Tuesday, April 5, 2016

4/5: HBD Rennie & Jung Ho, Opening Day Duels, Bill Robinson & Dave Dravecky Deals

  • 1951 - 2B Rennie Stennett was born in Colon, Panama. Stennett played nine seasons (1971-79) with the Bucs as a sweet-fielding second sacker, hitting .278 BA to back up the leather. He was involved in a lot of stuff, appearing in the 1979 Series, starting for the first all-black lineup in MLB in 1971, and collecting a record seven knocks in a nine inning game against the Cubs in 1975. Sadly, he broke his leg in 1977 and never had a strong season afterward, even though the Giants signed him to a five-year deal worth $3M for 1980. They released him after two years while still in the hole for $2M.
  • 1975 - The Pirates got OF Bill Robinson from the Phils for RHP Wayne Simpson. McKeesport’s Robinson spent eight years in Pittsburgh as a platoon OF’er, hitting .276 with 109 HR. His highlight season came in 1977 when he hit .304 with career highs of 26 home runs and 104 RBI.
Bill Robinson (photo Getty Images)
  • 1981 - Pittsburgh traded Class AA Buffalo pitcher Dave Dravecky to the San Diego Padres for utilityman Bobby Mitchell. Mitchell never made it out of the minors while Youngstown native Dravecky eventually carved out an eight year MLB career with a 64-57 slate, 3.13 ERA and an All-Star appearance in a stint cut short by a cancerous tumor in his arm.
  • 1987 - IF Jung Ho Kang was born in Gwangju, South Korea. After a winning posting bid of $5,002,015 for Kang from his Korean team, the Nexen Heroes, the Bucs signed the infielder to a four year, $11M contract with an option year. He became the first KBO position player to make the jump to the MLB. Jung-Ho made the transition in style, hitting .287 with 15 HR while playing SS & 3B before he broke his leg in mid-September.
  • 2004 - Kip Wells scattered five hits and struck out seven over six scoreless innings as the Pirates beat the Phillies, 2-1, on Opening Day at PNC Park. Jose Mesa earned his 250th career save while Craig Wilson hit the first home run of the year for the Pirates.
Kip Wells 2003 Topps Heritage
  • 2012 - Opening Day drew the largest crowd to date in PNC Park history, 39,585, as the Bucs Erik Bedard lost a classic pitching duel to the Phil’s Roy Halladay 1-0. The Bucs threatened in the first, but a Cutch 6-4-3 DP short-circuited the frame. Neil Walker took it to the track twice, but both balls died at the fence as Halladay tossed a two-hitter.

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