Ruhle had by far his best season as the Astros' number-four starter in 1980, when
the team won its first division title. He went 12-4 with a 2.38 ERA and was the center
of a controversial play in his Game Four LCS start. With two runners on in the fourth
inning, Ruhle fielded a soft liner off the bat of Garry Maddox and threw to first
base for the double play. However, Philadelphia players raced out of the dugout to
argue that Ruhle had trapped the ball. During the argument, first baseman Art Howe
stepped on second base and claimed a triple play. After 20 minutes, it was ruled
a catch, but the triple play, "completed" after time had been called, was disallowed.
Ruhle had a no-decision as the Astros lost in the tenth inning.
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» Vern Ruhle from baseball-reference.com
Houston won the
second half of the strike-split 1981 season, and in Game Four of the divisional playoff
Ruhle matched Dodger ace Fernando Valenzuela with a four-hitter but lost 2-1.
FROM THE BASEBALL CHRONOLOGY
»May 1, 1975: Hank Aaron goes 4-for-4, driving in two runs in the Brewers 17–3 win over Detroit. This brings his career RBI total to 2,211, breaking Babe Ruth's published record of 2,209. His third inning single off Vern Ruhle drives in Sixto Lezcano with his 2,210th RBI. On February 3, 1976, the Records Committee will revise Ruth's total to 2,204; so, in actuality, Aaron set the record on April 18, 1975.
»May 12, 1975: The Royals leave a record tying 15 men on base without scoring in a 5–0 loss to the Tigers. Tiger rookie Vern Ruhle allows 12 baserunners in his seven 1/3 innings, in picking up the win. The 15 runners in a shutout has been done three times before, the last on August 1, 1941. The mark will finally be eclipsed by the Cards in 1994.
»August 30, 1980: Houston veteran Vern Ruhle improves his record to 8–3 by shutting out the Cubs.
»October 11, 1980: In one of the most exciting and controversial games in playoff history, the Phillies tie the NLCS at two games apiece with a 10-inning 5–3 win over the Astros. In the 4th inning, Houston is deprived of an apparent triple play when the umpires rule that pitcher Vern Ruhle had trapped Garry Maddox's soft line drive. In the 6th, Houston loses a run when Gary Woods leaves the base early on Luis Pujol's would-be sacrifice ?y.