Saturday, March 18, 2017

3/18: New CBA; HBD Nixey, Marcus, Elbie, Dick, Brian, & Raul

  • 1874 - Pirate skipper Jimmy “Nixey” Callahan was born in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. Callahan was the Buc manager in 1916 and part of 1917, never sniffing the first division and replaced midway through his second year by Honus Wagner after compiling an 85-129 record at the helm. He was a nice ballplayer (tho he never suited up for the Pirates). In 1902, Callahan pitched the first no-hitter in American League history and is the only pitcher to have collected five hits in a game three times; he was exclusively used as an outfielder in the latter stages of his career. Nixey was a childhood nickname of undisclosed origin which Callahan himself didn’t use as an adult although newspapers often referred to him by that moniker.
Nixey Callahan 1916 Holmes Bread
  • 1896 - RHP Marcus Milligan was born in Heflin, Alabama. Milligan never tossed in the majors because of WW1. In 1918, as a 21-year-old rookie, he was given a good chance at breaking camp with the big league club after being signed by Barney Dreyfuss in 1916, then having a strong year at Class A Birmingham the following season. But he had enlisted earlier in the year, was claimed from spring training in March by Uncle Sam and reported to the aviation corps. He died in a training accident in September when his biplane crashed at Barron Field in Fort Worth, Texas.
  • 1916 - 1B Elbie Fletcher was born in Milton, Massachusetts. He played first for Pittsburgh for seven seasons (1939-43, 1946-47) with two years off during WW2. Elbie put together a line of .279/79/616 as a Bucco, and was an All-Star in 1943. Fletcher began his big league career in 1934 with Boston after a contest was held to determine which local high school player was most likely to reach the major leagues, with the winner receiving an invitation to the Braves' spring training camp. With the considerable help of the votes from his large family, Fletcher won, and then actually made the team on his own merit.
  • 1926 - LHP Dick Littlefield was born in Detroit. The workmanlike southpaw toiled from 1954-56 for some pretty sad Pirate teams and put up a 15-23 record with a 4.29 ERA. Littlefield was the poster boy for journeymen as he played for nine teams in his nine-year MLB career.
Dick Littlefield 1954 Bowman
  • 1962 - RHP Brian Fisher was born in Honolulu. A second round draft pick of the Yankees, the Bucs traded for him in 1987. He was a workmanlike starter for two years, but suffered from knee problems in 1989 and was released by Pittsburgh after a Bucco line of 19-22/4.72 ERA. He lasted in the show until 1992 when his knees finally gave out. He was a second-round draft pick by the Atlanta Braves, and had a fastball that touched 97 MPH.
  • 1973 - C Raul Chavez was born in Valencia, Venezuela. Raul was a back-up catcher who played for six teams, including a stop in Pittsburgh in 2008 as a 35-year-old. He started 31 games behind the dish and hit .259, but refused a minor league assignment after the season, spending one more big league campaign with Toronto in 2009 before retiring.
  • 1990 - The suits and the MLBPA agreed on a new CBA that ended a 32-day lockout. The main points included increasing the clubs' ante to the pension fund, raising the minimum salary to $100,000 and the introduction of “Super Two” arbitration status. The lockout pushed Opening Day back a week to April 9th and the season had to be extended by three days to complete the full schedule.

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