Wednesday, April 20, 2016

4/20: Starg Clears Roof; Sweet Swetonic, Rip Snorter, Teke Traded, Big Attacks & More...

  • 1930 - Long-time baseball writer Irwin Howe of the Chicago Tribune picked his all-time MLB team, and it included SS Honus Wagner and 3B Pie Traynor. Howe was the secretary for the Chicago chapter of BBWAA and the AL’s official statistician.
  • 1932 - Mt. Pleasant native and Pitt grad Steve Swetonic came as close as any Pirate pitcher (Bob Moose matched his feat in 1968) to toss a no-hitter at Forbes Field. He surrendered a two-out knock in the eighth by the Card’s George Watkins that spoiled his bid. Though he gave up a couple of anti-climatic ninth inning singles, he cruised to a 7-0 victory. His career was short circuited after five years as he had to retire at the age of 28 because of a chronic sore arm.
Steve Swetonic 1934 Butterfinger
  • 1936 - Overcoming an early six run deficit, the Bucs’ Gus Suhr slugged a two-out, three-run homer in the ninth off Roy Henshaw to give Pittsburgh a 9-8 win over the Cubs at Forbes Field. Pep Young and Cookie Lavagetto also went long, and Bill Swift worked the final four frames for the win.
  • 1946 - Rip Sewell spun a four hitter to win a duel against the Cards Bucky Walters 2-1. Walters scored his clubs’ only run by stealing home, but RBI from Bob Elliott and Elbie Fletcher sent the Forbes Field crowd of 27,891 (and Rip) home happy.
  • 1948 - Rip Sewell did it all; he tossed a complete game six hitter and homered as the Bucs won their home opener 3-2 over the Cubs. Rookie second baseman Monty Basgall had the game winner, his first big league homer, in the sixth inning.
Big date for Rip Sewell (photo Walter Stein/AP)
  • 1970 - Willie Stargell belted a homer off Jim Bouton that cleared the RF roof at Forbes Field as the Pirates took a 3-1 decision from Houston. Dock Ellis went six innings for the win, with Dave Giusti covering the last three frames. The deed wasn’t witnessed by very many; there were only 4,015 fans in the house.
  • 1980 - CF Chris Duffy was born in Brattleboro, Vermont. Duffy hit .269 in his three Buc years (2005-07) but butted heads with manager Jim Tracy, who wanted him to change his batting style. Duffy stormed home after a closed-door session with the skipper, and his career pretty much sank after that affair. He played one more season for Pittsburgh, and in 2008 was injured and released. He would play just 13 more MLB games.
  • 1985 - Kent Tekulve’s Pirate career ended after a dozen seasons when he was traded to the Phils for Al Holland. He became a set up man there and remained rubber-armed, appearing in 291 games in four years with a 24-26-25/3.01 line in Philly.
  • 1986 - The Pirates and Cubs played 13 innings, only to have their game at Wrigley Field suspended due to darkness after four hours and 48 minutes and the score tied 8-8. The Cubs scored three times in the bottom of the ninth inning to send the game into extra innings. The contest was completed on August 11th with the Bucs winning 10-8 in 17 innings. The total game time from start to finish was six hours and nine minutes. Johnny Ray & Joe Orsulak combined for seven hits and five runs while Sid Bream and Steve Kemp homered. Barry Jones picked up the win, going four scoreless innings while whiffing eight.
Joe Orsulak 1986 Fleer
  • 1992 - The Pirates broke open a tight game with a nine run outburst in the ninth to defeat the Montreal Expos at Olympic Stadium by an 11-1 score. The inning was highlighted by a Kirk Gibson grand slam and a three-run shot by Barry Bonds. Randy Tomlin carried the game into the seventh inning and earned the win.
  • 1995 - Pittsburgh released knuckleballer Tim Wakefield. He was picked up a week later by Boston, where he spent 17 seasons and won 186 games. He mastered his pitch in the Red Sox system under the tutelage of Phil and Joe Niekro.
  • 1998 - Pennsylvania placed a state memorial plaque, sponsored by the local historical society, at 605 Beechwood Avenue in Carnegie, near the site of Honus Wagner's birthplace to honor the Pirates Hall of Fame shortstop.
  • 2009 - Ross Ohlendorf tossed the Bucs’ fourth shutout of the season, giving up two hits in seven innings in an 8-0 win over Florida, ending the Marlins’ seven-game winning streak. The Bucs had recorded just two shutouts in all of 2008. Nate McLouth gave Ohlie all the support he needed by driving in four runs, three touching home after a sixth inning homer.

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