Tuesday, August 16, 2016

8/16 Happenings: Dock Goes Off; HBD Rube, Tiny, Curt, Nick & Rick; Roberto Honored

  • 1887 - LHP John Henry “Hank” or “Rube” Robinson was born in Floyd, Arkansas. He spent the first three years (1911-13) of his career with Pittsburgh, going 26-17 with a 2.34 ERA with his time split between the pen and starting. 
Rube Robinson (photo via Gail Roberson/ARGenweb)
  • 1913 - RHP Ernest “Tiny” Bonham was born in Ione, California. He pitched the final three years (1947-49) of his career for the Pirates, with a record of 24-22 and a 2.11 ERA. Prior to that, Tiny tossed seven seasons for the Yankees with a 21 win season and two All-Star berths. In one of baseball’s saddest endings, he went to the hospital in August of his last season for an appendectomy, was discovered to have cancer and died three weeks later.
  • 1929 - 2B Curt Roberts was born in Pineland, Texas. The first black ballplayer for Pittsburgh, he played from 1954-56, hitting .223 as a Pirate. He lost his starting job at second in 1955 to Johnny O’Brien and they both lost out to a kid from Ohio named Bill Mazeroski, who would claim the position in 1956 and keep it for the next dozen years.
  • 1953 - Coach Nick Leyva was born in Ontario, California. He’s the Bucs first base coach and worked at third before that, joining the staff in 2010 when Clint Hurdle was hired. Leyva is a former minor league player and manager who began coaching in 1978. He was the skipper of the Philadelphia Phillies from 1989 through early 1991.
Nick Leyva hitting BP (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)
  • 1964 - RHP Rick Reed was born in Huntington, West Virginia. He was drafted by the Bucs and played his first four seasons (1988-91) with them, going 4-7 with a 4.98 ERA while yo-yo’ing between the minors and the big leagues. He continued to bounce around the fringes of the league and spent all of 1966 in the bushes. Then the light went on at the age of 32; he won double-digit games for six of the next seven seasons with the Mets & Twins and made a pair of All-Star teams.
  • 1975 - After being pulled from his last two starts without getting through the first inning and then refusing to pitch in relief, earning a one-day suspension, Dock Ellis called a clubhouse meeting in Cincinnati and had skipper Danny Murtaugh attend. Ellis then ripped into the Irishman and team management, earning himself an indefinite suspension and $2,000 fine. The suspension left the team short a player, but GM Joe Brown told Bob Smizik of the Pittsburgh Press that “We’re better off with 24 (players) than we were with 25.” The club, not too surprisingly, lost the game to the Reds 5-3. The suspension was lifted on August 30th when he apologized to Murtaugh, and Ellis was traded to the NY Yankees in December. Ellis became the UPI “Comeback Player of the Year” in 1976 with a 17-8 record, then refused to sign his 1977 contract, blasted George Steinbrenner, and was traded again. But bygones are bygones; he returned to the Pirates in 1979 and retired as a Bucco.
Dock Ellis 1976 Topps Traded
  • 1984 - A stamp featuring Roberto Clemente, the fourth in a series honoring American sports heroes, was unveiled in Carolina, Puerto Rico, the outfielder's home.

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