Saturday, November 7, 2015

11/7: Big B-Day - Ed, Bill, Stu, Todd & Kris

  • 1885 - OF Ed Mensor was born in Woodville, Oregon. He played three years for Pittsburgh (1912-14) and hit .221 from the bench. Baseball players weren’t exactly noted for politically correctness back in the day; the 5’6” Mensor’s nickname was “The Midget.”
  • 1910 - 3B Bill Brubaker was born in Cleveland. He played nine years for the Bucs, from 1932-40, and batted .264 as a Pirate, earning most of his starts in 1936-37. After a couple of years in the service, he ended his career in 1943 with the Boston Braves.
Bill Brubaker 1938 Play Ball series
  • 1932 - 1B Dick Stuart was born in San Francisco. “Dr. Strangeglove” played in Pittsburgh from 1958-62, hitting .273 with 117 bombs as a Bucco, and was a 1961 All-Star after losing 35 baseballs. The slugger’s inability to field was legendary; he was once hit in the back when Roberto Clemente threw behind a runner, and received an ovation for spearing a hot dog wrapper as it blew past him at Forbes Field. He led the league in errors a record seven years in a row (1958-64), drove a car with the license plate "E3" and his 29 errors at first base in 1963 remain the MLB record for the position. As he said “Long as you drive in more than you let in, you get to play.” Oddly enough, he was the first 1B’man to record three assists in one inning; go figure. Stu also mashed 66 home runs for the Lincoln club of the Class A Western League in 1956, so his glove wasn’t the main reason he got a paycheck.
  • 1971 - RHP Todd Ritchie was born in Portsmouth, Virginia. Ritchie went 35-32/4.29 for the Bucs from 1999-2001, winning 15 games in ‘99. In 2001’s off season, he was traded to the White Sox for Kip Wells, Josh Fogg and Sean Lowe. He signed again with Pittsburgh in 2005, but retired during camp.
Todd Ritchie 2000 Upper Deck Victory series
  • 1974 - RHP Kris Benson was born in Kennesaw, Georgia. The first overall selection of the 1996 draft, the Clemson grad pitched for the Pirates from 1999-2004 (missing 2001 after TJ surgery) with a line of 43-49/4.26. His “parking lot sex” and other such antics with wife Anna were sports page fodder throughout his career, culminating in a 2013 divorce. He and Anna also fronted many charitable causes and they raised an estimated $750K in donations during his big league career.

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