Thursday, September 29, 2016

9/29 Through the 40s: HBD Cannonball, Howie & Tiny Gems; Grays in the WS, Brother Act & Aubrey's Outing

  • 1862 - LHP Ed “Cannonball” Morris was born in Brooklyn. Morris was considered by many to be the first great lefty to pitch in the majors. In 1884, Cannonball tossed a no-hitter against Pittsburgh for Columbus, and was purchased by the impressed Alleghenys five months later. The lefty pitched for the Alleghenys from 1885-89 with a 171-122/2.84 line, winning 80 games from 1885-86. He struck out over 300 batters twice with 298 another year, and threw over 550 innings in two different seasons. He also worked a year with the Pittsburgh Burghers of the Players League in 1890, his last season in the majors. Afterward, he ran a hotel/saloon on Pittsburgh’s North Side and was a deputy warden at Western Penitentiary. He remained a fan, rarely missing a Pirates game, and in 1934 he was tapped by the team to pitch an inning during the Silver Anniversary of Forbes Field. As you may have guessed, he was nicknamed "Cannonball" for the velocity of his ol’ number one.
Ed "Cannonball" Morris 1889 Goodwin
  • 1908 - Pittsburgh blanked the Cardinals 7-0 at Forbes Field behind Howie Camnitz in the first game of a doubleheader sweep. Camnitz had a no hitter until the ninth when Claude Osteen singled. The last-place Redbirds were blanked for a record 33rd time. The Cards broke out the lumber in the nitecap, but still lost 6-5 when Roy Thomas’ grounder brought home George Gibson in the ninth to give Vic Willis the win.
  • 1909 - RHP Harry Camnitz mopped up in the Pirates 6-1 loss to the NY Giants at Forbes Field. It was his only outing of the year (he had been purchased from the minor league McKeesport Tubers in July), but it made him part of the first brother act for the Pittsburgh Pirates to appear during the same season; he was the little bro of the team’s ace, Howie Camnitz. The Bucs added him to the roster after he picked up 27 wins with the Tubers.
  • 1935 - In his only major league game, C Aubrey Epps went 3-for-4 with a triple and three RBI in the Bucs' 9-6 loss at Cincinnati. In an oddity, the 23-year old catcher ended up with identical career batting and fielding averages (.750) as he committed two errors in eight chances; guess that’s why it was his only game. Aubrey caught pneumonia after the season, although he did recover in time to report to 1936 camp. He couldn’t win a roster spot and spent the next six seasons in the minors. He was nicknamed “YoYo” for reasons we couldn’t find, although playing for 10 minor league teams at five different levels may have contributed.
(image via Diamonds in the Dusk)
  • 1942 - Satchel Paige of the KC Monarchs tossed 5-2/3 innings of hitless relief against the Homestead Grays (by that time, they split dates between Pittsburgh & Washington), winning 9 - 5 at Shibe Park in Philadelphia to cap a four game sweep of the 1942 Colored World Series. The series featured seven members of the Baseball Hall of Fame, three from the Monarchs (Satchel Paige, Hilton Smith, and Willard Brown) and four from the Grays (Josh Gibson, Jud Wilson, Ray Brown, and Buck Leonard). Paige had actually been slated to start but showed up late at the ballpark, claiming he was tardy because of a speeding ticket on the way to the park.
  • 1947 - Tiny Bonham tossed a two-hit whitewash as the Bucs defeated the Reds 7-0 at Forbes Field to end a dismal season in Bill Burwell’s only game as a manager (he replaced Billy Herman, who resigned). Pittsburgh finished 62-92, 32 games out of first. Dixie Howell and Frank Gustine homered in front of 33,794 fans. The Bucs had won just 64 games the year before, but would take 83 the following season under new skipper Billy Meyer.

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