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Westside Alum Makes it Big in Professional Baseball

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Westside Alum Makes it Big in Professional Baseball

Darin Ruf's old Phillies' jersey is displayed in the hallway.

Darin Ruf's old Phillies' jersey is displayed in the hallway.

Darin Ruf's old Phillies' jersey is displayed in the hallway.

Darin Ruf's old Phillies' jersey is displayed in the hallway.

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Westside alum Darin Ruf has made a name for himself worldwide for his play in college and pro baseball. Darin is the only Westside alum to play a game in the Major Leagues and is one of three former students to be selected in the MLB draft.

After a very accomplished career at Westside, including a state championship, Ruf took his talents not so far away to Creighton University. His sophomore year he hit a .374 and posted an on base percentage of .463, which earned him the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) player of the year. Ruf led his team to a MVC Championship and an NCAA Tournament berth. He continued his success his junior year when he hit .347 and improved his on base percentage to .487. This earned him an All-Conference honors.  

Ruf’s career at Creighton earned him a selection in the 20th round of the Major League Baseball (MLB) draft by the Philadelphia Phillies. His pro career commenced in the minor leagues, and he continued to play at a high level from 2009 to 2011. Despite his quality play, the Phillies felt that Ruf needed to add another element in his game to become a major leaguer. Ruf did exactly that when he started to hit for power in 2012. Ruf set a Reading Phillies (the Phillies AA team) record when he hit 38 home runs. He also hit 104 RBI’s which convinced the Phillies to bring him up to the Major Leagues for the end of the 2012 season.  

“My favorite moment (of my career) was when my double A manager told me I was getting promoted to the Major leagues,” Ruf said. “It was an amazing moment personally, but I knew how many people family, friends, and coaches had all played a role in the athlete and person I had become. It was a special moment for me to reflect and be thankful for all those people as well.”

From 2012 to 2016, Ruf played in the majors and the minors. To date, his career MLB stats are a .240 batting average with 35 home runs.  

After 2016 he was traded from the Philadelphia Phillies to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers then traded him to the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) Samsung Lions. After the trade to the KBO. Despite the difficulties in moving his family to a foreign country, Ruf decided to travel to Korea to play the 2017 KBO season.

In Korea, Ruf put up MVP numbers in his first season with a .315 batting average, 31 home runs and 124 RBIs. These numbers are very hard to achieve at a professional level, so it seemed the only way Ruf could go in 2018 was down. However, Ruf continued to improve on each statistic as he increased his batting average to .330, with 33 home runs and 125 RBIs in his second season in the KBO. He said he accomplished this despite the challenge of playing in a foreign country.

“On field it is the same game,” Ruf said. “I would say the biggest difference comes in the atmosphere from the fans in the stadium. They are singing, cheering, and dancing all game, every game. The fans are extremely positive and love going to the game. After every game, the players line up on the baselines to thank the fans for their support.”

Ruf said that his goal for the future is to continue to help his team win as many games as possible. He said he has a strong desire to help his teammates on the field, in the clubhouse, and off the field. Each off season, Ruf said he works very hard so he can continue to play at a high-level and help his team win in 2019. He said he hopes to continue his success on the baseball diamond and lead his team to a championship.

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About the Writer
Jack Scioli, Staff Writer

Hi my name is Jack Scioli! I am a staff writer for Westside Wired this year. I am currently a freshman in high school and this is my first year on Wired....

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