Sunday, February 22, 2015

2/22: Roy Spencer, Bill Baker, Frankie Zak, Prez Carter & Orlando Merced...

  • 1900 - C Roy Spencer was born in Scranton, NC. He played from 1925-27 on two World Series clubs as a reserve, appearing in the ‘27 Classic. In three years, he hit .307 for Pittsburgh. After leaving Pittsburgh, Spencer played nine more seasons, catching on a regular basis from 1929-32 for Washington. 
Roy Spencer 1927 (The Sporting News Conlon Collection)
  • 1911 - C Bill Baker was born in Paw Creek, NC. The backup played four seasons (1941-43, 1946) with Pittsburgh, missing a couple of years while in the Navy during WW2, and hit .247. Baker went into umpiring after his career, and worked his way up to the NL for a season before his knees finally gave out, an occupational hazard for an old catcher. 
  • 1922 - SS Frankie Zak was born in Passaic, New Jersey. He played three years, all in Pittsburgh (1944-46), as a reserve infielder and pinch runner with a .266 lifetime BA. Even tho he only got 160 bats in 1944, he was named a replacement All-Star. The game was held at Forbes Field, and with wartime travel restrictions creating logistic problems, it was thought the NL took the easy road by selecting him (plus Frankie hit .300 that season). "Red" Patterson in the New York Herald-Tribune wrote that: Frank Zak was substituted at the last moment for Pete Coscarart, who was picked to replace Eddie Miller but went fishing before he could be notified. "They'd never find that Zak far from Forbes Field," cracked a Pittsburgh sports scribe. "He got a break. He thought he'd have to pay his way in."
  • Frankie Zak  was in the right place at the right time in 1944. (illustrated by Gary Joseph Cieradkowski)
  • 1980 - President Jimmy Carter hosted both the Steelers and Pirates in a single ceremony at the White House to celebrate their respective championship wins in Super Bowl XIV and the 1979 World Series. 
  • 1985 - The Pirates signed Orlando Merced as an amateur free agent out of high school at the age of 17. The Puerto Rican spent seven seasons with the Bucs, playing outfield and first, batting .283 from 1990-96 before being traded as part of the Jose Silva/Abraham Nunez deal with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Orlando Merced 1993 Stadium Club series

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