Jon Rauch

Jon Erich Rauch (born September 27, 1978) is an American former professional baseball pitcher. At 6 feet 11 inches (2.11 m), he is tied with Sean Hjelle as the tallest player in Major League Baseball history. He is also an Olympic Gold Medalist in baseball.

Jon Rauch
Rauch with the Washington Nationals in 2006
Born: (1978-09-27) September 27, 1978
Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 2, 2002, for the Chicago White Sox
Last MLB appearance
May 17, 2013, for the Miami Marlins
MLB statistics
Win–loss record43–40
Earned run average3.90

Early years

Rauch attended and graduated from Oldham County High School. He grew up in Westport, Kentucky. Rauch played college baseball at Morehead State University, where he double majored in physics and business. He was also a member of the social fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon, Kentucky Zeta Chapter.

Professional career

Chicago White Sox

Rauch, weighing 290 pounds (130 kg), was drafted in the third round of the 1999 amateur draft by the Chicago White Sox. He debuted with the White Sox on April 2, 2002.

In 2002, Rauch's first stint in the big leagues resulted in a 6.59 ERA in eight games and six starts. He did not play in the majors in 2003, then returned to the majors in 2004 after a strong Triple-A campaign. However, against major league batters he again posted a high ERA of 6.23. In July 2004, Rauch was traded to the Montréal Expos along with Triple-A reliever Gary Majewski for Carl Everett.

Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals

On August 13, 2004, Rauch hit a home run against the Houston Astros off Roger Clemens, making him the tallest man ever to hit a home run in Major League Baseball. Despite a strong finish to the season in Montreal, Rauch was sent to the minors when the Expos moved to Washington. After putting up better numbers in the minors, Rauch finished the 2005 season with the Nationals, used mostly as a reliever, and going 2–4 with a 3.60 ERA.

In 2006, Rauch had his best season, posted a 4–5 record, a 3.35 ERA, and appearing in 85 games, second most in the NL.

In 2007, Rauch led the Major Leagues in appearances with 88. He finished the year with an 8–4 record, four saves, and a 3.61 ERA. His eight victories led the team in wins, a rarity in baseball for a relief pitcher.

On February 2, 2008, Rauch signed a two-year contract with the Nationals, worth a total of $3.2 million.[1] Before being traded, Rauch spent most of the year as the closer in place of injured Chad Cordero.[2]

Rauch was the winning pitcher in the first game in the history of Nationals Park.

Arizona Diamondbacks

On July 22, 2008, Rauch was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks for second base prospect Emilio Bonifacio.[3]

Minnesota Twins

On August 28, 2009, Rauch was traded to the Minnesota Twins for RHP Kevin Mulvey.[4] He appeared in 17 games for the Twins before the end of the season, posting a 5–1 record with a 1.72 ERA.[5]

On April 2, 2010, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire named Rauch the team's closer, replacing the injured Joe Nathan.[6] On April 6, 2010 Rauch earned his first save as a Twin with a perfect ninth with two strikeouts versus the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in a 5–3 win. Rauch served as the team's closer through August, when the Twins acquired Matt Capps. During his time as closer, he saved 21 games in 25 opportunities.

After the Twins acquired Capps, Rauch returned to his previous role as a set-up man and long reliever.

Toronto Blue Jays

On January 17, 2011 the Blue Jays signed Rauch to a one-year deal worth $3.5M that included a club option for $3.75M in 2012.[7]

Blue Jays manager John Farrell suffered a dislocated jaw while attempting to restrain Rauch from going after umpire Alfonso Marquez during a game on July 2, 2011.[8] Both Rauch and Farrell were ejected from the game.[9]

After pitching in a game against the Seattle Mariners on August 15, 2011, Rauch was taken to a Seattle hospital for an emergency appendectomy. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list on August 16, 2011. At the time of injury, Rauch led the Blue Jays in appearances (with 51), posting a 5–4 record with a 4.47 earned run average and 11 saves.[10]

New York Mets

Rauch with the New York Mets

On December 6, 2011, Rauch agreed to a one-year, $3.5 million contract with the New York Mets.[11] On May 1, 2012, Rauch faced Houston Astros second baseman José Altuve. The 17-inch (432mm) height difference between Rauch and Altuve (5 feet 6 inches) is believed to be the biggest between pitcher and batter with exception of a 1951 publicity stunt in which a 3-foot-7-inch (1.09m) Eddie Gaedel had one at bat for the St. Louis Browns.

