Friday, April 15, 2016

4/15: HBD Batty & Rambo, Moses Debuts, Alleghenys Open, Hard Hats, DPs & More

  • 1876 - The Pittsburgh Alleghenys played what’s thought to be the city's first professional baseball game against the local Xanthas at Union Park, winning 7-3. (The Alleghenys had paid players, but were an independent club). The following year, the franchise was accepted into the minor league International Association, but the team and league disbanded after the season.
  • 1877 - Ed Abbaticchio, thought by many to be the first Italian American to play MLB, was born in Latrobe. “Batty” was also one of the first to play both pro baseball and football, starring on the gridiron for Latrobe, arguably the first pro football team in America. The middle infielder played 3-1/2 of his nine big league seasons (1907-10) for Pittsburgh, hitting .253, and was a reserve for the 1909 World Series champs.
  • 1921 - Pirate pitcher Moses “Chief” Yellow Horse made his major league debut against the Reds. Yellow Horse, a Pawnee, was believed by many baseball historians to be the first full-blooded American Indian to play in the big leagues. He worked the last two innings to save a win for Earl Hamilton as the Bucs beat the Reds 3-1 at Crosley Field. 
Moses "Chief" Yellowhorse 1922 (uncredited photo via My Auctions)
  • 1930 - The Bucs took the season opener from Cincinnati 7-6 at Redland Field in front of 30,112 fans. North Side’s Steve Swetonic went 5-1/3 innings of one run ball in relief of Ray Kremer for the win. Paul Waner went 4-for-4 while Dick Bartell and Rollie Hemsley homered.
  • 1947 - In his Pirate debut, Hank Greenberg doubled home the winner in the Pirates' 1-0 victory over the Cubs and Hank Borowy. Rip Sewell got the win by scattering five hits at Wrigley Field. The slugger was brought in from the Tigers after a contract impasse, and Greenberg wasted no time in cashing in.
  • 1952 - Pittsburgh became the first team required to wear helmets, both at bat and in the field. Branch Rickey mandated their use, and though his intentions were no doubt noble, he did happen to have an ownership interest in the company that made the hats. Though first used in 1907, they didn’t begin to appear regularly until the forties and weren't required to be worn by baseball until 1971.
  • 1958 - The Pirates beat the Braves 4-3 in 14 inning contest, tying the longest opening day game ever played in the NL, a record they would tie again in 1969. Bill Virdon chased home Hank Foiles with the game winner at Milwaukee’s County Stadium. Ron Blackburn got the win and Curt Raydon picked up the save.
Curt Raydon 1960 Topps
  • 1960 - OF/1B Mike Diaz was born in San Francisco. He played in Pittsburgh from 1986-88, hitting .250 with 28 HR in 524 AB. Diaz earned the nickname “Rambo” while with the Bucs because of his resemblance to Sly Stallone, and the club even promoted a fairly famous poster of him under that nom de guerre. He went to Japan for four seasons beginning in 1989.
  • 1961 - The Dodgers and Pirates tied a MLB record by turning nine DPs (Los Angeles 5‚ Pittsburgh 4) in a 4-1 Buc win at Memorial Coliseum. It was only the second time (July 3rd‚ 1929, Cubs-Reds) that 9 DPs have been turned in a nine inning NL game. Eight were grounded into, one was a line drive DP. Dick Groat started three of the four Buc twin killings.
  • 1993 - Dennis Moeller won his first MLB game and manager Jim Leyland won his 600th game as the Bucs swept the Padres 5-4 in 13 frames at Jack Murphy Stadium. The unlikely hero was Tom Prince; the catcher was supposed to be pinch hit for in the ninth, but trotted back from the bullpen when the two Bucs ahead of him reached and he received a reprieve to bunt. He did successfully, setting up the tying run, and then later doubled home Carlos Garcia with the game winner.
Dennis Moeller 1993 O-Pee-Chee
  • 2009 - The Pirates acquired IF/OF Delwyn Young from the Dodgers for RHPs Eric Krebs and Harvey Garcia. Young played 234 games for the Pirates during the 2009-10 seasons, hitting .255 with 14 HR and 71 RBI, while neither Krebs nor Garcia made it, although Garcia had a cup of coffee with Florida in 2007, appearing in eight games.
  • 2015 - Francisco Liriano and the Bucs lost a 1-0 decision to the Detroit Tigers at PNC Park. Frankie struck out seven and gave up four hits in six frames, but one of the knocks was a solo homer by former Bucco Rajai Davis, and it proved the game winner. Alfredo Simon and Joakim Soria only managed three K between them, but surrendered just two hits without a walk to stifle the Bucs.
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