Monday, October 31, 2016

10/31: HBD Harry & Dee, Break-Up Day, Jim MoY, Reuss To Bucs

  • 1874 - C Harry Smith was born in Yorkshire, England. He was a reserve catcher from 1902-07, hitting just .202 as a Bucco. He joined the club as a highly touted youngster. When the Bucs signed him after the 1901 season, the Pittsburg Press wrote in a front page article that gushed “Clever Harry Smith...is the catcher pronounced by all the writers who are in sympathy with the National League as being the greatest young backstop in the country.” Smith was a player-manager for the Boston Doves briefly, and went on to become a minor-league skipper after he hung up the spikes.
Harry Smith 1903 (photo Chicago History Museum/Getty Images)
  • 1924 - 1B Dee Fondy was born in Slaton, Texas. Dee joined the Bucs in 1957 and hit .313 in 95 games; he also was the last player to bat at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn before the Dodgers switched coasts. Fondy was a contact hitter, and in the off season, the Bucs dealt him to Cincinnati for Ted Kluszewski. Following his playing career he worked as a scout and in the FO for the New York Mets and the Milwaukee Brewers.
  • 1973 - The Astros traded Jerry Reuss to the Pirates for Milt May. Reuss ended up 61-46 with a 3.52 ERA as a Buc and was a rotation mainstay for four seasons. The lefty worked six campaigns in Pittsburgh (1974-78, 1990) and spent his last MLB season as a Pirate. He did get around; Reuss was on the roster of eight different clubs at one time or another and won 220 games in a 22-year career.
Jerry Reuss 1974 Topps
  • 1990 - Jim Leyland was selected as the NL Manager of the Year by the Baseball Writers Association of America. He guided the Bucs to 95 wins and a division title, easily outdistancing the Cincinnati Reds’ Lou Piniella in the voting.
  • 2011 - Roster shake-up day: the Pirates lost C Ryan Doumit, C Chris Snyder, SS Ronnie Cedeno and LHP Paul Maholm to free agency after deadline acquisitions OF Ryan Ludwick and 1B Derrek Lee had declared themselves FAs the day before.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

10/30: Allegheny's Bulk Up, Gunner & Nellie Canned, Sauer GM, HBD Bobby, Lee & Ian

  • 1884 - Financially troubled despite finishing second to New York in the American Association‚ the Columbus Colts sold its players to the Pittsburgh Alleghenys for $8‚000 and disbanded. The Alleghenys needed all the help they could get; they finished the 1884 season 30-78 and 45-1/2 games behind the AA champion NY Metropolitans. 10 of Columbus’ players stuck on the Alleghenys 1885 roster, and five became core players for years - C Fred Carroll, OF Tom Brown, 2B Pop Smith, 3B Bill Kuehne and P Ed Morris.
  • 1917 - Manager Bobby Bragan was born in Birmingham, Alabama. The former big league infielder managed the Bucs in 1956-57, just before they turned the corner, slating a record of 102-155 (.397) before Danny Murtaugh took the reins.
Bobby Bragan (photo via Sports Memorabilia)
  • 1960 - RHP Lee Tunnell was born in Tyler, Texas. The Baylor righty was the Bucs’ second pick in the 1981 draft. He arrived in Pittsburgh the following September and then went 11-6/3.85 in 1983, but his four year run (1982-85) produced just a 17-24/4.06 line overall.
  • 1975 - Westinghouse Broadcasting stunned Pirate fans by announcing that Bob “The Gunner” Prince and sidekick Nellie King were getting the ax. At the time, no major league broadcaster had ever spent more years (29) with one team than Prince had with the Pirates. The reasons given were that the pair didn’t do enough to promote the team and went off-topic too often (guilty of the latter, but not the former). Despite a parade in his support that drew 10,000 fans, the duo were replaced by Milo Hamilton, formerly of the Atlanta Braves booth, and Lanny Frattare, the voice of the Pirates AAA Charleston club.
  • 1981 - RHP Ian Snell was born in Dover, Delaware. He spent parts of six seasons (2004-09) as a Pirate starter, showing promise but never quite getting over the hump with a line of 33-46/4.75. Ian was demoted to Indy in 2009, at his own request, and traded to Seattle a month later. He bombed there and was DFA’ed in June of 2010, ending his MLB career, although he did make a couple of comeback efforts.
Ian Snell 2008 Topps Allen's & Ginter's
  • 1991 - Mark Sauer was hired as GM after Carl Barger left to run the Florida Marlins. He oversaw the cost-cutting that gutted the Pirates' 1990-92 powerhouse teams as per the orders of the Pirates' public-private ownership to reduce payroll. He was eased out of action by the McClatchy group and resigned in the summer of 1996.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

10/29: HBD Solly, Fido & Jim; Larry for Odell

  • 1882 - OF Arthur Frederick “Solly” Hofman was born in St. Louis. Hofman played for the Pirates in 1903, then returned again in 1912-13. Coming off the bench, he hit .246 for the Bucs. Solly had a long run in the show, playing 14 years in the National, American and Federation leagues. His nickname was "Circus Solly," credited to a comic strip of the era.
Solly Hofman 1912 (photo: Boston Herald)
  • 1893 - RHP Marcus “Fido” Baldwin was born in Homestead. He only pitched two years and some change for the Pirates (1891-93) but the club got its money’s worth. Between 1891-92, Fido started 104 games, went 47-55, and worked 878 IP with a 3.14 ERA. He was known as one of, if not the fastest, thrower of his era. He also was sued by St. Louis owner Chris von der Ahe for trying to influence his players to skip leagues (which he did), and was arrested for participating in the Homestead steel strike (he was freed, claiming to be just a spectator). Fido couldn't stay out of controversy; as a minor league owner in 1896, he and his teammates were arrested and convicted of a Blue Law violation for playing the first-ever Sunday professional game in Auburn, NY, and he was fined $5. Baldwin later became a doctor and was affiliated with Homestead’s Municipal Hospital. He’s buried in Allegheny Cemetery. His nickname came about because he seemed to live his baseball life in the manager's doghouse per Jonathan Light’s “Cultural Encyclopedia of Baseball.”
  • 1944 - RHP Jim Bibby was born in Franklinton, NC. The big guy worked five years (1978-83; he was out all of 1982 with a shoulder injury) for Pittsburgh, and won 19 games in 1980 during his All-Star season. He was 50-32/3.53 during that span. Bibby started three games in the 1979 championship run (1 NLCS, 2 WS) and while not getting a decision in any of them, put up a 2.08 ERA. His career highlight was in 1981, when he gave up a leadoff single to Atlanta’s Terry Harper and retired the next 27 batters. A shoulder injury suffered later that season eventually led to his retirement in 1984. Oddly, the Pirates signed him as a free agent in 1978 to replace Goose Gossage as the new closer, but he started 91 of his 146 Bucco outings. Another factoid: at 6'5", you might suspect he had some basketball genes, and he did. Jim was an older brother of Henry Bibby and the uncle of Mike Bibby, both NBA players.
Jim Bibby 1982 Fleer
  • 1980 - The Pirates traded a PTBNL (AAA Portland’s RHP Larry Anderson) and cash to the Seattle Mariners for RHP Odell Jones. It was a homecoming for Jones, who had pitched for the Bucs in 1975 & 1977-78, and he went 4-5, 3.31 in 1981. He was in AAA in 1982 and then lost in the Rule 5 draft to Texas. Anderson had a pretty good run - he pitched through the 1994 season and ended up appearing in 699 MLB games before heading out to pasture.

