Thursday, December 12, 2013

12/12: Phenomenal Smith, Bob Harmon, Larry French, Freddie Lindstrom, Arky Vaughan, John Tudor, Ramon Vazquez, Matt Capps

Phenomenal Smith, Bob Harmon, Larry French, Freddie Lindstrom, Arky Vaughan, John Tudor, Ramon Vazquez, Matt Capps...

  • 1864 - P Phenomenal Smith was born in Philadelphia. He didn’t play in Pittsburgh much (1884, 1890 with a 1-4 record), but we couldn’t resist the name. He was actually born John Francis Gammon, but got his nickname when he struck out 16 batters in a no-hit game in 1885 while pitching for minor-league Newark, with no batter hitting the ball out of the infield. Only two runners reached base, one on a walk and one on a dropped third strike – and Smith picked both of them off. 

  • 1913 - The Pirates traded P Hank Robinson, OF’ers Chief Wilson & Cozy Dolan and IF’ers Art Butler & Dots Miller to the St Louis Cardinals for P Bob Harmon, 1B Ed Konetchy and 3B Mike Mowrey. The Cards got two or three good seasons out of their new acquisitions, but the Bucs weren’t so lucky. Harmon was keeper, tossing for four seasons and going 39-52 with a 2.60 ERA. Konetchy and Mowrey both had so-so 1914 seasons for the Pirates, skipped to the outlaw Federal League’s Pittsburgh Rebels in 1915 and then signed with different clubs in 1916. 
  • 1928 - The Pirates bought LHP Larry French from Portland of the Pacific Coast League. From 1929-34, he went 87-83 with a 3.50 ERA for Pittsburgh and in a 14 year MLB career won 197 games. 
  • 1932 - Pay attention; this one’s a little tricky. Giant CF Freddie Lindstrom ended up a Bucco in a three-way deal. New York sent CF Chick Fullis to the Phillies. Pittsburgh sent RHP Glenn Spencer to the Giants and OF Gus Dugas to Philadelphia, who shipped OF Kiddo Davis to New York. Lindstrom hit .302 in two seasons at Pittsburgh, playing between Lloyd and Paul Waner on his road to the Hall of Fame. For the cost of two reserves, the Bucs got two years of a Hall-of-Famer. 
  • 1941 - The Bucs traded SS Arky Vaughan to the Brooklyn Dodgers for IF Pete Coscarart, RHP Luke Hamlin, C Babe Phelps and OF/1B Jimmy Wasdell. Only reserve infielder Coscarart stuck with the team past 1942. In ten seasons, Hall of Famer Vaughan hit .324 for Pittsburgh. He later had a couple of strong seasons for Brooklyn, then left the team and worked his ranch for three years after, according to baseball lore, a dispute with manager Leo Durocher (although his family said he ran the spread because his brother Glenn was drafted and there was no one else to do the job.) Whatever the reason, he didn’t return to baseball until 1947, after Durocher was suspended for gambling. 
  • 1984 - The Bucs traded LHP John Tudor and OF Brian Harper to the St. Louis Cardinals for UT Steve Barnard and OF George Hendrick. Tudor won 21 games with the Cards while tossing ten shutouts the next season and won two World Series games. 
  • 2008 - The Pirates signed IF Ramon Vazquez, the only player with major league experience added to the roster during the winter meetings, to a two-year deal worth $4M. He hit .230 in 2009, then was released the following April, ending his nine year MLB career. 
  • 2009 - The Bucs non-tendered RHP Matt Capps, allowing him to walk as an uncompensated free agent. He signed a one year deal with Washington for $3.5M.

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