Player Spotlight: Charles Radbourn

Charles “Old Hoss” Radbourn was born on December 11, 1854 and made his major league debut in 1880 for the Buffalo Bisons.  During his career he played for the Bisons, Providence Grays, Boston Beaneaters, Boston Reds, and finished with the Cincinnati Reds back in 1891.  Radbourn holds the record for the most wins in a single season for a pitcher with 60, although many baseball historians say he won 59.  I highly doubt that any pitcher today will ever reach a milestone like that.  Even though his career lasted for only 11 seasons, Radbourn was able to obtain 310 victories.  In 1939 he was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  Many people speculate that the term “charley horse” came from Charles Radbourn, because he suffered from the same type of leg pain.  

Charles Radbourn does have a few cards that collectors can add to their collection.  Probably his most popular cards would be the 1887-90 N172 #427 Old Judge, and 1887-90 N172 #426 .  The Old Judge tobacco cards were some of the first mass produced cards in history, and are usually quite expensive even if the player isn’t a Hall of Famer.

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When researching old players like Radbourne, you come across a lot of interesting information.  Did you know that Charles Radbourne was the first person ever photographed giving the middle finger?  I know, I laughed too when I learned this.  Radbourne did this during a team photo back in 1886.  Can you imagine if that image would have been used for a card?  That sure would have been the Billy Ripken of the 19th century.

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