Friday, October 28, 2016

10/28: HBD Angel, Bob & Nate; Leyland MoY; Cutch, Shark AS; Bo Goes

  • 1925 - OF Luis Ángel "Canena" Márquez Sánchez was born in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. One of the first Puerto Rican players in the MLB, he played for both the Homestead Grays (1946–1948) and briefly for the Pittsburgh Pirates (1956), going 1-for-9 with four walks as a Buc. Though he played just two MLB seasons and 68 games, he spent 14 years in the minors, with another four seasons in the Negro League. The municipal baseball stadium in Aguadilla is named for him.
Bob Veale 1968 (team promo photo)
  • 1935 - Big lefty Bob Veale was born in Birmingham, Alabama. He pitched 10-1/2 years for the Pirates (1962-72) with a line of 116-91/3.06 and 1,652 strikeouts. Veale led the league with 250 K in 1964 and had over 200 whiffs four times in his career; his 276 punchouts in 1965 are still a club record. He also led the league in walks allowed four times.
  • 1981 - OF Nate McLouth was born in Muskegon, Michigan. Drafted in the 25th round of the 2000 draft, he spent his first five big league years (2005-09) with the Bucs, hitting .256 and earning an All-Star spot in 2008. McLouth was traded to the Braves for Gorkys Hernandez, Charlie Morton and Jeff Locke after his AS season when his value was high and Andrew McCutchen was ready to step in to play center field.
  • 1991 - Bobby Bonilla became a free agent. In his six years with Pittsburgh (1986-91), Bobby Bo slashed .284/.357/.481 w/114 HR, 500 RBI, four All-Star nods and was twice a top-three finisher for the MVP. He signed with the Mets for five years/$29M, making him the highest paid player in baseball at the time. He got deferred money from that deal and more from a buy-out of his second contract that will pay him $1.19M annually until 2035.
Bobby Bo 1991 Upper Deck
  • 1992 - Jim Leyland was named the NL Manager of the Year by the Baseball Writers Association of America, the second time he won the award. Leyland received 20 of 24 first-place ballots to outpoll rookie manager Felipe Alou of the Expos. Pittsburgh won 96 games and the division, only to be derailed by Atlanta in a seven game NLCS.
  • 2015 - CF’er Andrew McCutchen and closer Mark Melancon were named to The Sporting News' National League all-star team. Cutch hit .292 with 23 HR and 96 RBI, making his fourth straight appearance on the list, while Mark the Shark, who set a Pirate record and led the majors with 51 saves while appearing in 78 games & posting a 2.23 ERA, was a first-time awardee. It was a big day for Melancon; he also took home the 2015 Trevor Hoffman NL Reliever of the Year award.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

10/27: HBD Ralph, Pete & Mike; Big Twenties Trade; Spud Joins Club; Traveling All Stars

  • 1922 - Ralph Kiner was born in Santa Rita, New Mexico. He led the NL in home runs for seven straight seasons as a Buc. Kiner hit 301 bombs, drove in 801 runs, and had a .971 OPS in his eight Pittsburgh seasons (1946-53) and was named an All-Star six times. Ralph was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1975 and the Pirates retired his #4 in 1987.
  • 1924 - 1B Charlie Grimm, LHP Wilbur Cooper and SS Rabbit Maranville were traded to the Chicago Cubs for RHP Vic Aldridge, 1B George Grantham and 1B Al Niehaus. Cooper was near the end of his career, Maranville would have two more strong seasons with Boston, and Grimm played for Chicago for the next dozen years, hitting .296 with 1,079 RBI and became their player-manager. Grantham hit .300 over six seasons with Pittsburgh, Aldridge won 40 games in his three year Bucco tenure and Niehaus split 1925 between the Pirates and Reds in what would be his only MLB campaign.
Vic Aldridge 1925-27 (Conlon Collection/Detroit Public Library)
  • 1935 - According to Charlton’s Baseball Chronology, a touring group of AL All-Stars topped the Negro League champion Pittsburgh Crawfords 7-2 in Mexico City in the final match of a three game stand. Rogers Hornsby drove in three runs against Bert Hunter‚ and he drove in three more the day before when the All-Stars won 11-7. The first game ended in a 6-6 tie. The AL squad featured Hornsby‚ Jimmie Foxx‚ Ted Lyons‚ and Vern Kennedy while the Crawfords roster included Josh Gibson‚ Judy Johnson‚ and Cool Papa Bell.
  • 1939 - The Pirates purchased C Spud Davis from the Phils. Spud caught 99 games in 1940, but in 1941 Al Lopez took over the Pirates starting catcher's role. The next season, Spud became a coach for the Pirates before returning to the active roster in 1944-45 due to the player shortages of WW2. In his four Pirate seasons, he hit .301 and continued as a Bucco coach (he also served as the manager for a short stint after Frankie Frisch resigned in 1946) and a scout. He then played minor league ball and coached for the Cubs until retiring from the game in 1953.
  • 1952 - P Pete Vuckovich was born in Johnstown. In his 11 year MLB career, he never tossed for the Pirates, but in 1992 he was hired by Pittsburgh as a pitching instructor. Vuckovich served as the pitching coach during the 1997–2000 seasons for Gene Lamont, then worked his way through the organization to become the Special Assistant to the General Manager until joining the Seattle organization in 2012. Pete also had a role in the movie “Major League,” uttering the snarky “How’s your wife and my kids?” line to the catcher while at bat.
Pete Vuckovich (image from "Major League" via Cambria County Sports Hall of Fame)
  • 1962 - RHP Mike Dunne was born in South Bend, Indiana. He came to the Pirates as part of the Tony Pena trade and paid immediate dividends, going 13-6 with a 3.03 ERA in 1987 and finishing second to Benito Santiago in the Rookie-of-the-Year balloting. He couldn’t match his first-year numbers down the road, winning just eight more games before being traded to Seattle in 1989. His Pittsburgh slash was 21-18/3.65.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

10/26: Bonds, Drabek Become FAs; HBD Frankie, Diomedes, Judy & Harry

  • 1884 - RHP Harry Camnitz was born in McKinney, Kentucky. He worked once for the Pirates in 1909, going four innings and giving up a pair of runs, but that was long enough for him to became an early brother act with teammate sib Howie, who won 109 games with the Bucs. Harry did have a strong minor league career, once winning 27 games for the McKeesport Tubers.
Judy Johnson (photo via the Negro League Museum)
  • 1899 - 3B William Julius "Judy" Johnson was born in Snow Hill, Maryland (This is the generally accepted date; there are a couple of others floating around). The Hall-of-Famer spent the twenties as a stalwart of the legendary Philadelphia Hilldale Darby teams, then played and managed for the Homestead Grays in 1929-30. He was also with the Pittsburgh Crawfords, serving as team captain from 1932-1936. He retired after 17 seasons with a career .290 BA. The New York Times wrote that "...as a third baseman, Johnson was often compared with Pie Traynor," and the paper recalled Philadelphia Athletics owner Connie Mack’s comment about Johnson: "If Judy were only white," Mack said, "he could name his own price." He acquired his nickname early in his career as a Hilldale Star, inherited from a veteran Hilldale player named “Judy” Gans.
  • 1983 - LHP Frankie Liriano was born in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic. One of the Pirates most notable reclamation projects, the southpaw went 41-36 with a 3.67 ERA from 2013-16 for the Bucs and won the 2013 "Comeback Player of the Year" award. In the midst of a dismal 2016 campaign, Frankie was traded to Toronto at the 2016 deadline.
  • 1989 - RHP Diomedes Mateo was born in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic. John Dreker in Pirates Prospects “This Date In Pirate History” noted that the Bucs were hoodwinked by Mateo, who they signed under the false pretense that he was a 16-year old player named Yoldi Sierra instead of the 20-year old Mateo. The MLB found out, suspended Mateo for two seasons, and he was out of organized ball following the 2012 season.
Bye Bye Barry (image from Pittsburgh Baseball Heroes deck)
  • 1992 - It was a dark day for Pirates fans as Barry Bonds and Doug Drabek both declared for free agency. Bonds was a two-time MVP (1990, 1992) and Drabek a Cy Young winner in 1990. Barry signed a six-year/$43.75M deal with the San Francisco Giants while Doug inked a four-year/$20M contract with the Houston Astros.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

