Thursday, April 13, 2017

4/13 Expo Park - Forbes Field Era: Balky Day, McBean Day, Feds Open, Babe Beauty, Curt Breaks Barrier & More

  • 1883 - C Mike Simon was born in Hayden, Indiana. He was with the Bucs from 1909-13, mainly as a reserve, and hit .244. He jumped to the outlaw Federal League in 1914 and finished his career there, playing two more seasons.
Mike Simon 1912 T207
  • 1889 - RHP Claude Hendrix was born in Olathe, Kansas. He pitched for the Bucs from 1911-13, with a 42-30/2.71 slash. He jumped to the Federal League in 1914 where he won 45 games in two years for the Chicago club. When the Fed folded, he stayed in the Windy City with the Cubs and won 57 more games with them over five seasons.
  • 1914 - The Bucs dropped their opener 2-1 at St. Louis’ Robinson Park as Babe Adams lost his duel to Dan Griner of the Browns, whose pitching, according to the Pittsburgh Press, was “of the airtight variety.” SL manager Miller Huggins, despite the win, liked Pittsburgh, saying that “Fred Clarke has a sweet baseball club this year.” He was proven wrong as the Pirates finished seventh with a 69-85 record.
  • 1914 - The Pittsburgh Feds and the Brooklyn Tip-Tops played the first game of the short-lived Federal League. The contest was front page news in the papers, a band led a parade from town to Exposition Park, and Mayor William Magee tossed out the first pitch. Tom Seaton of the Tip Tops outdid Carrick native Elmer Knetzer of the Feds, winning 1-0 in 10 innings. The game was played in front of an estimated 10,000 fans. The team became the Pittsburgh Rebels after Rebel Oakes took over the managerial reins from Doc Gessler early in the year, and like their NL counterparts came in seventh with a 64-86 finish.
Babe Adams 1916 M101 Famous & Barr
  • 1916 - Babe Adams tossed a one-hit, 4-0 gem against the Cards. The only hit was a generously ruled knock that clanged off 2B Joe Schultz's mitt. Adams won only one more game that season and was sent to the minors in August. The Pirates brought him back again in 1918 after he sat out a season, and he stuck through 1926, winning 48 games between 1919-21. Babe’s last game was on August 11th, 1926 when he was released after leading a player revolt, asking that former manager and current FO suit Fred Clarke, who had been openly critical of manager Bill McKechnie, be banned from the bench in what became known as the “ABC (Adams, Skeeter Bigbee & Max Carey were the ringleaders) Affair.” He would never play another major league game, tho at age 44 his better days were in the rearview mirror. Babe worked 19 years for the Bucs, winning 194 games with a 2.76 ERA and he won three World Series games in 1909.
  • 1925 - 1B Stuffy McInnis was released by the Boston Braves and signed by the Bucs. He hit .368 in 59 games and played in Pittsburgh’s World Series win over Washington. He was a bench guy the following year, hitting .299 before retiring after 1927. McInnis gained his nickname as a youngster in Boston, where his spectacular fielding brought shouts of "that's the stuff, kid.”
  • 1954 - Seven years after Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier, second baseman Curt Roberts made his major league debut during the season opener at Forbes Field and became the first African-American to play for the Pirates. The former Kansas City Monarch tripled off Robin Roberts in the first inning as the Bucs beat the Phillies, 4-2, by scoring four times in the eighth frame. It was the first time the Pirates had ever opened the season at Forbes Field, drawing 32,294 fans. In fact, the last season-starting Home Opener in Pittsburgh was 61 years prior, held at Exposition Park in 1893! It was also their eleventh straight home opener win, a streak that would end the following year. There was a little pre-game merriment as 3-year-old Leslie Blair, Honus Wagner’s granddaughter, was slated to throw out the first pitch after the City had awarded a plaque to Hans’ daughter. She apparently was struck by a bout of stage fright and never let loose the horsehide, forcing the umps start play without the game's traditional opening.
Photo Pittsburgh Press 4/14/1954
  • 1963 - The Pirates were clobbered 12-4 by the Reds at Crosley Field. The league decided to clamp down on balks and a record seven were called in the game, including a record four on Bob Friend. An MLB record 924 balks were called during the season after umpires were instructed to enforce the complete stop rule with more of an eagle eye. On a less legalistic note, Pete Rose collected his first MLB hit during the game.
  • 1968 - Al McBean went the distance to claim a 2-1 victory over San Francisco and Gaylord Perry at Candlestick Park. McBean did it all; he tossed a three-hitter and even singled in the winning run with two outs in the seventh inning. The key play was The Great One gunning down Willie Mays at third to keep the lid on a potential rally by the Giants. Per BR Bullpen, Willie Mays recalled being caught going from first to third just once in his career, and it was on this day. "Roberto Clemente threw me out on a bang-bang play at third. I should have remembered what a tremendous arm he had" later explained the sadder-but-wiser Say Hey Kid.

No comments: