Sunday, April 10, 2016

4/10: HBD Howdy, Joe, Lee & Mike; Milo & Lanny, Keaton's Dis, Clemente, Stargell Blasts

  • 1906 - 2B Howdy (short for Howard) Groskloss, who played for the Bucs from 1930-32 and hit .261, was born in Pittsburgh, the son of an opera singer. He became the oldest living major league baseball player in 2005 at the age of 99, and survived past the century mark. The Pirates signed him for $10K, but he lost the 2B job to Tony Piet and went to Yale Medical School, earning his degree in 1937. He served during World War II as a Chief Medical officer and Flight Surgeon on a carrier in the Pacific, and later in life he moonlighted as a pro golfer and won several tournaments.
Howie Groskloss 1930 (photo via The Kiski School)
  • 1935 - Joe Gibbon, who began as a starter and finished as a reliever during his 13 year MLB career, was born in Hickory, Mississippi. The lefty spent eight seasons as a Pirate, going 44-46-16 with a 3.61 ERA. As a rookie, he pitched for the 1960 World Series club and returned to Pittsburgh to toss in the 1970 NLCS after spending four seasons with the Giants.
  • 1948 - Lee Lacy, who spent six years in Pittsburgh as a mainly part-time outfielder, was born in Longview, Texas. Lacy hit .304 during his Bucco era and was a member of the 1979 championship team. In his 16 year career, he was part of three LA Dodger World Series teams, all of which lost. In fact, his ‘79 Series appearance was the third straight year he got to play in the Fall Classic. It was his last, and the only one he won.
  • 1962 - Roberto Clemente spanked a grand slam and Bob Friend twirled a complete game, five hit shutout as the Bucs blanked the Phils in their home opener at Forbes Field 6-0. Clemente’s blast was the first and only Pirates Opening Day grand slam until Neil Walker banged one in 2011.
Roberto bangs the first Bucco Opening Day grand slam ever (photo via
  • 1967 - Milo Hamilton replaced Bob Prince as the voice of the Pirates, marking the first time that a MLB team followed one future Ford Frick winner with another. Prince won the award posthumously in 1986 and Hamilton was recognized in 1992.
  • 1968 - Roberto Clemente hit a homer and made an unbelievable grab of Hal King’s drive down the right field line, but it went for naught. The Bucs scored a pair in the top of the ninth at the Astrodome to take a 4-2 lead, but Jim Bunning, Juan Pizarro and Ronnie Kline couldn’t hold the lead, losing 5-4.
  • 1971 - Willie Stargell hit three home runs and drove in all four runs in a 5-4 loss in 12 innings to the Braves at Atlanta Stadium. Al Oliver, batting behind Pops, had three hits. Steve Blass pitched nine innings, but with two down in the ninth walked Ralph Garr and then gave up a two-run homer to Hank Aaron to send the game to extra innings, with Nellie Briles taking the loss.
  • 1975 - RHP Mike Lincoln was born in Carmichael, California. He debuted as a teen for the Twins, and pitched for the Pirates from 2001-03. He had two effective years as a reliever, but arm troubles hounded him in 2003 and throughout the rest of his career. As a Bucco, Lincoln went 7-9-5/3.50.
Mike Lincoln 2002 Topps Total
  • 1976 - Lanny Frattare made his broadcast debut as the Pirates defeated the Philadelphia Phillies, 5-4, at Veterans Stadium. Dave Parker scored the winning run in a collision at home that cost C Johnny Oates two months of the season with a broken collarbone. Frattare went on to become the Pirates longest tenured announcer, announcing victories with his tag line "...and there was noooo doubt about it" for 33 seasons before his retirement to academia.
  • 2006 - The Bucs were dissed by actor Michael Keaton, who threw the first pitch at the PNC Park home opener and then said afterwards of ownership "I fear they will take advantage of the good will of the people who continue to show up. For my money, that's disrespectful. At some point, you ...have to write the check.” The Pirates validated his claim as the Dodgers bombed Zach Duke and coasted to an easy 8-3 win.

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