Thursday, February 9, 2017

2/9 Birthdays: HBD Harry, Lee Roy, Dutch, Buddy & Aki

  • 1869 - Harry Pulliam, early Pirate exec, was born in Scottsburg, Kentucky. Originally a newspaper writer covering the Cubs for the Louisville Commercial, he was considered one of the leading authorities on the game. Pulliam, then the newspaper editor, met the owner of the Louisville Colonels, Barney Dreyfuss, who hired him away from the Courier, appointing him to the position of club secretary, then quickly moving him to club president; Pulliam negotiated an ownership position in the team. He followed Dreyfuss when he purchased the Pittsburgh Pirates as the team president, and convinced Hans Wagner to join the club, later talking him and his teammates from bolting to the AL during the 1900 raids. Pulliam was unanimously elected president of the National League in 1902. He acted as president, secretary and treasurer of the league from 1902 until 1907, when the stress, workload, and occasional head bumping with owners who thought he favored Pittsburgh in his decisions caught up to him; he committed suicide. Harry was buried in Louisville on August 2nd, and for the first time in history, both NL and AL games were postponed in tribute.
Harry Pulliam (image Cigar Box Art)
  • 1904 - RHP Lee Roy Mahaffey was born in Belton, South Carolina. He got his start as a Pirate, getting into six games (1-0, 5.14) in 1926-27 before being dealt as part of the Larry French deal. After some seasoning, he came back with the Athletics in 1930 and put in seven more MLB seasons. Per SABR, Roy had a passel of nicknames - “Workhorse” because he was willing to take the ball at any time, “Speed” due to his heater and hard curve and most commonly, “Popeye,” speculatively because he was a strapping lad who was a bricklayer in the offseason.
  • 1912 - RHP Lloyd “Dutch” Dietz was born in Cincinnati. Dutch tossed from 1940-43 for the Bucs. He went 13-15-4, 3.51, and worked pretty regularly in 1941-42, highlighted by 1941’s 7-2/2.33 slash. He was traded to the Phils in ‘43, then to the Dodgers. Dietz entered military service with the Army Medical Corps in 1944, and was stationed in Texas where he pitched for the Fort Sam Houston Rangers. After his return to civilian life in 1946, he played four more minor league seasons before hanging up the spikes in 1949. Dutch was a common nickname for German players as a sort of an anglicization of “Deutsch” or German.
  • 1951 - RHP Eddie “Buddy” Solomon Jr. was born in Perry, Georgia. The ten-year vet worked the end of his career (1980-82) in Pittsburgh, splitting time between the pen and the rotation. He went 17-15-1 with a 3.58 ERA for the Pirates before being dealt to the White Sox in 1982, where he concluded his MLB run. He died two years later at age 34 in a car wreck. His nickname was bestowed on him by his family who called him Buddy Jay.
Buddy Solomon 1981 Donruss
  • 1979 - 2B Akinori Iwamura was born in Uwajima, Japan. He didn’t leave much of a legacy, hitting .182 in 52 games during part of 2010 before being released. But Aki did trigger one move that helped the Pirates for years: his sub-par performance opened the door for catcher turned third baseman turned second baseman Neil Walker to earn a starting job. Beginning with that season, Walker held down the position for six years, hitting .272 and earning a 2014 Silver Slugger award before being dealt to the Mets in the 2015 off season.

No comments: