Sunday, May 22, 2016

5/22: Starg Bombs Three; Swetonic's Streak; Expo Park Burns; Frankie's Gem & More...

  • 1900 - Exposition Park was plagued by a series of fires set in the stands. The Pittsburg Press wrote that “It is believed the fires were started by persons who formerly held passes but whom the new management refuses to recognize,” referring to small stockholders who were cut out of the action by new owner Barney Dreyfuss and apparently took the loss of their comps hard.
Exposition Park 1904 (photo via Lawrence Publishing/Library of Congress)
  • 1921 - In their first meeting of the season, the first place Pirates defeated the second place NY Giants 8-6 at the Polo Grounds. After trailing for most of the game, the Pirates scored twice in the eighth and six times in the ninth. Possum Whitted went 3-for-3 with a homer, George Cutshaw went 4-for-5 with two doubles, Cotton Tierney added three knocks and Max Carey belted a four bagger. Wilbur Cooper went the distance for the win. It was a 2-0 game in favor of Gotham going into the eighth; the G-Men had no quit in them either and scored once in the eighth and three times in the ninth to keep it interesting. NY lost that battle but won the war; the Giants took the 1921 NL title by four games from the Bucs.
  • 1925 - The Bucs scored five times in the first inning, keyed by Glenn Wright’s three run homer, and then didn’t score again until the 10th, but it was enough to edge the NY Giants 6-5 at the Polo Grounds. Pie Traynor shot a liner off Wayland Dean’s shin that ricocheted into short RF for a double and scored on a two-out knock by George Grantham for the game winner. Vic Aldridge got the win; Dean was a hard luck loser, working 9-2/3 innings of one-run relief only to get tagged with the loss (and a bruise).
  • 1932 - Mt. Pleasant’s Steve Swetonic, a Pitt grad, had his scoreless innings streak snapped at 26 frames when Pepper Martin hit a seventh inning solo homer, but ended up with a three hit, 5-1 win over Dizzy Dean and the St. Louis Cardinals at Sportsman’s Park. Steve would finish 11-6/2.86 for the year, but a bum arm short-circuited his career; he would have only one more healthy season left, missing all of 1934 and retiring in 1935.
Steve Swetonic 1994 Conlon Collection/The Sporting News
  • 1946 - Josh Gibson hit a homer an estimated 490’ over the left center wall at Forbes Field to lead the Homestead Grays to victory over the New York Black Yankees. Gibson hit .379 that season and led the Negro League with 16 homers in 49 games.
  • 1965 - The Pirates sent IF Dick Schofield to the Giants for IF Jose Pagan. Pagan spent seven years with Pittsburgh, hitting .263 and driving in the winning run in the seventh game of the 1971 World Series. Ducky played until 1971, but the light-hitting utilityman only batted above .221 twice during that span.
  • 1968 - With the wind blowing out at Wrigley Field‚ the Pirates came from four runs down to defeat the Cubs 13-6. Willie Stargell hit three home runs and just missed a fourth, drilling a double that bounced off the left field railing and back onto the playing field. Pops also smacked a single for 15 total bases and seven RBI on the day. 
Willie Stargell 1968 Topps
  • 1981 - Willie Stargell was featured on the cover of The Sporting News for the story “Streaking Slugger.” The Captain was on the downside of his career, being a bench player from 1980 until his retirement after the 1982 season. He only got 66 PA in 1981 playing behind Jason Thompson, and for the first time since his rookie campaign, when he had just 31 AB, he went without a homer though he did bat .283.
  • 2013 - Francisco Liriano outdueled the Cubs Jeff Samardzija 1-0 at PNC Park; the only run scored was in the first, when with two outs Andrew McCutchen doubled and Garrett Jones singled him home. Liriano gave up two hits, a walk and K’ed nine in seven innings. It was only the second time in Pirate history that a pitcher began his Pittsburgh career by allowing a run or less in his first three outings, the other being Dave LaPoint in 1988.

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