Wednesday, October 29, 2014

10/29: Solly, Fido and Jim Bibby...

Solly, Fido and Jim Bibby...
  • 1882 - OF Arthur Frederick "Solly" Hofman was born in St. Louis. Hofman played for the Pirates in 1903, then returned again in 1912-13. Playing off the bench, he hit .246 for the Bucs. Solly had a long run in the show, playing 14 years in the National, American and Federation leagues. His nickname was "Circus Solly." Some attribute the moniker to a comic strip of the era, while others claim it was thanks to his spectacular play in the field according to The Dickson Baseball Dictionary.
Circus Solly Hofman photo from the Boston Herald 1912
  • 1893 - RHP Marcus “Fido” Baldwin was born in Homestead. He only pitched two years and some change for the Pirates (1891-93) but the club got its money’s worth. Between 1891-92, Fido started 104 games, went 47-55, and worked 878 IP with a 3.14 ERA. He was known as one of, if not the fastest, thrower of his era. He also was sued by St. Louis owner Chris von der Ahe for trying to influence his players to skip leagues (which he did), and was arrested for participating in the Homestead steel strike (he was freed, claiming to be just a spectator). Fido couldn't stay out of trouble; as a minor league owner in 1896, he and his teammates were arrested and convicted of a Blue Law violation for playing the first-ever Sunday professional game in Auburn, NY and was fined $5. Baldwin later became a doctor and was affiliated with Homestead’s Municipal Hospital. He’s buried in Allegheny Cemetery.
  • 1944 - RHP Jim Bibby was born in Franklinton, NC. The big guy worked five years (1978-83; he was out all of 1982 with a shoulder injury) for Pittsburgh, and won 19 games in 1980 during his All-Star season. He was 50-32/3.53 during that span. Bibby started three games in the 1979 championship run (1 NLCS, 2 WS) and while not getting a decision in any of them, put up a 2.08 ERA. His career highlight was in 1981, when he gave up a leadoff single to Atlanta’s Terry Harper and retired the next 27 batters. A shoulder injury suffered later that season eventually led to his retirement in 1984. Oddly, the Pirates signed him as a free agent in 1978 to replace Goose Gossage as the new closer, but he started 91 of his 146 Bucco outings. Another oddity: at 6'5", you'd suspect he had some basketball genes, and he did. Jim was an older brother of Henry Bibby and the uncle of Mike Bibby, both NBA players.
Jim Bibby Topps 1984 series
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