Friday, December 19, 2014

12/19: Tommy O'Brien, Heartbreak Hotel, Jose Silva, Amos Otis & Jon Lieber...

Tommy O'Brien, Heartbreak Hotel, Jose Silva, Amos Otis & Jon Lieber...
  • 1918 - OF/3B Tommy O’Brien was born in Anniston, Alabama. O’Brien was a three-time All State football player and enrolled at the University of Tennessee, but opted for baseball. He started his MLB career as a Pirate, hitting .301 between 1942-45, toiled in the minors from 1946-48 and returned to the show in 1949-50 with Boston and Washington. His claim to fame came in 1943 when he had seven consecutive hits in a double header against the NY Giants.
Tommy O'Brien - photo via Calhoun County Sports Hall of Fame
  • 1938 - In a poll of writers by the Associated Press, the Pirates were selected as the biggest disappointment in sports for the year, edging out the Rice Owls football team. The Pirates had a seven game edge on September 1st and were up 3-½ games after September 22nd, but dropped six of their final seven games to finish the season two games behind the Cubs after losing the famous “homer in the gloaming” game. The Bucs went 28-26 in the final two months of the season while the Cubs rampaged through September, winning 21 of their last 26 games. 
  • 1973 - RHP Jose Silva was born in Tijuana, Mexico. Jose worked five years (1997-2001) for the Bucs, starting 53 of his 140 Pirate games. He finished 25-28-4 with a 5.41 ERA in his Pittsburgh years. He worked one more MLB campaign, and moved on to the Mexican League. 
Jose Silva Topps 2001 series
  • 1983 - The Pirates signed 37 year old OF Amos Otis. A five-time All-Star with the Kansas City Royals, Otis hit .165 in 40 games for the Bucs. He was released in August and never played in the majors again. Ironically, the Royals had agreed to a deal sending him and Cookie Rojas to the Pirates for Al Oliver after the 1976 season, but Rojas voided the transaction by exercising his 10-and-5 year veto rights; Pittsburgh was that close to landing Otis in his heyday. 
  • 1998 - The Pirates traded RHP Jon Lieber to the Cubs for OF Brant Brown. Lieber would win 93 games over the next nine seasons, going 20-6 in 2001, while Brown would be done as a major leaguer after the 2000 season. 
Brant Brown 2001 MLB Showdown series

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