Sunday, March 1, 2015

3/1: "Piratical" Raids, Forbes Field, Jumbo, Cuban Camp, Johnny Ray, Roberto & the Lockout...

  • 1891 - After earlier spiriting 2B Lou Bierbauer away from Philadelphia, the Pittsburg Alleghenys again raided the American Association by signing OF Pete Browning and P Scott Stratton away from the Louisville Colonels, further cementing its new nickname of "Pirates." The Alleghenys were never found guilty of wrongdoing in any of the deals, and they thumbed their noses at being called piratical by rebranding themselves as the Pirates for the 1891 season. The nickname was finally stitched on the team's uniforms in 1912.
  • 1909 - Barney Dreyfuss began construction of a stadium near Schenley Park in Oakland, to be named Forbes Field after General John Forbes of French and Indian War fame. It opened remarkably quickly, on June 30th, and remained the Bucco’s ballyard for decades. The Pirates won three World Series there while sharing it with Pitt, the Steelers, the circus, rallies and events of all stripes before shutting down in 1970.
Forbes Field 1909 - photo: RW Johnston
  • 1915 - RHP Nick “Jumbo” Strincevich was born in Gary, Indiana. Called Jumbo because he was 6’1”, Strincevich was selected to play on the 1945 All-Star team but due to wartime travel restrictions, the game was never played. He was a Buc from 1941-48, starting about half the games he appeared in, with a Pittsburgh slash of 42-40-5/4.05.
Jumbo - 1991 Tip Top reprint

  • 1953 - The Pirates opened their first and only spring camp in Havana. The Cuban government didn’t like the financial results of the experiment while the Pirates missed competing against other MLB teams based in Florida, so the original three-year deal ended up one and done.
  • 1957 - 2B Johnny Ray was born in Chouteau, Oklahoma. He played seven years (1981-86) for the Bucs with a .286 BA before being moved to make room for Jose Lind. He was Rookie of the Year runner up in 1982 to Steve Sax, playing in 162 games and hitting .318. Ray also won a Silver Slugger award in 1983.

Johnny Ray 1984 Nestle series
  • 1965 - Roberto Clemente didn’t report for spring training, suffering from malaria. He made it to camp a month later and struggled until mid-May. He did rally, and won the NL batting title with a .329 BA, but only hit 10 home runs with 65 RBI, his lowest totals since 1959.
  • 1976 - The owners ordered a spring training lockout, which lasted 17 days. Unwilling to delay the start of the season, Commissioner Bowie Kuhn decreed training camps to open March 18th.  Players agreed to open the 1976 season without a collective bargaining agreement in place, and no games were canceled. A new four-year CBA was hammered out in July that allowed for free agency, and it was ratified in August.

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