10/25: Joe Brown Era; Rooker-for-Garber; HBD Vic, Pete & JJ

  • 1893 - RHP Vic Aldridge was born in Crane, Indiana. He only tossed three seasons for the Bucs (1925-27), but bookended those campaigns with World Series appearances. Vic went 40-30-2/3.99 for the Pirates, starting 86 times, and went 2-1 in his four WS starts, claiming both his wins in 1925 against the Washington Senators’ Stan Coveleski.
Pete Mikkelson 1981 TCMA 60s Baseball Series 2
  • 1939 - RHP Pete Mikkelsen was born on Staten Island. He tossed for Pittsburgh from 1966-67, with a line of 10-10-16, 3.46 from the pen in 103 outings. Pete played for five different clubs over a nine year career that carried through 1972, despite suffering from a chronic back injury he received as a Pirate when a truck rear-ended his car in 1967. He’s also a card collector’s set-breaker. Mikkelsen got into a dispute with Topps, and they didn’t issue a card for him during the last four years of his career.
  • 1955 - Hall-of-Fame executive Branch Rickey stepped down as the Pirates' general manager, replaced by Joe L. Brown. During the Mahatma's five-year tenure, Pittsburgh’s “Rickey-Dinks” had three 100-loss seasons. Rickey was, however, credited with developing a solid farm system for the Pirates and stayed with the organization as an advisor.
Jim Rooker 1974 Topps
  • 1972 - The Pirates traded RHP Gene Garber to the Royals for RHP Jim Rooker. Rooker pitched eight seasons for the Pirates, winning 82 games with a 3.29 ERA before becoming a Buc announcer. Garber tossed out of various bullpens until 1988, winning 96 games and saving 218 more. Over his 19 year career, he saved 20+ games five times, with a high of 30 in 1982 for Atlanta.
  • 1978 - OF Jerry “JJ” Davis was born in Glendora, California. A first round draft pick in 1997, Davis made very little noise in the show, playing in just 53 games from 2002-04 for the Pirates and batting .163, mostly as a pinch hitter.

Monday, October 24, 2016

10/24: HBD Bill, Antelope, Junior & Rafy; Maz Retires; Williams Deal

  • 1858 - 3B Bill Kuehne (his surname was an Ellis Island special; in Germany, it was Knelme) was born in Leipzig, Germany. He played every position but pitcher and catcher, hitting .240 in Pittsburgh (Alleghenys 1885-89, Burghers 1890). His best years were with the Alleghenys, hitting .299 in 1887 and leading the NL with 138 games played in 1888.
Bill Kuehne 1887 Goodwin Old Judge
  • 1952 - Pirate CF Omar Moreno was born in Puerto Armuelles, Panama. “The Antelope” played eight years in Pittsburgh (1975-82) and led the league in stolen bases twice, swiping 487 sacks as a Buc. Moreno played every game of the 1979 and 1980 seasons, led the National League in at bats both years and hit .333 against the Orioles in the 1979 World Series. Omar was inducted into the Latino Hall of Fame in 2014. Known as “The Antelope” for his speed both on the base paths and in center field, he also picked up the less PC fan nickname of "Omar the Outmaker." Moreno hit or ran into an out 560 times in 1980, a major-league record, and ended his career with a 79 OPS+.
  • 1959 - C Adalberto “Junior” Ortiz was born in Humacao, Puerto Rico. Junior caught for the Bucs from 1982-83 (.264 BA), spent a year with the Mets, and came back again between 1985-89. In seven seasons, the reserve hit .262 during his career. We’re not sure where Junior picked up his moniker (he’s not a junior by name, but he did start stateside in the minors at age 17 and reached the Bucs as a 22 year-old) but Ortiz embraced it; he even joked after the birth of his son, Adalberto Jr, that he was going to call him “Junior Junior.”
  • 1961 - SS Rafael Belliard was born in Pueblo Nuevo, Dominican Republic. He played his first nine seasons (1982-90) in Pittsburgh as a good glove shortstop, hitting .218 during that time but ranking first in the NL in fielding percentage in 1988. Belliard went on to play the second half of his career in Atlanta, and was part of the ‘91-92 teams that eliminated the Bucs in the NLCS.
Rafael Belliard 1988 Score
  • 1972 - Bill Mazeroski retired from the Pirates after 17 seasons. He only played 34 games and hit .188 in his final campaign as a bench infielder (.260 lifetime). The Hall-of-Famer left a legacy of 10 All-Star games, eight Golden Gloves and two World Series championships. His number #9 was retired in 1987 and his statue was erected at PNC Park in 2010.
  • 2015 - The Miami Marlins traded RHP Trevor Williams to the Pirates for Rookie League P Richard Mitchell. The Fish had hired away Pirates pitching assistant Jim Benedict, and it was reported that swapping a potential MLB back-ender for a long shot prospect was actually a form of compensation for the Marlins' luring Benedict away.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

10/23: Danny MoY, Legendary Lloyd Hired, Manny Joins Up, Tyler MiLB's PoY, HBD Jim & Denny

  • 1931 - RHP Jim Bunning was born in Southgate, Kentucky. The Hall of Famer tossed for the Bucs in 1968 and part of 1969, compiling a 14-23 mark with a 3.84 ERA before being traded to the LA Dodgers for a pair of minor leaguers.
Jim Bunning (photo The Sporting News)
  • 1958 - The Associated Press named Danny Murtaugh as its major league Manager of Year, outpolling Reds’ skipper Sparky Anderson 148-131, although Sparky had th last laugh when his Reds swept the Bucs in the NLCS. After Murtaugh’s first full season, the team improved by 22 games and finished 14 games over .500. In all, he managed 15 years, won 1,115 games, five pennants and two World Series.
  • 1982 - RHP Denny Bautista was born in Sanchez, Dominican Republic. The vet pitched in 2008-09 for the Pirates, going 5-4, 5.89. Denny was a second cousin of Pedro Martinez and while pitching chops didn’t prove to be a family hand-me-down, he did manage a seven-year MLB career.
  • 1981 - RHP Manny Sarmiento was sold by the Boston Red Sox to the Pirates. He gave the Pirates two strong campaigns in 1982-83, going 12-9, 3.25 in 87 appearances (17 starts) and working 249 IP but blew out his elbow in camp the next season, effectively finishing his career.
Manny Sarmiento 1984 Donruss
  • 2000 - The Pirates hired deposed manager Gene Lamont’s batting coach, Lloyd McClendon, as their the new skipper even though he had no prior experience as a manager. McClendon spent his last five MLB seasons as a player with the Buccos. He managed through 2005, spent time with Jim Leyland as a coach at Detroit and was the skipper for Seattle from 2014-15. He's back as Motown's hitting coach.
  • 2014 - 21 year old RHP Tyler Glasnow was selected as MiLB.com’s Starting Minor League Pitcher of the Year. The 6-7 hurler, selected in the fifth round of the 2011 draft and signed to a $600K bonus, went 12-5 with a 1.74 ERA while averaging 11.4 K per nine innings at High Class A Bradenton. He made it to the show this season and will try to win a roster spot again in 2017.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

10/22: HBD Jughandle, Possum, Harry the Hat & Keith; Clint MoY; Cutch All-Star and More...

