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  • Bob Caruthers

    Most who know me here know that I am a HUGE Bob Caruthers support4er and believe that he should be in the HOF..

    Here is a little bio on him:


    Caruthers enjoyed remarkable success from the beginning of his career. In his first six full seasons, the diminutive right-hander pitched for five pennant-winning teams, including three straight with the St. Louis Browns of the American Association. He won 218 games before a sore arm ended his pitching career, but his heavy bat kept him in the game for two more seasons as an outfielder at the end of his career. His winning percentage of .688 ranks him second to Al Spalding among 19th century pitchers.

    Nicknames
    During the 1885 off-season, Caruthers and teammate Doc Bushong vacationed in France, where Caruthers became embroiled in a trans-Atlantic dispute over his salary for the next season. He finally settled for a reported $3,200, but the dispute he waged from overseas earned him the nickname "Parisian Bob."

    Played For
    St. Louis Browns (1884-1887), Brooklyn Bridegrooms (1888-1891), St. Louis Cardinals (1892), Chicago Colts (1893), Cincinnati Reds (1893)

    Managed
    St. Louis Cardinals (1892)

    Stats
    Career stats from baseball-reference.com

    Similar Players
    Greg Maddux, in philosophy. Caruthers was noted for his ability to size up his opponents and to get thim out with his crafty pitching and wits, rather than throwing the ball past them. Citing his wish to throw strikes and let the batters get themselves out, Caruthers once said: "I would rather have the batter hit it... there are eight other men in the game besides myself and they ought to have a chance to earn their salaries."

    Players Linked
    The Browns had two very good pitchers in their pennant-winning days of 1884-1887: Caruthers and Dave "Scissors" Foutz. They were both such good hitters, that when one pitched, the other would usually play the outfield.

    Position
    Starting pitcher (310 games), outfield (366 games), first and second base (22 games).

    Major League Debut: September 7, 1884

    Full Bio
    As a young boy in Memphis, Tennessee, Caruthers was sickly, prompting a physician top suggest he exercise as much as possible. Soon, "Little Bobby" was transforming his fragile frame into a muscular physique. His right arm drew attention on the ballfields of Chicago (where his family moved when he was a teenager), and in 1883 he signed with Grand Rapids. In two seasons in the Northwestern League, the 5'7", 130 pound pitcher won 25 games, earning a late-season acquisition by the St. Louis Browns of the American Association.

    With the Browns, Caruthers flourished, winning an amazing 40 games in 1885 as a 21-year old. Teaming with Dave Foultz, who won 33, Caruthers led the Browns to the pennant. The talented team repeated in 1886 and 1887, as Caruthers added 30 and 29 wins, respectively. Later, with Brooklyn, Caruthers notched 110 wins four years, before a lame arm threatened to end his playing career. Released by Brooklyn, he signed with the Cardinals but was unable to recapture the magic which had given him 218 wins against just 99 defeats.

    Fortunately for Caruthers, he was an excellent hitter, and he latched on with three teams in 1892 and 1893 as an outfielder. For his career, the left-handed batter hit .282 with 29 homers. In 1886 (.334) and 1887 (.357), he hit over .300 while still using his pitching arm to win 59 games.

    Feats
    On August 16, 1886, Caruthers became the first pitcher to collect four extra-base hits in a game. He clubbed two homers, a triple, and a double, but lost the game 11-9 when he was tagged out at home plate in the ninth when he tried to stretch his triple into a homer.

    Best Season, 1885
    Not only did he go 29-9 with 39 complete games in 39 starts, but he also batted .459 (.357 without countin walks as hits, as they were then) and stoled 49 bases.

    Best Strength as a Player
    Control

    Largest Weakness as a Player
    His physique, which hampered his durability. He did not pitch after the age of 28.

    Source
    "There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem - once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit.
    ~~Al Gallagher


    God Bless America!

    Click here to see my baseball tribute site!

    Click here to see the best pitcher NOT in the HOF!

    sigpic

  • #2
    A little more

    Caruthers is among the all-time leaders in winning percentage at .692. He won 40 games twice, posting league-leading marks of 40-13 (1885) and 40-11 (1889) while pacing his teams to pennants. He pitched a four-hitter in his September 1884 major league debut with the St. Louis Browns of the American Association. Considered a heady pitcher who figured out batters' weaknesses, he helped the team to three straight pennants. He earned his nickname when he traveled to France after the 1885 season and engaged in a trans-Atlantic salary battle, settling for the then-huge sum of $3,200.

