Friday, April 18, 2008

three in a row...

piarte logo 1997

Not much to say about today's game. The Bucs went down quietly to the Cubbies, 3-2, at Wrigley. Ian Snell gave the team 6 innings, and kept them in the game by pitching out of trouble all day.

The Cubs had him on the ropes in every inning but the fifth. He hung tough and worked his way out of the jams, except for the backbreaking fourth frame.

A triple, single, double and infield hit (generously scored; Luis Rivas double pumped the throw - and yes, it did cost Pittsburgh a run eventually) to start the inning led to three runs, and that was enough for the Chicago pitching to carry the day.

Only a couple things worth noting - Nate McLouth homered in the eighth, and his streak is now 16 games. What a start for a guy the management challenged in the spring.

And the Bucs had their first errorless game, although Rivas' miscue could have easily been ruled one. Why is John Russell batting him second? He's hitting (.200) about as well as he's fielding. Hmmm...we wonder if Abraham Nunez is still available?

On the Pirate history front: The Bucs have a long history of color blindness in signing their players.

The Pirate's toyed with signing Homestead Gray's catching legend Josh Gibson before Jackie Robinson broke the color line. (according to local folklore, Commissioner Kenshaw Landis wouldn't approve the contract, and Gibson died of a broken heart because he couldn't get a shot at the show.)

Danny Murtaugh put the first all-black line-up in MLB history on the field in 1971. The team to a man wore number #42 in LA a few days ago to commemorate Jackie Robinson. But do you know who the first black Bucco player was?

Second baseman Curt Roberts became the first African American to play for the Pirates in 1954, seven years after Jackie Robinson arrived on the scene, when he took the field on opening day.

He was a slick fielder, but couldn't hit worth a lick. He played three seasons here and batted .223 for his career. After the 1956 season, he was traded to the KC Athletics, and the next season to the Yankees, but never got out of the minors for either.

Not that he had anything to be embarrassed about. KC's second sacker was Billy Martin and the Bronx Bombers had Bobby Richardson. And he lost the second base job in Pittsburgh to a pretty good looking rookie named Bill Mazeroski.

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