Saturday, May 17, 2014

5/17: Big Bet, Cool Papa, Sam Leever, Hammerin' Hank, The Great One, The Quail, The Gunner and More...

Big Bet, Cool Papa, Sam Leever, Hammerin' Hank, Roberto, The Quail, The Gunner and More...
  • 1889 - Per John Dreker of Pirates Prospects “After issuing 10 BB in his debut on this date, Pittsburgh P Al Krumm offered to buy a hat for any batter than drew a BB off him next game.” The Alleghenys lost that match to the NY Giants 11-7, though Krumm went the distance. He never did get a chance to back up his bet - it was the only MLB game he ever appeared in. 
  • 1892 - RHP Harold “Hal” Carlson was born in Rockford, Illinois. He worked for the Pirates from 1917-23, with a 42-55/3.64 line. Hal was pretty handy with a stick, too, hitting .224. 
  • 1903 - James “Cool Papa” Bell was born in Starkville, Mississippi. He played for both the Homestead Grays (1932, 1943–1946) and Pittsburgh Crawfords (1933–1938), and compiled a .337 BA in the Negro Leagues. His speed was legendary. One Satch Paige story goes that when facing Bell, the outfielder hit a liner up that went zipping past Paige's ear and hit Bell in the butt as he was sliding into second base. The first Mexican League Triple Crown winner (he played there for three years), Bell was selected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974. 
 Cool Papa Bell, image from Professional Sports Authenticators

  • 1906 - “The Goshen Schoolmaster” Sam Leever tossed a three hit shutout against Iron Man Joe McGinnity as the Bucs defeated the Giants 2-0. Leever faced just NY 27 batters at the Polo Grounds. Two of the three runners were erased on DPs and one was caught stealing. 
  • 1920 - The Pirates scored three runs in the bottom of the 15th to edge the Giants‚ 7-6 at Forbes Field. NY plated their pair in the 15th when C Walter Schmidt refused to chase a wild pitch by P Elmer Ponder, allowing not one, but two Giants to score. Pittsburgh rallied and won the contest in their half when Charlie Grimm singled in Possum Whitted with two down for the game winner. With all that, the game took just 2:43 to complete. 
  • 1947 - Hank Greenberg, who had heard an anti-semitic slur or three during his career, made Jackie Robinson’s transition a little easier when dusted him off and asked if he was OK after a collision at first, then advised Jackie to “hang in there” during a 4-0 Bucco win at Forbes Field over the Brooklyn Dodgers. Da Bums outhit Pittsburgh 12-4, but one of the Pirate knocks was a two-run homer by Greenberg. 
  • 1956 - The Pirates traded with St. Louis for CF Bill Virdon, sending LHP Dick Littlefield and OF Bobby Del Greco to the Red Birds. The Quail, who was Rookie of the Year in 1955 for the Cards, played 11 seasons for the Pirates, roaming the spacious center field pasture of Forbes Field for a decade while hitting .266. 
Bill Virdon 1965 Topps Series

  • 1971 - Roberto Clemente's two-out, two-run, walk-off triple off Mike Marshall carried the Bucs to a 6-5 win over the Expos at TRS. Clemente had three hits, including a homer, and three RBI. Montreal had jumped to a 5-0 lead in the third off Luke Walker, but the bullpen work of Jim Nelson, Nellie Briles and Mudcat Grant shut them down the remainder of the game. 
  • 1976 - OF Jose Guillen was born in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic. Signed by the Bucs in 1992, he made the Opening Day roster in 1997 after tearing up the High A Carolina League with Lynchburg. The RF’er was traded after the 1999 season after hitting .267 in his three-year Bucco span. In 2003, he found his power stroke and was a solid MLB player for 14 seasons. 
  • 1985 - While waiting out a 2 1/2 -hour rain delay before a Pirates-Cincinnati Reds game at TRS (the Reds won 6-3), Pirate announcer Bob Prince was admitted to the hospital for dehydration and pneumonia. Three days later, with his wife Betty at his side, he passed away at Presbyterian University Hospital, ending an era in Pittsburgh Pirate baseball. 
  • 1995 - Hideo Nomo tossed seven innings of two hit shutout ball‚ fanning 14 batters, but the Bucs scored three times in the last two frames off four LA relievers to take home a 3-2 win at Dodger Stadium. Orlando Merced was intentionally walked in the ninth to get to Jacob Brumfield, who lined a single to center off Antonio Osuna to score Angel Encarcion with the winning run. 
  • 2013 - The Bucs overcame a 4-1 deficit to defeat the Astros 5-4 at PNC Park when two Astro fielders ran into each other with two down in ninth, allowing Russ Martin’s pop to drop and Andrew McCutchen to score the walk-off run. There were some legit efforts by Pittsburgh: Tony Watson, Vin Mazzaro and Justin Wilson tossed 4-1/3 frames of scoreless ball and Pedro Alvarez cranked a 462’ shot into the Allegheny on one hop off the Riverwalk. The eighth inning, game tying two run shot fell a foot short of Matt Lawton’s 2005 drive against Jamey Wright of Colorado of becoming the longest homer ever hit at PNC Park.

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