Thursday, April 7, 2016

4/7: HBD Jack & Bobby, Bucs Sign Arky, Trade For Rhoden, Murtaugh's #40 Retired, Games

  • 1887 - RHP Jack Ferry was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. He worked sparingly for Pittsburgh from 1910-13, posting a 10-6 record with a 3.02 ERA in 160-⅔ IP. Ferry’s claim to fame: he was the first Seton Hall grad to play MLB.
  • 1932 - The Pirates obtained the rights to SS Arky Vaughan from Tulsa of the Western League through a working agreement between the clubs. The Hall of Famer spent the next 10 years in Pittsburgh, winning All-Star honors for eight consecutive years while piling up a .324 BA. He and Honus Wagner may be the best 1-2 punch at short for one franchise in the sport’s history.
Arky Vaughan (photo via The Deadball Era)
  • 1933 - OF Bobby DelGreco was born in the Hill District. He spent two years with the Pirates in 1952 and 1956, hitting .219. His career spanned nine seasons, and he played regularly with the Phils and A’s. After finishing his playing career, his day job was as a delivery driver for the Pittsburgh Press and he moonlighted by tossing BP for the Bucs into the nineties.
  • 1970 - After eight consecutive Opening Day defeats, the Mets finally won a lidlifter by beating the Pirates 5-3 at Forbes Field. It took 11 innings, but Ron Taylor, with a Tug McGraw save, beat Chuck Hartenstein. New York became the first team to have won a World Series (1969) before winning a season opener.
  • 1977 - Danny Murtaugh’s number 40 was retired on Opening Day in front of 35,186 fans at TRS the year following his death. He won a pair of World Series and was twice Manager of the Year. Known for his dry wit, The Whistling Irishman attributed his success to “brilliant managerial thinking and dumb Irish luck.” The game wasn’t much of a testimonial, though, as the Bucs lost 12-6 to the Cards, the last time St. Louis played a home opener in Pittsburgh until 2016.
  • 1978 - The Candy Man tossed a seven hit shutout to thwart Rick Reuschel and the Cubs 1-0 in the Pirates home opener at TRS. Bill Robinson was the hero; his hard slide into second after a Willie Stargell grounder broke up a potential inning-ending DP and allowed Frank Taveras to score the game’s only run. The Bucs collected just three hits on in front of 39,082 fans who got home happy and quickly; the game took one hour and 52 minutes to complete.
The Candy Man Can - 1978 O-Pee-Chee
  • 1979 - The Pirates traded LHP Jerry Reuss to the Los Angeles Dodgers for RHP Rick Rhoden. Both sides got dependable starters out of the deal, as Rhoden won 79 games for Pittsburgh between 1980-86 (he was injured in 1979) and Reuss notched 84 victories in LA from 1979-85. Rick made one All-Star club with Pittsburgh and won three Silver Sluggers; he hit .251 as a Bucco and banged five long balls.
  • 2008 - The Pirates lost the first home opener of the Frank Coonelly/Neal Huntington era in exciting fashion, dropping a 10-8 decision to the Cubs at PNC Park in 12 innings. The Bucs fell behind 7-0, rallied to tie the score, and were set to win it in the ninth when Jose Bautista laid down a squeeze with Brian Bixler at third. Bixler inexplicably lost his nerve and retreated back to the bag, costing Pittsburgh its last grab at the ring.
  • 2012 - Jeff Karstens and four relievers held the Phils scoreless for 9-2/3 innings to take a 2-1, ten inning decision at PNC Park. After Juan Cruz stranded a pair in the top of the final frame, Rod Barajas led off the tenth with a double. Mike McKenry ran for him, and Alex Presley brought him home by legging out a bleeder to third with two outs for the walk-off win.

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