Wednesday, March 15, 2017

3/15: Scrap Iron, Hit Man Deals; Bibby & Snell Inked; HBD Bill, Jimmie, Nellie & Steve

  • 1876 - OF Bill Hallman was born in Philadelphia. He played four MLB seasons, two with the Pirates (1906-07). Bill hit .233 and those years ended his big league days, though he had a long minor league career that spanned from 1894-1914 before he hung up the spikes. Be careful not to confuse him with his uncle Bill Hallman, an infielder who was born in Pittsburgh and played for 14 seasons, mostly with Philadelphia clubs.
Jimmie Crutchfield (image via Negro League Legends)
  • 1910 - OF Jimmie Crutchfield was born in Ardmore, Missouri. He played for the Pittsburgh Crawfords from 1931-36 (w/ a very brief stay with the Homestead Grays in 1932 before returning to the Crawfords), earning three All-Star berths. Per BR Bullpen, James Riley, author and director of the Negro League Museum, wrote that Crutchfield was often compared to Lloyd Waner in skill set for being a small ball expert with speed and defensive skills but not much power. Additionally, they both played center field in Pittsburgh in the same era. He retired in 1945, losing a couple of years to the service during WW2, and closed out his days working for the Post Office.
  • 1928 - Nellie King was born in Shenandoah, near Pottsville. As a righty, he had a four-year (1954-57) MLB career, all spent in Pittsburgh, going 7-5-6/3.58. He later was Bob Prince’s announcing sidekick from 1967-75 on KDKA and moved on to work at Duquesne University as their long-time Sports Information Director. Nellie returned to the Pirates' broadcast booth as a guest commentator for the final game at TRS on October 1st, 2000.
  • 1977 - IF Phil Garner, P Chris Batton and IF Tommy Helms were traded to the Bucs by Oakland for OF Tony Armas, P Doug Bair, P Dave Giusti, P Rick Langford, P Doc Medich and 1B Mitchell Page. "Scrap Iron" (a moniker earned through his scrappy, hard-nosed approach to the game) was a mainstay of the 1979 World Series infield. But he came at a high price - Armas, Bair, Langford and Medich had long, solid post-Pirate careers, with just Giusti at the end of his string.
Steven Jackson 2010 (photo Jared Wickerham/Getty)
  • 1982 - RHP Steven Jackson was born in Sumter, South Carolina. The Yankee product tossed two MLB seasons, both for the Bucs, in 2009-10 with a 2-4, 4.31 slash. In 2011, he tossed in the minors for the Dodgers, Reds and Bucs in his last professional season.
  • 1978 - The Pirates signed free agent RHP Jim Bibby. In five years with the Bucs, the big righty went 50-32 with a 3.53 ERA. Originally inked to be a closer, he instead became a key member of the 1979 World Series rotation and was an All-Star in 1980. He missed all of 1982 with a shoulder injury that in effect ended his career. He put up a 6.69 ERA in 1983 and was let go; he pitched eight more times afterward before hanging up the spikes.
  • 1979 - The Pirates sent minor leaguers George Hill and Martin Rivas along with cash to the Red Sox to get back OF Mike Easler, who had been sold to Boston during the off season. Good thing the FO had a change of heart. Easler ended up a .302 hitter with the Bucs between 1979-83 and was a key bench/platoon player for the 1979 World Series club, also earning an All-Star bid in the shortened 1981 season. The “Hit Man” (so named because of his sweet gap-to-gap swing and .293 lifetime BA) went back to Boston after the ‘83 season for P John Tudor.
Ian Snell 2008 Upper Deck Spectrum
  • 2008 - Five days after unilaterally renewing his contract, the Pirates signed RHP Ian Snell to a three-year deal worth $8M with options for 2011-12. The 26-year old, who was arbitration eligible after 2009 season, had a 24-26 record after two years in the show. He was dismal in 2008 and was sent to Class AAA at his request. Snell was traded to Seattle in 2009 at the deadline for a boatload of prospects, the best being Ronny Cedeno.

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