Thursday, September 1, 2016

9/1 Happenings: First All-Black Lineup; HBD Fred, Joe & Vic; Catapult Pitch; Scouting Combine Born

  • 1894 - OF Fred Nicholson was born in Honey Grove, Texas. He played for the Bucs from 1919-20 as a platoon outfielder and pinch-hitter, putting up a .342/.389/.505 slash during those campaigns. Nicholson left the team as part of the 1921 Rabbit Maranville deal.
Fred Nicholson (photo Mears/The Sporting News Collection)
  • 1918 - GM Joe L Brown was born in New York City. Brown served as the general manager from November 1, 1955, through the end of the 1976 season, replacing mentor Branch Rickey. Under his watch, the Pirates became world champions in 1960 and 1971. Ever a loyal Pirate, after a decade of serving as a Southern California-based scout for the Bucs, Brown was called back in 1985 to serve as acting GM when the Pirates, rocked by a drug scandal, poor play and falling attendance, were sold by the Galbreath family to a local group. He oversaw the transition and acted as a bridge between GMs Pete Peterson and Syd Thrift.
  • 1922 - IF Vic Barnhart was born in Hagerstown, MD. Vic got cups of coffee in 1945 & 1947, seeing almost of his playing time in 1946. That was the sum of his career - 74 games and a decent .270 BA. Vic’s dad was Clyde Barnhart, who pitched for the Bucs through the 20s.
  • 1971 - The Pirates fielded baseball's first all-minority lineup 24 years after Jackie Robinson broke the color line in a 10-7 win over the Phillies at TRS. The card read: Rennie Stennett (2B), Gene Clines (CF), Roberto Clemente (RF), Willie Stargell (LF), Manny Sanguillen (C), Dave Cash (3B), Al Oliver (1B), Jackie Hern├índez (SS) and Dock Ellis (P). Six starters had two hits and every position player reached base during the game. It went almost unnoticed in Pittsburgh as both newspapers were on strike. Bob Prince and Nellie King, the radio announcers, mentioned it in passing, and Bill Guilfoile, the Pirate PR man, said they had to check the records after the game to see if it really was the first all-black lineup.
First All-Black Lineup (image from Baseball Emporium)
  • 1974 - The Major League Scouting Bureau was founded to cut costs and centralizing scouting. Membership wasn’t mandatory until 1984‚ and the Bucs refused to join until then.
  • 2013 - The opening pitch was tossed out not by a human celebrity, but by a trebuchet (a catapult), designed by the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh. The first machine to ever toss a ceremonial ball at PNC Park (it was named “Rookie of the Gear”), it delivered a strike to the designated catcher, the Pirate Pirate, 10 minutes before the game against the St. Louis Cards was to begin. The Bucs might have been better off keeping the contraption on the mound to pitch, as they lost to the Redbirds 7-2.

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