Tuesday, January 24, 2017

1/24: Mack-O-Wack Signs; HBD Dave, Stu, Ugly & Tim

  • 1879 - IF Dave Brain was born in Hereford, England. Brain was a jack-of-all-trades player who spent a bit of his seven big league years (three months of 1905) in Pittsburgh. He hit .257, about his career average, and was a player with a rep for some power & speed (his versatility in the field was probably more a matter of finding a spot to hide him; he booted 22 balls in 82 games as a Pirates IF). He’s noteworthy in two aspects: after the season, he was part of the package that brought Hall-of-Fame P Vic Willis to town, and he was one of the earliest native-born Englishmen to play in the majors for Pittsburgh.
  • 1906 - IF William “Stu” (for Stuart) Clarke was born in San Francisco. He spent his entire career in Pittsburgh, albeit one that lasted just from 1929-30. The backup infielder hit fairly well, putting up a .273 BA over his 61 big league games, but finished out his time in the bushes, where he compiled a lifetime .238 average before retiring after the 1933 season.
Johnny was being hard on himself (photo 1937 - Conlon Collection/Getty Images)
  • 1910 - OF “Ugly Johnny” (he gave himself the moniker as the self-proclaimed “ugliest man in baseball”) Dickshot, whose given name was John Oscar Dicksus, was born in Waukegan, Illinois. He played for the Bucs from 1936-38. Ugly was a feared hitter in the minors, putting up a .318 BA in 14 seasons, but was just a .250 batter with Pittsburgh, although his career MLB average was .276 after six seasons. When he retired after the 1945 campaign, he opened a bar in his hometown. John Ducey, an actor who appeared quite often in TV sitcoms, is his grandson.
  • 1954 - RHP Tim Jones was born in Sacramento. He only tossed three games in his MLB career, all during a September call-up from the Bucs in 1977, but at least he left the league on a high note. After a pair of mop-up details, Chuck Tanner let the 1972 fourth-round pick start on the last day of the season. Jones tossed seven shutout innings against the Cubs, surrendering just four hits, to win his one and only MLB start and finishing his cup of coffee with a 1-0/0.00 slash in 10 IP.
Tim Jones was in good company (1978 Topps)
  • 2005 - OF Rob Mackowiak became the last arb-eligible Buc to settle, signing a one-year/$1.5M deal w/$90K in potential bonuses; he and the FO had a 2/10 deadline to beat before his salary hearing. Veteran OF Ben Grieve also agreed to a minor-league deal with the Pirates but was among the late cuts of camp.

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