Friday, November 18, 2016

11/18 Birthdays: HBD Rocky, Gene, Curt, Jim & Jamo

  • 1924 - 1B Glenn “Rocky” Nelson was born in Portsmouth, Ohio. He got a cup of coffee with Pittsburgh in 1951 and then platooned with Dick Stuart from 1959-61. He hit .270 as a Pirate, and in the 1960 World Series went 3-for-9 with a Game Seven homer and two RBI. Rocky may have been a MLB journeyman, but he was a minor league terror. In 1958, Nelson was voted the International League’s MVP after winning the triple crown while a Toronto Maple Leaf. He was inducted into the IL Hall of Fame and later into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. He earned his nickname the hard way according to SABR: while in the St. Louis Cardinals training camp, Whitey Kurowski bounced a ball off Nelson's noggin during a pepper game and then added insult to injury by afterward anointing him Rocky after the misadventure.
Rocky Nelson 1959 Topps
  • 1925 - Gene Mauch, long time MLB manager, was born in Salina, Kansas. He made a brief stop in Pittsburgh in 1947 as a 21 year-old infielder, batting .300 in 16 games. His claim to fame was as a big league skipper/small ball advocate who won over 1,900 games (he lost over 2,000 times, too), though never claiming a pennant - his clubs finished one game out three times during his four-team managing career that lasted from 1960-87.
  • 1933 - RHP Curt Raydon was born in Bloomington, Indiana. Raydon had a strong 8-4, 3.62 line in his 1958 rookie season, but never pitched in the show again. He came up with a sore arm after the campaign and was only able to toss 15 AAA games in 1959. In spring training of the following season, his arm pain continued, so Curt gave up baseball and became a policeman.
  • 1943 - LHP Jim Shellenback was born in Riverside, California. He was a seldom used reliever for the Pirates from 1966-67 and 1969, going 1-1-2 with a 3.35 ERA. He put together a nine year career with some solid seasons for the Washington Senators and afterward became a long-time minor league pitching coach for the Twins organization.
Jameson Taillon (photo MLB Pipeline)
  • 1991 - RHP Jameson Taillon was born in Lakeland, Florida. The high school righty was the second pick of the 2010 draft behind Bryce Harper after the Pirates FO debated on whether to select Jamo or Manny Machado. JT zoomed through the minors, and the Pirates had him slated for a 2014 debut. Instead, he had TJ surgery, followed by a sports hernia operation. Despite missing all of 2014-15, he arrived in Pittsburgh on June 8th, 2016, and claimed a spot in the rotation.

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