Nap Rucker

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Nap Rucker
Born: (1884-09-30)September 30, 1884
Crabapple, Georgia, U.S.
Died: December 19, 1970(1970-12-19) (aged 86)
Alpharetta, Georgia, U.S.
Batted: Right
Threw: Left
MLB debut
April 15, 1907, for the Brooklyn Superbas
Last MLB appearance
September 13, 1916, for the Brooklyn Robins
MLB statistics
Win–loss record134–134
Earned run average2.42
Career highlights and awards

George Napoleon "Nap" Rucker (September 30, 1884 – December 19, 1970) was a sportsperson and politician from Georgia. Rucker was a left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball for the Brooklyn Superbas/Dodgers/Robins. Over his 10 seasons, Rucker lead the league in shutouts, complete games, and innings pitched throughout his career. On September 5, 1908, Rucker became the first left-handed pitcher to throw a no-hitter in Dodger history.[1]

Early years[edit]

Rucker was born in Crabapple, Georgia, to parents Sarah Hembree and John Rucker, a Confederate veteran. He dropped out of school and became an apprentice printer. Inspired by a headline he worked on entitled "$10,000 For Pitching a Baseball", Rucker pursued a minor league career.[2]

Professional baseball[edit]

Minor league[edit]

In 1904. Rucker played with the Atlanta Crackers in the Southern Association. He then spent the following two years playing for the Augusta Tourists in the South Atlantic League and compiled a 40–20 win–loss record during that span. Rucker also roomed with Ty Cobb during his time with the Tourists.[2]

Major league (1907–1916)[edit]

Rucker played for the Brooklyn Superbas for his entire major league career.[2] Rucker threw a no-hitter against the Boston Doves on September 5, 1908. He led the National League in complete games (27), innings pitched (320.1), and shutouts (6) in 1910. His best year was 1911, when he won 22 games for the Dodgers. He holds the Brooklyn Dodgers record for the most shutouts in the National League (38); most strikeouts (16) in a regulation nine-inning game, and the most 1-0 shutouts (3) in a 154-game season. He became strictly a knuckleball pitcher when his speed declined.[3]

MLB Hall of Fame[edit]

In 1936, Rucker became eligible for the MLB Hall of Fame. As a player who received more than 5.0% of votes cast, Rucker remained eligible for induction by the Baseball Writers' Association of America until 1946, when his time on the ballot expired after 10 unsuccessful appearances. His highest percentage of votes earned came in his final year on the ballot, receiving 6.4% of the vote in 1946.

Following his unsuccessful nominations, Yankees Hall of Fame manager, Casey Stengel, said about Rucker, "If it hadn't been for Nap, I reckon I wouldn't be manager of the Yankees now. I wouldn't have even stayed in baseball."[4]

Later life: Mayor of Roswell[edit]

Rucker was born in Crabapple, Georgia. After his baseball career, Rucker went on to a successful business career including investing in a local bank and ownership of a plantation, several cotton farms, a wheat mill. He also served as mayor of Roswell from 1935 to 1936.[5] After serving as mayor. Rucker was responsible for creating Roswell's first supply of running water and served as the city's water commissioner for many years. Rucker was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1967. Rucker died in Alpharetta, Georgia, in 1970 and was interred in the Roswell Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Roswell, Georgia.[2]

Personal life[edit]

His nephew Johnny Rucker played baseball for the New York Giants.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Nap Rucker – Society for American Baseball Research".
  2. ^ a b c d Fenster, Kenneth (December 9, 2016). "Nap Rucker – New Georgia Encyclopedia". New Georgia Encyclopedia. Retrieved October 19, 2021.
  3. ^ "Nap Rucker | PSA AutographFacts".
  4. ^ "Nap Rucker, 86, Ace Southpaw for Old Brooklyn Dodgers, Dies". The New York Times. 21 December 1970.
  5. ^ Walsh, Darlene M., ed. (1994). Roswell, A Pictorial History (2nd ed.). Roswell Historical Society. p. 253. ISBN 0-9615854-2-0.

6. Napoleon Rucker, Greatest of all slow pitchers, John J McGraw, Washington Evening star. [volume], February 24, 1923, Page 20, Image 20

Preceded by Brooklyn Superbas/Dodgers Opening Day
Starting pitcher

Succeeded by
Preceded by No-hitter pitcher
September 5, 1908
Succeeded by