Wednesday, November 4, 2015

11/4: HBD Wee Tommy, Groat & Grabow; Bucs First FA Tenders; Benny

  • 1877 - 3B/OF “Wee Tommy” Leach was born in French Creek, NY. The 5'6" Leach hit 63 career homers; 49 were inside-the-park, which is still a NL record. Leach joins Willie Stargell, Ralph Kiner and Pedro Alvarez as the only Pirates to lead the league in long balls. During Leach's years in Pittsburgh (1900-12), the Pirates won the NL flag four times and World Series champions once. His 1903 triple is the first World Series hit. Leach is still in the top 100 all-time in stolen bases (361) and runs scored (1,355), and for the Pirates, he's ninth in games played (1,548), at-bats (5,909), runs (1,007) & singles (1,229), sixth in stolen bases (246) and seventh in triples (137).
Dick Groat could do it all (2000 Fleer Greats of the Game series)
  • 1930 - SS Dick Groat was born in Wilkinsburg. The Swissvale Golden Flash HS star was a two sport ace, twice an All-America at Duke in basketball. He was selected as the Helms National Player of the Year in 1952 after averaging 25.2 points per game and played one season in the NBA. But he made a more permanent mark in baseball. As a Bucco bonus baby, he never played in the minors. He was the NL-MVP during the 1960 World Series campaign, and in his Pirate era (1952-62, with two years out for the service), he hit .286 and was a three-time All-Star. A Pitt basketball announcer, in 2011 Groat was inducted into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame, becoming the first man ever inducted into both the college basketball and college baseball halls of fame.
  • November 4, 1978 - LHP John Grabow was born in Arcadia, California. Grabow, a third round draft pick in 1997, pitched from 2003-09 for the Bucs until traded to the Cubs. In 390 Pirate appearances, he went 20-15-6/4.09. In 2009, he pitched for the US in the World Baseball Classic. His last MLB season was 2011.
John Grabow (2002 Upper Deck series)
  • 1987 - Padres catcher Benito Santiago was the unanimous selection as the NL Rookie of the Year‚ while Pirate RHP Mike Dunne (13-6, 3.03 ERA) finished second. Santiago closed out his career as a Bucco, playing six games in 2005 before being released.
  • 2014 - C Russell Martin and LHP Francisco Liriano became the first two Pirate free agents ever to be tendered qualifying offers ($15.3M) to retain their services for the upcoming year. Both rejected the offer. Russ signed with Toronto, while Frankie eventually came to terms with the Bucs.
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