Thursday, August 18, 2016

8/18 Happenings: HBD Roberto, Burleigh, Spanky & Justin; Branch Resigns; Trades & ASG

  • 1893 - RHP Burleigh Grimes was born in Emerald, Wisconsin. The Hall of Famer spent five years with the Bucs (1916-17, 1928-29, 1934), beginning and ending his career in Pittsburgh with a couple years in the middle. He was a modest 48-42/3.26 as a Pirate, but in a 19-year career with seven different clubs, Old Stubblebeard (he didn't shave on game days) won 269 decisions. He was also the last player that was allowed to legally throw a spitball. 
Burleigh Grimes (photo via Centerfield Gate)
  • 1934 - The Great One, Roberto Clemente, was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico. The Hall of Famer and humanitarian compiled a lifetime .317 BA, hitting over .300 in 13 of his last 14 seasons, and collected 3,000 hits in eighteen years as a Pirate. 
  • 1940 - Homestead Grays’ P Ray Brown was part of the East All-Star staff that shut out the West 11-0 at Comiskey Park in the Negro League AS game. Teammate Buck Leonard added three hits and three RBI for the winners. 
  • 1952 - The Pirates sent IF George Strickland and RHP Ted “Cork” Wilks (he was called Cork in his St Louis days because he was the club’s “stopper” from the pen) to Cleveland for Johnny Berardino‚ minor leaguer Charlie Sipple and $50‚000. For Berardino‚ it was his second stint in Pittsburgh, a stopping off point before his more lucrative career in movies and as a soap opera star, notably playing Dr. Steve Hardy on “General Hospital.” The deal was a win for the Tribe; Strickland ended up with eight years for the Tribe as a defensive whiz, playing 734 games while hitting .233. 
George Strickland 1952 Bowman
  • 1959 - Branch Rickey resigned as chairman of the Pirates board of directors to become president of the Continental League, a proposed third major league. The league disbanded in 1960 without playing a single game, but it helped to accelerate the expansion of MLB. Owners who were opposed to the CL approved expansion clubs in Houston, Minnesota and New York, all CL cities, to draw membership away from the new league, eventually killing it. 
  • 1960 - C Mike LaValliere was born in Charlotte, NC. Spanky caught for the Bucs from 1987-93, putting up a .278 BA, and was part of three Jim Leyland-led division winning teams (1991-93) that couldn’t get past the NLCS. He picked up his nickname because his teammates thought he looked like Little Rascal Spanky from “Our Gang.”
  • 1987 - LHP Justin Wilson was born in Anaheim, California. A fifth-round pick in 2008 from Fresno, he didn’t sign him until two days before the deadline. A starter throughout his career (he was involved in a pair of no-hitters at AAA Indy), he was converted to a multi-purpose pen arm in the show, making his debut in 2012 and now toiling in the AL. 
Justin Wilson 2013 Topps Chrome
  • 1989 - The Pirates traded OF Glenn Wilson to the Astros for OF Billy Hatcher. Wilson had hit well for the Bucs before the deal but flopped with Houston. Hatcher didn’t hit at all for Pittsburgh and was traded after the season.
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