Saturday, December 5, 2015

12/5: HBD Pink & Sammy; Waner Released; Mario Mendoza Comes To Town

  • 1872 - RHP Emerson “Pink” Hawley was born in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. He tossed for Pittsburgh from 1895-97 with a slash line of 71-61 and a 3.76 ERA. He was a workhorse, appearing in 56 games in 1895 while throwing 444-⅓ innings, both league leading numbers. Pink was a stand up guy, once turning down a bribe to throw a game. But he came from good stock. His ancestor was the noted essayist Major Joseph Hawley, who joined with Samuel Adams and James Otis, Jr., as a revolutionary leader during the Stamp Act/Boston Tea Party era. Pink is his given middle name; he was part of a set of twins, and his family, as the story goes, put a blue ribbon on his brother and a pink one on Emerson so they could tell them apart.
  • 1940 - Paul Waner was released by the Pirates. The Hall of Fame OF’er played 15 seasons in Pittsburgh, hitting .340 with 2,868 hits, 1,627 runs and 1,309 RBI. A party hearty type, Waner was famous for his ability to hit hung over. He gave up the bottle for a year in 1938 at management’s request, and only hit .280, the first time he failed to reach .300+. Needless to say, the teetotaler experiment ended after that campaign. Another bit of lore was that the Bucs discovered he was nearsighted late in his career and made him wear glasses. He gave those up when he found the large fuzzy object he had been swinging at all those years turned into a small spinning BB that was nearly impossible to hit when he had his peepers on. And finally, Paul and his younger brother Lloyd (Little Poison) hold the career record for hits by brothers with 5,611.
  • 1963 - SS Sam Khalifa was born in Fontana, California. Khalifa was a first round pick (#7 overall) from Arizona’s Sahuero HS, but in his three years MLB career, all as a Pirate (1985-87), he hit just .219. He’ll go down in the history books as the first player of Egyptian ancestry to play major league baseball. 
Sam Khalifa 1986 Donruss
  • 1978 - 37 year old Pete Rose signed a four-year, $3.2 million deal with the Phillies. He had been hotly pursued in free agency by several clubs, including the Bucs, and owner Dan Galbreath had even invited Rose to his Ohio horse farms. The Pirates admitted that their cash offer was half that of the Phillies, but didn’t confirm if any other sweeteners, especially involving equine ownership, had been part of the proposed deal.
  • 1978 - Pitchers Enrique Romo and Rick Jones along with shortstop Tom McMillan were sent to the Pirates by Seattle, who got pitchers Rafael Vasquez, Odell Jones and shortstop Mario Mendoza in return. Romo pitched four years for the Pirates (1979-82) pretty effectively, going 25-16-26/3.56 and was part of the 1979 World Series club. Romo only tossed six seasons in the MLB, but with good reason - he started late. He pitched 11 seasons in Mexican baseball prior to making his major league debut for the Mariners in 1977 at the age of 29.
Mario Mendoza (image by Ben Sakoguchi)

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