  • 1885 - Pittsburgh hosted a world series that it wasn’t even part of. The 1885 World Series was an ad hoc post-season playoff roadshow between the NL champion Chicago White Stockings and American Association champion St. Louis Browns, played in four different cities. The fifth game was played at Recreation Park in Pittsburgh. The weather was cold and fewer than 500 people were present. Chicago won 9-2 in a shortened game that was called after seven innings because of darkness.
  • 1895 - RHP “Jughandle Johnny” Morrison was born in Pellville, Kentucky. He worked eight seasons (1920-27) for the Pirates with an 89-71 record and 3.52 ERA. Johnny made three appearances in the 1925 World Series against Washington, striking out seven in 9-⅓ frames. In 1921, he was part of a Pirate brother act when sib Phil made the roster. He got his nickname from his sweeping curve that bent like a jughandle.
The Possum (photo via SABR)
  • 1916 - Announcer Jim Woods was born in Kansas City. He was a sidekick of Bob Prince at KDKA from 1958-69, where he was known as "The Possum." Woods worked for the Yankees, Giants and NBC before coming to Pittsburgh, moving later to the Cardinals, Athletics and Red Sox, then finishing his career as an announcer for the USA Network's Thursday Night Baseball games. Woods picked up his nickname of "Possum" while with New York. He had a slight overbite and close-cropped hair, and as he walked into the clubhouse fresh from a haircut, Enos Slaughter (or perhaps Whitey Ford; they're both suspects), looked him over and said, "I've seen better heads on a possum." Bob Prince picked up on the nickname, and the Gunner's wife Betty even introduced Woods’ spouse Audrey as “Mrs. Possum.”
  • 1916 - Harry “The Hat” Walker was born in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Walker was hired in 1965 to replace Danny Murtaugh, who stepped down for health reasons. The Pirates contended for the pennant during the 1965 and 1966 seasons, finishing third behind the champion Los Angeles Dodgers and the runner-up San Francisco Giants both years. But when the 1967 Pirates stumbled to a .500 mark in mid-season, Walker was let go in favor of his predecessor, Murtaugh. He did leave his mark, though, as an offensive mind on the organization. Walker got his nickname from his habit of constantly tugging on his cap between pitches during his playing days.
Keith Osik 2002 Topps
  • 1968 - C Keith Osik was born in Port Jefferson, NY. Osik played for the Bucs from 1996-2002 as a catcher and all around utility guy, even pitching twice in blowout games while hitting .231. He’s been a successful head baseball coach since 2008 at Farmingdale State College, a Division III school located on Long Island.
  • 1974 - The Pirates traded OF Gene Clines to the New York Mets for C Duffy Dyer. Dyer was a Pirate reserve for four years, mostly playing behind Manny Sanguillen. Clines didn’t do much for the Mets, but still had a couple of decent seasons left in him before hanging up the spikes after the 1979 season.
  • 1979 - Phil Garner was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated during SI’s WS coverage. He was a great choice, hitting .500 (12-for-24) in the October Classic, banging out four doubles, scoring four runs and driving home five.
Clint Hurdle (Pgh Baseball Heroes deck)
  • 2013 - The Sporting News named Clint Hurdle NL Manager of the Year after he led the Pirates to playoffs after breaking a 20-year string of losing seasons with a 90 win campaign. The Bucs won the NL Wild Card Game against the Reds before dropping a five game series against the NL Central champs St Louis in the 2013 NLDS.
  • 2014 - CF Andrew McCutchen was the only Pirate named to The Sporting News NL All-Star team. 3B Josh Harrison & 2B Neil Walker were runner-ups, while C Russ Martin and LHP Tony Watson were also in the zip code, finishing third at their positions.

Friday, October 21, 2016

10/21: Hello Daves, Goodbye Andy, HBD Ding Dong & Marc, Frankie Comeback POY

  • 1933 - P Bill “Ding Dong” Bell was born in Goldsboro, North Carolina. Bell was one of two professional pitchers to throw three no-hitters in the same season (1952) as a member of Pirates affiliate Bristol in the Class D Appalachian League. Success there didn’t translate into a MLB career, though. Ding Dong was given a September call up at age 18 in ‘52 and resurfaced again briefly in 1955, going 0-1, 4.32 lifetime for the Bucs. He had a well deserved rep as a wild child on the hill, walking 14 in 16-⅔ IP in the show.
  • 1969 - RHP Dave Giusti and C Dave Ricketts came over from from St. Louis for 1B/OF Carl Taylor and OF Frank Vanzin. Giusti spent seven years in the Buc bullpen and earned 133 saves, marking his trade as one of the Buccos shrewder deals. Ricketts didn’t have a lot of on-field impact (he hit .182 in his only Pirates season), but was a popular clubhouse figure. He played basketball at Duquesne with his brother Dick and coached in Pittsburgh from 1971-73 before returning to the Cards as a long time field coach and catching mentor.
Dave Ricketts 1970 Topps
  • 1970 - RHP Marc Wilkins was born in Mansfield, Ohio. He spent his entire six season MLB career (1996-2001) as a Bucco reliever (he started two games as a rookie), putting up a line of 19-14-3/4.28 and appearing in 70 outings during 1997. It was actually a pretty strong run for a guy who Pittsburgh selected in the 47th round of the 1992 draft.
  • 1994 - Andy Van Slyke became a free agent. In his eight years (1987-94) with Pittsburgh,he slashed .283/.353/.458 and was a three-time All Star. But at 34 and with a bad back, he managed a one year/$700K deal with the Baltimore Orioles only after a spring training audition. He played sparingly for them and was traded to Philly; he got into just 80 games total and was done after the 1995 campaign.
Andy Van Slyke 1994 Pinnacle
  • 2013 - LHP Francisco Liriano (16-8, 3.02) was named The Sporting News “Comeback Player of the Year” for 2013. Frankie had posted ERA’s north of 5 in three of his four prior seasons but sparkled for the Bucs. The runner up was RHP Mark Melancon, the Bucs set-up/closer arm, and third place went to OF Marlon Byrd, who the Pirates picked up from the NY Mets during the stretch run in late August.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

10/20: Jocko, Jose & Joe...

  • 1864 - UT John “Jocko” Fields was born in Cork, Ireland. Jocko played everything on the field (mainly OF & C), hitting .265 as a member of the Alleghenys (1887-88), the Burghers of the Players’ League (1889) and the Pirates in 1890.
Jocko Fields 1889 Goodwin
  • 1970 - Dan Marino and John Elway weren’t the only pro football
    quarterbacks that had baseball scouts sniffing around them. UPI reported that the Pirates, along with the Yankees, Mets and Reds, had contacted Notre Dame QB Joe Theismann to gauge his interest in MLB. The 3B was coy, saying that he’d be interested if his football career didn’t pan out. He did end up drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 39th round of the 1971 draft, but that gridiron thing did pan out for Joe, even with time in the CFL and that brutal leg-snapping NFL finale.
  • 1980 - RHP Jose Veras was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Jose tossed for nine years and eight teams, stopping in Pittsburgh during the 2011 campaign, going 2-4-1, 3.80 in 79 appearances. The reliever was last sighted pitching in the Indy leagues.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

10/19: HBD Tom, Don, Jose & J-Mac; The Hat Gets the Job; Congress' Payday

  • 1874 - OF Tom McCreery was born in Beaver. The local kid played from 1898-1900 for the Pirates, batting .303. Tom became the only player in major league history to hit three inside-the-park homers in a single game in 1897 as a Louisville Colonel. He later became head baseball coach at Pitt for the 1912 season. He lived out his days in his hometown, and stayed connected to the game by running the semi-pro Rochester Athletics.
  • 1931 - C Don Leppert was born in Indianapolis. He had a brief four year MLB career as a reserve catcher, starting with Pittsburgh in 1961-62 and batting .266. But he made the record books by hitting a homerun on the first pitch thrown to him in the show on June 18th, 1961, against Curt Simmons of the St. Louis Cardinals in a 5-3 Bucco win. Leppert managed the Pirates’ Class A Gastonia club in 1967 and then served as a MLB coach for Pittsburgh from 1968–1976.
Don Leppert 1962 Topps
  • 1964 - Harry “The Hat” Walker was named manager of the Pirates, replacing Danny Murtaugh after an 80-82 season and sixth place finish in the NL. After a couple of competitive seasons, he was let go in 1967 and replaced by...Danny Murtaugh.
  • 1980 - 3B/OF Jose Bautista was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He played for the Bucs from 2004-08, and hit .241 with 43 HR during that time before being traded to Toronto in 2008 for Robinzon Diaz. Joey Bats blossomed after becoming a Blue Jay, leading the AL in homers and RBI twice.
  • 1984 - James McDonald was born in Long Beach, California. The righty came to Pittsburgh in 2010 as part of the Octavio Dotel deal, and was an up-and-down member of the rotation until 2013, going 27-24/4.21 in his Pirate years. J-Mac had a breakout campaign in 2012 until after the All-Star break when the wheels fell off, and he never recovered.
J-Mac 2013 Topps Opening Day
  • 1979 - Congressman Doug Walgren ate high off the hog thanks to the Pirates World Series win. Maryland congresswoman Barbara Mikulski paid off her losing bet with crabs, sausage and pastries while Ohio rep Tom Luken brought in some Cincinnati chili dogs. Walgren sported a Pirates cap all day, and his phone’s background music was “We Are Fam-A-Lee.” Senator Richard Schweiker also got in on the action and was served a regional delicacy, Maryland beaten biscuits, by MD lawmaker Charles Mathias.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

10/18: HBD Hans, Frenchy, Phil & George; Cash Traded; Chuck's Mom, Chronicle-Tele Cup

