Sunday, January 5, 2014

1/3-5: Gus Suhr, Clemente Memorial, AJ, Joe Randa, Sam Barkley, Lonnie Smith, JR, Bert Blyleven...

Gus Suhr, Clemente memorial, AJ, Joe Randa, Sam Barkley, Lonnie Smith, JR, Bert Blyleven...

  • January 3, 1906 - 1B Gus Suhr was born in San Francisco. He spent 9-1/2 seasons (1930-39) with the Pirates, hitting .279 with a .386 OPB and driving in 818 runs, earning an All-Star berth in 1936. Suhr played 1,339 games at first base for Pittsburgh, a team record, and once held the NL standard of 822 consecutive games played, which lasted until 1957.
  • January 3, 1973 - President Nixon gave a $1,000 check in Roberto Clemente's memory to the Nicaraguan embassy. At the President's request, Dan Galbreath, owner of the Pirates, along with Dave Giusti and Steve Blass, met with him at the White House about setting up a memorial fund in Clemente's honor to aid the survivors of the earthquake.
  • January 3, 1977 - RHP AJ Burnett was born in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The veteran tossed for two years in Pittsburgh (2012-13) after being obtained from the Yankees in a Gotham salary dump. His Pittsburgh line was 26-21 with a 3.41 ERA, averaging a whiff per frame.
  • January 3, 2006 - 3B Joe Randa was signed as a free agent for his second go-around with the Pirates. He was inked to a $4M deal, nearly double his 2005 salary at Cincinnati. Joe hit .267 in 89 games in what would be his last MLB season, losing his job to Freddy Sanchez.
  • January 4, 1886 - St. Louis owner Chris Von Der Ahe sold the rights to IF Sam Barkley to the Alleghenys, despite the fact that the infielder had already signed a contract with the Orioles. Because they were late in sending Von Der Ahe their check for Barkley’s rights, he unilaterally voided the deal and shipped him to Pittsburgh instead. The American Association eventually resolved the controversial case by allowing Barkley to play for the Alleghenys, and sending Milt Scott from Pittsburgh to Baltimore as compensation. Additionally, the Browns were allowed to keep the $1,000 they received from Pittsburgh for Barkley's reserve rights. Baltimore could have kept him; Barkley hit .248 in his two years with the club, splitting time between first and second base.
 Sam Barkley - Old Judge Cigarettes 1897

  • January 4, 1993 - The Pirates signed OF Lonnie Smith to a $1M deal. He put up a line of .286/6/24, with a .422 OBP and 9 stolen bases before he was flipped to the Orioles in September for two minors leaguers, Terry Farrar and Stanton Cameron, neither of which became big leaguers.
  • January 5, 1961 - Manager John Russell was born in Oklahoma City. After his playing career, he managed the Bucs from 2008-10 during some dark seasons, with a record of 186-299. It wasn’t his first stop in Pittsburgh; JR had been Lloyd McClendon’s third base coach from 2003-05.
  • January 5, 2011 - After a 14 year wait, curve ball king RHP Bert Blyleven was elected to the Hall of Fame. He won 34 games for Pittsburgh between 1978-80 in a 22 year career that saw him earn 287 victories, and was inducted on July 24th.

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