Tuesday, June 2, 2015

6/2: Draft Daze, Shutout Streak, Jones Splash-Down, Longest Game & More...

  • 1866 - C Jack “Peach Pie” or “Rowdy Jack” O’Connor was born in St. Louis. He served as a rotating backstop for the Bucs from 1900-02, hitting .239 as a Bucco. He skipped to the AL’s NY Highlanders after the ‘02 season. He may be best known as the St. Louis Brown manager in 1910 who tried to steer the batting title to Nap Lajoie through a couple of different underhanded ploys, and was blackballed from MLB for his efforts. 
  • 1890 - The Pittsburgh Alleghenys committed 14 errors in a 14-1 loss to Chicago Colts at home. That club finished 28-108, 66-1/2 games behind the NL champion Brooklyn Bridegrooms and 23 games behind the Cleveland Spiders, the team closest to them in the standings. 
  • 1903 - The Pirates tossed their first of a MLB record six consecutive shutouts as Deacon Phillippe blanked the New York Giants, 7-0. The NL champ Bucs threw 51 straight scoreless innings during the six-game streak, a record that still stands today. It also launched the Pirates on a 15 game winning streak. 
  • 1943 - Pittsburgh scored three times in the ninth to send the Boston Braves to a 3-2 loss at Forbes Field. A walk, an Elbie Fletcher homer and Al Lopez triple set the stage for Frank Coleman’s flare single to become the game-winner. Wally Hebert pitched seven strong innings, giving up a pair in the second when a pair of bunts were misplayed and a bases loaded free pass resulted in two Brave runs. Xavier Rescigno picked up the win in relief. 