  • 1881 - IF John “Hans” Lobert was born in Wilmington, Delaware. His family moved to Pittsburgh (Lobert went to Carnegie Tech) and he played for the semi-pro Pittsburgh Athletic Association nine, but went unnoticed until the PAA was playing in Atlantic City at the same time Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss was vacationing at the shore. He signed Lobert with the Bucs for a September 1903 audition when the team was running away with the pennant. He played everywhere after the Pirates had clinched, but the biggest impression he made was on Honus Wagner, who dubbed Lobert “Hans Number Two.” The pair remained friends throughout their lives. Lobert went to the minors for a year of seasoning, then spent the next 13 campaigns in the show with four different clubs, hitting .274 with 361 stolen bases. Hans #2 coached, managed and scouted after he retired at the age of 35 in 1917.
Hans Lobert & Hans Wagner 1938 (photo Transcendental Graphics/Getty)
  • 1886 - RHP George “Frenchy” LeClaire was born in Milton, Vermont. He spent his career largely with the Pittsburgh Rebels of the outlaw Federal League from 1914-15, going 6-4, 3.81 in 36 games, 10 as a starter. After starting 1915 with the Rebels, he finished the campaign with Buffalo and Baltimore. When the league folded, Frenchy’s major league career came to an end.
  • 1894 - RHP Phil Morrison was born in Rockport, Indiana. His MLB career consisted of ⅔ IP for the Pirates in 1921, but with that appearance he became one of the early Pirate family acts, joining his brother, pitcher “Jughandle Johnny” Morrison, on that season’s stat sheet.
  • 1900 - The Brooklyn Superbas won the Chronicle-Telegraph Cup three games to one with a 4-1 win at Exposition Park as Joe McGinnity bested Sam Leever. The series was a challenge match sponsored by the Pittsburgh Chronicle-Telegraph (bought by the Pittsburgh Press in 1924) between the top two NL teams in an era before post-season games. It was a fruitful learning experience for the runner-up Pirates, which went on to win the next three NL pennants and played in the first World Series in 1903. The Brooklyn club didn’t win another playoff set until 1955, when they claimed the World Series title as the Dodgers.
Silent George 1985 Topps Traded
  • 1949 - OF George Hendrick was born in Los Angeles. The Pirates got him as part of the John Tudor deal with St Louis during the 1984 off season, but Hendrick hit just .230 with two homers in ‘85 and was sent to Angels at the deadline. He was nicknamed "Silent George" because he never spoke to the media. After his 18 year career ended, he landed coaching gigs with the Cards, Dodgers, Angels and Tampa Bay, where he still works as an advisor to the GM.
  • 1973 - The Pirates shipped 2B Dave Cash to Philadelphia in exchange for LHP Ken Brett. Cash was being phased out for Rennie Stennett, but still had seven years and three All-Star games left in him. Brett went 22-14 with a 3.32 ERA for Pittsburgh in two seasons and made an All-Star team before an elbow injury slowed him down, and like Cash still had a long shelf life. He pitched seven more years after leaving the Pirates, although he wasn’t really effective again after 1976.
  • 1979 - Chuck Tanner returned to hometown New Castle 12 hours after the Pirates had won the World Series in Baltimore to bury his mom. She passed away before Game 5 with the Pirates down three games to one, and Chuck told his players in a quiet locker room before the contest that "My mother is a great Pirates fan. She knows we're in trouble, so she went upstairs to get some help." Tanner was quite close to his mom, but he insisted on managing through the series because he knew she would have wanted him to see it through. Judging by the results, that extra angel in the outfield sure proved handy.

Monday, October 17, 2016

10/17: Double Your Pleasure - Bucs Best Baltimore In 1971, 1979; HBD Pete & Mark and More...

  • 1900 - Pittsburgh avoided being swept in the Chronicle-Telegraph Cup series by nickle-and-diming Harry Howell for 13 singles and 10 runs. Tommy Leach reached base five times and scored four runs. Ginger Beaumont had three hits, and Claude Ritchey, Honus Wagner and Bones Ely added a pair. Deacon Phillippe threw a six-hit shutout for the win at Exposition Park, although the Pirates still trailed the best-of-five series two games to one.
  • 1929 - Pirate catcher and GM Harding “Pete” Peterson was born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. He appeared in 65 games over four seasons (1955; 1957–59) for Pittsburgh and batted .273 in limited service, due to a two-year stint in Korea. His playing career was effectively ended as the result of a broken arm suffered in a home plate collision at Wrigley Field in early 1959. Pete coached and headed the scouting department for the Bucs afterward, and took Joe L. Brown’s spot as GM in 1976. He fielded strong teams in the late seventies with a championship club in 1979. Peterson lasted until 1985, dragged down by the cocaine trails and the soap opera over team ownership.
  • 1967 - 1B Mark Johnson was born in Worcester, MA. Mark was a good glove, power-hitting guy who made his MLB debut at the advanced age of 27. His .239 BA in three years (1995-97) with the Pirates didn’t cut it as he lost his job to Kevin Young. Johnson was a good pinch hitter and closed out his career with the NY Mets, playing until 2002.
Steverino & Manny celebrate (photo Pittsburgh Tribune Review)
  • 1971 - Steve Blass hurled a four-hitter and Roberto Clemente homered as the Pirates won Game Seven of the World Series, 2-1, at Baltimore, earning Pittsburgh its fourth World Championship. The winning run scored in the eighth, when Jose Pagan doubled home Willie Stargell. Clemente hit safely in all seven games of the series, a feat he also accomplished in 1960 against the Yankees, extending his consecutive Fall Classic hitting streak to 14 contests. He also became the first Latino player to earn World Series MVP honors after batting .414. Bruce Kison and his best man Bob Moose were taken from Memorial Stadium by helicopter to a waiting Lear Jet to attend his wedding in Pittsburgh (even so, the groom arrived 33 minutes late). And though it was a bright moment for the club, it wasn’t for some fans. After the game‚ 40‚000 people ran wild downtown; many were arrested and at least 100 were injured.
  • 1979 - In Game Seven at Baltimore, President Jimmy Carter opened the game with a ceremonial pitch and Willie Stargell finished it by going 3-for-4 with his third World Series homer, lifting the Pirates to a 4-1 win and their fifth World Championship. Captain Willie gave the Bucs a 2-1 lead in the sixth with his blast. Kent Tekulve worked out of a bases loaded jam in the eighth and Pittsburgh tacked on a pair of ninth inning insurance runs to take a 4-1 victory, with Grant Jackson earning the W. Pops was named Series MVP after the Pirates erased a three-games-to-one deficit to rally past the Orioles. 60,000 fans greeted the team at the airport when they arrived home at 3AM, with thousands more lining the parkway. Baltimore, which planned a victory parade two games prior, still held one the next day and drew 125,000 for their beloved and bedraggled Birds. The game was big - an estimated 80 million people, then the largest TV audience in the history of the World Series, watched the showdown.
Pops pops one (photo Associated Press)
  • 1991 - In Game Seven of the NLCS, Brian Hunter's two-run shot in the first inning off John Smiley was all John Smoltz needed as he tossed a 4-0, six hit whitewash against the Bucs at TRS. Atlanta won their first NL pennant since their move from Milwaukee as the Pirates failed to score in the last 22 innings of the series. The Braves lost the World Series to the Minnesota Twins four games to three in one of the most dramatic championships in the MLB annals.
  • 2014 - After a 29-year affiliation with the Pirates, starting as a player and spending the last five as the Bucs bench coach, Jeff “Banny” Banister left the organization to become the 18th manager of the Texas Rangers. It was, in a way, a delayed PTBNL deal involving coaches turned skippers; the Pirates took their manager, Clint Hurdle, from Texas in 2011.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

10/16: Bucs Take '09 Crown, Split w/the O's, HBD Leaping Mike & Lenny, More...

