Friday, November 4, 2016

11/4: HBD Wee Tommy, Dick, John & Chris; Frankie & Russ FAs and More...

  • 1877 - 3B/OF “Wee Tommy” Leach was born in French Creek, NY. The 5'6" Leach hit 63 career homers; 49 were inside-the-park, which is still a NL record. Leach joins Willie Stargell, Ralph Kiner and Pedro Alvarez as the only Pirates to lead the league in long balls. During Leach's years in Pittsburgh (1900-12), the Pirates won the NL flag four times and World Series champions once. His 1903 triple is the first World Series hit. Leach is still in the top 100 all-time in stolen bases (361) and runs scored (1,355), and for the Pirates, he's ninth in games played (1,548), at-bats (5,909), runs (1,007) & singles (1,229), sixth in stolen bases (246) and seventh in triples (137).
Tommy Leach 2016 Diamond Cuts
  • 1930 - SS Dick Groat was born in Wilkinsburg. The Swissvale Golden Flash HS star was a two sport ace and was twice named an All-America at Duke in basketball. He was selected as the Helms National Player of the Year in 1952 after averaging 25.2 points per game and played one season in the NBA. But he made a more permanent mark in baseball. As a Bucco bonus baby, he never played in the minors. He was the NL-MVP during the 1960 World Series campaign, and in his Pirate era (1952-62, with two years out for the service), he hit .286 and was a three-time All-Star. A Pitt basketball announcer, in 2011 Groat was inducted into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame, becoming the first man ever inducted into both the college basketball and college baseball halls of fame.
  • 1959 - Shortly after the $64,000 Question TV quiz show scandal broke regarding the leaking of the quiz answers to the winner, former Pirate Pie Traynor disclosed that he had been asked to participate in the show, but declined because he was told the category for his proposed session would be music. “I don’t know a thing about music. (But) I suppose that wouldn’t have mattered. I would have gotten the answers (from the show),” he explained tongue-in-cheek.
Pie knew baseball, not music - 1983 TCMA All-Time Pirates
  • 1967 - Bucco Cy Young winner Vernon Law was named pitching coach for the Pirates for new manager Larry Shephard. He coached here from 1968-69, then became an assistant at Brigham Young University from 1969 to 1979. Vern also worked in Japan with the Seibu Lions from 1979-81 before managing in the White Sox organization at Denver in the American Association in 1984.
  • 1978 - LHP John Grabow was born in Arcadia, California. Grabow, a third round draft pick in 1997, pitched from 2003-09 for the Bucs until traded to the Cubs. In 390 Pirate appearances, he went 20-15-6/4.09. In 2009, Grabow pitched for the US in the World Baseball Classic. His last MLB season was 2011.
  • 1982 - RHP Chris Resop was born in Naples, Florida. Resop tossed for the Pirates from 2010-12 after being claimed off waivers from the Braves and posted a line of 6-8-2, 3.88 in 159 appearances mainly as the Bucs bullpen bridge guy. He was heavily involved in civic/charity work and was voted the Pirates Roberto Clemente Award honoree in 2012. Chris retired during the 2014 season after eight years of MLB and returned to Naples.
Chris Resop 2012 Topps
  • 1987 - Padres catcher Benito Santiago was the unanimous selection as the NL Rookie of the Year‚ while Pirate RHP Mike Dunne (13-6, 3.03 ERA) finished second. Santiago closed out his career as a Bucco, playing six games in 2005 before being released.
  • 2014 - C Russell Martin and LHP Francisco Liriano became the first two Pirate free agents ever to be tendered qualifying offers ($15.3M) to retain their services for the upcoming year. Both rejected the offer. Russ signed with Toronto for $82M over five years while Frankie eventually came to terms with the Bucs on a three-year, $39M deal.

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