Wendel: Amos Rusie, one of baseball’s top fireballers

From SABR member Tim Wendel at The National Pastime Museum on July 8, 2015:

In a perfect world, pitcher Amos Rusie would be remembered as one of the game’s top fireballers of all time—on the Mount Rushmore of fastball pitchers alongside Bob Feller, Nolan Ryan, and Walter “Big Train” Johnson.

Rusie was elected to the Hall of Fame, but in 1977—34 ½ years after he died. If anything, Rusie was baseball’s version of Forrest Gump: a guy who was so often around the action, but whose own accomplishments were overshadowed by bigger events, many of which he helped put in motion.

From an early age, Rusie could throw hard, really hard. Legend has it that he went hunting as a boy without a gun. When the family hunting party once spied a jackrabbit, Rusie took a stone from his pocket and before his father or brother could fire, the right-hander nailed the rabbit in the head.

There are many stories about how Rusie came to star in the Major Leagues. My favorite had Rusie throwing a ball through a wooden fence at the Indiana State Fair. He did it time and again as a barker charged folks 25 cents apiece to witness the feat. Of course, the stunt became part of the game’s lore. Steve Dalkowski, for example, won a bet from a teammate for doing the same thing in the minor leagues.

Read the full article here: http://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/amos-rusie

Originally published: July 9, 2015. Last Updated: July 9, 2015.