Saturday, April 2, 2016

4/2: Hans, Manny & Sudden Sam; HBD Jon; Long Time Coming; Albert Cashes In the Bucs

  • 1942 - The Sporting News released a poll of 100 former major leaguers and managers voting for the best player of all time. Ty Cobb won easily, with Buc SS Honus Wagner second. The Flying Dutchman handily outpolled both Babe Ruth and Rogers Hornsby.
Honus Wagner 1949 (cover Pittsburgh Press Sunday Roto)
  • 1963 - The Pirates traded for OF Manny Mota, sending OF Howie Goss to the Astros. Mota spent six years as a Pirate, hitting .297 as a fourth OF’er/pinch hitter. He went on to a long career with LA as a pinch hitter deluxe, and when he was finished hitting, his 34 consecutive seasons as a Dodgers coach was the longest in team history and the second-longest streak in MLB history behind Nick Altrock.
  • 1970 - RHP Jon Lieber was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The Pirates picked him up at the 1993 deadline as part of a trade for Stan Belinda with KC, and he pitched his first five (1994-98) seasons with the Bucs, going 38-47/4.36. Pittsburgh sent him to the Cubs for Brant Brown after the 1998 campaign. He he spent another nine workmanlike years in the show, winning 131 games in 14 seasons, including 20 in 2001 for the Cubs.
  • 1975 - The Pirates signed pitcher Sudden Sam McDowell, a 32 year old free agent that started out at Central Catholic. It would be the last hurrah of a 15 year career that saw him win 141 games and K 2,453 batters, mostly with the Indians. Sudden Sam was the Sporting News Pitcher of the Year in 1970 when he worked 305 frames and punched out 304 batters. But his bouts with the bottle caught up to him; he pitched well for the Pirates, but was released in June. McDowell later went through rehab and turned his life around. The character Sam Malone, the bartender on the TV show “Cheers,“ was said to be loosely based on Sudden Sam.
Sudden Sam McDowell (photo via Main Line Autographs)
  • 1997 - For the first time in major league history, the salary of one player was more than that of a team. The Chicago White Sox paid Albert Belle $10M for the season, which was $928,333 more than the entire Pirate “Freak Show” payroll.
  • 2014 - The Pirates and Cubs hooked up for the longest baseball game ever played in Pittsburgh, a 16 inning marathon that lasted five hours and 55 minutes before the Bucs could scrape out a 4-3 decision. Chicago tied it in the ninth and took the lead in the 12th, but the Bucs knotted the score again on a two-out single by Starling Marte. Tony Sanchez ended the longest day with a knock to drive home Jose Tabata. Stolmy Pimentel got his first MLB win while Carlos Villanueva dropped his second consecutive game as he was the losing pitcher on Opening Day.

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