Hall of Famer of the Week- Charles Radbourn

Born on December 11, 1854 in Rochester, New York Charles “Old Hoss” Radbourn would become one of the most dominant pitchers of the last 1800’s.  During his 11 year career he pitched for the Buffalo Bisons, Providence Grays, Boston Beaneaters, Boston Reds, and the Cincinnati Reds.  Radbourn collected 309 wins against 194 loses, with a 2.68 era; he currently ranks 19th in most wins all time behind Cy Young’s 511 wins.  Pitching for the Providence Grays in 1884 season was Radbourn’s best season, and arguably one of the greatest seasons in baseball history.  Radbourn started 73 games out of a possible 112, throwing a complete game in all 73, winning 59 against 12 loses, a .831 winning percentage, and posted a 1.38 ERA.  His 59 wins remain the most in a season will most likely never be broken. Only Will White threw more complete games in a season than Radbourn did in 1884.  White had 75 complete games out of 80 games for the 1879 Cincinnati Reds, although he finished the season with 43 wins, 31 losses, and a 1.99 ERA.  Both men posted excellent seasons but Radbourn led his team to the World Series, while White and the Reds finished fifth in the National League in 1879.  Radbourn struck out 441 batters, walking only 98 in 678 2/3 innings during his magical 1884 season.  This brilliant season of pitching won Radbourn the Pitching Triple Crown (most wins, most strikeouts, and lowest ERA); he was just the third pitcher to ever achieve this feat.  The Pitching Triple Crown has been accomplished 38 times since 1877, with Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw both achieving the Triple Crown in the respective leagues in 2011.  Radbourn and the Providence Grays faced the New York Metropolitans in the 1884 World Series, at this time the series was more of an exhibition than a championship.  The Grays swept the Metropolitans in the best of five, three games to zero.  Radbourn won all three games allowing only three runs, all unearned, in 22 innings.  Two of the three victories were against Tim Keefe.  Keefe would go on to win the Pitching Triple Crown in 1888, and be voted into the baseball Hall of Fame in 1964 by the Veterans Committee.  Radbourn was a good player beyond his pitching brilliance in 1884, with a career batting average of .235, including 108 hits in the 1883 season.    In 1939, Charles Radbourn was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee 42 years after his death.

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