Wednesday, August 5, 2015

8/5: Arlin & Bucs Debut on KDKA; Buc-Reds Brawl; Cobra, Pops Bombs; Maz Sets Mark; HBD Nellie

  • 1902 - The first-place Pirates defeated the New York Giants 3-0 behind Jesse Tannehill's two hitter. Tanny retired the first 19 Giants to face him before John McGraw managed a knock. Christy Mathewson made it a fight and struck out 11 Bucs, but had no answer for Honus Wagner, who doubled and scored twice.
  • 1905 - In front of a record crowd of 18,383 fans at Exposition Park, the NY Giants forfeited to the Pirates over a call at third. In a 5-5 game, Claude Ritchey opened the ninth with a double, his third hit of the day, and beat the throw to third on a bunt. At least that’s what ump George Bausewine called. The Giants disagreed and tried to get the first base ump to overrule the call; lotsa luck with that. The ensuing hubbub by the New York nine continued, and when they wouldn’t return to their positions after several warnings, Bausewine called the game. It was front page news in Pittsburgh, and manager Fred Clarke was incensed, telling Ralph Davis of the Pittsburg Press that “the New York players realized that only a miracle could prevent us from winning a clean and creditable victory, and rather than give us that satisfaction they allowed the game to break up...If we had disgraced ourselves in front of a record breaking crowd as the Giants did, we would have been mobbed.” The Giants protested the forfeiture; the league upheld it.
Fred Clarke Sweet Caporal series 1911
  • 1915 - The Pirates beat the Phillies and ace Grover Cleveland Alexander 1-0 at Forbes Field when Quaker catcher Bill Killefer threw wildly past third base in the ninth. Babe Adams claimed the win over Old Pete.
  • 1921 - KDKA aired the first broadcast of a Major League game as Harold Arlin described the action during the Pirates' 8-5 win over the Phillies at Forbes Field. Jimmy Zinn worked six innings of one run relief for the win and added two hits. That broadcast started a list of firsts for Arlin and KD: he followed with another first when he took his equipment to the Allegheny Country Club for a live broadcast of the Davis Cup tennis match between Australia and Great Britain the next day. In October, he and KDKA became part of a three-station Westinghouse network that broadcast the Yankee-Giants World Series for the first time. Then, later in October, Arlin returned to Forbes Field for another first, a college football game between Pitt and West Virginia.
  • 1926 - OF Max Carey stole his last base as a Bucco against the Boston Braves during a 4-3 win at Braves Field. Carey is the all-time team leader in swipes with 688. He also had two of the Pirates six hits, as the Bucs gave Ray Kremer just enough support for the win.
  • 1943 - RHP Nellie Briles was born in Dorris, California. He only tossed three years for the Bucs, from 1971-73 with a line of 36-28/2.98, but will be remembered for the two-hit shutout he spun in Game Five of the 1971 series. What isn’t as well known is that he called his own pitches for the last three innings, according to SABR Biography Project. After disagreeing on whether to go hard or soft (the original game plan), Manny Sanguillen refused to give him signs from that point on, and just played toss-and-catch with Briles for the remainder of the game. After he retired, he went into broadcasting briefly, then joined the Pirate executive team, founding the Alumni Association.

