Saturday, December 10, 2016

12/10: Expo Park-Forbes Field Era: HBD Frank & Bob: Friend Traded; Forbes Field Sale & More...

  • 1866 - SS Frank Shugart was born in Luthersburg, in Clearfield County. He hit .268 for the Bucs between 1891-93, but booted 143 balls at SS in 204 games in his first two seasons, triggering a move to the OF and a mid-season trade in 1893. His MLB career ended when Shugart was blacklisted from baseball in 1901 after he punched an umpire.
  • 1919 - The National League, spearheaded by the leadership of Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss, banned the spitball, which he believed was an unfair advantage against hitters. Old wet tossers were registered and spared through a grandfather clause. The AL initially resisted, then passed their own ban the following season. Off-and-on Pirate hurler Burleigh Grimes was the last of the legal spitballers, retiring following the 1934 season after a Hall-of-Fame career.
Bob Priddy (photo via All Star Cards)
  • 1939 - RHP Bob Priddy was born in McKees Rocks. He only spent his first two seasons with the Pirates (1962, 1964; 2-2-1, 3.86 ERA, 37-⅓ IP), but had a nine-year journeyman career with the Giants, Washington Senators, White Sox, Angels and Braves.
  • 1947 - The Buccos bought 32-year old Elmer Riddle from the Reds. Riddle put up an All-Star season in 1948, going 12-10, 3.49, but faded badly the following campaign, winning just once during his final MLB year. They also got his brother John in the same transaction but for a different reason; the Bucs wanted him not as a player but as their bullpen catcher.
  • 1947 - The Pirates came out in support of expansion to a pair of 10-team leagues. The idea had some traction as the show was looking to plant some West Coast franchises, but more clubs wouldn’t become a reality until 1961. There were several relocations (Brooklyn Dodgers to LA, NY Giants to San Fran, Boston Braves to Milwaukee, Philadelphia Athletics to KC and the St Louis Browns becoming the Baltimore Orioles) in the fifties.
  • 1958 - Pitt agreed to buy Forbes Field from the Pirates and lease it to them for five years, or until a new municipal stadium was built. It took a bit longer than five years; Three Rivers Stadium wouldn't open until 1971 as politicians wrangled over location, costs, and design. The Pirates had discussed replacing Forbes Field as far back as 1948 because of both its deteriorating condition (it was built in 1909) and smallish seating capacity of 35,000.
Bob Friend 1957 Topps
  • 1965 - The Pirates traded RHP Bob Friend, a four-time All-Star, to the New York Yankees for reliever Pete Mikkelsen and cash. Friend spent 15 years as a Pirate and won 191 games. He retired after the 1966 season, going just 1-4 for the Bronx Bombers. Mikkelson had a good year for the Bucs in 1966 out of the pen (9-8-14/3.07) but faltered the next year and was released.

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