Miami Marlins

On February 5, 2013, Rauch agreed to a one-year deal with the Miami Marlins.[12] Rauch was designated for assignment on May 18.[13] At the time of his designation, Rauch had a 1–2 record with an earned run average of 7.56. He was released on May 23, 2013.[14]

Baltimore Orioles

On June 1, 2013, it was announced that the Orioles had signed Rauch to a minor league contract.[15] On July 3, Rauch opted out of his minor league contract. He went 1–0 with a 2.89 ERA in 10 appearances over 9.1 innings, striking out 10.[16]

Kansas City Royals

On January 23, 2014, Rauch signed a minor league deal with the Kansas City Royals with an invitation to spring training.[17] He was released on March 28.

Rauch retired following the 2014 season.

Personal life

Rauch is 6 feet 11 inches (2.11 m) tall, and when he played, was the tallest major leaguer in history.[18] Sean Hjelle, who is the same height, debuted in 2022.[19]

See also


  1. "ESPN – Rauch avoids arbitration, agrees to 2-year deal with Nationals – MLB". February 2, 2008. Retrieved July 26, 2012.
  2. Nobles, Charlie (April 19, 2008). "Until Cordero's better, Rauch to close". Retrieved May 4, 2010.
  3. "D-backs acquire right-hander Rauch from Nats for Bonifacio". July 23, 2008. Retrieved July 26, 2012.
  4. "Twins add bullpen help with Jon Rauch". August 28, 2009. Archived from the original on May 3, 2012. Retrieved July 26, 2012.
  5. "". Retrieved July 26, 2012.
  6. "With Nathan out, Twins name Jon Rauch their closer". April 2, 2010. Retrieved July 26, 2012.
  7. "Blue Jays sign reliever Jon Rauch | News". Retrieved July 26, 2012.
  8. Calcaterra, Craig (July 5, 2011). "John Farrell had his jaw knocked out of place by Jon Rauch". Hardballtalk. Retrieved April 27, 2012.
  9. "Boxscore: Phillies 5, Blue Jays 3". Retrieved April 27, 2012.
  10. "Blue Jays' Rauch undergoes appendectomy, placed on DL". August 16, 2011. Retrieved July 26, 2012.
  11. DiComo, Anthony (December 6, 2011). "Mets revamp 'pen with two signings, SF trade; Amazin's ink Rauch, Francisco, deal Pagan for Torres, Ramirez". Retrieved December 7, 2011.
  12. "Marlins Sign Jon Rauch".
  13. Short, D.J. (May 18, 2013). "Marlins designate Jon Rauch for assignment". NBC Sports. Retrieved May 18, 2013.
  14. Gallen, Daniel (June 1, 2013). "Orioles sign veteran RHP Jon Rauch to minor league deal". Retrieved June 1, 2013.
  15. Gallen, Daniel (June 1, 2013). "Orioles sign veteran RHP Jon Rauch to minor league deal". Retrieved June 1, 2013.
  16. Gleeman, Aaron (July 3, 2013). "Orioles release Jon Rauch". NBC Sports.
  17. "Royals sign Jon Rauch". January 23, 2014.
  18. "". The Washington Post. March 8, 2007. Retrieved July 26, 2012.
  19. "Giants' Sean Hjelle ties record for MLB's tallest pitcher as 6-foot-11 righty debuts vs. Cardinals".
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