March 15, 2010

Old Hoss was Boss

Yesterday I was contacted by a writer named Edward Achorn, who is promoting a fascinating new biography about one of baseball's hardest working hurlers, Charles "Old Hoss" Rassburn.

In 1884, Rassburn won 59 games, which is roughly the same amount of wins the Pirates have been averaging all season for the last decade.

That same year he pitched 678 innings. That makes Nolan Ryan look like a wimp. Rassburn is thought to be the first man photographed flipping the bird, and would have laughed at today's coddled pitchers and their pitch counts.

Rassburn, a feisty character known to drink whiskey daily, started 73 games in 1884 and finished them all. Which means he threw a complete game almost every other day. Apparently he suffered no ill effects from a hangover.

To top it off, he won all three games of baseball's first world series. And he dated a madame. Take that, Ty Cobb.

Achburn, the book's author, is a Pulitzer Prize finalist for Distinguished Commentary and an editor with the Providence Journal. The book is available on amazon, and more details are available at