||George Napoleon "Nap" Rucker
||1884 - 1970
||1907 - 1916
|Hall of Fame?
||Brooklyn Dodgers (Superbas), entire career
||1911: 22 wins, 2.71 ERA, 190 strikeouts
|Rank on Greatest
Player notes: Nap Rucker was a workhorse lefty
for the Brooklyn Superbas in the early years of the
20th Century. Handicapped by the anemic Brooklyn offense
of his era, he lost as many games as he won (134), but
his quality as a pitcher is evident from the fact the
he bettered the league average in ERA in all but one
season of his career. He pitched in 21 1-0 games, winning
11 of them. All together, 38% of his victories were
shutouts, second only to Ed Walsh in Major Leage history.
He pitched a no-hitter against the Boston Doves on September
5, 1908, and came within one out of another in 1912.
He was known as a Giant-killer, although he actually
had a losing record against them (19-24). It should
be noted, however, that the Giants fielded much better
teams than the ones Rucker played on with Brooklyn.
Known as a hard thrower, Rucker was once matched in
a speed pitching contest with the great Walter Johnson
(Johnson won). He was also credited with developing
one of the earliest versions of the knuckleball.
By all accounts a likable and popular player, Rucker
was a favorite of Brooklyn owner Charles Ebbets, who
called him "one of the greatest men the game has
ever produced- greatest in every way."
In retirement, Rucker returned to his native Georgia,
where he was a successful businessman and also scouted
for the Dodgers. He served as mayor of Roswell, Georgian
for two years during the Depression. He died December
19, 1970 at the age of 86. Though not well-remembered
today, Rucker was one of the great pitchers of the Deadball