Tuesday, March 21, 2017

3/21: Bucs Bought; Duke for Lefty; Vance for Ross; Esteban Inked; HBD Mysterious, Bill, Manny & Pablo

  • 1884 - RHP Frederick Mitchell “Mysterious” Walker (his moniker came from pitching under a fake name for the San Francisco Seals) was born in Utica, Nebraska. He didn’t play much or well in Pittsburgh: in 1914, Walker pitched for the Pittsburgh Rebels of the outlaw Federal League and appeared in 35 games, tossing a career-high 169-1/3 innings with a record of 4–16 and a 4.33 ERA. He made more of a name for himself locally in football. He was Carnegie Tech’s head coach from 1912-13 and in 1914 served as an assistant football coach at W & J College.
Frederick Mitchell "Mysterious" Walker in his early days (image via 1910 Spokane Press)
  • 1893 - The Pirates traded C Duke Farrell and $1500 to the Washington Nationals for LHP Frank “Lefty” Killen in a win-win deal for both clubs. Farrell banged heads with manager Al Buckenberger and after leaving Pittsburgh played 13 more years as one of baseball’s better hitting catchers, retiring in 1905 with a career .277 BA. Duke, just recovering from a broken leg, appeared against his old mates for Boston in the 1903 World Series as a pinch hitter. Killen tossed six seasons for the Bucs with an 112-82/3.71 line and set the team record for wins with 36 in 1893, one of two thirty-win seasons he had for Pittsburgh.
  • 1915 - RHP Bill Brandt was born in Aurora, Indiana. Brandt spent his brief career (1941-43) as a Pirate, going 5-3 with a 3.57 ERA and getting just 80-⅔ IP over that time. He was effective as a minor leaguer, but after serving his country from 1944-45, Brandt never pitched above AAA ball again, topping out at Hollywood in the PCL.
  • 1944 - Former Pirate C and current PNC restaurateur Manny Sanguillen was born in Colon, Panama. In 12 years with the Bucs, he batted .299 and was on three All-Star teams, which was quite a feat during the Johnny Bench era. Manny hit .282 in two World Series and five NLCS bouts. Noted for never seeing a pitch he didn’t like, the free swinger’s lifetime batting average of .296 is in the Top ten for catchers in MLB history. Like many Buccos, he was dubbed by Bob Prince; his nickname was "The Road Runner" because of his surprising speed as a catcher. Manny is still a well known figure with a ballyard eatery and service as a special instructor during the spring.
Manny Sanguillen 1981 Topps
  • 1945 - SS/OF & scout Pablo Cruz was born in San Francisco de Macoris, Dominican Republic. Pablo never played for the MLB Bucs, although he spent all 14 years of his pro career (1965-’78) in the Pirates system. He was a good stick, so-so glove guy who had the bad luck to play during the Gene Alley era and then lost out to younger prospect Frank Taveras in the seventies. After his playing days, Cruz became a full-time scout for the Pirates and lassoed a corral full of Latino talent like Moisés Alou, Tony Peña, Aramis Ramírez, Félix Fermín, José Guillén, José Lind, Orlando Merced, José de León, Cecilio Guante, José Castillo, Ronny Paulino and Rafe Belliard. He scouted for several teams after the Bucs, and his son, Ishmael, also became a Pirates bird dog for a spell.
  • 1982 - The Pirates traded SS Vance Law and RHP Ernie Camacho to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for pitchers Ross Baumgarten and Butch Edge. Law, who was at the beginning of his career, played nine more MLB seasons, once as an All-Star, and Camacho pitched for eight more years. Baumgarten and Edge never panned out for the Bucs. Baumgarten got 10 starts, went 0-5, 6.55 and was released the following spring to end his MLB stay while Edge pitched for Toronto in 1979 during his only big league campaign.
  • 1986 - The Pittsburgh Associates, a coalition of 13 public and private investors, formally purchased the Pirates from the Galbreath family for $21.8M in a deal that had been essentially hammered out in the previous fall. The Associates were led by Mayor Richard S. Caliguiri along with Westinghouse, Alcoa, PPG, USS, PNC, Mellon, CMU and Ryan Homes. Private investors included Chicago real estate developer Harvey Walken, contractor Frank Schneider and businessman Frank Fuhrer and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette publisher William Block. It assured that the club would stay in Pittsburgh while a new long-term buyer could be found to keep the club in the city and out of the clutches of circling vultures like Portland and New Orleans.
Esteban Loaiza 1996 Pacific Prisms
  • 1991 - RHP Esteban Loaiza was signed as an undrafted FA by the Bucs as a 19-year-old pitching for the Mexico City Reds. He worked his first four seasons, from 1995-98, with Pittsburgh (27-28-1, 4.63) and had a 14-year career in MLB with a pair of All-Star selections and 126 wins.

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