Tuesday, May 19, 2015

5/19: Kendall Cycle, Bibby Near Perfect, Long's Streak Starts, Leever Passes, & More...

  • 1890 - As Pirates Prospects John Dreker noted in "This Date In Pirates History," this day was a tough one for Pittsburgh baseball fans. Not only did the Alleghenys lose by an 18-2 score, but the Pittsburgh Burghers of the Player’s League lost big, too, 16-3. It launched the Alleghenys on an 11-game losing streak; the Burghers lost seven in row. 
  • 1915 - Player-manager Fred Clarke filed a patent application for flip down sunglasses that he designed to be used in the outfield. In addition to the shades, which the future Hall of Famer believes are "good for motorist, too", he also created and was issued patents for a sliding pad and a mechanical field tarpaulin 
  • 1937 - The first place Pirates dropped a 5-4 decision to the Phils at Forbes Field. Dolf Camilli stole home in the ninth inning with what was the eventual winning run after noticing reliever Mace Brown working from a full windup instead of the stretch, tagging Ed Brandt with the loss. 
  • 1953 - RHP Sam Leever, who spent his entire 13 year career in Pittsburgh (1898-1910) died in his hometown of Goshen, Ohio. Leever went 194-100/2.43 and won 20+ games four times. Leever wasn’t a hard thrower, but his curve and outstanding control made him one of the era’s better hurlers. Mark Armour of SABR passed on this Leever tale: “In 1924 Leever was startled to discover that he was dead, or believed to be so. As reported in The Sporting News, "he had a great deal of enjoyment out of reading his own obituary, and he appreciates all the nice things that were said about him, but he insists that he is not even half-dead. In fact, Sam says he never felt better in his life, and he has no thought whatever of cashing in." The misinformation was due to the passing of a distant relative with the same name; Sam didn't shuffle off this mortal coil until three decades later. 
Sam Leever - Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated...
photo Goshen Historical Organization
  • 1955 - RHP Ed Whitson was born in Johnson City, Tennessee. He never worked a full season during his 1977-79 debut in Pittsburgh, compiling an 8-9-5/3.73 slash. But he lasted 13 years in the show as a fairly durable starter, even making an All-Star appearance as a SF Giant. He’s also noted for his stormy stretch as a Yankee, highlighted by an altercation with manager Billy Martin. 
  • 1956 - Dale Long's ninth inning home run against the Cubs’ Jim Davis was the first of eight consecutive games in which he homered. The Bucs won the game 7-4 at Forbes Field. Long also doubled and had four RBI while Nellie King picked up the victory. 
  • 1971 - Roberto Clemente drilled Riverfront Stadium's first-ever inside-the-park home run off Gary Nolan. Clemente added a triple and two singles with three RBI and three runs to lead Pittsburgh to a 6-1 decision over the Reds, helping Bob Moose to the W. 
  • 1981 - Jim Bibby tossed a near perfecto, giving up a bloop leadoff single to the Braves Terry Harper and then retiring the next 27 batters in a 5-0 victory over Atlanta at TRS. Bibby coaxed Atlanta to hit ‘em where they were; he only whiffed three Bravos. C Steve Nicosia called the game and had a pair of runs driven in while Mike Easler scored twice. 
Jim Bibby photo via Sports Illustrated
  • 2000 - Jason Kendall hit for the cycle, the first ever at TRS, and added five RBI as the Bucs beat the Cards 13-1. The last Buc to hit for a cycle was Gary Redus in 1989. Kris Benson tossed a three hitter and struck out 11 Redbirds in the win. 
  • 2009 - Washington rallied from a 5-0 deficit to tie the Bucs in the ninth but lost 8-5 when future National Adam LaRoche doubled home a pair in the tenth off Joe Beimel, who became a Pirate reliever in 2011. Brandon Moss had three RBI and Andy LaRoche added two more in the W at Nationals Park. Tom Gorzelanny, who also made a later stop in DC, earned the victory.

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