Saturday, December 3, 2016

12/3:Barney, Billy & Deacon HoF; Trades & Signings; HBD Hickory

  • 1878 - RHP Walt “Hickory” Dickson was born in New Summerfield, Texas. Hickory never tossed for the Pirates, but did spend the last two years of his career with the Pittsburgh Rebels of the Federal League between 1914-15. He worked 67 games for the Rebs, going 16-24-1, 3.44 pitching at the ages of 35 & 36. Dickson’s claim to MLB history is rather dubious: in his first full year in the show in 1912, he started 18 straight games that his team, the Boston Braves, lost. It took 95 years for the Brewers’ Dave Capuano to break that mark. But in the minors, he once tossed back-to-back, complete game, five-hit shutouts on the same day at the end of the season for his Cleburne team against second place Fort Worth; it’s said that Fort Worth was so discouraged after the twin bill that they forfeited the championship series against first place Cleburne.
Monty Basgall 1952 Topps
  • 1947 - Busy day for the Buccos. They sold 11-year vet 1B Elbie Fletcher to the Cleveland Indians (he had one more MLB season left), traded minor league IFs Jimmy Bloodworth and Vic Barnhart to the Dodgers for 2B Monty Basgall (Bloodworth played four more seasons and Barnhart, whose dad Clyde was also a Pirate, never made it back to MLB while Basgall played three years for the Bucs hitting .215) and named Al Lopez manager of the AAA Indianapolis Indians. Lopez had turned down the same deal a year ago to get in a last go-around as a player (he caught for 19 years). That decision to bypass managing may have cost him a shot at the Bucco field general job when skipper Billy Herman was fired and replaced by Billy Meyers after the campaign.
  • 1952 - Pittsburgh traded C Clyde McCullough to the Chicago Cubs for RHP Dick Manville and $25,000. Clyde made the All-Star squad in 1953, tho he only caught 77 games while hitting .258 and wound down his career from there while Manville never appeared in the majors after the deal.
  • 1956 - OF Jerry Lynch was taken by the Reds from the Pirates in the Rule 5 draft. Lynch played seven years with Cincinnati, earning a spot in the franchise’s Hall of Fame, before returning to Pittsburgh in 1963. Lynch is considered one of baseball's all-time best elite pinch hitters, with 116 off-the-bench hits (and 18 homers) during his career. He remained a Pittsburgh guy after retiring, living in Allison Park, and had his ashes sprinkled over Champion Lakes Golf Course in Ligonier, co-owned by him and Dick Groat, after he passed on in 2012 at age 82.
Luis Arroyo 1952 Topps
  • 1958 - Pittsburgh traded RHP Luis Arroyo to Cincinnati for Nino Escalera. Arroyo hit his stride with the Yankees in 1961, winning 15 games and saving 29 more with a 2.19 ERA during his All-Star season while pinch-hitter/1B Escalero never made it out of AAA. It would have been interesting to see what damage a pen of Arroyo and ElRoy Face could have wreaked on the NL.
  • 1982 - 2B Jose “Chico” Lind was signed as an 18-year-old FA out of Puerto Rico. He won the 2B job in 1988, and the defensive whiz played six years in Pittsburgh, hitting .255. Chico was a member of the 1990-92 division-winning clubs before ending his career in the AL amidst a swirl of personal problems. He got his nickname as a toddler; “Chico” is the Spanish term for a youngster.
  • 2007 - German-born Barney Dreyfuss, owner of the Pirates from 1900 until his death in 1932, was elected by Veterans Committee to the Hall of Fame. He built Forbes Field, helped to establish the first modern World Series in 1903, won six pennants & two titles during his term, cleaned up the game and was considered one of the founding fathers of modern baseball. He was inducted on July 23rd, 2008. The Pirates honored him with a stone memorial which has traveled from Forbes Field to TRS and now sits in PNC's concourse behind home plate.
Billy Southworth 1919-21 W514
  • 2007 - Billy Southworth was also selected to the HoF, with his playing and managing careers both lasting 13 years. OF Southworth played three years for the Pirates (1918-20), leading the NL in triples in 1919 (14) and hitting .294 as a Buc. As a manager, he won four pennants and two World Series titles with St. Louis and Boston. Southworth was inducted on July 28th, 2008.
  • 2012 - James “Deacon” White was elected to the Hall of Fame by the pre-integration era committee. Earning his reputation as a bare-handed catcher, although he played several positions over his career, Deacon also helped popularize the catcher’s mask (Al Spalding, who founded a sports equipment company that sold them, was once his battery-mate) and as a young spot pitcher (he tossed twice) is credited with developing the first windup. He played for the Bucs near the end of his 20-year career in 1889, hitting .253 from the hot corner. Deacon came by his nickname honestly; he was a devout Christian in an era when ballplayers were notoriously rowdy.

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