1908: Rucker’s Gem

Nap Rucker

In an otherwise dreadful season, Brooklyn had one ray of sunshine in 1908. On 5 September, Nap Rucker, their best pitcher, tossed a no hitter against Boston.

Rucker’s gem was game two of a Saturday double-header (Brooklyn lost game one). The Superbas (that’s Brooklyn) sent him to the mound with a 14-14 record. He’d pitched well but hadn’t gotten a lot of support from his hitters. The Boston Doves (who are now in Atlanta) parried with Patrick “Patsy” Flaherty, who was 10-14.

Brooklyn put up four runs in the second inning and two more in the eighth to post six runs. Clean up hitting first baseman Tim Jordan went three for three with two runs scored and an RBI and an eighth inning solo home run (his ninth of what would be a league leading 12). Second baseman Whitey Alperman had two hits and scored two runs, while catcher Bill Bergen knocked in two with a second inning double. Rucker, meanwhile struck out 14 while walking none.

The Doves (don’t you just love that nickname?) took advantage of three Brooklyn errors to put men on base, but had no hits. Shortstop Bill Dahlen struck out three times in as many trips to the plate. Flaherty allowed eight hits, walked two, and struck out two.

Flaherty ended the season 12-18 with more walks than strikeouts, while Rucker went 17-19 with a 2.08 ERA,199 strikeouts, and a league leading 125 walks. At the end of the day Boston would was 52-72 and in sixth place. Brooklyn, after this day was 44-78 and in seventh place (next-to-last), 31 games out of first.

It was a long season for both teams, but at least Brooklyn had a no-hitter to its credit.

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7 Responses to “1908: Rucker’s Gem”

  1. rjkitch13 Says:

    If Rucker would have pitched on the Giants, the Cubs, or the Pirates, I think he’d be in the Hall.

  2. glenrussellslater Says:

    Yes, V, the Boston Doves is a cool name. I like it better than the Braves, frankly. Not because I’m being politically correct. I just like the name.

    I also like the Brooklyn Superbas as a name. How was it pronounced? Do you happen to know, V? Is it SOOPerbas, or was it SupERbas, which is more likely and is a much better name? What a cool name. Back then, there really were no official nicknames for teams. The newspaper writers called the team whatever they wanted to call them. I like that a lot. And when you think of it, isn’t that what a nickname is? An “official nickname” is more or less an oxymoron.

    Anyway, nice post. I had heard of Nap Rucker, but I didn’t realize that he had thrown a no-hitter.

    • verdun2 Says:

      As far as I can tell, it’s Su-PER-bas (but don’t take that to the bank). There was a prominent vaudeville act of the era called “Hanlon’s Superbas.” With the Brooklyn manager being Ned Hanlon (he’s now in the Hall of Fame) it seemed a natural nickname.

      • glenrussellslater Says:

        Hey, that’s cool! I didn’t realize the connection between the name Hanlon and Superbas! And, yeah, it makes sense to me!

  3. Jackie, The Baseball Bloggess Says:

    I like the team name Doves, too … I can imagine the mascot (an “angry” dove with a ball cap!) and all sorts of promotions and bobbleheads … and, of course, the tie-in with Dove brand chocolates!

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