Random Athlete Of The Day- Old Hoss Radbourn
The game of baseball has greatly evolved since its inception in the mid-19th century. Back in those days, if someone hit five home runs in a season they were considered a power hitter. Starters pitched in a four man rotations and relieved on the days they weren’t starting. The idea of pitch counts was almost as ridiculous as Bobby Valentine’s claim that the Red Sox can still make the playoffs. You get the picture.
Today, we pay tribute to one of the classiest players in the league before the start of the live-ball era. Charles Gardner Radbourn was born on December 11, 1854 in Rochester, New York. However, he did not go by the name Charles, Chuck or Charley. No, this legend of a man was known as Old Hoss. Now that you’re done digesting how awesome that is, it’s time to point out that Old Hoss didn’t just have a legendary name. He was pretty good at baseball too.
Despite making his major league debut when he was 26 years old, Old Hoss was a 25 game winner with the Providence Grays of the National League during his rookie campaign in 1881. Over his next two seasons, he would produce a record of 81-44 over 130 games (119 starts) with a microscopic 2.07 ERA in 1098.1 innings. Not to mention he completed 116 of those starts. Old Hoss finished what he started.
While Old Hoss was a force to be reckoned with during each one of his eleven years in professional baseball, his best season came in 1884. Old Hoss started 73 games and completed ALL of them, including eleven shutouts. He pitched 678.2 innings and struck out 441 men, while walking only 98. To put that into perspective, Gio Gonzalez had 91 walks last season in 202 innings. However, what was most impressive about 1884 for Old Hoss was his won-loss record. He went an astounding 59-11. Fifty-nine wins. C.C. Sabathia, known as one of the most durable pitchers in baseball (recent DL stint notwithstanding), won 59 games in his first THREE seasons with the Yankees. That, ladies and gents, is a hard thing to do.
Old Hoss finally answered opposing batters’ pleas for mercy and retired in 1891. He won 309 games throughout his career and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1939 by the Veterans Committee. The world lost a giant of a man on February 5, 1897, when Old Hoss died in Illinois. It has been rumored that Old Hoss helped usher in the Jazz Era and that he invented the Internet. If you are interested in learning more about how legendary Old Hoss Radbourn is, follow him on twitter: @OldHossRadbourn