Thursday, January 5, 2017

1-5: Bert HoF; Live Ball Era Begins; HBD Bob, JR, Danny & Mark

  • 1928 - C Bob Oldis was born in Preston, Iowa. Oldis was a third string catcher for the Bucs between 1960-61, getting into 26 games and batting .160 as a Pirate. Tho seldom used, Oldis appeared in Games 4 and 5 of the 1960 World Series as a late-inning defensive replacement. After his six year MLB career ended, he was a coach/scout for the Phillies, Twins, and Expos. He’s been with the Marlins since 2002.
Bob Oldis 1961 Topps
  • 1934 - The leagues still can’t agree on the DH, didn’t play inter-league games until 1997 and didn’t pool umpires until 2000, but they did agree on a common baseball for the first time on this day. The NL adopted the AL horsehide, which had a thinner cover and less prominent seams. The switch was supposed to both juice up the NL attack and make inter-league performance comparisons more equivalent (the NL was considered more of a pitcher's league because of the less lively ball and the higher, pitcher-friendly seams). Pirates manager George Gibson told Volney Walsh of the Pittsburgh Press that “If the lively ball helps anyone it should help us some for we had the hardest hitting team in the league last year.” It didn't quite work out that way. The Bucs led the NL with a .383 slugging % in '33, and tho they came in second in '34, their average fell to .344 as they pounded a paltry 52 homers. Business of baseball trivia: The AJ Reach Company, the AL's vendor, was contracted to manufacture the balls, but it was bought out by Spalding, its chief rival in the business, which then produced the MLB balls until 1977 when Rawlings became the supplier.
  • 1961 - Manager John Russell was born in Oklahoma City. While with the Rangers, he caught Nolan Ryan's 6th career no-hitter in 1990. He ended his 10 year career with a .225 batting average, 34 home runs and 129 RBI in 448 games. After hanging up the spikes, he made several coaching stops and managed the Bucs from 2008-10 during some dark seasons, with a record of 186-299. It wasn’t his first gig in Pittsburgh; JR had been Lloyd McClendon’s third base coach from 2003-05. He’s currently the Baltimore Oriole’s bench coach.
Danny Jackson 1993 Select
  • 1962 - LHP Danny Jackson was born in San Diego. The Pirates got him in mid-July for the stretch run of the 1992 division race, and the lefty went 4-4/3.36 ERA as the club won the NL East but lost the NL playoff to Atlanta in seven games. After the season, he was lost in the expansion draft. Jackson had a 15-year career with seven teams, appearing in three World Series and two All-Star games.
  • 1974 - LHP Mark Redman was born in San Diego. He was part of the return from the Jason Kendall trade with Oakland, but in his one year (2005) with the Pirates, he went 5-15/4.90, the worst counting numbers season of his career. That prompted an off season deal with the Royals. He rallied there, earning a spot on the 2006 All-Star team, but that his his last hurrah. He made 17 more starts over two campaigns and retired after the 2008 season, after playing for 10 years and eight teams in MLB.
Bert Blyleven (photo Baseball Hall of Fame)
  • 2011 - After a 14 year wait, curveball king RHP Bert Blyleven was elected to the Hall of Fame. He won 34 games for Pittsburgh between 1978-80, his stay cut short because the Dutchman publicly disagreed with Chuck Tanner, who went to his bullpen earlier and more often than the righty preferred. Blyleven, who was inducted into the Hall on July 24th, posted 287 victories and 3,701 strikeouts during a 22 year MLB career.

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