Amos Rusie

From BR Bullpen

Amos Rusie.jpg

Amos Wilson Rusie
(The Hoosier Thunderbolt)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 1", Weight 200 lb.

Inducted into Hall of Fame in 1977

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

3c23651r amos rusie.jpg

"You can't hit 'em if you can't see 'em." - John McGraw about hitting against Amos Rusie's pitching

Amos Rusie was one of the dominant pitchers of the 1890s. He won at least 20 games in each of eight seasons playing with the New York Giants, and he notched 36 wins in 1894. He was also the hardest-throwing pitcher of his generation, resulting in his leading the National League in strikeouts five times between 1890 and 1895; however, he may have thrown hard, but he did not always know where: he walked over 200 batters in a season five times, leading the league each year from 1890 to 1894. In addition, he once struck Hughie Jennings with a pitch that knocked him unconscious for four days.

When the Giants tried to cut his salary in 1899, he sat out for two seasons. He was traded to the Cincinnati Reds in 1901 in what is considered one of the most lopsided trades in baseball history. Rusie went on to retire after three games with the Reds. The player the Reds had traded, Christy Mathewson, won 372 games in 17 seasons with the Giants. Of course the trade was not entirely on the up-and-up: John T. Brush, the Giants owner, had devised a scheme to have Cincinnati draft Mathewson from his team, as he had a pre-arranged to then deal the washed-up Rusie to the Reds in order to get the young pitcher back.

Rusie and Dan Brouthers served as night watchmen at the Polo Grounds after they retired from playing baseball. Before that job, Rusie had worked for ten years in Seattle, WA as a steamfitter, and later in life he returned to Seattle, where he eventually died, in complete obscurity.

He is reported to be working piling lumber in a yard in southern Indiana in 1907 for $1.50 a day, when he used to make $150 a game playing baseball. See [1].

Rusie was a forgotten man by the time the BBWAA started Hall of Fame voting in the 1930s. He never received more than 3% of the vote from them. He was eventually elected by the Veterans Committee in 1977. As it was, he barely qualified for the Hall, meeting the minimum requirement of ten seasons only due to his abbreviated final season of three games with Cincinnati. But in spite of that, the numbers he put up in his nine full seasons were outstanding and justify his induction. They would have been even more impressive had he not sat out a full season while in his prime, and a couple more before his unsuccessful comeback in 1901.

He was inducted into the Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979.

He was originally discovered pitching semi-pro ball in Indiana by Jack Glasscock, who served as shortstop and manager for the 1889 Indianapolis Hoosiers part of the season and signed Rusie.

"Words fail to describe the speed with which Rusie sent the ball. ...It was like a white streak tearing past you." - Jimmy Ryan, Chicago outfielder, 1894

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • NL Pitcher's Triple Crown (1894)
  • 2-time NL ERA Leader (1894 & 1897)
  • NL Wins Leader (1894)
  • NL Games Pitched Leader (1893)
  • NL Innings Pitched Leader (1893)
  • 5-time NL Strikeouts Leader (1890, 1891 & 1893-1895)
  • NL Complete Games Leader (1893)
  • 4-time NL Shutouts Leader (1891 & 1893-1895)
  • 20 Wins Seasons: 8 (1890-1895, 1897 & 1898)
  • 30 Wins Seasons: 4 (1891-1894)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 9 (1889-1895, 1897 & 1898)
  • 300 Innings Pitched Seasons: 8 (1890-1895, 1897 & 1898)
  • 400 Innings Pîtched Seasons: 5 (1890-1894)
  • 500 Innings Pitched Seasons: 3 (1890-1892)
  • 200 Strikeouts Seasons: 5 (1890-1893 & 1895)
  • 300 Strikeouts Seasons: 2 (1890 & 1891)
  • Baseball Hall of Fame: Class of 1977

Records Held[edit]

  • Games started, season (since 1893), 52, 1893
  • Games started, right-hander, season (since 1893), 52, 1893
  • Complete games, season, (between 1893 and 1920), 50, 1893
  • Innings pitched, season (since 1893), 482, 1893
  • Innings pitched, right-hander, season (since 1893), 482, 1893
  • Bases on balls, season (before 1893), 289, 1890
  • Bases on balls, season (since 1893), 218, 1893
  • Bases on balls, right-hander, season (since 1893), 218, 1893

Further Reading[edit]

  • David L. Fleitz: "Amos Rusie", in More Ghosts in the Gallery: Another Sixteen Little-Known Greats at Cooperstown, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2007, pp. 168-183. ISBN 978-0-7864-3133-5

Related Sites[edit]