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Forgotten Gems From the Baseball Diamond

March 05
09:13 2021

Forgotten Gems From the Baseball Diamond

Amos Rusie

By John Christian Hopkins

When fans start talking about the greatest baseball players of all-time, they always place more emphasis on players from their generation.

The more years that slip by, the older players seem less and less relevant. Here are some of those long forgotten gems from yesteryear.

AMOS RUSIE (1889-1901): Rusie was known as the Hoosier Thunderbolt because of his blazing fastball. Even the legendary Walter Johnson thought Rusie was the fastest ever. His career was short – 10 years – but he won 246 career games, including four straight 30-win campaigns. He won 20 games in eight of his ten years. An arm injury curtailed his career and he retired at age 30.

GAVVY CRAVATH (1908-1918): Clifford “Gavvy” Gravath was the Babe Ruth of his time. He won six home-run titles in his 11-year career. Playing in an era when a leagues top home-run hitter might manage a half dozen round-trippers, Cravath astounded the baseball world by whacking 19 homers in 1913 – and did the same in 1914. In 1915 he cemented his status as the slugger of his time with 24 homers. Cravath’s last year as 1920, that was when the New York embraced a new Sultan of Swat; some fellow named Ruth.

KID NICHOLS (1890-1900): If you travelled back in time and asked a baseball fan in 1900 who the greatest pitcher of all-time was there would be a good chance that they would say Charles Augustus “Kid” Nichols. In his rookie year Nichols won 27 games and followed that up with four consecutive 30-win seasons. After winning 27 games in 1895 Nichols than piled on three more 30-win campaigns. He ended his career in 1900 with 362 career win, second only to Pud Galvin at the time. But there was another pitcher who began his career in 1890 and ended it in 1911 with 511 wins – and a pitching award named in his honor.

BILLY HAMILTON (1888-1901): “Sliding Billy” was a demon on the basepaths. During his 12-year career he averaged 93 steals a year! He won five stolen base titles in his 14-year career – topping 100 four times, and 97 in another. Hamilton was a master at reaching base with a .344 lifetime average and a career .455 on-base percentage. In 1891 Hamilton became part of the greatest hitting outfield of all-time – alongside Ed Delahanty and Sam Thompson. All Hall of Famers.

ADDIE JOSS (1902-1910) (Featured Photo): Joss is unique. Hall of Fame rules say a player must play at least 10 years to be eligible. Joss won 160 games during his nine seasons in baseball. He died from tubercular meningitis just two days after his 31st birthday. His career ERA on 1.89 is still the second best all-time. Beloved by teammates and foes alike, a charity game between the Cleveland Naps and American league stars raised nearly $13,000 for the pitcher’s family. The game included a pitching match-up of Cy Young vs. Walter Johnson, and featured future Hall of Famers, Ty Cobb, “Wahoo Sam” Crawford, Tris Speaker and Eddie Collins. Addie Joss had the 2nd of only 14 perfect games in the 20th Century.

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