- OF, P, 2B, 1B
- Parisian Bob
- January 5, 1864
- 5' 7"
- 138 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 9-07-1884 with SL4
Bob 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.
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.
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