Thursday, May 5, 2016

5/5: HBD Jose & Wattie, Stairs Long Fly, Slugger Rafe, Pete's Bad Day & More

  • 1858 - Pirate manager Bill “Wattie” Watkins was born in Brantford, Ontario. In 1898, Watkins was hired as the manager of the Pirates, and his club finished in eighth place (out of twelve teams) with a 72–76 record. Watkins returned in 1899, but resigned in May after the team began the season with a 7-15 record. He was known as a strict disciplinarian in an era of free spirits and was among the first to give signs to hitters from the bench.
  • 1891 - Talk about your bad inning in Chicago. LF Pete Browning bunted into a triple play in the top of the sixth frame and then booted a ball to allow the game’s only run in the bottom half as Pittsburgh lost to the Chicago Colts 1-0. Ed Stein, who tossed a two hitter, took the decision over Pud Galvin, who surrendered six knocks. As the Pittsburgh Press wryly noted of the Pirate hitters: “Sluggers who don’t slug...will rarely win victories.”
  • 1894 - From Baseball Chronology: “In the fifth inning of the St. Louis-Pittsburgh game, Pirate SS Jack Glasscock, thinking opposing Browns P Emerson 'Pink’ Hawley deliberately threw at him, hurls his bat at the pitcher and then confronts Hawley on the mound. Glasscock remains in the game and helps Pittsburgh to a hard-fought 6-5 victory.” 
The feisty Mr Glasscock 1885 Mayo Plug Tobacco
  • 1929 - The Boston Braves played their first Sunday home game in history. Apparently, they still considered it a day of rest as they lost to Pirates, 7-2 before 35,000 fans. P Burleigh Grimes aided his own cause by starting a third inning triple play. Five Bucs had a pair of knocks each, and the Waner brothers, Paul and Lloyd, each tripled at Braves Field.
  • 1935 - Pirate infielder Jose Pagan was born in Barceloneta, Puerto Rico. After spending seven years with the Giants, the infielder played in Pittsburgh for the next eight seasons (1965-72). He was used in every position but pitcher and center field during his time here, and hit .263 as the Bucs super-sub. Pagan played four games in the 1971 series and doubled home Willie Stargell with the eventual winning run in the eighth inning of game #7.
  • 1946 - The Bucs took two from the first place Brooklyn Dodgers, 5-4 in eleven innings and 4-3 in a six-inning game shortened by the Sunday curfew. The game drew an overflow crowd of 37,953. The SRO folk were on the field behind ropes, and the teams combined for nine ground rule doubles that ended up in the sea of unseated fans at Forbes Field. Jack Hallett won the opener and Preacher Roe took the nightcap. Billy Cox had the hot stick, with four hits, including a pair of two baggers, and three RBI over the course of the afternoon.
  • 1958 - The Bucs were up by ten runs entering the final frame, but hung on by a gnat’s eyelash to claim an 11-10 win over the Giants. Pinch-hitter Don Taussig popped out with the bases loaded to end the game at San Francisco's Seals Stadium. The Giants sent a record six pinch hitters to the plate in the frame‚ and three scored. Don Gross, the fourth pitcher of the inning, got the save for Vern Law. The Pirate attack was led by RC Stevens and Frank Thomas, who both homered and combined for five RBI.
Don Gross 1960 TCMA
  • 1987 - Behind four long balls, the Bucs defeated the Padres 10-8 at Jack Murphy Stadium. The four-baggers were smacked by Barry Bonds, Andy Van Slyke, RJ Reynolds and surprisingly, Rafael Belliard, his first career shot. Belliard had two hits and three RBI, and wouldn’t hit his second and final MLB homer until 1997.
  • 1998 - Feliz Cinco de Mayo! The Pirates defeated St. Louis, 5-2, at Three Rivers Stadium as Francisco Cordova became the first Mexican born Pirate pitcher to start a game on Cinco de Mayo for the Bucs since Vicente Padilla (who didn’t factor in the decision) in 1992. Francisco got the win and his Veracruz amigo Ricardo Rincon picked up a hold. Jermaine Allensworth had a pair of hits and two RBI to go with Jose Guillen’s homer in a game the Bucs led from the first inning onward.
  • 2003 - Matt Stairs hit a home run off Houston’s Wade Miller which was estimated to travel 461’, making it the longest in the history of Minute Maid Park. It was Pittsburgh’s only bright spot as the ‘Stros mauled Kris Benson on the way to an 8-1 victory. Miller carried a perfect game into the sixth until it was broken up by a one out Pokey Reese single and tossed an eight inning three hitter.

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