Wednesday, November 16, 2016

11/16: Roberto MVP, Groat Batting Champ & MVP, HBD Brandon, Welcome Catfish, Bye Al

  • 1894 - Manager Al Buckenberger of the Pirates was expelled briefly from the NL for being part of a group that attempted, without success, to revive the old American Association. Al was a major league manager for ten years (Columbus, Pittsburgh, St. Louis & Boston) and also served as club president for the Bucs. The suspension ended his Pirates association and he was replaced at the helm by Tom Burns in 1895.
Catfish 1952 Topps
  • 1950 - The Pirates selected 1B/OF George “Catfish” Metkovich from Oakland of the Pacific Coast League in the Rule 5 draft. The 29 year-old had six seasons of MLB ball under his belt, but had spent the 1950 season with the Seals. He had a decent run with Pittsburgh, hitting .276 in two seasons and some change before being flipped in 1953 as part of the Ralph Kiner trade. The lefty earned his nickname when he stepped on a catfish during a fishing trip and cut his foot, causing him to miss several games. The Bucs also selected 1B Dale Long, but released him after a handful of games. He would return to the Pirates in 1955 and enter the record books a year later by homering in eight straight games.
  • 1960 - NL batting champ (.325) Dick Groat was named NL MVP, beating out teammate Don Hoak 276-162. Also trailing him in the race were Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Ernie Banks, all who had big years. Groat won despite losing the last three weeks of the season to a bad wrist, injured on a Lew Burdette pitch. Vern Law, Roberto Clemente, Roy Face and Smoky Burgess also received votes to place six Pirates among the Top Twenty finishers.
  • 1966 - RF Roberto Clemente won the NL MVP, finishing ahead of Dodger ace Sandy Koufax by a slim 218-208 count. Clemente hit .317 with 29 HR and 119 RBI. His strong play kept the Pirates in the hunt until the next-to-last day of the season. The Great One finished the year fourth in batting, 10th in home runs and second in runs batted in.
Brandon Cumpton 2015 Topps
  • 1988 - RHP Brandon Cumpton was born in Augusta, Georgia. A depth starter, the Georgia Tech grad saw action as an injury replacement in 2013-14, going 5-5 with a 4.02 ERA. He was the ninth round pick of the Pirates in the 2010 draft, but his career has been put on hold after various surgeries.


WilliamJPellas said...

I have always liked Cumpton. One of the factors that will tell the tale for the Pirates in 2017 and beyond is whether pitchers like Cumpton and Nick Kingham can make it all the way back from their arm surgeries. If they do, I think we might be in business even if there are no veteran pitcher reinforcements---though it would be better if we had all of the above.

Ron Ieraci said...

Gotta disagree there, Will - lack of starting depth in pitching is a killer. Also, an old head or two to pass on some lessons would be a good thing for the staff. But we'll see what way the FO goes. There's not a whole lot out there this year - teams are locking up arms. There are only three guys who have spots nailed down (Cole, Taillon, Kuhl; four if Glasnow finds the dish) so there are holes to fill. And to me, Cole's arm woes are kinda worrisome. Cumpton, Brault, Williams, Hutchison, Sadler etc may be depth, but all of the back-end variety. Kingham is the only one with the look now of a mid-level guy w/o a surprise breakout; maybe Clay Holmes or Mitch Keller will take the torch.

WilliamJPellas said...

Yeah, I just saw something on the web today about how Cole STILL hasn't begun his usual offseason workouts and throwing. If he is seriously hurt---and that is looking more and more likely---then the Pirates definitely have to acquire not one, but TWO reliable veteran starting pitchers if they have any thought of competing in 2017.

Yes, Cumpton is more of a 4/5 starter, but he was pretty effective before he got hurt, if admittedly in a small sample size. Agreed that Kingham is the only young arm currently in the upper minors who projects as a front of the rotation guy. Ideally, Cole is healthy and both Cumpton and Kingham can contribute, AND the Pirates also acquire at least one better than average number three starter. Ervin Santana's name has come up recently in that regard.