Old Hoss Radbourn was elected into the
Hall of Fame for his all-around ability
on the baseball field, among other
great qualities and records.
By the end of the season, Old Hoss had logged so many innings he could scarcely lift his arm to comb his hair. Never again was he much more than an average hurler, but his Hall of Fame plaque nonetheless says that he was the "greatest of all 19th-century pitchers."
There is no disputing that Charles Gardner Radbourn (1854-1897) was the game’s supreme pitcher -- for one year anyway -- although no one would have predicted it as late as July 1884. On July 16, in fact, he was suspended without pay by Providence Grays manager Frank Bancroft for a combination of drunkenness and lack of effort.
When the club’s other pitcher, Charlie Sweeney, jumped to the Union Association, Bancroft was forced to reinstate Radbourn. Hoss returned on two conditions: that he receive his release at the season’s end and that he be allowed to pitch every game in the meantime in return for a hefty bonus.
Radbourn returned to his hometown of
Old Hoss Radbourn was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1939. The Old Timers voters who selected him remembered him not just for his fabled 60-win season and his 311 career victories, but also for his all-around ability.
Here are Old Hoss Radbourn's major league totals:
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