Thursday, January 2, 2014

1/1-2: Hammerin' Hank, Josh Gibson, Sure Shot, Mad Dog, Mike Williams...

Hammerin' Hank, Josh Gibson, Sure Shot, Mad Dog, Mike Williams...

  • January 1, 1911 - Hall of Fame OF Hank Greenberg was born in New York City. He played for the Bucs in 1948, teaming up with Ralph Kiner in the middle of the Pirate order. The original Hammerin’ Hank signed for $100,000, the biggest contract to date, and though he hit just .249 in Pittsburgh, he had a .408 OBP and launched 25 HR in his final MLB season. 
  • January 1, 1943 - C Josh Gibson suffered a nervous breakdown and was admitted to St. Francis Hospital for rest and treatment. He was released in time to play for the Homestead Grays. The Pirates reportedly wanted to sign the future Hall of Famer that season as the first black player in baseball, but were thwarted by the commissioner, Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis. The color line wouldn’t be crossed until Landis died in 1944 and Happy Chandler replaced him in 1945.
  • January 2, 1888 - 2B Fred “Sure Shot” Dunlap signed with the Alleghenys following the sale of his contract by the Detroit Wolverines. He agreed to a $5‚000 salary and a $2‚000 bonus‚ making him the highest-paid player of the time. Sure Shot wasn’t such a sure shot; the defensive whiz played three years for the team, hitting just .240. 

 Fred "Sure Shot" Dunlap

  • January 2, 1951 - 3B Bill “Mad Dog” Madlock was born in Memphis. The third baseman played seven seasons for the Bucs (1979-85) with a line of .297/.357/.428 while leading the league in hitting in 1981 (.341) and 1983 (.323). He was a key part of the 1979 Championship team, batting .333 in the playoffs and World Series. 
  • January 2, 2002 - The Pirates signed a two-year deal with RHP Mike Williams worth $5.5M. After two years and 74 saves, Williams put up another 25 saves in 2003, but with a 6.27 ERA. He was traded to the Phillies, and 2004 was his last MLB season.

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