    Caruthers also became a good hitter, and in 1887 he had an amazing season. Playing 54 games in the outfield and 7 at first base in addition to his 39 pitching appearances, he overcame malaria to hit .357 (fifth in the AA) and slug .547 (second) with eight HR (tied for fourth) and 59 stolen bases. He also went 29-9 as a pitcher and won four of St. Louis's five postseason victories in a traveling 15-game series. Despite all this, eccentric owner Chris von der Ahe sold him to the Brooklyn Bridegrooms of the AA after the season for $8,250. Von der Ahe blamed carousing and card playing for his team's defeat in the series, and Caruthers, an expert billiards and poker player, was just one of several scapegoats sold off.

    Signing for a $5,000 salary that made him the highest-paid player in the AA, Caruthers earned it by helping the theretofore pathetic Bridegrooms to second place. In 1889, playing only five games elsewhere than the pitching box, his 40-11 season gave Brooklyn its first pennant.

    Caruthers was the fourth pitcher in ML history to homer twice in one game, on August 16, 1886; in the same game, he got a triple and a double, to become the third pitcher with four extra-base hits in a game. He lost 11-9 when he was tagged out in the ninth inning trying to stretch his triple into a third HR. In 1893, when the pitching distance was moved back to 60'6" from the former 50', he had a sore arm and only played outfield. It was his last major league season, although he played until 1898 in the minors. (SFS)

    Source
    "There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem - once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit.
    ~~Al Gallagher


    God Bless America!

    Click here to see my baseball tribute site!

    Click here to see the best pitcher NOT in the HOF!

    sigpic

    Comment


    • #3
      Some of a letter I wrote to MLB

      I am writing to express support for the election of Bob Caruthers for entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
      Mr. Commissioner, as a fan of Major League Baseball, I am asking that you please correct the injustice done to this man by the members of the Hall of Fame committee for overlooking a most qualified baseball player.
      I am sure you are well aware of Mr. Caruthers playing stats, which include:
      His winning % of 688% is 6th best ever

      298 complete games (42nd best ever)

      218 wins (72nd most ever)

      He had a career ERA of 2.83 and the AA/NL ERA's in the years Caruthers played was 3.50.

      Won 40 games 2 times, which led the league and won the ERA title once.

      Pitched in 18 postseason games pitching 147 innings and sporting a good 2.51 ERA.
      He led the league in OB%, OPS+, and OPS in 1886.

      He led all pitchers in BB/9IP and Shutouts in 1889.

      He led the league in W/L% four times in nine years.

      Was in the top 5 in BA twice.

      Scores a 137 on the HOF monitor (average HOF’er scores around 100)

      In my opinion, Caruthers is more deserving of entry into the Hall over some guys currently in such as Stan Coveleski, Jack Chesbro and Clark Griffith.

      If he wasn't better than the 3 mentioned he was at the very least as good in my opinion.
      I realize that there is often a mistake of Caruthers playing 9 seasons and needing 10 to qualify but in reality, although he did pitch for only 9 seasons, he did in fact play another season in 1893 after his pitching career was over.
      "There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem - once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit.
      ~~Al Gallagher


      God Bless America!

      Click here to see my baseball tribute site!

      Click here to see the best pitcher NOT in the HOF!

      sigpic

      Comment


      • #4
        good stuff, very interesting
        "Statistics are used much like a drunk uses a lamp post: for support, not illumination."
        -Vin Scully

        Comment


        • #5
          Brooklyn’s nickname was changed in 1889 to the Bridegrooms when Caruthers and three teammates were married prior to the season. Caruthers was one of the men who penned his signature to a letter in 1887 to club owner Chris Von der Ahe stating their refusal to play against black men. When the pitching distance was expanded to 60’6” in 1893, Caruthers left the mound and slid to the minors.

          Playing in the minors through 1898, Caruthers eventually turned to umpiring. In 1902 and ‘03 he did so for Ban Johnson in the American League. While umpiring in the Three-I League in 1911, he fell ill at midseason and passed away in August at age 48.

          Dave Foutz teamed with Bob Caruthers to win 198 games (99 each) for Charles Comiskey’s American Association champion St. Louis Browns from 1885-87.

          Comment


          • #6
            How this man has been denied entrance to the Hall of Fame is beyond me...

