Friday, January 27, 2017

1/27: Maz Statue, Jose & Joe Ink Deals, HBD Otis & Mike

  • 1876 - OF Otis Clymer was born in Pine Grove (Schuylkill County) Pennsylvania. Clymer started his career in Pittsburgh, playing from 1905-07, when the often injured OF was traded to Washington after hitting .285 during his Pirate days. He was a feisty guy, once getting into a fight with Reds 1B Cliff Blankenship during a 2-1 win at Expo Park in 1905. It started when Clymer spiked Blankenship as a payback for an event a few days prior when the Reds infielder ran into Honus Wagner. Blankenship won the fight but not the war as he was pelted with bottles (even a knife was tossed from the stands) by heated Bucco fans after the pair were ejected, per The Baseball Library. A more memorable moment career highlight came in 1908 when Otis hit for the cycle while a Cub.
Mike Zagurski 2013 (photo Justin Aller/Getty)
  • 1983 - Jumbo reliever LHP Mike Zagurski was born in Omaha. The Bucs signed the 6’, 240 lb southpaw to a minor league deal for 2013, and it looked like they found a gem as he dominated in camp and struck out 37 batters in 21 IP at Indy. He earned a call to the show, but in six innings surrendered 10 runs on 10 hits with eight walks, becoming a poster boy for AAAA pitchers. Zags was released to make room for Brandon Cumpton, and the Yankees picked him up. Mike was hit hard there, too, and has spent the last two seasons pitching in Japan.
  • 2006 - The Pirates signed IF Jose Hernandez, who had played for the Bucs in 2003, to a $150 K minor league deal (which would jump to $850 K in the majors) with a camp invite. Hernandez did make the team and hit .267 before the 36-year-old was sold to Philadelphia in late August. He came back to Pittsburgh for 2007 as a free agent, but father time caught up to him. He spent the season at Indy and then ended his career with a two-year Mexican League stint.
  • 2010 - Dejan Kovacevic of the Post Gazette leaked the news that the Bucs were going to build a Maz statue, confirmed by the team two days later during the Fan Fest. Maz joined Honus Wagner, Willie Stargell, and former teammate Roberto Clemente as Bucco greats honored with a statue outside of PNC Park. The 12-foot bronze, designed by local sculptor Susan Wagner, showed the Hall of Fame infielder rounding second base after his legendary homer and was dedicated in September during the 50th anniversary celebration of the Pirates 1960 World Championship season.
Joe Beimel 2001 Leaf Rookie
  • 2011 - St. Marys (it’s in Elk county) native Joe Beimel signed a minor league deal with the Bucs, reuniting him with both the Pirates (he began his career in Pittsburgh from 2001-03) and his former manager (he worked for the Rox in 2009) Clint Hurdle. The lefty reliever started the year on the DL with forearm stiffness, pitched six weeks to a 5.33 ERA, went back on the DL and was DFA’ed in August. He had TJ surgery in 2012 and returned as a Mariner in 2014-15. He’s been looking for work since then.

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