Sunday, March 5, 2017

3-5: Cutch Signs, Foxy To HoF, HBD Erik, Teke, Larry, Al, Handsome Harry & Earl

  • 1911 - 1B/OF Earl Browne was born in Louisville. A noted minor league slugger, Brown began his MLB career in Pittsburgh, getting into 17 games from 1935-36 and hitting .273 before closing out with two more seasons as a Phillie. Browne did enjoy a 22-year career in minor league baseball as a southpaw pitcher, outfielder and first baseman with a .304 lifetime BA.
  • 1915 - RHP Handsome Harry Shuman (guess he was a looker) was born in Philadelphia. Shuman got his big break in 1936 when the pre-law student was a pitcher for Temple U and a friend asked him to toss batting practice to the Philadelphia Athletics. A's skipper Connie Mack was impressed by his arm and signed him to a minor league contract. He cracked the majors when got into a dozen games from 1942-43 for the Pirates, going 0-0, 4.88. He spent 1944 with Philadelphia and then was traded to the LA Angels, then of the PCL. Handsome Harry had a family in Philly and didn’t want to travel that far, so he retired rather than report to the left coast.
Al Monchak 1980 Pittsburgh Press
  • 1917 - Coach Al Monchak was born in Bayonne, NJ. After his playing days (he had a cup of coffee with the Phils), he was a scout, instructor and minor league manager. Then he hooked up with Chuck Tanner and coached for the White Sox, Athletics, Braves and Pirates (1977-84) as Chuck’s first base coach and infield tutor. He was named the 2009 winner of the Roland Hemond Award by Baseball America in December 2009. The award recognizes baseball figures who have made long-term contributions to scouting and player development operations.
  • 1938 - OF Larry Elliot was born in San Diego. Elliot was signed by the Pirates as a 20-year-old out of San Diego City College and spent four years in the Bucs' farm system before getting cups of coffee with Pittsburgh in 1962-63. He went 3-for-14 with a homer (he was a minor league masher) and then spent a pair of seasons with the Mets. He played in the minors afterward, retiring after the 1969 season.
  • 1947 - RHP Kent Tekulve was born in Cincinnati. The rubber armed reliever pitched 12 years for the Pirates (1974-85) with a record of 70-61-158/2.68, and appeared in 90 games twice, making 722 Pittsburgh outings for 1,017-1/3 IP. He saved three of the four wins against the Orioles in the 1979 World Series, and Teke & Mike Marshall are the only pitchers to make 90 appearances three times during their career. Tekulve is now a Root Sports analyst, special spring instructor and heart transplant recipient.
Erik Bedard 2012 Topps Update
  • 1979 - LHP Erik Bedard was born in Naval, Ontario. In 2012, the often-injured lefty signed as a free agent with the Pirates for $4.5M. Bedard stayed healthy and posted a 3.12 ERA in 10 starts over the first two months. But beginning in June, the wheels fell off and Bedard slashed 7-14/5.01 before the Pirates released him on August 28th. Houston and Tampa tried to right his ship, but he tossed no better with those clubs and retired after the 2014 season.
  • 1996 - “Foxy” Ned Hanlon was selected to the Hall of Fame. He played and managed for the Alleghenys, Burghers and Pirates (1889-91) but his glory years were as skipper of the Baltimore Orioles and Brooklyn Superbas. Noted as a keen tactician, he came up with innovations still in play today such as the hit-and-run, double steal and “Baltimore chop,” leading to his moniker. Also selected was RHP Jim Bunning, who worked for the Pirates from 1968-69 toward the back end of his career and was one of five players to throw a no-hitter in both leagues along with Negro League star LHP Willie Foster, who had stops with the Homestead Grays (1931) and Pittsburgh Crawfords (1936). They were inducted on August 4th.
  • 2012 - Andrew McCutchen signed a team-friendly six-year/$51.5M contract extension with the Pirates that included a $14.75M option for 2018, carrying him through his age 31 season.

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