Flint Rhem
Charles Flint Rhem

Bats Right
Throws Right
Height 6'2
Weight 180

Born January 24, 1901
Rhems, SC
Died July 30, 1969
Columbia, SC


 Year Ag Tm    W   L  PCT.  SV   G  GS  CG SHO    IP     H    R   ER   BB   SO  HR  ERA  lgERA ERA+
 1927 26 MIS   3   4  .429   4  32   0   0   0   39.0             22   17   10      5.08  4.08   80  
 1930 29 MIS   4   3  .571   6  60   0   0   0   72.0             47   10   23      5.88  4.27   73  
 1931 30 HAT  13  11  .542   0  38       1   1  196.0  171   72   72   90   55      3.31  3.62  109 
 1932 31 HAT   7  17  .292   0  28  28   4   3  159.1  181   94   88   80   40      4.97  3.20   64  
 1934 33 HAT   4  14  .222   0  28  28   2   0  172.2  233  133  101   41   67  12  5.26  4.54   86  
  5 Seasons   31  49  .388  10 186  56   7   4  639.0  585  368  330  238  195  12  4.65  3.96   85 
 154 Gm  Avg   8  13  .388   3  50  15   2   1  171.2  157   99   89   64   52   3  4.65 
 Career High  13  17  .571   6  60  28   4   3  196.0  233  133  101   90   67  12  3.31            
 Year Ag Tm    W   L  PCT.  SV   G  GS  CG SHO    IP     H    R   ER   BB   SO  HR  ERA  lgERA ERA+

Shaded Text indicates partial season results.

Appearances on Leaderboards and Awards  

Stats are Year-Value-Rank





January 1, 1928: Drafted 20th round (154th overall) by Mississippi.

Flint Rhem was perhaps the only player in the history of the major leagues to have been abducted, held for ransom and released with no one knowing about it but him. During the heat of the 1930 National League pennant race, Rhem, then a twenty-nine year old hurler for the St. Louis Cardinals, mysteriously disappeared on the eve of a mid-September series with the then Brooklyn Robins (Dodgers).
Charles Flint Rhem was born in Rhems, South Carolina on January 24, 1901. Although he is virtually forgotten today, Rhem was a quality pitcher with a world of talent. He debuted with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1924, and by 1926 he was a twenty-game winner, leading the National League with a 20-7 record. By October, he was a World Champion, led by 39 year old Pete Alexander's dramatics in Game 7.
However, the temptations of Prohibition-era America were too much for Rhem to resist.
The following season, Rhem was roomed with Hall of Fame alcoholic Alexander, ostensibly for the youngster to learn from the pitching great. However, Rhem learned more lessons about drinking, and his record fell in 1927 to 10-12. Rhem was stopped one night returning late to his hotel by his coach and future manager Gabby Street, who inquired about his apparently drunken condition.
"Sarge," Rhem countered, "you can't blame me on this one. I was with Alexander, and I was only trying to drink his share to keep him sober." That was classic Flint Rhem, and his legend was about to turn another page.
On Tuesday, September 16, 1930, the Cardinals were to begin a crucial, three game series with the Robins. Brooklyn led St. Louis by one full game in the standings, and Bill Hallahan was scheduled to start for the Cardinals in the series opener. However, Hallahan slammed a taxi door on his hand and he appeared questionable for the series. Rhem was penciled in to move up one day in the rotation to take the powerful left handers spot .
That morning, Rhem was nowhere to be found, but the Cardinals still beat the Robins 1-0 in 10 innings to move into a tie for first place. The police were notified of the pitcher's disappearance and a search began. The Cardinals ended up sweeping the series, and would winding up coasting to the National League flag.
When the Redbirds returned to their hotel following the extra-inning thriller, Rhem showed up visibly, the worse for wear. According to Rhem, he was standing outside the team's hotel when a car pulled up. Two men, presumably Robins' fans, forced him into the car at gunpoint. His abductors then took him to a house in New Jersey, where again at gunpoint, forced him to drink whiskey all day. Ring Lardner wrote that Rhem continually kept saying to Street, "It was terrible, Sarge, it was just awful."
Dan Daniel in the New York Telegram quoted our ill-starred hero as confessing, "I am ashamed to say that I got drunk. Imagine me getting drunk! I pleaded with the bandits not to make me drink hard liquor, which you know I abhor, but they would not listen to me. I was in their power. I drank and drank – always at the point of a gun, always threatened. It was horrible."
The story got around Brooklyn that gambling interests kidnapped Rhem away in order to give Brooklyn an edge in the series against the Cardinals. The league was poised to open an investigation, but Branch Rickey, business manager of the Cardinals, went to NL president John Heydler to tell him that Rhem's story was nonsense. Heydler wisely chose not to proceed with the investigation.
Undaunted, Rhem could not help police locate the house in New Jersey, nor could he give complete descriptions of the bandits. Nick Altrock, former pitcher and the first "Clown Prince of Baseball," later stated that he rushed into the streets of New York hoping to be mistaken for a Cardinal pitcher by gunmen, bandits, or anyone else who would provide the necessary whiskey.
Many years later, Rhem changed his story slightly. He admitted that he had been out late, but wasn't drinking heavily. He woke the next morning, terribly ill, the source of his illness being a bad piece of steak from the night before. According to Rhem, "Mr. Rickey came by my room..outside in the hall there were a few sportswriters….Mr. Rickey said, 'You look like somebody kidnapped you' and I responded 'call it what you like.' Now that's all I said so help me." Rhem was one of the first athletes ever to lay a strong claim to being misquoted.
Rhem spent the next year and a half with the Cardinals before being dealt to the lowly Phillies in 1932. He had a productive year, going a combined 15-9 with both teams. He never won more than 10 games again, and pitched in the majors until 1936. He was never kidnapped again. Rhem passed away on July 30, 1969. He was 68 years old.

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