  • 1894 - OF “Leaping Mike” Menosky was born in Glen Campbell in Indiana County, and attended State Normal College (now IUP). He started his career in the outlaw Federal League for the Pittsburgh Rebels from 1914-15, hitting .242, and went on to play for the Washington Senators and Boston Red Sox until 1930 with a .280 BA in the AL. Leaping Mike is famous as the guy who replaced Babe Ruth in left field after the Bambino was sold to the New York Yankees. His nickname was bestowed because of his speed and acrobatic catches.
  • 1898 - According to Charlton’s Baseball Chronology, Honus Wagner hurled a baseball 403 feet 8 inches in a throwing contest at Louisville's League Park (teams often featured races and long-toss exhibitions back in the day) to beat the record of 400' 7-1/2" set by the Brooklyn Mutuals' John Hatfield in 1872. Wagner's distance throw was‚ in some histories‚ topped by Larry LeJeune’s toss of 435 feet on October 3rd‚ 1907, although that’s not universally accepted.
  • 1900 - The Bucs committed six errors against the Brooklyn Superbas at Exposition Park during the Chronicle-Telegraph Challenge series and lost 4-2 as Fred Kitson got the better of Sam Leever. Pittsburgh was held to four hits, with Honus Wagner’s double leading to one run and Jack O’Connor driving in Tom O’Brien for the other tally.
1909 Champs (photo RW Johnston Co.)
  • 1909 - In a World Series showdown between two of baseball's premier players, Honus Wagner and Ty Cobb, the Pirates downed the hometown Detroit Tigers, 8-0, in game seven to become World Champions for the first time. The real star of the Series, though, was rookie pitcher Babe Adams, who notched three victories, including the decisive seventh game six-hit shutout. The Pirates were helped by Tiger wildness; the Bucs banged out just seven hits, but the 10 walks were the killers for Motown (Fred Clarke got zero official at bats; he walked four times and scored twice). Honus Wagner and Dots Miller had a pair of RBI, while Clarke and Tommy Leach scored twice. It was the first World Series to go seven games. The Flying Dutchman, battling injuries in his first World Series in 1903, bounced back this time around. Hans hit .333, with seven RBIs and six stolen bases to outshine Ty Cobb, who hit .231 with six runs driven home and two steals.
  • 1928 - P and scout Lenny Yochim was born in New Orleans. He had a brief career with the Pirates (1951, 1954, 1-2, 7.62 ERA), but a long and fairly shiny one in the minors, where he once tossed a no hitter. After his playing days, Yochim rejoined the Pirates in 1966 as part of their baseball operations department. He served in various scouting positions before moving into the front office in 1994, where he worked as a senior adviser for player personnel through 2004.
  • 1971 - The Baltimore Orioles came back from a 2-0 hole to take a 3-2, 10 inning win from the Bucs at Memorial Stadium and forcing the World Series to a seventh game. The Pirates left the bases loaded in the 10th. Baltimore didn’t. Brooks Robinson’s short sac fly to center off Bob Miller barely brought in Frank Robinson; Al Oliver had been removed in a double switch just that inning, putting the weak-armed Vic Davalillo in center. Robinson paid a price; he injured his hamstring and reaggravated an Achilles injury, limiting him severely in the decisive game. Roberto Clemente had a homer for Pittsburgh and also had a highlight throw in the bottom of the ninth, a one hop strike to home that froze Mark Belanger, who represented the winning run, at third after Don Buford’s two-out double. Bob Moose became the Bucs sixth different starter when he took the hill in the first, as the scheduled pitcher, Dock Ellis, was scratched with an injury.
The Candy Man can... (Baseball Heroes deck)
  • 1979 - With Baltimore papers filled with stories of the Orioles’ World Series victory parade, the Bucs rode John Candelaria and Kent Tekulve to a 4-0 win at Memorial Stadium to square the series at three games each. The top of the order (Omar Moreno & Tim Foli) and the bottom (Ed Ott & Phil Garner) combined for nine hits and scored all four runs.
  • 1991 - For the second time in the series, the Bucs were 1-0 losers to the Atlanta Braves to send the NLCS to a seventh game. The Pirates were held to four hits by Steve Avery and Alejandro Pena at TRS. The game’s only tally came with two outs in the ninth when Greg Olsen doubled home Ron Gant to hand Doug Drabek the defeat.
  • 2009 - Andrew McCutchen was named the Baseball America Rookie of the Year for 2009, and finished fourth in the NL ROY balloting. He joined the team in June, replacing Nate McLouth, and finished his rookie season with a .286 BA, 12 HR, 54 RBI, and 22 stolen bases in 108 games. Cutch singled off the Mets’ Mike Pelfrey in his first MLB at-bat to get his career off to a flying start.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

10/15: Bucs Win '25 WS, Alleghenys Return, HBD Bob & Carlos, Silver Cup Series...

  • 1881 - HD "Denny" McKnight resurrected the Allegheny Baseball Club of Pittsburgh (it had disbanded after the 1877 season) and joined the newly formed American Association. In 1887 they joined the NL and in 1891 morphed into the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Denny McKnight (photo via National Baseball Hall of Fame)
  • 1887 - RHP Bob Harmon was born in Liberal, Missouri. He tossed for four seasons for the Pirates (1914-16, 1918), going 39-52 with an ERA of 2.60, splitting his time between starting and the pen.
  • 1892 - On the last day the season, Cincinnati pitcher Charles “Bumpus” Jones no-hit Pittsburgh at League Park in his first major league start. Bumpus won 7-1, fanning three and issuing four walks. His MLB career lasted eight games and he won just one other decision. Still, he remains the only player to pitch a no-hitter in his first MLB appearance. Bill James, according to Wikipedia, gave him the distinction of being the “mathematically least likely pitcher ever to have thrown a no-hitter in the major leagues.”
  • 1900 - The Pittsburgh Chronicle-Telegraph offered a silver cup to the winner of a best-of-five series at Exposition Park between the NL’s top two teams, the Pirates and the Brooklyn Superbas; Brooklyn won the 1900 title by 4-½ games over the Bucs during the regular season. Two future Hall of Famers faced off in the opener as NL ERA leader Rube Waddell (2.37) went against “Iron Man” Joe McGinnity, who topped the league with 28 wins. McGinnity shut out the Pirates for eight innings before two unearned runs in the top of the ninth cost him the shutout. Not only was he hurt by shoddy fielding, but he had been knocked out briefly the inning before during a rundown when he was accidentally kneed. He refused to come out after he came to, and went the distance for a five-hit, 5-2 victory, with Claude Ritchey banging a pair of knocks in a losing cause.
Claude Ritchey (image via SABR)
  • 1925 - In Game Seven of the World Series at Forbes Field, played on a muddy track soaked by a two day rainstorm, Kiki Cuyler laced an eighth-inning, two out, bases loaded double off Washington's Walter “Big Train” Johnson to lead the Pirates to a 9-7 comeback victory and their second World Championship, made all the sweeter by rallying from an early 4-0 deficit. Ray Kremer got the win, his second of the Series, with four innings of one-run relief after pitching a complete game win two days before. Errors by SS Roger Peckinpaugh, the AL MVP, in both the seventh and eighth innings led to four unearned runs. He had a tough Series in the field, committing a record eight errors. The Bucs became the first team to win a World Series after being down three games to one. The Series also was a financial hit‚ grossing a record-setting $1.2M. Winning shares were $5‚332.72 while the losers pocketed $3‚734.60.
Pittsburgh partied in 1925 (photo/image Pittsburgh Press)
  • 1967 - IF Carlos Garcia was born in Tachira, Venezuela. In seven (1990-96) Bucco seasons, he hit .278 and was an All-Star in 1994. García was the first base coach and infield instructor for Pittsburgh in 2010. He was named the manager of the Bradenton Marauders in December 2010, and in 2013-14, Garcia managed the Altoona Curve.

