagued by problems with alcohol.

"Baseball did nothing but contribute to my drinking," he told The Times in 1989. "It was a lifestyle. You played ball and you drank after."

Duren, a 6-foot-2 right-hander, was known for throwing at least one warm-up pitch to the backstop on the fly.

He wrote about his alcohol problems in the books "I Can See Clearly Now" and "The Comeback." He later helped start a rehabilitation center.

Rinold George Duren was born Feb. 22, 1929, in Cazenovia, Wis. He reached the majors with the Baltimore Orioles in 1954. He was the winning pitcher in Game 6 of the 1958 World Series against the Milwaukee Braves and was an All-Star in 1958, '59 and '61.

Duren also pitched for the Kansas City Athletics, Philadelphia Phillies, Cincinnati Reds and Washington Senators from 1954 to 1965, finishing with a 27-44 career record.

— Los Angeles Times staff and wire reports

news.obits@latimes.com

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