Sunday, January 29, 2017

1/29 Through the 40s: Hans in HoF, Swift & Dickson Deals, Rookie Parade '39, HBD Denny

  • 1848 - Harmar Denny McKnight, son of local politico Robert McKnight, was born on Western Avenue in Allegheny City. He founded the Allegheny Baseball Club of Pittsburgh on October 15th, 1881, making him the father of the Pirates. McKnight managed the club during the 1884 season and was also the first president of the American Association. The Alleghenys bolted to the NL in 1887 following a flap over signing Sam Barkley, after which McKnight sold the club to William Nimick.
Bill Swift 1934 Goudey
  • 1932 - P Billy Swift was traded by Kansas City Blues of the American Association to the Pirates for P Bob Osborn and C Eddie Phillips. It was a good deal: Osborne never pitched in the majors again and Phillips played for three more seasons while Swift worked eight years for the Bucs and notched 91 wins. Swift was a pitch-to-contact guy; he walked few (1.9/9 innings), struck out almost no one (3.4/9 innings) and still put up a 3.57 ERA in Pittsburgh.
  • 1936 - Honus Wagner, along with Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Christy Mathewson, and Walter Johnson, was selected by the BBWAA to become the first Hall of Fame class. They had to wait until July 12th, 1939, for the enshrinement, though, until the museum in Cooperstown was opened and the first four HoF classes were inducted en masse.
  • 1939 - Before the Pirates headed for camp, UPI published an article on six rookies to watch. Three ended up pretty good ballplayers - Bob Elliott was a six-time All Star, Frankie Gustine played in the Midsummer Classic three times and Ken Heintzelman pitched for 13 years in the show. Alas, the other three players - Fern Bell, Mel Preibisch and Jack Juelich - managed parts of just five major league seasons among them, none lasting past 1940.
Murry Dickson 1950 Bowman
  • 1949 - The Pirates purchased RHP Murry “Dick” Dickson from the Cardinals for $125,000. During his five-year stay in Pittsburgh, he went 66-85 with a 3.83 ERA and had a 20-win season in 1951; the Pirates won only 64 games that year. Dickson was a soft thrower with a variety of pitches and a rubber arm. Beginning in 1947, when he turned 31, he worked more than 200 innings in each of the next ten seasons.

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