Wally Hebert 1943 (photo via Out of the Park Development)
  • 1945 - The Pirates hung on to defeat the Phils 6-5 at Forbes Field; the story of the game was the Bucs turning five DPs while Philly committed five errors. Pittsburgh scored four times in the first - only one of those runs was unearned - but quickly fell behind; they took the lead for good in the fourth, scoring twice with two outs thanks to a pair of Philadelphia boots. The bullpens put up zeroes after that, with Max Butcher notching the win and Anton Karl taking the hard-luck loss. 
  •  1955 - The Pirates defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 12-3 at Forbes Field. Dale Long went 3-for-5 and had five RBI with a home run, a two-run shot during a five-run third inning. Frank Thomas also went deep while the Pirates banged out a season high 17 hits 
  • 1962 - Roberto Clemente just missed becoming the first right handed batter to hit a ball on Forbes Field’s right field roof, bouncing a shot off the facing a foot shy of the top. The blast was off Houston’s Turk Farrell during a 9-2 Bucco laugher over the Colt .45s. Roberto had three RBI, Dick Stuart homered, driving home a pair and Don Hoak scored twice after hitting two triples to support the Deacon, Vern Law. For Pittsburgh, it was their 10th win in 11 games, but after today, they entered a tailspin that saw them lose 7-of-8. 
  • 1987 - HS outfielder Mark Merchant was the Bucs top pick and second overall in the draft. The Pirates signed him for $165,000, he but never played an inning in the majors after a ten year minor league career. Pittsburgh’s seventh round pick, Kittanning SS Mickey Morandini, spent 11 years in MLB, mostly with Philadelphia where he was an All-Star in 1995, and OF Wes Chamberlain and SS Brian Williams also spent a few years in the majors. The Pirates actually had a worse record than the Mariners did in 1986, but the AL and NL alternated years with the top pick during this era, and so the Pirates lost their chance to land Donora-born Ken Griffey Jr. to Seattle.
Mark Merchant 1988 Pro Cards series
  • 1987 - Rick Reuschel fired a two-hitter against the Atlanta Braves, ending a six game Pirate losing streak. Andy Van Slyke’s homer accounted for the Bucco runs, and he made a great catch in the ninth to help save the victory. It was Reuschel’s ninth straight win over Atlanta. 
  • 1994 - High school QB & SS Mark Farris was the Pirates first selection (#11; $820K signing bonus); he left the Bucs after hitting .273 in AA to attend Texas A&M as a football player in 1999. It was a sparse draft for the Pirates; only LHP Jimmy Anderson and last round pick UT Brandon Larsen played in the majors. 
  • 1998 - The Pirates picked LHP Clint Johnston of Vanderbilt first (#15; $1M signing bonus); he ended his career pitching indie ball, never advancing past AA. In fact, the Bucs’ first 14 picks never played a MLB game. Later pitching picks Joe Beimel, Jeff Bennett, Dave Williams and Jon Switzer were the highlights of that draft day. 
  • 1999 - The Bucs picked RHP Bobby Bradley as their first selection (#8; $2.3M signing bonus) in the draft; he topped out with a cup of coffee in AAA after undergoing three surgeries. They had more success in the second round, choosing C Ryan Doumit. They also selected LHP Brian Tallet in the middle rounds; he didn’t pitch for the Bucs but did end up with nine seasons in the show. Multi-sport all-star JR House was signed in the fifth round. Pittsburgh even went over slot then; they signed 39th round pick Patrick O'Brien, a big high school RHP, for $500‚000, but he never advanced past AA.
JR House 2002 Upper Deck series
  • 2003 - Lefties Paul Maholm (#8; $2.2M signing bonus) and Tom Gorzelanny (#45; $750,000 signing bonus) were the first two Pirate picks of the 2003 draft. Later selections Matt Downs, Jeremy Horst and Josh Sharpless also saw time as major league pitchers. 
  • 2005 - The Pirates struck gold when they drafted Florida high school phenom Andrew McCutchen from Fort Meade HS as the 11th overall selection and signed him for a $1.9M bonus. They added SS Brent Lillibridge in the fourth round and 1B Steve Pearce in the eighth round. Jeff Clement, who would spend some time as a Bucco, was the third overall pick by Seattle. 
  • 2008 - The Bucs beat the Cardinals 5-4 at Busch Stadium. Jason Michaels provided the muscle by blasting a seventh inning, two out pinch hit grand slam on the first pitch he saw from Adam Wainwright. Matt Capps saved the win for Franquelis Osoria. 
  • 2011 - The Bucs blew a 7-0 lead to the Mets and lost 9-8 at Citi Field as Paul Maholm left with the game tied and Jose Veras self destructed in the eighth, giving up a hit, four walks and a wild pitch.
  • 2013 - The Reds raced to a 4-0 first inning lead against Jeanmar Gomez, and the righty was yanked after the frame with forearm tightness. But the Pirate bullpen put up 10 scoreless frames, allowing just five hits, while Pedro Alvarez and Garrett Jones homered - Jones became the first Pirate to reach the Allegheny on the fly with his 463’ blast - to send the game into extra innings at PNC Park. The Pirates took it in the eleventh on Travis Snider’s soft two-out liner that scored Russell Martin from second for a walk off 5-4 win.
Garrett Jones 2010 Topps series
  • 2014 - The Pirates romped at Petco Park, winning 10-3 as the San Diego Padres ran through seven pitchers who tossed 249 pitches during the longest nine-inning game in SD history at 4:04. Of the 53 men Pittsburgh sent to the plate, 26 reached base. They went 9-for-20 with runners in scoring position yet stranded 16 men, loading the bases seven different times. San Diego left 11 runners of their own on the pond, and went 1-for-10 with RISP. Jordy Mercer went 4-for-5 with a homer, four RBI and two runs scored, while Josh Harrison and Neil Walker added three hits each. Charlie Morton got the win, but the Pirates had to use three relievers of their own to close out the contest. There were six HBP, without a warning being issued, and twelve walks combined during the game. It was only the second time during an NL game of the modern (post-1914) era that each team hit three batters in the same game. The other time it happened was Aug. 15th, 2007, when the New York Mets played, natch, the Bucs.


Lee Foo Rug Bug said...

Merchant had a lot of injuries early in his career which pretty much derailed him. Who knows how good he would've been had he stayed healthy.

Ron Ieraci said...

True, Lee. He never got much shot in Pittsburgh anyway as he was traded away in '89 as part of the Rey Quinones deal that worked out for no one. He did have fielding issues, too, but the bone spurs sure didn't help him. Doing a history piece really does make one wonder how many careers would have panned out differently if the old timers had today's ortho docs to treat their "arm issues."