Monday, February 13, 2017

2/13: Cool Papa HoF Day; Bill Vetos Trade; Inge In; HBD Crazy, Oadis & Pete

  • 1866 - LHP Frederick “Crazy” Schmit (often misspelled Schmidt) was born in Chicago. The lefty was unleashed on baseball first by the Pittsburgh Alleghenys in 1890, when Crazy went 1-9, 5.83 in his rookie campaign. He tossed for five MLB seasons with a 7-36/5.45 line and 185 career walks to 93 K. One of Crazy’s idiosyncrasies was to warm up with a sopping ball so that when he got to the mound, a game ball would feel like a feather. He was also credited with being the first to keep an actual book on hitters out of necessity; it was said his memory was too poor to keep the info stored in his head. One oft-told story has Crazy pitching against Cap Anson by the book. Schmit pulled his notes from his back pocket, looked up Anson, followed his finger and muttered “walk,” then tossed him four wide ones. His nickname was due to his eccentricities like his book - and likely Schmit’s overblown sense of his abilities as a pitcher. He also answered to “Germany.”
Crazy like a fox (Al Demaree image via Baseball History Daily)
  • 1901 - RHP Oadis Swigart was born in Archie, Mississippi. Oad spent his brief MLB career as a Pirate, going 1-3, 4.44, from 1939-40. His ball playing days were short-circuited by Uncle Sam. The 26-year-old was with the Pirates for spring training in 1941 but was called into the Army on May 1st as the first major league player to be drafted, and he wasn’t released from active duty until 1946.
  • 1921 - IF Pete Castiglione was born in Greenwich, Connecticut. He played seven years (1947-53) for the Bucs, mainly as a reserve, and hit .258 for Pittsburgh. Pete actually signed with the Pirates in 1940, but he joined the Navy in 1943 while in the minors and served two years in the Pacific. He participated in campaigns at the Solomon Islands, New Guinea, Palau Islands, Philippine Islands and Okinawa, and was stationed at Wakayama, Japan at the end of the war, so his best work may not have been at Forbes Field, but in the Pacific theater.
  • 1974 - OF James "Cool Papa" Bell was named to the Hall of Fame by the Special Committee on the Negro Leagues. He played for both the Homestead Grays and Pittsburgh Crawfords and was inducted on August 12th. Cool Papa joined the Homestead Grays in 1943, and they won league championships in Bell's first two seasons. They were foiled going for the trifecta, losing in the 1945 World Series to the Cleveland Buckeyes. Per, he got his moniker when he began as a pitcher for the St. Louis Stars in the Negro National League. He was dubbed “Cool” by his teammates after he struck out the legendary Oscar Charleston; Bell's manager added the “Papa.”
Cool Papa Bell 2004 Topps Tribute
  • 1980 - As a five-and-ten veteran, OF’er Bill Robinson vetoed his proposed trade to the Houston Astros for pitcher Joaquin Andujar when Houston wouldn’t offer him a new contract. It’s hard to project how the trade would have worked out. Robinson had a strong 1980 campaign and then faded while Andujar wouldn’t hit his prime until 1982, winning 61 games and two All-Star berths between then and 1985 as a St. Louis Cardinal.
  • 2013 - The Bucs signed 36-year-old IF Brandon Inge to a one-year,/$1.25M FA contract. 50 games and a .181 BA later, he was released on August 1st, ending his 13 year MLB career.

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