Monday, January 2, 2017

1-2: Mike Williams, Sure Shot Signed; HBD Jack, Jesse, Bill, Mad Dog & Supe

  • 1858 - RHP Jack Neagle was born in Syracuse, New York. Jack tossed for the Alleghenys between 1883-84, going 14-38, 4.28 (the Alleghenys were pretty poor during those seasons; they only won 61 games as a team). He also played a few games in the outfield but that was no better than his mound work as he hit just .165. His Pittsburgh tenure marked the last two years of his career.
Sure Shot - 2014 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions
  • 1888 - 2B Fred “Sure Shot” Dunlap signed with the Alleghenys following the sale of his contract by the Detroit Wolverines. He agreed to a $5‚000 salary and a $2‚000 bonus‚ making him the highest-paid player of the time. Sure Shot got his nickname because of his strong and accurate arm. The rangy defensive whiz played three years for the team, hitting just .240 (his lifetime BA was .292). Alfred Spink in “The National Game” wrote that Dunlap was ambidextrous and was able to catch and throw a baseball with the same skill and accuracy with either hand. Moreover, Dunlap reportedly never wore a glove.
  • 1893 - OF Jesse Altenburg was born in Ashley, Michigan. His MLB career was comprised of the 19 games he played as a Pirate from 1916-17, with a .290 BA as Jesse had a strong September in his rookie campaign, but faltered in the second go-round. He did have a long run in baseball, spending 10 years in the minors and hitting .300+ in at least five of those seasons.
  • 1894 - C Bill Wagner was born in Jessup, Iowa. The light-hitting reserve (he also played 1B) was a Bucco from 1914-17, putting up a .205 BA in Pittsburgh. He was then sold to the Boston Braves, and 1918 was his last MLB season.
Mad Dog - 1984 Donruss Diamond Kings
  • 1951 - 3B Bill “Mad Dog” Madlock was born in Memphis. The third baseman played seven seasons for the Bucs (1979-85) with a line of .297/.357/.428 while leading the league in hitting in 1981 (.341) and 1983 (.323). He was a key part of the 1979 Championship team, batting .333 in the playoffs and World Series after coming from San Francisco in a June trade for Ed Whitson. The nickname? Madlock had a fiery temper and was ejected from 18 games during his career.
  • 1975 - RHP Jeff Suppan was born in Oklahoma City. “Supe” spent 17 years in the majors and made 417 starts; 21 of those were for the Pirates in 2003, when he went 10-7, 3.57 after signing as a free agent. That performance got him flipped to the Red Sox at the deadline, netting the Pirates a great return in IF Freddy Sanchez and LHP Mike Gonzalez.
  • 2002 - The Pirates signed a two-year deal with RHP Mike Williams worth $5.5M. After two years and 74 saves, Williams put up another 25 saves in 2003, but with a 6.27 ERA. He was traded to the Phillies, and 2004 was his last MLB season. His saving grace in Pittsburgh was his swing-and-miss stuff - Williams whiffed 250 batters in 222-⅔ IP as a Buc.

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