Tuesday, September 6, 2016

9/6 Happenings: HBD Tommy, Johnny, Vince & Pat; #8 Retired; Groat Hurt; Bad Day for Managers; Wilbur Debuts

  • 1903 - IF Tommy Thevenow was born in Madison, Indiana. He played five years for the Pirates from 1931 until 1935, and came back to spend his last big league season, 1938, as a Bucco. Tommy batted .251 with 201 RBI for Pittsburgh as a good glove, so-so bat SS/3B.
Tommy Thevenow 1938 (photo Conlon Collection/The Sporting News)
  • 1910 - RHP Johnny Lanning was born in Asheville, NC. He tossed for the Pirates from 1940 until 1943, went in the service and returned for the 1945-46 seasons, finishing with a Pittsburgh line 33-29/3.44. Lanning wasn’t a flame thrower; his best pitches were variations of the curve, one hard, the other soft.
  • 1912 - In his major league debut, Wilbur Cooper shut out the St Louis Cardinals 8-0 at Robison Field. He gave up nine scattered hits with a walk and three K, the first of 216 wins for Cooper. Chief Wilson had three hits and scored twice to lead a balanced, 13 hit attack.
  • 1912 - OF Vince DiMaggio was born in Martinez, California. He played center field for Pittsburgh from 1940-44 and hit .255 as a Bucco. He was named to the All-Star Game in 1943 and 1944, and in the 1944 game, he hit a home run, triple and single in three at-bats.
Vince DiMaggio 1941 Play Ball
  • 1960 - All-Star SS Dick Groat broke his wrist after being hit by a Lew Burdette pitch. The Pirate captain‚ second in the batting race‚ was sidelined until the final weekend of the season. Dick “Ducky” Schofield‚ his replacement‚ had three hits as the Bucs rallied for a 5-3 win. Ducky, a reserve infielder with a career .227 BA, hit .333 for the Pirates in 1960 and kept them rolling toward the title without skipping a beat.
  • 1968 - IF Pat Meares was born in Salina, Kansas. He played for the Bucs from 1999-2001, hitting .238, was injured from 2002-03, carried on the DL for the last two years of his contract and never played again.
  • 1973 - The Pirates fired manager Bill Virdon after a 67-69 start and brought back Danny Murtaugh for his fourth stint behind the helm. The Irishman went 13-13, but won the division twice and was runner-up in the next three years, winning 272 games.
Bill Virdon circa 1970 (photo Teenie Harris)
  • 1982 - Willie Stargell had his number 8 retired in front of 38‚052 fans at Three Rivers Stadium (he had announced his retirement, and it was part of the “Willie Stargell Day” sendoff) The 41-year-old slugger delivered a pinch single in the Pirates' 6-1 win over the Mets. Over his 21-year career with the Pirates, he hit .282 with 2,232 hits, 475 home runs and 1,540 RBI while his clubs won six NL East titles, two NL pennants and two World Series crowns. Pops was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1988.
  • 2005 - Lloyd McClendon was let go as manager after posting a 336-446 (.430) record over five seasons. He was replaced by bench coach Pete Mackanin on an interim basis for the rest of the season, with Jim Tracy taking the reins in 2006.

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