Wednesday, December 2, 2015

12/2: The Irishman Passes On; Jeep & the Baron Join Up; Bobby Bo's Big Deal; Patek-For-Johnson; HBD Andre

  • 1934 - UT Andre Rodgers was born in Nassau, Bahamas. He was with the Bucs from 1965-67, batting .257 over that time, playing all four infield spots and seeing action in left field, too. Rodgers was the first Bahamian to play in the major leagues. A talented cricket player who paid his own way for a tryout with the Giants in 1954, he finally cracked the majors in 1957 and played 11 big league seasons, finishing with a .249 BA.
Andre Rodgers 1966 Topps
  • 1936 - The Pirates signed 23 year old IF Lee “Jeep” Handley as a free agent. He was a dependable sometimes starter, sometimes bench player for the Bucs over eight seasons (1937-46, with two years off for WW2), averaging 105 games per year and hitting .269. It’s been speculated (by the Uniontown Morning Herald of 1938) that he got his nickname in 1936 as a Cincinnati Reds rookie when he apparently reminded the veterans of a new Popeye cartoon strip character, “Jeep.” As Popeye said when gifted with Jeep: "Well, blow me down! A baby puppy!"
  • 1952 - The Pirates drafted ElRoy Face from the Montreal Royals, the top minor league affiliate of the Brooklyn Dodgers. During a 15-year career with the Pirates, Face led the NL in saves three times, collecting 100 wins and 188 saves as a Bucco while popularizing the forkball, a prototype of the modern day splitter. He retired to N. Versailles where he made his living as a carpenter. During his career, he was known as “The Baron of the Bullpen” thanks to Bob Prince and is still considered a pioneer in the closer’s evolution.
The Baron of the Bullpen 1963 Fleer
  • 1970 - The Pirates and the Kansas City Royals swung a six player trade with P Bruce Dal Canton, C Jerry May and SS Freddie Patek going to KC while C Jim Campanis, SS Jackie Hernandez and P Bob Johnson came to the Bucs. Patek and Dal Canton were everyday players for KC, with Patek playing nine years for the KC and winning three All-Star berths. Johnson was 17-16-7/3.34 with the Bucs and Hernandez was a reserve infielder, both lasting three years for the Pirates. Campanis didn't make the club until 1973, and he only had six at-bats.
  • 1976 - Danny Murtaugh‚ who had retired two months earlier as Pirate manager‚ died of a heart attack/stroke at age 59 in his Chester home. He compiled a 1,115-950 record in 2,068 games (.540), second-most wins in Pirates history behind only Fred Clarke, and took two World Series championships. His number 40 was retired by the Pirates on Opening Day, 1977.
Danny Murtaugh 1960 Roto Magazine Cover (art by Nat Youngblood)
  • 1991 - After six years as a Pirate, Bobby Bonilla signed as a free agent with the New York Mets. His five-year, $29M deal made him the game's highest-paid player at the time. From 1986 to 1991, Bonilla had a .284 batting average, with 114 home runs, and 500 RBI's. He led the league in extra base hits in 1990, and in doubles in 1991. Bonilla also made the All-Star team four years in a row. Bonilla is currently being paid about $1.2M by the New York Mets each year up to 2035, tho that was a negotiated buy-out of a second deal signed in 1999, turning $5.9M due to him in 2000 into $29.8M over 25 years.

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