Sunday, August 16, 2015

8/16: STFD; Kiner, Thomas' 3 Dinger Days; Bucs Blast 7; HBD Rick, Curt, Tiny, Rube

  • 1887 - LHP John Henry “Hank” aka “Rube” Robinson was born in Floyd, Arizona. He spent the first three years (1911-13) of his career with Pittsburgh, going 26-17 with a 2.34 ERA with his time split between the pen and starting.
  • 1890 - RHP Bill Phillips of the Alleghenys became the first pro pitcher in history to allow two grand slams in the same inning when the Chicago Colts Tom Burns and Malachi Kittridge took him long in the fifth frame. The Colts won 18-5 at Recreation Park. Phillips ended 1-9 with a 7.57 ERA in his rookie season, but went on to have a seven year career with a 70-76/4.09 line.
  • 1909 - OF Red Murray of the NY Giants saved Christy Mathewson’s bacon when, as the Pittsburg Press described “...the ball was seen rising, rising far out over the the heads of the waiting fielders. But Red Murray had his eye on the ball...the most wonderful catch ever seen at Forbes Field was pulled off, Murray getting the sphere with his bare hand after a long hard run. The inning was over and the Pirates were robbed of victory...” as the game was called because of rain with the score deadlocked at 2-2. Two runners had already crossed home when Murray snagged Dots Miller’s two-out drive “ the wind whistled, the lightning flashed, the thunder crashed and the rain descended.” 1B Ham Hyatt chipped in with his third pinch-hit triple of the year‚ a record that wouldn't be matched until 1970 by Vic Davalillo of St. Louis.
Dots Miller 1912 Brown series
  • 1911 - Elmer Steele tossed just 72 pitches in downing the Brooklyn Trolley Dodgers 9-0 at Washington Park. Steele surrendered no walks, had no strikeouts‚ and allowed just one hit, a one-out ninth inning single that just got past 2B Dots Miller. But it wasn’t all good news: Honus Wagner severely injured his ankle, ended up on crutches and would miss 25-of-26 games. During his absence, the Bucs fell out of contention and finished a distant third to the NY Giants.
  • 1913 - The Pirates jumped on the Giants Christy Mathewson, scoring eight times in the first three frames and then hanging on for an 8-6 win at the Polo Grounds. The “demon Dutchman” (per the Pittsburg Press) Hans Wagner went 4-for-5 with a homer to lead the offense. Babe Adams got the win with help from George McQuinlan.
  • 1913 - RHP Ernest “Tiny” Bonham was born in Ione, California. He pitched the final three years (1947-49) of his career for the Pirates, with a record of 24-22 and a 2.11 ERA. Prior to that, Tiny tossed seven seasons for the Yankees with a 21 win season and two All Star berths. In one of baseball’s saddest endings, he went to the hospital in August of his last season for an appendectomy, was discovered to have cancer and died three weeks later.
Tiny Bonham 1949 Leaf series
  • 1929 - 2B Curt Roberts was born in Pineland, Texas. The first black ballplayer for Pittsburgh, he played from 1954-56, hitting .223 as a Pirate. He lost his starting job at second in 1955 to Johnny O’Brien and they both lost out to a kid from Ohio named Bill Mazeroski, who would claim the position in 1956 and keep it for the next dozen years.
  • 1947 - The Pirates blasted a franchise record seven homers in a game against the Cardinals in a 12-7 win at Forbes Field. Ralph Kiner launched three dingers in a row, becoming the first Bucco to lose three balls in a single game, while Hank Greenberg and Billy Cox had a pair. For Greenberg, it was his 35th and final multi-homer game. The homers accounted for all 12 of the Buc runs. Kiner matched the MLB marks of seven HRs in four games‚ six in three games‚ five in two games‚ and four in consecutive at bats while becoming the first Pirate to homer three times in a single game. Kiner, Greenberg and Cox were joined by Cardinal Whitey Kurowski, who also had a pair of homers, to set a MLB record for most players with multi homers in a game.
  • 1958 - Frank Thomas bombed three consecutive HRs off three different pitchers (Harvey Haddix, Will Schmidt & Alex Kellner), drove home six runs and scored four times in a 13-4 romp over the Reds at Crosley Field. Dick Groat added four knocks and three tallies while Dick Stuart also went long. Bob Friend got the win with Bob Porterfield tossing the final two frames for the save.
Frank Thomas 1956 Topps series
  • 1964 - RHP Rick Reed was born in Huntington, West Virginia. He was drafted by the Bucs and played his first four seasons (1988-91) with them, going 4-7 with a 4.98 ERA while yo-yo’ing between the minors and the big leagues. He continued to bounce around the fringes of the league and spent all of 1966 in the bushes. Then the light went on at the age of 32; he won double digit games for six of the next seven seasons with the Mets & Twins and made a pair of All-Star teams.
  • 1975 - After being pulled from his last two starts without getting through the first inning and then refusing to pitch in relief, earning a one-day suspension, Dock Ellis called a clubhouse meeting in Cincinnati and had skipper Danny Murtaugh attend. Ellis then ripped into the Irishman and team management, earning himself an indefinite suspension and $2,000 fine. The suspension left the team short a player, but GM Joe Brown told Bob Smizik of the Pittsburgh Press that “We’re better off with 24 (players) than we were with 25.” The club, not too surprisingly, lost the game to the Reds 5-3. The suspension was lifted on August 30th when he apologized to Murtaugh, and Ellis was traded to the NY Yankees in December. Ellis became the UPI “Comeback Player of the Year” in 1976 with a 17-8 record, then refused to sign his 1977 contract, blasted George Steinbrenner, and was traded again. But bygones are bygones; he returned to the Pirates in 1979 and retired as a Bucco.
  • 1984 - A stamp featuring Roberto Clemente, the fourth in a series honoring American sports heroes, was unveiled in Carolina, Puerto Rico, the outfielder's home.
  • 1989 - The Bucs took home a 5-4 win in 12 innings against Houston at the Astrodome. Bobby Bonilla hit the winning home run off Larry Andersen. It first played out as an apparent double, but the call was changed to a home run after a quick ump’s conference; the ball had bounced off a fan’s stone hands and back into the field. P John Smiley had two RBI, but wasn’t around for the final decision. The win went to Neal Heaton, with a save credited to Bill Landrum.
  • 2011 - Andrew McCutchen hit a three run homer to give Pittsburgh the early lead, Neil Walker hit another to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth, and Garrett Jones went yard in the eleventh inning for 5-4 win against the Cardinals at PNC Park. Chris Resop, the fifth Pirate pitcher of the game, got the win after working a pair of scoreless innings. Longtime Buc nemesis Albert Pujols lit up Jeff Karstens in the sixth to became the first player in MLB history to hit 30 homers in each of his first 11 seasons.
  • 2012 - AJ Burnett wasn’t at his best, but battled into the seventh to take a 10-6 win over the Dodgers at PNC Park. This contest entered Pirate folklore when Hanley Ramirez homered off Burnett in the fourth and tossed a couple of smirks at the the Bucco hurler, who got his revenge in the sixth when he struck Ramirez out swinging on a 3-2 pitch and famously told him to “STFD.” Garrett Jones had a pair of three-run homers to spark the victory over LA.

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