Tuesday, May 3, 2016

5/3: HBD Bing, Wall Crashers, Gunner Returns, Comeback Kids and More...

  • 1899 - OF Jack McCarthy hit a ball that went through an open gate in the Exposition Park outfield wall, and a hometown fan shut it before Louisville’s fielder could get there to give McCarthy an uncontested three run, walk-off homer in Pittsburgh’s 7-6 win against the Louisville Colonels. The league frowned on the helping hand and ordered a replay of the game.
  • 1903 - Longtime Pirate co-owner and well-known crooner Harry “Bing” Crosby was born in Tacoma, Washington. He became a minority owner during the John Galbreath era; he and Galbreath knew one another from the horse circuit. Crosby, who held his stake from 1946-77, taped the Pirates 1960 Game Seven win against the Yankees off TV for the only nine inning video of the classic (he was too nervous to watch in person) and also helped in the signing of Bucco great Vern Law out of high school. Bing had a long-time love of baseball, playing in high school and for a year at Gonzaga University before becoming an entertainer of a different sort.
Bing between John Galbreath & Frank McKinney 1947 (photo Associated Press)
  • 1909 - The Bucs whipped Chicago‚ 9-2 at the West Side Grounds. Honus Wagner went 5-for-6 during the game, scoring three times and stealing three bases to help earn Vic Willis the victory. He was repeating what he did the day before, also going 5-for-6 in a 6-0 victory over the Cubs. The Pittsburg Press wrote “Hans Wagner was the shining star of the game. The other Pirates followed and the slaughtery of the Cubs is something awful to record.” Chicago was Pittsburgh’s hottest competitor and finished second to them in the NL, 6-1/2 games off the Pirate pace.
  • 1927 - Paul Waner went 3-for-4 with a triple, walk, three runs scored and four RBI as the Pirates outlasted the St. Louis Cardinals 11-10 at Forbes Field. Earl Smith had three hits, including two homers, to add three RBI to the pot and Glenn Wright also had three knocks and plated three times to give Ray Kremer, the Pirates fourth pitcher, the win.
  • 1928 - Ray Kremer lost his first home start of the season to the Boston Braves at Forbes Field 5-4 in 11 innings, ending a MLB record streak of 22 straight home victories by Kremer dating back to 1926.
  • 1947 - The Pirates traded OF Al Gionfriddo and $100,000 to Dodgers for P Kirby Higbe, P Cal McLish, IF Gene Mauch, P Hank Behrman, and P Dixie Howell. Gionfriddo was remembered for his 1947 World Series grab of a Joe DiMaggio blast for Brooklyn and Red Barber’s call that he was going “back back back back back” for the catch, which Chris Berman of ESPN later adopted as his home run call. Some analysts believe that Branch Rickey made the deal to send a message to the Dodger players about his support for Jackie Robinson by sending some gripers to Pittsburgh, though he may have just been housecleaning; none but Higbe had any impact with the Pirates.
Al Gianfriddo as a Bucco (photo via Main Line Autographs)
  • 1953 - Johnny Lindell, a pitcher turned outfielder turned pitcher‚ earned the Pirates their fifth straight win‚ beating the Cards‚ 6-2. Lindell notched his first W since 1942 when he was a Yankee reliever, his last MLB season on the mound (he converted to the OF in 1943). In 1950, he became a bush league knuckleballer and returned to the majors in 1953 at the age of 36 as a pitcher. His knuckler was a wild child, and he led the NL in walks and wild pitches that season. Although used mainly by the Bucs as a pitcher (Lindell worked 175 IP), he batted .286 and pinch hit 34 times, once tying a game with a three run, ninth inning homer.
  • 1985 - The Gunner, Bob Prince, returned to the booth after a 10 year absence (he had been fired by KDKA). Prince got a standing ovation from the crowd, and when he took over the mic in the fourth frame, the Pirates erupted for nine runs, earning him another O after the inning. It was a short comeback as The Gunner died of cancer on June 10th.
  • 1986 - A skunk wandered onto the field at San Diego in the 7th inning at Jack Murphy Stadium and held up the Padres-Pirates game for several minutes. It was rumored that a group of skunks lived under the stadium‚ feeding on peanuts and other fan debris; guess that’s one rumor that proved true. The Bucs scored three times in the 8th and added the game winner in the 9th to skunk the Padres‚ 7-6.
  • 1991 - The Pirates defeated the Astros 1-0 in a one hour‚ 45 minute contest at TRS‚ the NL's shortest nine inning game since 1981. Zane Smith threw a complete game four hitter while Pete Harnisch went the distance and gave up only two knocks, one being Orlando Merced’s first homer of the year in the third inning. Harnisch threw 89 pitches and Smith 92 during the contest.
Zane Smith 1991 Leaf
  • 1998 - Turner Ward literally crashed through the right field wall at Three Rivers Stadium while running down Mike Piazza’s long fly in a 10-5 loss to the Dodgers. And yes, he hung onto the ball in a play that is still considered one of the great all-time MLB catches and an ESPN go-to clip, though he had to leave the game with bruises and some fiberglass splinters. The kid was a gamer; he crashed through the wall while LA was ahead 9-0.
  • 1999 - The Bucs scored four times in the ninth on homers by Warren Morris and Brian Giles and a two-out walk off single by Brant Brown off reliever Robb Nenn to surge past the Giants 9-8 at TRS. Giles had three hits and five RBI while Jason Kendall went 5-for-5 with a pair of doubles.
  • 2012 - The Pirates set a club mark by striking out 17 in nine innings during their 6-3 win over the Cards at Busch Stadium. Erik Bedard did the heavy lifting, whiffing 11 in five frames and setting a franchise record with seven consecutive K’s. Four Pirate relievers added six more K in the final four innings. Jason Grilli and Joel Hanrahan picked up a pair of punchouts apiece in the eighth and ninth.
Erik Bedard's shining moment as a Buc 2012 Topps Update
  • 2014 - Despite making four errors and falling behind 5-0, the Pirates scored six times against the Toronto Blue Jays in the seventh and eighth innings to claim an 8-6 victory at PNC Park. Jordy Mercer’s two out double on an 0-2 pitch tied the game with two outs in the seventh, and Neil Walker’s two-bagger off the top of the center field wall in the eighth chased home the game winners. Mark Melancon picked up the save of Bryan Morris’ third win.
  • 2015 - The Bucs ended one of the most frustrating series in their history by losing their third straight extra inning, walk-off contest to the Cardinals by a 3-2 score after a pair of 2-1 losses. The Bucs had the lead in the 12th thanks to a Pedro Alvarez homer, but Radhames Liz gave up a run in the St. Louis half and a homer to Kolten Wong in the 14th to absorb the defeat. The Pirates scored just four runs in 35 innings against the Redbirds, stranding 37 runners while going 2-for-25 with RISP. The Cardinals swept a three-game series with all the wins coming in extra innings for the first time in franchise history and became the first team to do so since June of 1925, when the Cincinnati Reds broomed the Boston Braves.

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