            Numbers don't lie, even if they are "only above average"


            Simply amazing, Bob is the third guy I've read about in this forum who rightfully deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame!
            Best posts ever:
            Originally posted by nymdan
            Too... much... math... head... hurts...
            Originally posted by RuthMayBond
            I understand, I lost all my marbles years ago

            Comment


            • #7
              As Guru well knows, I am equally rabid about his prowess, and there is no question that he belongs in the hall. I'm adding here a post a made over on the Netsports forum that delineates Caruthers' early career. The reason I'm putting it here here is that it also otulines a bit of the careers of three other men who have been excluded from the hall- Tip O'Neill, Arlie Latham, and Chris Von der Ahe. O'Neill belongs as a player, including both his AA time and his time with the Canadian champs from his teen years till he moved to the AA. Latham as a player/pioneer combo. Von der Ahe for pushing the boundaries of baseball as a public entertainment spectacle.

              This is what I wrote:

              Chris von der Ahe and the fabulous St. Louis Browns.

              Chris von der Ahe, roughly 30, ran a saloon out of the back of his grocery, until he bought the bankrupt St. Louis franchise in 1882 for $1800. He did so not out of any love of the sport, but because his bar was full after every local game and he figured he’d make a few bucks (he made hundreds of thousands pretty quickly, so it was a reasonably wise investment). He got St. Louis into the brand new American Association in 1882 where they promptly finished fifth out of six teams. He figured he’d make cash at games from cheap beer, so tickets were only 25 cents and he soon had the highest attendance in the AA. The team was called the Brown Stockings and then the Browns for the incredibly obvious reason that that’s the color they happened to be wearing.

              “Der Boss President”, as he called himself, was Bill Veeck with a handlebar moustache, and pretty much did anything to increase both his and his team’s exposure.

              He hired an old National Association veteran named Ned Cuthbert (who had also been a pre pro star of the 1860’s) to manage the first season, but midway through 1883, he was replaced by a 23 year old first sacker named Charlie Comiskey (yes, THAT Charlie Comiskey).

              This is where it got good.

              In 1883, it was all pitching as the Brownies shot to 2nd, behind the arms of Tony Mullane and Jumbo McGinnis, but this was der boss president’s team, and like Col. Ruppert would point out 50 years later, who the hell wants to watch good pitching?

              In 1884, they dropped to 4th (out of 13 teams, 8 games out), BUT they got two Babe Ruths, named Tip O’Neill and Bob Caruthers, and some kid named Arlie Latham scored 115 runs in 110 games. What do I mean “two Babe Ruths”? Well, let’s just say that O’Neill and Caruthers were 18-6 between them that year and showed enough promise in every day play that the older O’Neill was moved to the outfield for good despite his 11-4 record and the 20 year old Caruthers just had to double up.

              Then they became a dynasty.

              In 1885, they won the league by 16 games behind the two Babe Ruths (in a more stable 8 team league). Caruthers dominated the league at 40-11 with a 2.07 ERA, and O’Neill hit .350 in an injury shortened season in a league that hit .246 overall (Pete Browning won the batting title drunk at .362). They tied Chicago of the National League in the REAL first World Series (which was created and named by Herr Von der Ahe to make some more money) 3-3-1.

              They took the title by 12 in 1886. Latham hit .301 and scored a (by far) league leading 152 runs, a healthy O’Neill hit .328 and led the league in RBI, but the big daddy was Babe Ruth #2- Bob Caruthers. Now 22, Caruthers was 30-14 on the mound with a 2.32 ERA as the number TWO starter – new boy Dave Foutz – was an incredible 41-16, 2.11 as #1 that year to win HIS pitching titles (his arm died two years later and he carried on as a fair outfielder. Still, Foutz and Caruthers remain 5th and 6th all time in winning percentage (and were teammates for crying out loud!)) but it was still Caruthers’ year in ‘86. Playing right field when off the mound, he hit .334, was first in the league in OBP and second in slugging, and his adjusted OPS of 200 equals that of Musial 1948 and Lajoie 1901. Not bad for the guy who also finished second in the league in ERA. They beat Chicago in the World Series 4-2.

              In 1887, they won their third straight pennant by 14 games over Cincinnati. This was the defining team. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING about these guys was great. They led the league in batting (the team hit .307 in a .273 league) and ERA. Read the next few lines carefully and tell me how many teams have ever been like this- Tip O’Neill truly blossomed and won the triple crown at .435, 14, 123 (yes, you read that batting average right). He also had 52 doubles among his 225 hits, with 19 triples and 30 steals. Oh yes, he ALSO had 167 runs scored to go with his .692 slugging percentage (which demolished the record by 70 points). Latham hit .316 and scored 163 runs more, aided by 129 steals- in fact, the Browns had 6 players with 100+ runs scored and 4 with 100+ RBI. Babe Ruths numbers 2 (Caruthers) and 3 (Foutz) each hit .357, and Caruthers was either second or third in the league in slugging to O’Neill and (possibly) Browning, depending who you ask. On the mound, Caruthers went 29-9, while Foutz “slipped” to 25-12, as 19 year old Silver King (with no pretensions as a hitter) took over the top of the rotation at 32-12. This was arguably the strongest pitching rotation in all of major league history- Matty and McGinnity never really had a third man, did they? In spite of all of this, they lost the World Series to Detroit 10 games to 5 (how weird do those numbers sound).

