Charles Radbourn

Charles Radbourn
Inducted to the Hall of Fame in: 1939
Primary team: Providence Grays
Primary position: Pitcher

A 19th-Century pitcher who has gained new currency in the 21st Century, Charlie “Old Hoss” Radbourn put together one of baseball’s most unbelievable seasons. He’s pitching’s answer to Hack Wilson, a great player whose one amazing campaign put him into baseball history.

Radbourn had a mercifully short career, considering that in his day, pitchers pitched virtually every day. His statistics are unfathomable by today’s standards. In his rookie season, he went 25-11, 2.43 in 3251⁄3 innings, leading the National League with a .694 winning percentage. He made 36 starts, completing 34 of them. He improved on those numbers in 1882 for the Providence Grays, going 33-19, 2.11 in 51 starts, leading the league with six shutouts and 201 strike-outs in 466 innings. Then he made 68 starts for the Grays in 1883, going 48-25, 2.05 in 6321⁄3 innings.

That merely set the stage for 1884, when he won 59 games while starting—and completing—73 games. He pitched 6782⁄3 innings and struck out 441. He didn’t just produce quantity, but quality as he led the league with a 1.38 ERA.

Radbourn at first took a back seat to the team’s other start-ing pitcher, Charlie Sweeney, and was suspended without pay in mid-July for a fight with Sweeney. But when Sweeney quit the team on July 22, Radbourn came to the team with an offer to pitch every game the rest of the season in exchange for a raise.

There’s some dispute whether Radbourn won 59 or 60 games, but he pitched Providence to an 84-28 team record, first place in the NL and a three-game sweep of the 1884 championship series between Providence and the New York Metropolitans of the American Association.

Radbourn was never the same, slumping to 28-21, 2.20 in 1885 before moving on to Boston of the NL in 1886. He pitched four seasons there, one for Boston in the Players League in 1890, and wrapped up with Cincinnati in the NL in 1891.

He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1939.

"He had wonderful grit and perfect command. Radbourn could throw the ball just where he wanted to, and that was just where the batsman did not want it, for no pitcher ever had the weaknesses of the batsmen who faced him down to a finer point that ‘Old Rad. "
Frank Bancroft

Career stats

ESSENTIAL STATS
Year Inducted: 1939
Primary Team: Providence Grays
Position Played: Pitcher
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Birth place: Rochester, New York
Birth year: 1854
Died: 1897, Bloomington, Illinois
Played for:
Providence Grays (1881-1885)
Atlanta Braves (1886-1889)
Boston Reds (1890)
Cincinnati Reds (1891)
CAREER AT A GLANCE
GamesG
527
HitsH
4328
RunsR
2273
Innings PitchedIP
4527.1
WinsW
309
LossesL
194
Winning %Winning %
.614
Games StartedGS
502
ERAERA
2.68
Complete GamesCG
488
ShutoutsSHO
35
WHIPWHIP
1.149
SavesSV
3
Earned RunsER
1347
WalksBB
875
StrikeoutsSO
1830