Thursday, April 14, 2016

4/14: Bunning's 1,000th K, HBD JVB & Chris, Fort McKenry, Big Blasts, Tobin Deal

  • 1925 - Chicago’s WGN Radio broadcast its first ever baseball game as Grover Alexander and the Cubs defeated the Pirates and Emil Yde on Opening Day, 8-2. Six of the runs against Yde were unearned thanks to three Bucco boots.
  • 1937 - The Bucs bought minor league pitcher Jim Tobin from the Yankees. Tobin tossed three seasons for Pittsburgh, going 29-24 with a 3.71 ERA before being sent to Boston. He was a mainstay of their staff during the war years and pitched through 1945.
Jim Tobin 1939 (image from Playball 9)
  • 1960 - The Pirates showed that they would be a NL force to reckon with during their home opener, pounding the Reds 13-0 in front of 34,064 fans. Vern Law pitched a complete game shutout while Roberto Clemente and Billy Maz combined to drive home nine runs. One of the Great One’s RBI was a 445’ sac fly that Vada Pinson corralled just short of the batting cage parked in center field.
  • 1968 - Jim Bunning earned his first win with Pittsburgh‚ 3-0 at Los Angeles. It was his 40th career shutout and included his 1‚000th NL strikeout‚ making him the first pitcher since Cy Young with 1‚000 punchouts in each league. His bacon was saved when Roberto Clemente brought back a potential two-run homer to right by Ron Fairly, leaping above the wall to snag the ball.
  • 1980 - The Pirates got their World Series rings at the home opener at TRS. The rainy day (the game was delayed three times) drew 44,088 to the yard. The Bucs were cruising in the ninth when Teke was touched up for a couple of runs to tie the match; it was untied an inning later when Bill Robinson took Bruce Sutter yard for a trot-off 5-4 Bucco win.
  • 1980 - RHP John Van Benschoten was born in San Diego. As a top draft pick in 2001 (eighth overall), the debate whether was to have JVB pitch (he was Kent State’s closer) or hit (he led the NCAA in HRs). The Pirates thought he had a better shot physically at pitching. But in three stops at Pittsburgh (2004, 2007-08) he went 2-13 with a 9.20 ERA, with arm problems along the road, and he never tossed in the majors again.
John Van Benshoten 2004 Fleer
  • 1984 - RHP Chris Leroux was born in Montreal. The reliever pitched for the Bucs from 2010-13, getting fairly regular work between 2010-11. His Pirate line was 1-2 with a 5.56 ERA.
  • 1991 - Bob Walk hit the only home run of his career, a two-out solo shot off Chicago’s Danny Jackson in the second inning at Wrigley Field. Walk started the game, but wasn’t around for the decision in Pittsburgh’s 6-4 loss to the Cubs. Stan Belinda gave up two runs in the bottom of the 8th to take the defeat. Jeff King went 3-for-4.
  • 2008 - The Bucs took a down-to-the-wire 6-4 win at Dodger Stadium when Nate McLouth hammered a three-run, two-out homer in the ninth off Dodger closer Takashi Saito. Matt Capps saved the win for Tyler Yates.
  • 2013 - The Pirates fell behind the Cincinnati Reds 5-0 before scoring 10 runs in the seventh and eighth innings to rally for a 10-6 win behind Mike McKenry’s two long balls, the first multi-homer day of his career. The PNC fans wouldn’t sit down until The Fort tipped his cap during a curtain call. Appropriately, the Pirates were dressed in throwback seventies “Lumber Company” uniforms.
The Fort 2012 Topps
  • 2014 - The Bucs and Reds combined for 10 homers, a GABP record, in just six innings, with the game suspended by weather with the score 7-7. The Pirates became the third MLB team to hit three back-to-back sets of HR. Neil Walker and Gaby Sanchez hit that cycle twice in the second and sixth frames, tying a team mark from 1954 set by Toby Atwell and Jerry Lynch, with Starling Marte and Travis Snider banging the other pair. The Reds were no slouches themselves, hitting four homers, three of them two-run shots and all of them with two outs. Pittsburgh won the game the next day 8-7 on Russ Martin’s two-out knock that scored Andrew McCutchen.

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