Thursday, September 8, 2016

9/8 Happenings: HBD Gerrit, Buck & Frank, Williams 27 Game Streak, Clarke Quits, Cutch On The Cover & A-Ram Debuts @ 1B

  • 1899 - Pittsburgh's 3B Jimmy Williams‚ who earlier set a MLB rookie record by hitting in 26 consecutive games‚ ran his club record string to 27 games before he was stopped by Deacon Phillippe of Louisville‚ who had also ended his earlier streak, as Louisville won 5-3. Deacon joined the Pirates a year later, much to William’s relief. Kenny Lofton (2003) and Danny O'Connell (1953) also strung together 26 game streaks for the Pirates. His rookie mark lasted until 1987, when it was bested by Benito Santiago.
Jimmy Williams 1900 (team photo)
  • 1907 - 1B Walter “Buck” Leonard was born in Rocky Mount, NC. He played 15 years for the Homestead Grays (1934-48), batting ahead of Josh Gibson, and the pair were often likened to Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth. The Grays won nine consecutive Negro National League pennants (1937-1945) with Leonard and Gibson ("the Thunder Twins") in the middle of the order. Leonard finished his Grays’ career with a .320 BA and was selected to the HoF. In 1994, when the All-Star Game was held in Pittsburgh, the then 88-year-old Leonard was named an Honorary Captain.
  • 1912 - Long-time Pirate coach and minor league manager Frank Oceak was born in Pocahontas, Virginia. He was with the organization from 1942-1972 for all but one season, managing in the minors everywhere from Class D Oil City to AAA Columbus. Oceak also served for 10 seasons as Danny Murtaugh’s coach and finished his career on Bill Virdon’s staff, with 1960 (he’s the coach wearing #44 who’s running down the third base line with Maz) and 1971 World Series teams parts of his resume.
  • 1915 - Fred Clarke resigned as manager after leading the club to four pennants in 19 years, citing a desire for more family time (and probably nudged along by back-to-back losing seasons). He wanted to step down after the 1909 World Series campaign, but was talked out of it by owner Barney Dreyfuss. Jimmy Callahan replaced him in 1916.
Fred Clarke (artwork by Sanjay Ferma)
  • 1990 - RHP Gerrit Cole was born in Newport Beach, California. The UCLA grad was selected by the Pirates with the first overall selection in the 2011 MLB Draft and signed to an $8M bonus minutes before the deadline. He made his debut in the show on June 11th, 2013, going 6-⅓ IP to beat the Giants 8-2 and now is the top gun in the Bucco rotation.
  • 2014 - Andrew McCutchen was the cover boy on Sports Illustrated for the second time in his career. He was featured in Albert Chen’s article “Andrew McCutchen Goes Deep.” It was almost a year to the day after his first SI cover shot on September 9th, 2013.
  • 2015 - In the first game of a doubleheader against the Reds, Aramis Ramirez made his first career start at the first base. Before that, A-Ram had played 18 seasons and 2,096 games at third base and no other spot other than DH or pinch hitter. He lasted six innings, going 3-for-3 in chances fielded and appeared at first base four more times during the campaign.

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