Movin’ on up
Cushman’s spectacular 1884 campaign caught the attention of the Philadelphia Athletics, a member of the American Association.
The Athletics signed the Ashtabula County native and he started 10 games, posting a 3-7 record and a 3.52 ERA. In 87 innings, he allowed 101 hits, 77 runs (only 34 earned), striking out 37 and walking 17.
Cushman was moved to the New York Metropolitans, where he was used frequently. Appearing in 22 games, all starts, he went 8-14 with a 2.78 ERA, working 191 innings, giving up 158 hits, 59 earned runs, striking out 133 and walking 33.
For the season, he went 11-21 with a 3.01 ERA, pitching 278 innings, giving up 259 hits, 182 runs (93 earned), fanning 170 and issuing 50 free passes.
He was named team pitcher of the year.
Cushman became a true workhorse for the Metropolitans the next two seasons working 325.2 innings in 1886 (17-21, 3.12) and 220 in 1887.
On Sept. 16, 1886, Cushman, facing the Pittsburgh Alleganys, struck out eight consecutive batters. For the second season in a row, he was named team pitcher of the year.
In 1887, Cushman struggled, posting a 10-15 record and a 5.97 ERA.
A step back
At age 35, Cushman went to the minors for the first time in his career. In 1888, he pitched for Des Moines, Iowa in the Western Association.
In an amazing twist of fate, the Des Moines club was managed by another Ashtabula County native — Charles Hazen Morton.
A former player himself, Morton was born on Oct. 12, 1854 in Kingsville. The two Ashtabula Countians were together in Des Moines in the 1888 and 1889 seasons, Morton serving as player-manager.
In 1890, Morton took over as manager of the Toledo Maumees, who moved to the majors as a member of the American Association.
And Morton, perhaps throwing his fellow Ashtabula Countian a bone, took Cushman and several other guys who played for him in Des Moines to The Show with him.
Cushman rewarded his manager by taking the ball often, working 315.2 innings in 40 games, 38 of which were starts.
He allowed 346 hits, 208 runs (147 earned), struck out 125 and walked 107, finishing with a 17-21 record and a 4.19 ERA.
On Oct. 11, 1890, Cushman made the final appearance of his major-league career.
He played six seasons for five teams in three different major leagues, winding up with a 62-81 record and a 3.86 ERA. In 1225.2 innings, he gave up 1264 hits, 847 runs (525 earned), striking out 607 and walking 359.