Saturday, September 24, 2016

9/24 Happenings: HBD Dixie, Jeff & Travis; 10,000 Wins; Pedro Inks It; 50 For Omar & More...

  • 1910 - OF Fred (“Dixie” or “The Peoples Cherce”) Walker was born in Villa Rica, Georgia. He’s often remembered as the guy who fought Jackie Robinson’s arrival in Brooklyn, though he later accepted him both as a ballplayer and person. However, the initial blowback was said to be part of the impetus for the Dodgers to deal him to Pittsburgh (Brooklyn got Preacher Roe back, another pretty fair reason) in 1948. He played two seasons, batting .316 in his first campaign, then posting a .282 BA with 13 pinch hits in 1949 as a bench piece. After the ‘49 season, he hung ‘em up and went on to a long career in scouting and coaching. Fred came by the “Dixie” moniker honestly, as a Georgia boy whose father Ewart was known as Dixie. (His dad had pitched for the Senators, and his brother Harry “The Hat” Walker managed the Pirates from 1965-67.) His popularity with the Ebbets Field fans in the forties earned him the other nickname "The People's Cherce," as spelled (or at least pronounced) in Brooklynese.
Dixie Walker shanghaied by Buccos in 1948 (photo Stan Friedberg/Mears Collection/The Sporting News)
  • 1957 - Bucco 1B Dee Fondy grounded out to end the game and thus became the last player to swing a bat in anger at Ebbets Field. Da’ Bums Danny McDevitt blanked the Bucs 2-0 in the final major league game played in Brooklyn before the Dodgers relocated to Los Angeles.
  • 1971 - Shea Stadium hosted a Roberto Clemente Day. Clemente was gifted with a Cadillac, which he accepted, and cash, which he insisted be sent to three children’s charities in Puerto Rico. The event was put together by New York’s Puerto Rican community, and the gifts came via donations from the “small people.” The Bucs won the game 3-2 on their way to a division title. Clemente had two hits and drove in a pair of runs to key the victory.
  • 1973 - Danny Murtaugh was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated for the story “Frenzy In the East.” The Pirates, winners of three consecutive titles, finished third behind the Mets, 2-½ games out. Five of the six NL East teams finished in a pack separated by five games.
  • 1977 - OF Omar Moreno swiped his 50th base of the season to surpass Sonny Jackson's rookie record set with the Astros in 1966. The Antelope swiped a pair of sacks and was caught once by Cubs C George Mitterwald in a 7-3 Pirate win at Wrigley.
  • 1982 - RHP Jeff Karstens was born in San Diego. He was sent to Pittsburgh by the Yankees in 2008, and the oft-injured righty worked as a multi-role pitcher for the Pirates until 2012, with most of his outings as a starter. He retired in 2015 after failing to recover from 2013 shoulder surgery. In his five Pirates years, JK’s slash was 23-25/4.31.
  • 1983 - 1B/OF Travis Ishikawa was born in Seattle, Washington. He started 2014 with the Pirates, lost his job to Ike Davis and was DFA’ed, ending up with the Giants and hitting a three-run homer to propel them into the World Series. The Pirates got him back in mid-2015 as a bench player. He’s bounced to-and-fro between the MLB and AAA since.
  • 2006 - A little bit of MLB history the Bucs were involved in: Trevor Hoffman retired the Pirate side in order to close out a 2-1 San Diego victory at Petco Park. It was his 479th career save, surpassing Lee Smith and making the 38-year-old reliever the all-time leader in saves.
  • 2008 - The Pirates officially came to terms with Pedro Alvarez, their first round draft pick and the second selection overall. Alvarez’s agent Scott Boras claimed the deadline verbal agreement between the club and third baseman was reached was too late, the MLBPA filed a grievance that was being settled by arbitration and El Toro was placed on the restricted list by MLB. Pedro’s John Doe on a $6.355M deal made all the drama disappear.
El Toro inks his deal (photo Jared Wickersham/Getty Images)
  • 2015 - The Pirates won their 10,000th NL game by defeating the Colorado Rockies 5-4 at Coors Field on the strength of a three run homer by Pedro Alvarez with two outs in the eighth inning. Joe Blanton got the win while Mark Melancon became the first Pirate reliever to notch 50 saves. The club won its sixth straight game and completed its first four-game road sweep since 1997. Starling Marte was red hot; he tied Pie Traynor’s 1928 club record for most hits (13) in four-game series. The Bucco franchise started its major league days in 1882 (they didn’t join the NL until 1887) as the Alleghenys of the American Association and using that time frame, this was actually team win #10,236.

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