Sunday, December 18, 2016

12/18: HBD Jack, Gino & Joker; P's Schourek, Herrera, Kawata & Lopez Sign; Tim Neverett Hired

  • 1915 - OF Jack Barrett was born in Lowell, Massachusetts. He played from 1942-46 and hit .251. His best seasons were 1944-45, when he stole 53 bases (he led the NL in steals in 1944 with 28) and scored 196 runs. But when WW2 ended and the players returned, Barrett’s career came to an end; he hit .193 in 1946, his last big league campaign.
  • 1929 - OF Gino Cimoli was born in San Francisco. He only played a season and some change (1960-61) for the Bucs, but was their fourth outfielder for the 1960 Series champs, hitting .267 as a Pirate and .250 in the series. He scored the first tally in Pittsburgh’s five-run eighth inning in the deciding game seven and started several games in place of the injured Bob Skinner. He was one of Bob Prince’s favorites - everytime Cimoli came through on the field, The Gunner would gush Romano with “Thatsa my boy, Gino!”
Gino Cimoli 2002 Topps Retrofractors
  • 1969 - IF Joe “Joker” Randa was born in Milwaukee. Joe played early and late with the Pirates - he spent his third big league season, 1997, and his MLB finale in 2006 in Pittsburgh, hitting a solid .291. Tony Muser, Joe’s skipper in KC, gave him his nickname because he reminded him of “The Joker” character, always with a smile on his face.
  • 1998 - LHP Pete Schourek signed a two-year/$4M FA contract with the Pirates. After going 4-7 with a 5.34 ERA, he was released after a season, with the Pirates eating the second year of his contract. He was the Cy Young runner-up to Greg Maddux in 1995 after going 18-7 for the Reds, but various injuries limited his effectiveness. He pitched through 2001, but he never won more than eight games after that breakout ‘95 season.
  • 2006 - Cuban RHP Yoslan Herrera, 25, agreed to a $1.92M, three-year contract with the Pirates. He defected in July of 2005 and was signed by scouts Rene Gayo and Louie Eljaua after posting a combined record of 18-7 with a 3.27 ERA during his Island career as a member of the Youth Cuban National Team for two years (1999-2000) and four seasons with the big boy Cuban National Team (2001-2004). His numbers didn’t translate in the US, and he won just one game for the Bucs. In a nice bounce-back tale, Herrera was signed to a minor league deal by the LA Angels in 2013 after last pitching in the majors in 2008, put together a nice run at the end of 2014 (1-1, 2.70 -16IP), then moved across the Pacific to toss in the Nippon League in 2015.
Yoslan Herrera (photo Doug Pensinger/Getty)
  • 2006 - On the same day they signed Herrera, the Bucs announced another dip into the international market by inking 38-year-old Japanese RHP Masumi Kawata to a one year/$500K minor-league contract. He chose the Pirates over the Red Sox and Dodgers because he thought he had a better shot at making the club, but an ankle injury in the spring delayed his MLB call until June. He was 39 then, the oldest rookie to appear since Diomedes Olivo and Satchel Paige. After 19 games, his ERA was 9.43. He was sent down, signed again for camp in 2008 and returned to Japan after failing to make the cut.
  • 2008 - Tim Neverett was hired as the Pirate play-by-play man. Prior to joining the Pirates, Neverett spent four years working for FSN Rocky Mountain, where he spent the 2008 campaign serving as both the pre and post-game studio host for Colorado Rockies games along with calling many other sports. Neverett began his baseball on-air career in 1985 at the age of 19 with Pittsburgh's Class AA affiliate in the Eastern League, the Nashua Pirates. The New England native left to man the booth in Boston after the 2015 campaign.
Javier Lopez (photo USAToday Sports Images)
  • 2009 - The Pirates signed LHP Javier Lopez to a one year, $775K contract. The LOOGY reestablished his credentials in Pittsburgh and then was traded to the Giants at the deadline. The southpaw is the only active player to have played on four or more World Series championship teams, winning three times with the G-Men and once with Boston.

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