Monday, April 4, 2016

4/4: Playful Pirates, LaRussa Cut, Hit Man & Manny Deals, Capps Signed, Last TRS Opener,More...

  • 1883 - OF Bill Hinchman was born in Philadelphia. He played for the Bucs from 1915-18 and again in 1920. Bill started the first two seasons, hitting over .300, but faded at the end, finishing his five year Bucco stint with a .284 BA. Hinchman was a Pirates coach in 1923 and scouted for the club from 1921 to 1958, with a pretty keen eye - he signed Lloyd Waner, Arky Vaughan, Rip Sewell, Cookie Lavagetto, and Billy Cox.
  • 1938 - A half dozen Pirate players “were feeling playful” per Post Gazette writer Edward Balinger and got into a wrestling match while aboard a train. The result was that Russ Bauers, a big righty slated to work Opening Day, wretched his knee. He didn’t start a game again until April 25th and didn’t pick up his first win until June 1st. That was the year the Bucs lost six of their last seven games to finish two games out of first; the loss of their ace to horseplay may have been the difference between the flag and staying home.
  • 1975 - The Pirates released minor league infielder Tony LaRussa after he hit .260 at Class AAA Charleston in 1974. He retired in 1977 and came back to haunt the Bucs as the manager of St. Louis’ Evil Empire that ran roughshod over the NL Central during his tenure as skipper.
Tony LaRussa Charleston bobblehead
  • 1977 - OF Mike Easler was traded by the California Angels to the Pirates for P Randy Sealy. The Hit Man spent six seasons with the Bucs, hitting .302 and earning an All-Star spot in 1981. The Pirates actually sold him to the Red Sox after the 1978 campaign, but traded a couple of minor leaguers to get him back before the 1979 season began. Persistent Boston eventually got him back for the ‘84 season, sending John Tudor to Pittsburgh for Easler.
  • 1978 - The Pirates sent OF Miguel Dilone, P Elias Sosa and IF Mike Edwards to the A’s for C Manny Sanguillen, who had been traded to Oakland 17 months earlier for Chuck Tanner and cash. He spent three more seasons in Black & Gold, mainly as a bench player behind Ed Ott and Steve Nicosia.
  • 1986 - 1B Jason Thompson was traded to Montreal for a pair of PTBNL minor leaguers, Ron Giddens and Ben Abner. It ended up a very minor deal’ Thompson fared poorly for the Expos in his last MLB campaign and neither prospect the Pirates got made it to the show.
  • 2000 - The Bucs drew a record announced crowd of 54,399 as Jason Schmidt lost 5-2 to the Astros for TRS’s final home opener. Sadly, the butts in the seats didn’t match the attendance figure even with Christina Aguilera on hand to sing the Anthem; there were maybe 15,000 live fans on hand because of drizzly, 40 degree weather in Pittsburgh.
Jason Schmidt 2000 Fleer Impact
  • 2007 - The Bucs swept the Astros in Houston for the first time since 1991, winning 5-4 at Minute Maid Park behind Tom Gorzelanny. Jose Bautista banged out three hits including a double and drove in three RBI to prime the attack.
  • 2008 - Closer Matt Capps agreed on a $3.05M, two-year contract that ran through 2009 and covered his first year of arbitration. Capps wasn’t tendered when the deal ran out - he had 27 saves in 2009, but with a 5.80 ERA - and moved on to Washington.

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