Wednesday, August 17, 2016

8/17 Expo Park-Forbes Field Era: HBD Red & Bill; Protests; Triple Play

  • 1892 - IF John “Red” Rawlings was born in Bloomfield, Iowa. He spent the final seasons (1923-26) of his 12-year career as a Bucco, hitting .272 mainly as a bench guy. Rawlings later managed for eight years in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League for the Grand Rapids Chicks (1946-'50), Peoria Redwings (1951) and Rockford Peaches (1953-'54). He led his teams to six playoff appearances, including a championship with the 1947 Chicks.
  • 1904 - The Pirates whacked 13 hits and six runs off Christy Mathewson, but it wasn’t enough as the New York Giants scored nine times against Charlie Case to win a slugfest at Exposition Park. Giants manager John “Mugsy” McGraw was at the center of a small riot. He was coaching third, and for some reason left the box and stood on the sack as a Giant runner was coming in; Hans Wagner saw the movement and thought it was 3B Tommy Leach, not McGraw, on the hot corner, zipped the ball to the bag and the overthrow plated a run for NY. Afterward, as described by the Pittsburgh Press, “Wagner made a kick and was put out of the game” by ump Johnstone. The Pirates protested to the league to no avail. The wayward third baseman, Tommy Leach, had three hits and Moose McCormick homered for the Pirates.
Tommy leach 1909 (photo The Sporting News Collection)
  • 1907 - Pittsburgh defeated the Boston Doves at the South End Grounds by a 5-1 score. The Pittsburg Press wrote that CF Tommy Leach “...broke the hearts of the (Boston) locals with a great spear in the third inning of (Ginger) Beaumont’s rap with the bases full. He gathered the ball in his mitt with his arm extended while going at full seemed impossible to get the ball, and it cost the Bostons four runs.” Leach made several nice plays on the day and even stole home. It was the Doves 16th straight loss, but they got over their broken heart to take the next three games of the series, scoring 26 runs against the Bucs.
  • 1915 - Rube Benton pitched the Bucs to a 3-2 win over Chicago, but both the Cubs and Giants protested the win. According to the SABR Biography Project, “Cincinnati placed him on waivers in early August. The New York Giants verbally claimed him for the $3,000 waiver price, but shortly thereafter the Pittsburgh Pirates offered $4,000. The Reds accepted the Pirates' offer, prompting the Giants to file a grievance. Benton, meanwhile, reported to the Pirates and tossed a six-hitter to defeat the Cubs. One week later, the NL's Board of Directors awarded Benton to the Giants. It ruled, however, that the Pirates had acted in good faith; rather than forfeiting the August 17 game, the Board ordered that it be stricken from the record books and replayed in September. The day after the decision, Rube pitched his first game for the Giants - against the Pirates, of all teams! - and gave up 12 hits in four innings of a 9-7 loss.”
  • 1929 - The Bucs scored three times in the first inning when Paul Waner doubled in Dick Bartell and Lloyd Waner, then came home on a two-out knock by Adam Comorosky, providing just enough firepower to hold off Boston at Braves Field 3-2. Larry French got the win and Steve Swetonic the save, but 2B George Grantham actually made the key save. With Braves on first and third and nobody out, he snared a liner and flipped it to SS Bartell, who stepped on second for out #2 and tagged the Brave runner steaming in from first (the Braves had the hit-and-run on) for a triple play.
George Grantham (photo The Sporting News Collection)
  • 1943 - Pittsburgh won a twin bill from Boston‚ 8-0 and 4-3. Elbie Fletcher and Maurice Van Robays each had five hits on the day and drove in seven runs while banging out a homer, triple and four doubles in tandem. Hank Gornicki was the winner in both games at Braves Field. He tossed a six-hit complete game in the opener and shut Boston down again for 1-2/3 frames in the nitecap. But what goes around...a few days later on August 22nd the Brooklyn Dodgers beat Gornicki twice .in the same day.
  • 1948 - The Pirates beat the Reds 4-3 at Forbes Field when Ralph Kiner took Ewell Blackwell deep with two outs in the ninth inning for the walk-off win, finishing off a 3-for-5 day at the dish. Vic Lombardi tossed a complete game for the Bucs while also going 3-for-4 with a RBI to help his own cause.
  • 1957 - RHP Bill Landrum was born in Columbia, South Carolina. Landrum closed for the Bucs from 1989-91, saving 56 games and putting up a 13-10/2.32 line. His big year was 1989 when he saved 26 games and had a 1.67 ERA.
Bill Landrum 1992 Fleer
  • 1960 - Clem Labine‚ picked up the day before after being released by Detroit‚ tossed 3-2/3 innings of hitless ball with six K to save a 5-3 win for Harvey Haddix over the Phils at Forbes Field. Don Hoak’s three RBI paced the Bucco batters.

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