Former MLB, Jefferson County pitcher Richard Rundles passes away

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LIVINGSTON, Ala. (WVLT) -- Former Cleveland Indians pitcher and Jefferson County standout Richard Rundles passed away suddenly Monday at the age of 38.

Taken in the third round (88th overall) of the 1999 MLB Draft by Boston, Rundles pitched in the Red Sox organization through July 2001. He made the South Atlantic League All-Star team before being traded to the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals at the 2001 deadline.

Rundles was the son of former Carson-Newman baseball coach Gary Rundles, who has been the head coach at the University of West Alabama for the last 18 seasons. The elder Rundles guided the Eagles to a Division II College World Series berth in 1999, earning Conference, Region, and Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association Coach of the Year honors.

Richard Rundles gained his first coaching experience with the Lancaster Barnstormers from 2014 to 2016, serving as the pitching coach. He also served as interim manager for two months during the 2016 season.

Rich Rundles joined the West Alabama staff as operations manager and pitching coach in the fall of 2017 after serving for a season on the UWA baseball staff as a volunteer assistant coach.

He was able to climb as high as Double-A Harrisburg before joining the St. Louis Cardinals organization in 2006, where he played half the season with AA Springfield and then half the season for the New York Mets Double-A affiliate Binghamton.

Rundles was in the Cleveland Indians organization from 2007-09, playing the 2007 season in Double A Akron and Triple A Buffalo. In 2008 he was the lone player from Buffalo to play in the AAA All-Star Game before being called up to the Major Leagues in September 2008 with the Indians.

He split time between the big league Indians and AAA Columbus in 2009 before injuries began to wreak havoc on his playing career.

He appeared in nine Major League games, posting a 1.50 earned run average. Through 836 minor-league innings, Rundles compiled a 3.39 ERA.

Visitation begins at 1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20 with a memorial service to follow at 2 p.m. at Livingston (Alabama) First Baptist Church. An additional service and interment will be in Jefferson City at a day and time still to be determined.

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