Tuesday, March 14, 2017

3/14: Bobby Banged Up, Lofton Signs, HBD Bunker & Earl

  • 1869 - RHP Billy “Bunker” Rhines was born in Ridgway, Elk County. He tossed for the Bucs at the end of his career in 1898-99, going 16-20 with a 3.95 ERA after twice leading the NL in ERA as a Cincinnati Red. Bunker did have one league leading stat as a Bucco in 1898 - he tossed 258 frames without allowing a homer. The nickname "Bunker" may be a corruption of Rhines' alma mater, Bucknell, although that is uncertain.
  • 1928 - OF Earl Smith was born in Sunnyside, Washington. Smith had a brief career in the show with the Bucs, going 1-for-16 in April 1955 before being sent back to the minors, never to return. But he is the answer to a trivia question. Smith was the last player to wear #21 on the Pittsburgh Pirates' roster before Roberto Clemente. The Great One was a rookie that year and began the season wearing #13, but he claimed #21 (the number of letters in his full name, Roberto Clemente Walker) when Smith was sent down.
Roberto Clemente 1969 Topps
  • 1969 - After recovering from a right shoulder injury, Roberto Clemente banged his left wing chasing a foul pop during a spring game. He started the year 0-for-12, but roared back with a .345 BA, second to Pete Rose’s .348 in a race that went down to the last day. Roberto was hitting .363 in August, but a cranky back kept him on the bench for much of September and likely cost him the crown.
  • 2003 - OF Kenny Lofton agreed to a one-year/$1.025M deal with the Pirates. He didn’t last quite that long, as he was traded to the Cubs on July 23rd with Aramis Ramirez for not much in Dave Littlefield’s most infamous salary dump.


Cocktailsfor2 said...

Wish we'd've kept Lofton - even at his (somewhat) advanced age, he was an asset to the Bucs' roster, with 9 HR 18 SB, stellar defense…
Running Hyzdu, JJ Davis, Redman, etc. out there - gah.

Ron Ieraci said...

Agreed. Actually, Littlefield signed a couple of guys that panned out - Matt Stairs & Reggie Sanders come to mind - whom he made no effort to keep around. They seemed to be in continual flip mode back in the McClatchy days as opposed to trying to build any kind of core.