Nellie Briles 1974 Topps series
  • 1960 - As posted by BR Bullpen: In a game described by Dick Groat as "the greatest I ever played in," the World Series-bound Bucs buttressed their first place margin over Milwaukee by pulling out a 1-0 win over the Giants. The game's only run came in the eighth inning, when Bill Virdon scored from first on an errant throw by pitcher Sam Jones on Groat’s bunt. But it's the fielding plays that were most spectacular: for the Giants, Willie Mays nipped a seventh inning Bucs uprising in the bud with a brilliant throw to cut down Don Hoak going first to third. But the Pirates' Vinegar Bend Mizell was the chief beneficiary of this game's defensive prowess: the "Say Hey Kid" was robbed of a sure extra-base hit by Roberto Clemente in a terrifying catch and crash that knocked the right fielder out of the lineup for a week as he smashed face first into the concrete base of the right-centerfield stands at the 395-foot mark, and collapsed on the dirt warning track. Five stitches were required to close the cut on his chin, and his left knee was banged up. An inning before that, Virdon made a tremendous running grab of Felipe Alou's bomb to the left center light tower, and, in the eighth, Virdon made what Pittsburgh Press writer Les Biederman described as "the play of the season," just missing a leaping grab of Andre Rodgers' drive to the 406’ mark in left center, then recovering almost instantly to make a strong, accurate throw to third. Out by a mile was Rodgers, who made an ill-advised, two-out try for a triple. The classic was witnessed by 33,301 fans.
  • 1964 - The Pirates scored once in the eighth and twice in the ninth to rally past Don Drysdale and the Dodgers 4-3 at Forbes Field. In the eighth, Bill Virdon scored after a Roberto Clemente double and a wild pitch by reliever Ron Perranoski to cut the lead to 3-2. Jim Pagliaroni led off the last frame with a homer, and with two out, Clemente lined a 2-2 pitch into center, his third hit of the game, to bring home Gene Alley with the game winner. Al McBean pitched the last two innings to get the win.
  • 1969 - Willie Stargell launched a bomb off LA’s Alan Foster that measured 507’, the longest home run ever hit at Dodger Stadium (other estimates ranged from 512’-480’). The Bucs won 11-3, with Manny Sanguillen and Bill Mazeroski also going yard. Steve Blass cruised to the win over Don Drysdale.
Willie Stargell 1975 Topps series
  • 1970 - 2B Bill Mazeroski set a modern-era NL record for putouts at his position with the 4,781st of his career in the Pirates 4-0 win over the Phillies at TRS. Maz ended his career with 4,974 putouts, eventually surpassed on the leaderboard by Joe Morgan. Luke Walker spun a two-hitter and Al Oliver provided the muscle with a homer and three RBI.
  • 1971 - The Pirates rolled over Montreal 7-2 at Parc Jarry behind homers by Willie Stargell, Al Oliver and Jose Pagan plus a pair of Gene Alley triples. The Bucs lost Pagan when his arm was broken by a pitch, but he returned in time to become a World Series hero. Bruce Kison, who would also shine in the WS, went the distance for the win.
  • 1971 - Willie Stargell was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated for the story “Pittsburgh Overpowers the East.” The team not only overpowered the East, but also the Giants in the West and the Orioles in the World Series.
  • 1977 - Cincinnati native Dave Parker became the first player to reach the red seats in right field at Riverfront Stadium when he homered off Fred Norman in a 12-1 win in the opener of a twin bill. Parker added another long ball and had five RBI to back Jerry Reuss’ four hitter. The match featured a one-sided ninth inning fight between Frank Taveras and Joe Hoerner after a beanball; Reds’ catcher Bill Plummer held Taveras while Hoerner slugged him. Both benches emptied, with Dave Parker and Bill Robinson trying to get to Hoerner, but order was restored. Reuss didn’t even brush anyone back in the Reds’ ninth because Sparky Anderson had taken out all his regulars. The fired-up Pirates also took the nitecap, winning 10-6. Taveras banged an inside-the-park grand slam (the first of two homers that he’d hit in the MLB), and Bill Robinson smacked a three-run shot in the win. The sweep moved the Bucs to just a game behind first place Philadelphia.
Frank Taveras 1978 Topps series
  • 1979 - Chuck Tanner tore a few pages out of the book when he sent up lefty John Milner to bat against Phils’ southpaw Tug McGraw. He hit for C Steve Nicosia, who was 4-for-4 on the day and RH. Against the book, maybe, but it worked as Milner banged a walk off grand slam on the first pitch to win it 12-8 for the Pirates. Nicosia later said “I'm a .220 career hitter. What were my odds of going 5 for 5?" Another sidebar: Hall of Famer Steve “Lefty” Carlton had an 8-3 lead in that game and couldn’t hang on to it. In the second game of a double dip at TRS, the Bucs prevailed 5-2, scoring four times in the fourth inning. Omar Moreno and Phil Garner each drove in a pair of runs off Dickie Noles in the frame.
  • 1980 - The Bucs traded minor league OF Rick Lancellotti and IF Luis Salazar to the San Diego Padres for IF Kurt Bevacqua and RHP Mark Lee. Salazar, who had yet to play a MLB game, was the one keeper of the deal, playing for five teams over the next 13 years, retiring with a .261 BA.
  • 2005 - Ty Wiggington was featured on the cover of The Sporting News in a collision at the plate for the story (and issue theme) “How’s That Feel?”
  • 2010 - James McDonald only lasted six innings, but he surrendered just four hits and whiffed eight Rockies as the Bucs defeated Colorado 5-1 at PNC Park. He was backed with homers from Garrett Jones and Ronny Cedeno.
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