Old York lefty Ken Raffensberger remembered young Brooks Robinson
Ken Raffensberger, seen in this York Daily Record/Sunday News file photo, did not play for William Penn High School because the school did not have a baseball team during his tenure. Information with the photo states: Raffensberger left high school after his junior year and played for American Legion Post 127. The St. Louis Cardinals signed the lefty in 1937. He threw four one-hitters and 31 shutouts in his 15-year major league career. His pro career ended with the York White Roses in 1955, and rookie Brooks Robinson was one of his teammates.
When Ken Raffensberger, York County-born former Cincinnati Reds’ pitcher, died in 2002, sports editor Chris Otto linked the left-hander with the White Roses.
After a long major-league career that included the hurling of four one-hitters, Raffensberger almost finished as a Baltimore Oriole.
After playing with a team in Havana, Cuba, in 1955, he returned to York and played with the White Roses.
“That was the year Brooks Robinson played here and the Orioles came up for an exhibition game. I pitched and we whupped them something awful (13-1)…,” Raffensberger explained in 1986. “I figured that game might earn me a contract with the Orioles but they had committed themselves to a youth movement.”
About that exhibition game, The Gazette and Daily wrote that the Roses, “humiliated the so-called big league club.” … .
Raffensberger was one former player who had no regrets about his lot his life.
“I can’t complain. Baseball’s been good to me,” he said in 1986. “At my peak I was making top scale wages at the time, was included when the players’ pension fund was created, and have been receiving checks regularly since I was 50, with increases every year.
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