              Caruthers and Foutz went to Brooklyn in 1888. Not a bright move, but Von Der Ahe was beginning to have serious legal troubles, and for the next ten years, he would solve them by selling off his stars, usually to Brooklyn. In spite of this, the Brownies won their 4th consecutive pennant over the future Dodgers by 6.5 games, as the now 20 year old Silver King ruled the mound at 45-21 with a 1.64 ERA, backed up by Nat Hudson, who, in the only good year of his career, went 25-10, 2.54. The team’s batting average dropped to .250, but still led the league, as did their 2.09 ERA. Comiskey, Tommy McCarthy, and Latham each had over 70 steals (Latham had 109) and 100 plus runs scored, and Tip O’Neill won another batting title, hitting .335 (a drop of exactly 100 points). The Browns lost to the New York Giants 6-4 in the Series (who the hell changed the number of games played every year?).

              St. Louis finished second in 1889, with O’Neill finishing second in the league in hitting at (again) .335, bringing Brownie dominance to an end, but it didn’t have to happen that way. On the final day of the season, St. Louis was playing Brooklyn, with the pennant hanging in the balance, in what became the most controversial closer ever until Merkle’s boner took precedence. The Browns were up 4-2 in the 7th when the weather turned and everything grew dark. The Browns asked the ump to call the game, which would have given St. Louis their fifth straight pennant. The ump refused, so Latham got 12 candles brought to the bench and lit them as a large hint that it was too dark to play. The umpire came over and blew them out. Latham lit them again, and the umpire went ballistic, blew them out again, and forfeited the game to Brooklyn, giving today’s Dodgers their first pennant ever.

              Then the party was over. The Players league killed the Browns’ class act. Only Tommy McCarthy remained of the old gang in 1890- everyone else had jumped. To Mac’s credit, he hit .350 and scored 136 runs while leading the league with 83 steals, but it wasn’t nearly enough as the Browns fell to third. Comiskey and O’Neill came back in 1891 when the Players league folded, and Dummy Hoy joined them, but the pitching was gone, and St. Louis finished second, 8.5 games out.

              The Browns, as one of the AA’s 4 strongest franchises, joined the NL in 1893, but it was as a joke. They never finished better than 9th until Von der Ahe finally sold them (after he had been literally kidnapped by his bondsman to get some damn money) in 1899 (when the became the Perfectos and then the Cardinals), and their 1897 season, at 29-102, was pretty much the worst ever until the Cleveland Spiders taught us how to lose.

              Today, they’re all but forgotten, only Tommy McCarthy (other than future White Sox owner Comiskey) made the Hall of Fame, and that was after going to Boston and teaming up with Hugh Duffy as “the heavenly twins”, and now when you hear the name Browns you think of last place and a lone war time pennant, but those Browns had no relation to the glorious ones- they took the name deliberately trying to conjure up the past.

              But they were great in their day, and they changed the game. Latham was the first ever full time coach and created the third base coach box and position. Imagine the fun he must have had with Von der Ahe sitting behind third base with his beer, binoculars, and whistle, telling his players to physically assault their opponents. The mind boggles.
              "Here's a crazy thought I've always had: if they cut three fingers off each hand, I'd really be a great hitter because then I could level off better." Paul Waner (lifetime .333 hitter, 3,152 lifetime hits.

              Comment


              • #8
                Baseball Fever Hall of Fame

                I'm not sure what the explanation is, and i haven't voted for him yet myself, but in the Baseball Fever Hall of Fame, in the Hall of Fame forum, Caruthers has not received a single vote even though we've been doing this for months and months. I could well be wrong but I couldn't find him listed in the inductees section and he was listed among those players receiving votes. It may be due to Caruther's success was pretty much solely in the AA, but Paul Hines just got in.
                Maybe it's time to stump for him.
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                • #9
                  This has been great reading. Let me argue against Caruthers just for the sake of comparison. The two biggest problems to me is that Caruthers 1) only played in nine seasons, and 2) might not be the most deserving pitcher of his era to be denied entrance to the HoF.

