My number one Wilmington Blue Rocks moment is…
August 7, 1995 was a memorable one for two reasons: 1. it was my first Blue Rocks game and 2. Rusch struck out a franchise record 17 batters against Lynchburg.
Being my first game, Rusch quickly became my favorite player after his absolute dominance. It also did not hurt that he stayed around after the game to sign autographs (my first autograph).
However, Rusch wasn’t just dominant on the seventh of August. He had one of the best seasons ever by a Blue Rocks starter. He went 14-6 with a 1.74 ERA in 26 starts. That ERA is still tops in Blue Rocks history. Rusch struck out 147 batters in 165.2 innings and walked just 34. He only allowed five errors. On defense, he made zero errors.
Rusch did all that at the ripe old age of twenty.
Unfortunately, things did not go as well in the Majors for him, though he was a big part of the 2000 NY Mets that went to the World Series (which was exciting to watch).