Friday, October 14, 2016

10/14 Post-Season: Sid's Slide, Take Two from the O's, WS Loss, NLCS Win

  • 1909 - The Pirates scored three times in the first inning, but the Detroit Tigers came back to take a 5-4 win at Bennett Park to force a seventh game in the World Series. The Cats used a balanced attack, banging out 10 hits, five of which were doubles, to give George Mullin the win and send Vic Willis to defeat. The Pirates scored three first inning runs, keyed by a Hans Wagner double, and almost pulled it out in the ninth. Leadoff singles and a misplayed bunt brought the Bucs within a run with runners on the corners and no outs, but Pittsburgh couldn’t cash in. Bill Abstein was tossed out at home on George Gibson’s bouncer to first and Ed Abbatichio banged into a game-ending DP and killing the golden goose.
Nellie tossed a gem (photo via Best Sports Photos)
  • 1971 - Nellie Briles tossed a two hit shutout at the Baltimore Orioles, and the 4-0 win put the Pirates up three games to two in the World Series. Every Pirate batter reached base during the game, with Bob Robertson hitting a solo shot at TRS in front of 51,377 Pittsburgh fans.
  • 1979 - Staring at elimination, Jim Rooker and Bert Blyleven tossed a combo six hitter against the Orioles at TRS as the Bucs stayed alive with a 7-1 victory. Tim Foli tripled and had three RBI while Bill Madlock went 4-for-4, with Baltimore still ahead in the WS three games to two.
  • 1991 - The Pirates Zane Smith was the victor as the Bucs took a 1-0 win over the Braves at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium and a 3-2 lead in the NLCS. Tom Glavine was the loser, touched up only in the fifth when Chico Lind singled home Steve Buechele. The Braves lost a run when David Justice missed 3B while heading home on a two-out, fourth inning single in a call that was controversial with its replay inconclusive.
Zane Smith spun a zero - 1991 Leaf
  • 1992 - Pittsburgh lost the seventh game of the NLCS to the Braves at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium 3-2 when Sid Bream scored in the ninth, barely beating Barry Bond's off-line throw and Spanky LaValliere’s lunging tag to begin a two-decade long Bucco Dark Age. Pittsburgh carried a two run lead into the last frame when a Chico Lind error and two walks proved fatal. The Toronto Blue Jays beat the Bravos four games to two in the World Series, taking all four of their victories by one run with three of those wins claimed during their last at bat.

10/14: HBD Oscar, Ken, Scoops & Midre; Cutch MoY; Bell Trade; Expansion Hit

  • 1886 - CF Oscar Charleston was born in Indianapolis. The Hall of Famer played for the Homestead Grays from 1930-31, and from 1932-37 was the player/manager for the Pittsburgh Crawfords during their heyday years. He consistently hit .340+ for the Crawfords, with a .363 BA in 1932. That club, with brother Hall of Famers Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige, and Judy Johnson on the roster, is considered among the best Negro League teams ever fielded.
  • 1915 - LHP Ken Heintzelman was born in Peruque, Missouri. He pitched for Pittsburgh from 1937-42, was off during the war years, and then returned for 1946-47. In eight years, the southpaw made 154 appearances with 86 starts and went 37-43 with a 4.14 ERA. His son Tom, went on to play MLB ball with the Cardinals and Giants as an infielder between 1973 and 1978.
Scoops 2007 Upper Deck Sweet Spot
  • 1946 - OF/1B Al “Scoops” Oliver was born in Portsmouth, Ohio. He played 10 of his 18 big league years in Pittsburgh with a line of .296/135/717 and three All-Star berths. Scoops was a key member of the early seventy clubs that won a World Series and five pennants in six seasons. He hit the last home run at Forbes Field off Cubbie Milt Pappas and also drove in the first run ever scored at Three Rivers Stadium, doubling in Richie Hebner against the Reds’ Gary Nolan. Al was dubbed “Scoops” as a minor league player at Gastonia because of his glove work at first. And his leather was excellent; how many first basemen can you think of who played 840 MLB games in center field?
  • 1952 - 22 year old Pirate OF Gus Bell was traded to the Giants for outfielders Gail Henley and Cal Abrams, along with C Joe Rossi. Bell spent the next 13 years in the show, nine with the Reds and four as an All-Star, and belted double figure homers for the next eight seasons with a high of 30 in 1953.
  • 1968 - The Pirates lost OF Manny Mota, 1B Donn Clendenon and 3B Maury Wills to the Montreal Expos along with pitchers Dave Roberts, Al McBean and Ron Slocum to the San Diego Padres during the expansion draft.
Midre Cummins 1995 Score Select
  • 1971 - OF Midre Cummings was born in Christiansted, St. Croix, in the US Virgin Islands. A first round pick of the Twins in the 1990 draft, he came to Pittsburgh as part of the John Smiley deal. Between 1993-97, he barely got over 500 AB for the Bucs, hitting .217. After the Pirates let him go, he played until 2005, having just one season hitting under .275, although in reserve roles.
  • 2015 - Andrew McCutchen was selected as Pittsburgh’s Male Athlete of the Year in a voter's poll for the City Paper’s “Best Of” issue. Charlie Deitch wrote a feature on Cutch, saying “...the reason (for the award) seems like a simple one: He's really good at playing baseball. But it's more than that...this guy really loves the game; he says it with his words and his actions.”

Thursday, October 13, 2016

10/13 Postseason: Maz's Shot; Bucs Beat Tigers, Sens, Orioles, & Braves; Drop 1st WS, Lose Game To O's

  • 1903 - Boston won the first World Series five games to three (it was best-of-nine) with a 3-0 win at the Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds in a battle between Deacon Phillippe and Bill Dinneen. The key blow was Hobe Ferris’ two run single. Dinnen tossed a four hitter, and ended the game with his seventh K, whiffing Honus Wagner. Even in that rubber-armed era, it was too much for Phillippe, who started five of the eight games (and went the distance in all of them) because of an injury to Sam Leever’s shoulder, the mental breakdown of Ed Doheny, a 16-game winner during the season, and the defection of 1902 rotation members Jack Chesbro and Jesse Tannehill to the American League. Pirate owner Barney Dreyfuss added his share of the gate receipts to the players' share, so the losing team's players actually finished with a larger individual share than the winning team's ($1,316.25 to $1,182.00). Dreyfus also gave Deacon Phillippe a bonus and 10 shares of stock in the Pirates for his yeoman efforts.
Barney was generous to his boys (photo via National Baseball Hall of Fame)
  • 1909 - The Pirates broke out the bats at Forbes Field in front of 21,706 fans to take a 3-2 lead in the World Series with an 8-4 win over the Tigers. Fred Clarke had a homer and three RBI to lead the offense while Babe Adams cruised to his second WS win. The Bucs tortured Detroit on the basepaths, stealing five bases in six tries.
  • 1925 - Pittsburgh evened the World Series at three games each as they downed the Washington Senators 3-2 at Forbes Field. Ray Kremer bested Alex Ferguson, giving up six hits, among them a homer to Goose Goslin and a RBI double to Roger Peckinpaugh. Leadoff man Eddie Moore had two hits, including a homer, two runs scored and an RBI; Pie Traynor and Clyde Barnhart drove in the other tallies. All the scoring was in the first five innings. The Sens’ Joe Harris doubled with an out in the ninth, but Kremer routinely retired Joe Judge and Ossie Bluege to seal the deal.
  • 1960 - Game Seven of the World Series at Forbes Field ended with this call by NBC’s Mel Allen “There's a drive into deep left field, look out now… that ball is going, going gone! And the World Series is over! Mazeroski… hits it over the left field fence…” Bill Mazeroski led off the bottom of the ninth with the most dramatic home run in Series history, a blast off Ralph Terry, breaking a 9-9 tie with the Yankees and bringing Pittsburgh its third World Championship. It’s still the only homer to win a seventh game in the ninth inning. Hal Smith hit a key two out, three run blast in the eighth to give Pittsburgh a short-lived lead. Harvey Haddix, the fourth Pirate hurler, recovered from a blown save to get the win thanks to Maz, who also cost Casey Stengel his job; the Ol’ Perfessor “retired” as NY manager five days after the loss, telling the media "I wasn't retired - they fired me." Other factoids: Bobby Richardson of the Yankees was named MVP of the Series, the only time that someone from the defeated team has been so honored, and it was the only World Series game ever played without a strikeout recorded by either club.
Maz rounds third... (photo Associated Press)
  • 1971 - Roberto Clemente had three hits while Milt May drove in the winning run with a pinch-hit single in the eighth as the Pirates rallied to defeat the Baltimore Orioles 4-3 in Game Four of the Fall Classic. Luke Walker gave up three runs in the first frame before heading to the showers with two outs, but Bruce Kison came to the rescue, tossing 6-⅓ one hit innings, then Dave Giusti saved it by pitching perfect ball over the last two frames. It was the first night World Series game in baseball history and evened the Series at two games at TRS before a house of 51,378.
  • 1979 - The Bucs took a 6-3 lead into the eighth against the Orioles in the fourth game of the World Series, but they and 50,883 fans were stunned by a six run eighth by the O’s and a 9-6 loss snatched from the jaws of victory at TRS. Kent Tekulve, inheriting a mess from Don Robinson, gave up a pair of two run doubles to Terry Crowley and John Lowenstein to take the defeat. The Pirates banged out 17 hits, but stranded 10 with two DP, a caught stealing and a throw-out at home. Willie Stargell had three knocks, including a homer and double, but Pittsburgh fell into a three games to one deficit against Baltimore.
  • 1991 - Pittsburgh evened the NLCS at two games with a 10 inning, 3-2 win at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium over the Braves. Mike LaValliere’s two out, pinch hit single off Mark Wohlers scored Andy Van Slyke, and Stan Belinda tossed two scoreless frames for the win. Steve Buechele's three hits gave him five straight over two games to tie an NLCS record.
Steve was on a roll - 1991 Topps
  • 1992 - The Pirates pounded the Braves 13-4 at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium to even the NLCS series at three games each. Tim Wakefield won his second game while Jay Bell, Barry Bonds and Lloyd McClendon homered. The Bucs ran away with the game after an eight run second inning, featuring a pair of hits by Bonds And McClendon during the frame.