                  The nine year rule thing is arbitrary, but the only pitcher admitted to the HoF who didn't pitch in ten seasons was Addie Joss. I am sure Mr. Joss wishes he had been available to pitch more seasons. Caruthers was clearly done as a pitcher at age 28 as evidenced by his horrible last year.

                  In the 19th century Silver King and Tony Mullane and could argue they are as deserving, if not more so, than Caruthers. Even Nig Cuppy would have an argument to a lesser degree.

                  Don't get me wrong, Caruthers would be an upgrade to the HoF which I would be supportive of, but his resume has some weak spots.

                  Personally, my favorite 19th century guy I would like to see enshrined is Pete Browning.
                  Buck O'Neil: The Monarch of Baseball

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    It can be a little misleading to look at the winning percentages of these guys who played for such dominant teams (Spalding, Caruthers) in the 1800s. These teams had winning percentages unheard of today - the Browns often had around .700 WP. Of course, Caruthers also had excellent ERA numbers and was a superior pitcher, but great run support had a lot to do with his success as well.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      just a side note - what is interesting about addie joss' nine seasons is that he died during spring training of his tenth year - i believe the eligibility rule reads 'ten campaigns' - so technically if you consider spring training as part of a campaign - he did compete in ten

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by KCGHOST
                        This has been great reading. Let me argue against Caruthers just for the sake of comparison. The two biggest problems to me is that Caruthers 1) only played in nine seasons, and 2) might not be the most deserving pitcher of his era to be denied entrance to the HoF.

                        The nine year rule thing is arbitrary, but the only pitcher admitted to the HoF who didn't pitch in ten seasons was Addie Joss. I am sure Mr. Joss wishes he had been available to pitch more seasons. Caruthers was clearly done as a pitcher at age 28 as evidenced by his horrible last year.

                        In the 19th century Silver King and Tony Mullane and could argue they are as deserving, if not more so, than Caruthers. Even Nig Cuppy would have an argument to a lesser degree.

                        Don't get me wrong, Caruthers would be an upgrade to the HoF which I would be supportive of, but his resume has some weak spots.

                        Personally, my favorite 19th century guy I would like to see enshrined is Pete Browning.

                        Caruthers played ten seasons, he only pitched in nine of them. Browning and Barnes excluded from the hall is a crime. Mullane was not nearly as deserving as Parisian Bob- Tony never even led his league in ERA or wins or hardly anything actually, he did do it exactly once in strikeouts, the same year he also led in walks issued, but he could not, by any strecth of the imagination, hit like Bob. Caruthers was a genuine star- and he was the highest paid player in the league because of it. People talk about five tool players, Carythers had SIX with his pitching talent- he could win 30 games, hit .350, score 100, slug .500 in the same year- you cannot possibly tell me that any other 19th c pitcher could do that. Mullane was the Don Sutton of the 1880's. Cuppy actually was a better pitcher, but c'mon, he wasn't in Bob's league.

                        Silver King's career was over at 22- and he could NOT hit. Do you really take Bob's plate talent so lightly? King and co couldn't hold a candle to him.
                        "Here's a crazy thought I've always had: if they cut three fingers off each hand, I'd really be a great hitter because then I could level off better." Paul Waner (lifetime .333 hitter, 3,152 lifetime hits.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Buzz is correct.. If you look at his page on the basebal reference site: http://www.baseball-reference.com/c/carutbo01.shtml
                          you will notice that in his 10th season, although he didnt play many games, he played in the OF and never pitched in a game.. This is a common misconception with people, which gets brought up to me all the time when talking about him in the HOF...
                          "There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem - once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit.
                          ~~Al Gallagher


                          God Bless America!

                          Click here to see my baseball tribute site!

                          Click here to see the best pitcher NOT in the HOF!

                          sigpic

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Buzzaldrin
                            Do you really take Bob's plate talent so lightly? King and co couldn't hold a candle to him.
                            Caruthers is a .282 career hitter with a .391 obp%.. He also stole 152 bases...

                            Hows this for a season:

                            In 1886 he won 30 games- 5th in the league
                            Had a 2.32 era- 2nd in the league
                            1.056-WHIP- 2nd in the league
                            .682 Winning %- 2nd in the league

                            .448 obp%- 1st in the league
                            .527 slugging %- 2nd in the league
                            .974 ops- 1st in the league

                            The guy did it all from both the plate and the mound...
                            "There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem - once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit.
                            ~~Al Gallagher


                            God Bless America!

                            Click here to see my baseball tribute site!

                            Click here to see the best pitcher NOT in the HOF!

                            sigpic

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The next year he actually OPS'd OVER 1.000 and stole 49 bases while winning 29 games.

                              Comment

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