Right-hander Amos Rusie pitched for the Indianapolis Hoosiers of the National League (1889), New York Giants (1890-1898) and the Cincinnati Reds (1901), and was perhaps the hardest thrower of his era. Known as “The Hoosier Thunderbolt” because of the speed with which he threw, he was largely responsible for the distance of the pitching mound to home plate being moved from 50 feet to 60 feet 6 inches. In his 10 seasons, he led the National League in wins 4 times (including four 30-win seasons), strikeouts 5 times (including three seasons of 300 or more), 4 times in shutouts, twice in ERA, and twice in complete games (including 20 or more 8 consecutive years). His lifetime totals include a 246-174 record, 1950 strikeouts, 393 complete games, 3778 innings pitched, and 3.07 ERA. In 1894, he had his finest season compiling a 36-14 record, 195 strikeouts, and a 2.78 ERA (league average ERA was 5.32), while helping the Giants to win the Temple Cup. Today, he is unfortunately remembered as the bad side of a trade for Christy Mathewson between the New York Giants and the Cincinnati Reds after his best days were far behind him. During his prime he was possibly the most intimidating pitcher of his time.
He was elected to Cooperstown in 1977 via the Veterans Committee.
May 2, 2015