Saturday, November 26, 2016

11/26: HBD Bob, Joe, Gravedigger & Walkie; Drabek Comes, Adams Goes

  • 1916 - OF/3B Bob Elliott was born in San Francisco. He spent eight seasons (1939-46) in Pittsburgh with a .292 BA, 124 OPS+ and three All-Star appearances. Traded during the 1946 off season to the Boston Braves, he became the NL MVP in 1947, helped in part by playing in a much more hitter-friendly field. Elliott was the second MLB third baseman to have five seasons of 100 RBI, joining Pie Traynor, and retired with the highest career slugging average (.440) of any NL third baseman. He also led the National League in assists three times and in putouts and double plays twice each, and ended his career among the NL leaders in games (8th, 1262), assists (7th, 2547), total chances (10th, 4113) and double plays (4th, 231) at third. In later years, he managed and coached in the minors, with a one year gig at the helm of the sad sack KC Athletics.
Bob Elliot 1948 Leaf
  • November 26, 1922 - LHP Joe Muir was born in Oriole, Maryland. His MLB career consisted of the 1951-52 seasons when he worked 21 games for the Pirates, going 2-5, 5.19 as a reliever and spot starter. Joe was a Marine before he joined pro ball, and after he hung up the spikes he became a Maryland State Trooper.
  • 1929 - IF Sparky “Spark Plug” Adams (he was 5’4-½” tall), who had been a key part of the 1927 Kiki Cuyler deal, was sold to the Cardinals. He hit .272 in his two seasons at Pittsburgh, but manager Jewel Ens told the Post Gazette that “Sparkie did not fit into the plans for next season.” Post Gazette sports editor Havey Boyle wrote that “Sparky Adams was one of those players that looked good far away but in a close up did not appear so attractive…(But) he still has a certain usefulness and possibly in St. Louis he will do better than he did in Pittsburgh.” He sure did. Sparky batted leadoff for the Cards in 1930-31, hitting .314 and .293, and St. Louis represented the NL in the World Series both seasons against the Philadelphia Athletics, winning it all in ‘31.
  • 1947 - 3B Richie Hebner was born in Boston. The Gravedigger (his off season occupation) played 11 years (1968-76, 1982-83) for the Pirates, putting up a .277 BA and playing in five NLCS and the 1971 World Series. He left on a contentious note. After having his contract cut in 1976 after a poor year, he opted for free agency after the campaign. The Pirates GM Pete Peterson offered to match any deal Hebner received on the market, but the Gravedigger wanted a change of scenery and signed with Philadelphia. He returned a few seasons later.
Richie Hebner 1971 Arco
  • 1956 - RHP Bob Walk was born in Van Nuys, California. He pitched a decade for the Pirates (1984-93) with an 82-61-5/3.83 ERA, won an All-Star berth in 1988 and compiled a 2-1 record in the postseason, capped by a three-hitter tossed against the Braves in 1992 to keep the Pirates alive in the NLCS. He’s known now as a Bucco broadcaster, with over 20 years in the booth.
  • 1986 - In a pitcher swap, the Yankees dealt Doug Drabek, Brian Fisher, and Logan Easley to the Bucs for Rick Rhoden, Cecilio Guante, and Pat Clements. It took three days to complete the trade, until Rhoden agreed to a two-year contract extension with NY. (As a 5 & 10 year man, he had to approve the deal). The swap gave Jim Leyland his ace; Drabek went on to win the NL Cy Young in 1990 while posting a 92-62/3.02 Bucco slash in six seasons.

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