10/13: Saul Starts Gang; HBD Rube & Bob; Bucs Pick Up Waner, Rhyne & Rizzo; Larry Shepherd Hired; Smogged Out

  • 1876 - LHP George “Rube” Waddell was born in Bradford, Pennsylvania. He pitched just two season for the Pirates (1900-01), but his legend deserves mention. He wore out his welcome with Pittsburgh, getting into two games in 1901 after leading the NL in ERA (2.37) the year before with the Bucs. His eccentricities: He was a fire fanatic in a good way; Rube always wore a red t-shirt so he could join up with any fire-fighting brigade that he found in action. Though he never showed up drunk at a game, he was a heavy drinker - The Sporting News called him a “sousepaw” - and was distracted by crowds, who would mesmerize him by flashing shiny objects at him. In exhibition games, he had his teammates sit around him on the mound. Waddell wrestled alligators in the off season. Current baseball historians believe he was autistic or had ADD before the conditions were commonly diagnosed. But Rube could throw a baseball. He won 193 games and struck out 2,316 batters in his career (349 batters in 1904 alone). Rube K’ed three batters on nine pitches in 1902. He was one of the great drawing cards of early baseball, and is in the Hall of Fame. The story of his life was in the stars: Rube was born on Friday the 13th and died on April Fools Day (4/1/1914).
Rube Waddell 2011 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions
  • 1899 - Smoky City, indeed. Per Charlton’s Baseball Chronology, the Louisville Colonels scored four runs in the ninth to take a 6-5 lead over the Pirates at Exposition Park‚ as thick‚ black smoke from the steel mills settled over the field. The game was called before the Bucs could bat because of poor visibility (darkness, technically), and the score reverted to the last full frame, the eighth inning, giving Pittsburgh a 5-2 victory.
  • 1925 - The Pirates purchased SS Hal Rhyne and OF Paul Waner from San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League, then an unaffiliated independent organization. Rhyne played a couple of years for the Bucs and had a seven year MLB career while Big Poison went on to the Hall of Fame after spending 15 of his 20 big league seasons with Pittsburgh.
  • 1937 - The Bucs got OF Johnny Rizzo from the Cards for 1B Bernard Cobb, C Tom Padden, OF Bud Hafey and cash. The rookie Rizzo hit 23 homers in 1938, a team record that lasted for nearly a decade, but was traded early in 1940 for Vince DiMaggio.
Johnny Rizzo 1938-39 (photo The Sporting News/Getty Images)
  • 1942 - 3B Bob Bailey was born in Long Beach. He began his 17 year pro career in Pittsburgh (1962-66) where he hit .257 with occasional power. Bailey had his best years with Montreal in the early seventies, with three 20+ HR seasons and three more with 80+ RBI.
  • 1967 - Larry Shepard was named manager, replacing Danny Murtaugh, who in turn had replaced Harry Walker earlier in the year. He lasted two seasons, then became the pitching coach of Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine under Sparky Anderson from 1970 through 1978. He finished his coaching career with the San Francisco Giants in 1979.
  • 1985 - Saul Finkelstein sat at the base of the flagpole by the Forbes Field wall outside Schenley Plaza and listened to a taped NBC radio broadcast of Chuck Thompson and Jack Quinlan calling the seventh game of the 1960 World Series on his boombox. Since that day, it has since evolved into an annual ceremony open to all under the auspices of the Game Seven Gang, often drawing members of the championship team.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

10/12 Post-Season: Bucs Beat O's & Senators But Take Their Lumps, Too

  • 1909 - The Tigers, behind George Mullin’s five hit whitewash, evened up the World Series at two games with a 5-0 win at Bennett Park. Deacon Phillippe tossed four shutout innings for Pittsburgh after relieving starter Lefty Leifield. The Buc fielders didn’t help out as they committed six errors during the contest.
  • 1925 - Five different Pirates banged out a pair of knocks as Pittsburgh used a 13 hit attack to defeat the Washington Senators 6-3 at Griffith Stadium and stay alive in the World Series, although down two games to three. Vic Aldridge went the distance for the win. Clyde Barnhart had a pair of hits, two RBI and a run scored while Washington’s Joe Harris, who would play for Pittsburgh’s 1927 WS club, homered to lead the Sen’s offense.
Vic Aldridge 1925 (Bain News Service/The Sporting News)
  • 1960 - Whitey Ford again owned the Bucs in the World Series, tossing a seven hitter as New York blanked Pittsburgh 12-0 at Forbes Field to stave off elimination and force a seventh game. Bobby Richardson tripled twice and had three RBI as the Bronx Bombers amassed 17 hits. Roberto Clemente and Hal Smith had a pair of hits each for the Pirates, who shot themselves in the foot by bouncing into three double plays.
  • 1971 - The Bucs broke open a duel between Mike Cuellar and Steve Blass by scoring three times in the seventh on the way to a 5-1 World Series win at TRS in front of 50,403 fans. Bob Robertson blasted the deciding three-run homer came after he missed a bunt sign. Steve Blass was sitting next to Danny Murtaugh in the dugout at the time, and told the skipper: "If you fine him (Robertson, for missing the bunt sign), I'll pay." Murtaugh didn't. The three-hit victory left Pittsburgh with a pulse, as they were now down two games to one in the Fall Classic.
  • 1979 - The Pirates brought the World Series back to TRS and 50,848 fans, but were run off the field 8-4 by Baltimore, which lit up John Candelaria with a five run fourth inning. The Birds were led by Kiko Garcia, who drove in four runs with four hits. For the Bucs, Willie Stargell had a pair of hits and scored twice while Phil Garner chipped in with two RBI and Omar Moreno added a pair of doubles. It was too little, too late against Scott McGregor as the Orioles went up two games to one.
Zane Smith was strong, but fell a run shy (photo Rusty Kennedy/AP)
  • 1990 - Danny Jackson‚ Norm Charlton‚ and Randy Myers combined on a one-hitter as Cincinnati beat the Pirates 2-1 to win the NLCS in six games. 1B Carmelo Martinez had the only Bucco hit, a double that scored Barry Bonds (aboard on a walk) as Zane Smith took the loss at Riverfront Stadium. Jim Leyland started a back-end reliever, Ted Power, in order to keep the Reds from using their favored platoon lineup (he followed him with LHP Smith) and it almost worked. The game clincher was an over-the-fence catch by RF Glenn Braggs, robbing Carmelo Martínez of a two-run homer with an out in the ninth, to preserve the win in dramatic fashion. The Reds would go on to sweep Oakland in the World Series.
  • 1991 - The Braves returned to Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium and pasted the Pirates 10-3 to take a 2-1 lead in the NLCS. Pittsburgh had 10 hits, but stranded 11 runners as John Smoltz took the win from John Smiley. Jay Bell and Orlando Merced homered for Pittsburgh, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a four run first and an eighth inning, three run pinch hit homer by Sid Bream.