Saturday, March 4, 2017

3/4: Allegheny Raid, Leyland Meltdown, HBD to Dazzy, Clyde, Mel, Jax & The Fort

  • 1889 - Oh, those rowdy North Siders! Pittsburgh Alleghenys 3B Billy Kuehne was arrested and charged with running a gambling house at an Allegheny City billiards hall run by him and teammate Ed “Cannonball” Morris. Morris, who was out of town during the raid, told the Pittsburgh Press that “The Allegheny officers labored under a misapprehension...the boys occasionally played for cigars and soft drinks in the back room but nothing worse.” Kuehne beat the rap - when the case came to trial, the charges were dropped after the main witness failed to show.
Bill saw action at the hot corner - in Allegheny City! (N172 Goodwin Old Judge 1887-90)
  • 1891 - RHP Charles “Dazzy” Vance was born in Orient, Iowa. The fireballing Hall of Famer (he had over 2,000 career K) made his debut in 1915 as a 24-year-old for the Pirates, and his Bucco days lasted all of one wild appearance when he walked five in 2-⅔ IP. Still, he was an achy arm away from a potentially long stay with Pittsburgh. His career was resurrected years later by a card game. According to his Baseball Hall of Fame bio “A sore arm was blamed for cutting short his first cracks at the majors. That soreness became shooting pain after he banged his elbow on a poker table, causing him to have surgery. The procedure cleared up the pain, and also relieved the chronic soreness that had plagued him.” His career rejuvenated, he rejoined the show in 1922 at age 31 and won an MVP and World Series along the way. Per Charles Faber of SABR “Vance had earned the nickname Dazzy for the dazzling fastball he had shown as a teenage semipro.”
  • 1917 - C Clyde McCullough was born in Nashville. Clyde had a long MLB career, catching for Pittsburgh on a semi-regular basis from 1949-52 and batting .258. He was a Cub at heart. The Bucs got him from Chicago and he returned there later, spending 12 of his 16 campaigns in the Windy City. He coached for the Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins, New York Mets & San Diego Padres and is a member of the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.
  • 1918 - RHP Mel Queen Sr. was born in Maxwell in Fayette County, south of California University of PA. After starting out with the Yankees, he worked for Pittsburgh from 1947-48, then from 1950-52. Queen’s Bucco record was 19-36 with a 5.33 ERA. His son, Mel Jr., pitched for several seasons in MLB and went on to have a long and storied career as the Toronto Blue Jays’ pitching coach.
Mel Queen 1952 Bowman
  • 1952 - Scout Jax Robertson was born in Milwaukee. After working for the Yankees, Tigers and Marlins, he became a special assistant to the GM in 2002 under Dave Littlefield, a position he still holds. In 2015, he was honored as baseball’s East Coast Scout of the Year and is also a member of the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame.
  • 1985 - C Mike “The Fort” McKenry was born in Knoxville, Tennessee. He was a back-up catcher for the Bucs from 2011-13 and was a popular player with several clutch hits on his resume. Overall, though, he hit just .226 as a Pirate and returned to his original team, the Colorado Rockies, as a free agent in 2014 and made the rounds since then. McKenry earned his nickname because of the similarity of his name to Fort McHenry and the way he defended the plate on plays at home.
  • 1991 - In Pittsburgh’s most famous manager meltdown, Jim Leyland was caught on camera as he blasted Barry Bonds at camp following a media spat. The redacted version of Leyland’s message went something like “I’ve kissed your (bleep!) for three (bleeping!) years here and I’m sick of this. If you guys don’t want to be here then get the (bleep!) out!”
You and me, we just disagree... (1991 via You Tube)

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