Tuesday, February 19, 2013

This Week In Pirate History

AJ trade, lockout, retired numbers,  HoF, Wheaties, Nellie Briles, Kevin McClatchy...

February 13, 1974 - OF James "Cool Papa" Bell was named to the Hall of Fame by the Special Committee on the Negro Leagues. He played for both the Homestead Grays and Pittsburgh Crawfords, and was inducted on August 12th.

February 13, 2005 - RHP Nelson Briles, who was part of the Pirates 1971 World Series club, died at age 61 in Orlando, Florida, after suffering a heart attack at a Pirates alumni golf tournament. In his game five start in the Series against the Orioles, Briles pitched a two-hit, complete game 4-0 shutout, also driving in a run with a second inning single. He pitched three seasons for the Pirates, going 36-28 with a 2.98 ERA. Following his retirement in 1979, Briles worked as a color man for the Pirates, and joined the front office in 1986 as director of corporate sales. He founded the Pittsburgh Pirates Alumni Association, and was also the director of the team's annual fantasy camp.

February 14, 1887 - The National Colored Base Ball League, the first attempt at a professional Negro League, was organized at a meeting in Baltimore, MD. Eight clubs were represented, including the Pittsburgh Keystones. The league quickly folded, but set a foundation that would eventually lead to the Pittsburgh Crawfords and Homestead Grays to enter the baseball scene.

February 14, 1996 - Kevin McClatchy and partners purchased the Pirates under the proviso that a baseball-only stadium be built within five years. The sale saved the franchise from being moved out of Pittsburgh by other potential buyers, but was to prove a mixed blessing.

February 15, 1956 - The Pirates and the Kansas City A's canceled an exhibition game in Birmingham‚ AL‚ because of a local ordinance barring black players from playing against white players.

February 15, 1990 - The owners refused to open spring training camps without a new Basic Agreement with the Players' Association, beginning a lockout that lasted 32 days and delayed the start of the regular season by one week.

February 16, 1952 - Carnegie’s Honus Wagner’s number 33 was retired following his retirement as a Bucco coach. Wagner spent 39 years with the team and was rewarded with a pension. Other retired Bucco numbers belong to Billy Meyer (1), Ralph Kiner (4), Willie Stargell (8), Bill Mazeroski (9), Pie Traynor (20), Roberto Clemente (21), Honus Wagner (33) and Danny Murtaugh (40).

February 16, 1996 - General Mills put out a Wheaties cereal box commemorating Negro League stars Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson and Cool Papa Bell. All three played in Pittsburgh at some point in their Hall of Fame careers.

February 19, 2012 - The Pirates had AJ Burnett drop in their laps. The Yankees sent him to Pittsburgh for farm hands Diego Moreno and Exicardo Cayones and agreed to pay $20M of the $33M remaining on the last two years of his contract.

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