Thursday, March 16, 2017

3/16: Honus Retires (Briefly); RIP Pie; HBD Patsy, Little Poison & Abraham

  • 1865 - OF Patrick “Patsy” Donovan was born in Queenstown, Ireland. He played for the Pirates from 1892-99, hitting .307, and spent 17 years in the big leagues with a lifetime .301 BA. He put up six consecutive .300+ seasons and served as player-manager from 1897-99. Patsy managed in the show for 11 seasons, became a minor league skipper and eventually a high school coach at Phillips Academy in Andover, where he coached the future 41st President, George H.W. Bush.
Patsy Donovan 1898 Pepsin Gum
  • 1906 - OF Lloyd “Little Poison” Waner was born in Harrah, Oklahoma. The Hall-of-Fame OF had a .319 BA over 17 seasons with Pittsburgh. He batted .316 with 2,459 hits, striking out just 173 times in an 18-season major league career. Lloyd and his sib Paul set the record for career hits by brothers in MLB with 5,611 knocks. Lloyd worked as a scout for the Pirates and the Baltimore Orioles after retiring as a player and was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1967.
  • 1908 - Honus Wagner announced his retirement at the age of 34, citing arthritis and the need to rest his body. The Pittsburg Press wrote that “Some hope is still expressed that the mighty Teuton will see...the error of his way and return to the game.” He did after sitting out spring training. Hans played in 151 games in 1908, matching his 1898 high when he was just 24, and led the NL in batting average (for the sixth time at .354), hits (201), total bases (308), doubles (39), triples (19), RBIs (109), stolen bases (53), slugging % (.542), OBP (.415) and OPS (.957). The Flying Dutchman finished the year two homers short of winning the Triple Crown. Honus retired several times during various spring camps, but didn’t actually hang up his spikes until after the 1917 campaign.
  • 1972 - Pie Traynor, enshrined in Cooperstown, died at age 72. The 3B played 17 years for the Pirates with a .320 BA and had a second career as the "Who Can? Ameri-can" spokesman. He managed the Bucs after he hung ‘em up and later served as a Pirate scout. Traynor took a job as a radio sports director in 1944. His show (he was on KQV, hosting the The Pie Traynor Club) was popular with fans and he remained at the job for 21 years. In 1948, Traynor was selected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, being the first third baseman to be chosen by the Baseball Writers Association of America. In 1969, as part of the centennial of professional baseball, Traynor was named the third baseman for Major League Baseball's all-time team.
Pie Traynor 1926 Cover Boy for Baseball Magazine
  • 1976 - IF Abraham Nunez was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The utility man - he played SS, 2B and 3B - spent eight seasons (1997 - 2004) with Pittsburgh and hit .238. His big league career ended in 2008 and after a 2010 fling in the indy leagues, Nunez retired.

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