Monday, March 23, 2015

3/23: B-Days - Mike Smith, Ray Kremer, Wedell Smith, Johnny Logan & Lanny Frattare

  • 1868 - OF/P Elmer “Mike” Smith was born in Pittsburgh. Smith was a pitcher who was converted to the OF, and played from 1892-97, then briefly again in 1901, for the Pirates. He was a good hitter with a .325 BA, .415 OBP and 136 OPS+ during his Bucco years. Smith also tossed for the Pirates in 1892, going 6-7/3.62. He remained a local boy after his 14 year career in MLB, and when he died, he was buried in North Side’s Union Dale Cemetery.
  • 1893 - RHP Remy “Ray” Kremer was born in Oakland, California. Kremer pitched ten seasons for the Pirates (1924-33), his only MLB club, and went 143-85, winning 20 games twice and leading the NL in ERA in 1926 and 1927. What's more amazing is that he didn't make his major league debut until he was 31 years old!
Ray Kremer 1925 - The Sporting News Archives
  • 1914 - Writer Wendell Smith was born in Detroit. He was the baseball writer and sports editor for the Pittsburgh Courier from 1937-47. Smith covered the Homestead Grays, Pittsburgh Crawfords and the Pirates. He chronicled the early days of Jackie Robinson, and was reputed to be one of the industry insiders to recommend Jackie to Branch Rickey. He was recognized by the BBWAA Spink’s Award in 1993. In a bit of irony; the group had turned down his membership application while he was with the Courier, though in 1948 they finally relented and admitted him as one of its earliest black members, behind only Sam Lacy.
  • 1926 - IF Johnny Logan was born in Endicott, NY. Logan spent the end of a productive 13 year career with the Pirates (1961-63) as a reserve, getting in 152 games and hitting .249. Playing mainly as a Brave, Logan batted .268 with 93 home runs, 547 runs batted in, 651 runs scored and 1,407 hits in 1,503 games. He was a four-time all-star, including three in a row from 1957-'59, and was on Milwaukee's 1957 World Series-winning club.
Johnny Logan - 1963 Topps series
  • 1948 - Pirate announcer Lanny Frattare was born in Rochester, NY. He was part of the Pirate broadcasting team from 1976-2008 and announced over 5,000 Bucco games during those 33 seasons ("...and there was no doubt about it"), becoming the Pirates longest-tenured voice before moving on to academia.


WilliamJPellas said...

Not to be needlessly negative because he was surely competent, but Frattare's announcing style was not one that I particularly liked. I could be wrong, but to me, he sounded like a guy who had a good speaking voice and was technically sound from a professional announcing standpoint, but who totally missed the soul and sublety and romance of the game. In short, I never got the impression that he really particularly loved baseball. Pehaps what I was picking up on was some of the personal struggles he had, I dunno.

Your thoughts on Lanny?

Ron Ieraci said...

I didn't really have any probs listening to him, Will - I'm not a big fan of any of them, from Milo on. Nothing personal, but just stylistic - I think announcers who cut their teeth in radio were heads and shoulders above the TV-era crowd.