Monday, January 23, 2017

1/23: Rabbit Deal; Ralph HoF Call; HBD Ed, Kurt, Alphonso, Benny & Victor

  • 1890 - OF Ed Barney was born in Amery, Wisconsin. Barney joined the Pirates in 1915 in mid-season from the Yankees and played just one more year, with a .229 BA as a Bucco. He took a three year baseball hiatus after that, and then closed out his career with five minor-league campaigns.
  • 1921 - SS Rabbit Maranville was traded to the Bucs by the Boston Braves for IF Walter Barbare, OF Fred Nicholson, OF Billy Southworth and $15,000. Billy and Rabbit were the keys to the deal. Hall of Famer Maranville played four seasons in Pittsburgh, hitting .283. Southworth played another eight seasons and entered the Hall of Fame with a career slash of .297/52/561 and a stellar coaching record, winning four league titles and a pair of World Series.
Rabbit Maranville 1924 (Conlon/The Sporting News via the Detroit Public Library)
  • 1947 - IF Kurt Bevacqua was born in Miami Beach. The Bucs called on him twice, in 1974 and then again from 1980-81 despite a .171 lifetime BA in a Pirate uniform. He spent 15 years in MLB (six with SD) and hit two homers in the Padres’ World Series win against the Detroit Tigers in 1984.
  • 1957 - LHP Alfonso Pulido was born in Tierra Blanco, Mexico. His Pirates career is easy to miss; he pitched two innings in 1983 and two more in 1984, giving up seven hits and four earned runs before being traded to NY. He did pitch a bit more credibly with the Yankees in 1986, but that would mark the end of his big league time. Even if El Norte was a step too far for a guy considered a hot prospect, Alfonso did carve out a stellar 14 year career in the Mexican Leagues. The Pirates had originally purchased his contract from the Mexico City Reds in 1983 (he stayed w/the Reds on option until after their playoffs) where Pulido had gone 17-3, with Chuck Tanner commenting that he had “Valenzuela-type stuff.”
  • 1962 - 1B/OF Benny Distefano was born in Brooklyn. He played for the Bucs in 1984, 1986, and 1988-89, hitting .227 in 300 PA. Distefano was the last lefty to catch a major league game, going behind the dish three times for the Pirates in 1989.
Victor Cole 1992 Donruss
  • 1968 - RHP Victor Cole was born in Leningrad, Russia (his student father married a Russian girl). Cole’s MLB/Pirates resume consists of eight games with an 0-2, 5.48 slash in 1992, but that was enough to make him the first Soviet-born major leaguer. He later went on to play in the Korean League and part-time for the Russian national team (he suited up when they played in the US) in 2003 and 2007.
  • 1975 - OF Ralph Kiner was elected to the Hall of Fame and was inducted on August 18th. Kiner played only 10 years in MLB, but led the NL in home runs for seven consecutive seasons. He received 273 votes on the 362 ballots cast by the writers, exactly enough to be selected. There are a pair of often cited quotes that follow Kiner. One, attributed to Kiner himself was "Home run hitters drive Cadillacs and singles hitters drive Fords." The other was a quote by Bucco GM Branch Rickey when he told Kiner that he had traded him to the Cubs: "We finished last with you, we can finish last without you."

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