By Kevin Koehler
Delano State Tournament Board
This story and several more are featured in the 2019 MBA Class B and C state tournament program. Be sure to pick up a copy of the program at one of the three sites this weekend.
In 1946, Mike Rux was dominating high school opponents and tossing no-hitters. Picking up a baseball for the first time as a freshman in high school, Rux found he had a knack for bringing the heat. Hanover town team had him pitching for them when he was just 14. A tall left-hander who threw hard and had good movement on his fastball made him special. Add the fact that he was just wild enough to ensure that batters did not dig into the box comfortably made for an effective combination on the mound.
Nyle Sipe was the manager of the Rockford town team where Rux attended high school. Watching him dominate high school batters with ease Sipe knew he needed to add Rux to his staff. Sipe offered cases cases of Grain Belt beer in trade for the rights to Rux. The offer was agreed to, and Rockford had a new ace. At age 15, he pitched his first game for Class A Rockford, defeating Loretto 5-3 striking out 14 batters and limited them to only five hits.
In 1949, he was the ace of the Rockford staff which won the Wright-Hennepin regular season championship, only to lose in the league playoffs to Rogers, denying them a chance to advance to state.
In May of 1950, Rux was part of a combined no-hitter versus Corcoran. This was the first of six no-hitters he threw in his townball career. Rux had scouts from the Boston Braves, Chicago White Sox, St. Louis Cardinals contacting him. Even the powerhouse Yankees of the 1950s sent a letter from Lee MacPhail expressing their interest in Rux.
In 1954, Rux was playing for Buffalo. They battled Howard Lake in the Wright Star League for the right to advance to the Minnesota state tournament. In the league playoffs Rux pitched all three games, leading Buffalo to a series victory, winning two of three games. In the three games he pitched, Rux allowed only nine runs on 20 hits while striking out 37 batters. Rux’s favorite battery mate was Dave Dillon, who he was with while playing for Buffalo. Dillon has a cannon for an arm and Rux was sure to duck anytime a runner dared attempt swiping second. Rux was no slouch at bat either, when not pitching Rux often played left field and batter well over .300 multiple seasons.
From 1955-57 Rux’s career was placed on hold while he served his country in the Army.
The 1958 season saw the return of Rux to Rockford. On July 31 Rux pitched 14 innings versus Albertville, striking out 25 batters as the game was suspended due to darkness.
In the late 60s Rux was also part of the pitching staff that took Loretto to the state tournament in 1969.
In all, Rux pitched from 1948-1973, with four different clubs. If his team did not make the state tournament he was drafted by a local team that did. In recognition of his overall play Rux was elected to the North Star League Hall of Fame in 1994.