Thursday, February 4, 2016

2/4: Player Moves - Harris, Grantham, Bo, Darwin, Bronson; Arriba Award; HBD Possum

  • 1890 - UT George “Possum” (he picked up his nicknamed because of his tales of backwoods possum hunting) Whitted was born in Durham, North Carolina. Possum played in Pittsburgh from 1919-21, hitting .286 while manning first, third and left field. But he could play anywhere. Possum was the first rookie in history to start at every position (except pitcher and catcher) during a season.
  • 1927 - The Bucs claimed veteran 1B/OF Joe Harris off waivers from Washington. He started in 1927, hitting .326 in 129 games and was batting .391 in June of 1928 when he was flipped to the Brooklyn Robins in what became the 37 year old’s last MLB campaign.
Joe Harris (photo via Out of the Park Development)
  • 1932 - The Pirates sold 31 year old 2B George Grantham to the Reds. Grantham was the Bucco second baseman for the 1925 and 1927 World series clubs and put up seven straight .300+ seasons for Pittsburgh, with a BA of .315 between 1925-31. The FO must have had a glimmer; his .300 streak ended at Cincinnati (.294). He then became a sub for the Reds and left the game following the 1934 campaign.
  • 1962 - Roberto Clemente was given the Dapper Dan Man of the Year Award after hitting .351 in 1961 to claim the NL batting title, his first of four crowns. Ex-Pittsburgh mayor and then Pennsylvania governor David Lawrence presented Clemente with his plaque. The Great One said on acceptance that “This award belongs to the fans and my teammates as much as it does to me."
  • 1970 - The Bucs sent noted playboy and so-so hurler Bo Belinsky to the Reds for RHP Dennis Ribant. Belinsky went 0-3 in eight games as a Pirate with a 4.58 ERA, and 1970 was his last MLB year; Ribant lasted a season for Pittsburgh, with a 9-8 record and a 4.08 ERA as a swingman before moving on to the AL.
Bo Belinsky (photo via Obscure Pittsburgh Pirates blog)
  • 1996 - RHP Danny Darwin signed with the Pirates after a couple of dismal seasons at Boston, Toronto and Texas. He went 7-9 with a sparkling 3.02 ERA and was flipped at the deadline to Houston for reliever Rick Loiselle. Darwin was dubbed "Doctor Death" by Houston's Nolan Ryan because of how ready to rumble Darwin was. He got into two publicized bouts with teammates Orel Hershiser and Barry Bonds, though Bonds was just a hot verbal altercation.
  • 2003 - The Red Sox claimed Bronson Arroyo off waivers from the Pirates. After three seasons and a 9-14/5.44 ERA for Pittsburgh, he’s quietly worked another decade in the show since then, winning 100+ games with a resume of an inning eater. After a stint with the Arizona D-Backs following an eight year run with the Cincinnati Reds, he’s now a Washington Nat.

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