Friday, January 20, 2017

1/20: Josh RIP; Adam & DJ Sign; Roberto's First Clip; HBD Brian, Jesse, Carl & Cecil

  • 1936 - C Jesse Gonder was born in Monticello, Arkansas. Jesse caught the final two seasons (1966-67) of his eight-year career in Pittsburgh, batting .209 while backstopping 60 games. He came to Pittsburgh hoping to win the starting spot from Jim Pagliaroni, and though he didn’t, Jesse did see a lot of action in 1966. Relegated as the third man the following year, his performance faltered and the curtain dropped on his stint in MLB.
  • 1944 - UT Carl Taylor was born in Sarasota, Florida. He caught, played first and pinch hit for the Bucs in 1968-69, and was brought back again in September of 1971 for their pennant drive. His best season far and away was 1969, when he slashed .348/.432/.457 in 221 AB.
Carl Taylor 1971 (photo via All Star Cards)
  • 1947 - Homestead Gray and Pittsburgh Crawfords C Josh Gibson, the “black Babe Ruth,” died of a stroke at the age of 35. The future Hall of Fame catcher was put to rest in an unmarked grave in Allegheny Cemetery. In 1975, Negro League teammate Ted Page and Commissioner Bowie Kuhn paid for a granite marker that read: "Josh Gibson, 1911-1947, Legendary Baseball Player."
  • 1954 - The Sporting News first mentioned Roberto Clemente in a notes column that read “Three major league organizations - the Giants, Braves and Dodgers - are attempting to sign Roberto Clemente, Santurce (Clemente’s Puerto Rican club) outfielder.” The Dodgers may have won that early tussle, but lost The Great One go in November's Rule 5 draft to Pittsburgh.
  • 1963 - OF Cecil Espy was born in San Diego. He hit .254 in his two Bucco campaigns of 1991-92, part of Jim Leyland’s title clubs' bench corps. Cecil was a highly touted guy who never quite panned out; the speedster was the eighth overall selection in the 1980 draft. The Pirates had originally landed Espy in 1985 as part of the Bill Madlock deal with LA. He spent the next season in AAA Hawaii, then the Rangers took him in the Rule 5 draft before Cecil reunited with the Pirates as a free agent in early 1991.
Cecil Espy 1992 Score
  • 1971 - RF Brian Giles was born in El Cajon, California. In five years with Pittsburgh, he put up a line of .308/.426/.591 with 165 HR/506 RBI and three All-Star berths. He retired in 2010 after a couple of rough seasons with San Diego while trying to play through an arthritic knee.
  • 2009 - 1B Adam LaRoche signed a one-year/$7.05M contract to avoid arbitration. Adam hit .247 with 12 homers, 40 RBIs and 81 strikeouts in 87 games, slumping badly after a hot start, and was shipped to the Red Sox on July 22nd for SS Argenis Diaz and RHP Hunter Strickland.
  • 2010 - RHP DJ Carrasco was signed to a one-year/$950K contract. The reliever stuck around (2-2, 3.88) until the deadline, and was packaged as part of a deal with Arizona. His last MLB gig was in 2012 with the NY Mets. Carrasco was a part of the Pirate organization back in 2002, before KC took him in that year’s Rule 5 draft from Pittsburgh’s High A Carolina League club, the Lynchburg Hillcats.
DJ Carrasco 2010 (photo Getty Images)

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