Amos Rusie

Amos Wilson Rusie (May 30, 1871 – December 6, 1942), nicknamed "The Hoosier Thunderbolt", was an American right-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball during the late 19th century. He had a 10-season career in the National League (NL), which consisted of one season with the Indianapolis Hoosiers in 1889, eight with the New York Giants from 1890 to 1898, and one with the Cincinnati Reds in 1901.

He is best known for the speed in which he pitched a baseball. The velocity of his fastball was unknown, but it has been estimated that he threw it in the mid- to upper 90s. He led the league in strikeouts five times, and won 20 or more games eight times. Though he did throw hard, he did not have good control of his pitches, leading the league in walks five times and being seventh all-time among the career pitching leaders in that category. In 1890 he walked 289, the all-time single-season record.

In 1897 one of his fastballs struck future Hall of Fame Hughie Jennings in the head, rendering him comatose for four days before recovery. Rusie's wildness had been a catalyst for officials to change the distance from the pitching rubber to home plate from 50 feet (15 m) to the current 60 feet (18 m), 6 inches. This ruling was made effective for the 1893 season, at the peak of Amos Rusie’s pitching prowess. The distance change did not reduce Rusie's effectiveness, as he led the league in strikeouts for three straight seasons afterward, while also winning what later would be known as the pitching triple crown in 1894. For his accomplishments, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977 by the Veterans Committee.

By Dean Hanley

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