Wednesday, January 14, 2015

1/14: Ol' #1, Chet Brewer, Hank Gornicki, Steve Cooke, Moises Alou, Adam LaRoche...

Ol' #1, Chet Brewer, Hank Gornicki, Steve Cooke, Moises Alou, Adam LaRoche...
  • 1893 - Manager Billy Meyer was born in Knoxville, Tennessee. He was skipper from 1948-52, with a dismal 317-452 record after a promising fourth place finish in his first year. In fact, the Yankees thought so highly of him that they asked if they could hire him after that season to replace Bucky Harris. NY was rebuffed and had to settle for Casey Stengel instead. After managing, Meyer scouted for the Bucs until 1955, and later had his jersey #1 retired. 
  • 1907- RHP Chet Brewer was born in Leavenworth, Kansas. While he pitched for a couple of dozen teams in the black leagues and Latin America, the pitcher never toiled in Pittsburgh until his playing days were done. Brewer was a Pirates scout based in LA from 1957 to 1974 (he signed Dock Ellis) and later worked for the Major League Scouting Bureau, discovering players like Willie Crawford, George Hendrick, Eddie Murray, Reggie Smith and Roy White. His Chet Brewer Rookies program was the forerunner of MLB’s RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) project.
Chet Brewer 1937 photo by Mark Rucker/Getty Images
  • 1911 - RHP Hank Gornicki was born in Niagara Falls, NY. He pitched his final three seasons (1943-44, 1946) for the Bucs, with a two year break when he served during WW2. His slate as a Pirate was 14-19/3.38, and he was used primarily as a spot starter. He had a notable week in August of 1943. Gornicki won both ends of a doubleheader against Boston on the 17th, then lost both games of a twinbill on the 22nd against Brooklyn. 
  • 1970 - LHP Steve Cooke was born in Lihue-Kauai, Hawaii. A 35th round draft pick in 1989, he spent five years with the Pirates (1992-97), going 26-36/4.31. 1993 looked like a breakout year when he went 10-10 with a 3.89 ERA and he was named to the Topps All-Star Rookie Team. But he had shoulder problems that surfaced in 1994 and missed the 1995 season, and never again matched his rookie performance.
Steve Cooke 1994 Fleer Extra Bases series
  •  1986 - The Pirates selected OF Moises Alou as the second overall pick in the draft, behind pitcher Jeff Shaw. He played two games for the Pirates in 1990 before being shipped to Montreal for Zane Smith. Moises went on to have a 17 year career, with six All-Star berths and a lifetime .303 BA. He’s the nephew of former Pirate Matty Alou and the cousin of current Bucco farmhand Mel Rojas, Jr. 
  • 2008 - The Pirates re-signed 1B Adam LaRoche to a 1-year/$5M contract. Baseball runs in his blood - literally. Not only is he playing his 12th season (and sixth team), but he’s the son of former MLB pitcher Dave and older brother of Andy, who is still bumping around in the minors. 
Adam LaRoche photo by Mark Rebalis/US Presswire

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