First Known Photo Of The Middle Finger

Rather fittingly, it was a Boston baseball player.

Radbourn, back row, far left.

This is according to Retronaut.

The year is 1886, and the gentleman is Boston Beaneater pitcher Charles “Old Hoss” Radbourn. This photo is a pre-game snap before a game against the New York Giants (thus, the finger, I imagine).

In the two-pitcher rotation era, Radbourn compiled a 309–195 career record. In 1884 he won the National League’s pitching Triple Crown with a 1.38 ERA, 60 wins and 441 strikeouts.

A butcher by trade, Radbourn was once asked if he ever tired of pitching so often. He replied:

“Tired out tossing a little five-ounce baseball for two hours? I used to be a butcher. From four in the morning until eight at night I knocked down steers with a 25-pound sledge. Tired from playing 2-hours a day for 10 times the money I used to get for 16 hours a day?”

Take note, six-and-out starters of today.

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