Sunday, April 23, 2017

4/23 Through the 20s: Sparse Crowd; Bad Bet; Cotton Hot; HBD Bob, Iron Man & Genie; Duel

  • 1875 - OF Bob Ganley was born in Lowell, Massachusetts. Bob started his five-year MLB run with the Pirates in 1910-11, hitting .270 off the bench as a rookie and then as a starting outfielder in his second year. Bob’s last MLB campaign was in 1909 with the Philadelphia Athletics and he was out of baseball after spending the 1912 season with Atlanta of the Southern Association. Per BR Bullpen, he moved around so much as a player that he was called "the globetrotter of organized baseball." He played for Pittsburgh, Washington and Philadelphia as a big leaguer and for New Haven, Albany, Brockton, Columbus, Toledo, Marion, Schenectady, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Oakland, Johnstown, Des Moines, Newark and Atlanta as a farm hand. Bob also managed the Fredericton Pets in 1913 and the Perth Amboy Pacers in 1914.
  • 1890 - The Pittsburgh Alleghenys beat the Cleveland Spiders 20-12 at Recreation Park in front of a crowd of 17 (with six paid) in a yard that held 17,000. The Alleghenys set another franchise record that day; five batters were beaned by the Spiders. Don’t fault the fans for the low turnout - the team finished last in the NL with a record of 23–113, 66-1/2 games behind the first place Brooklyn Bridegrooms. According to Wikipedia, Recreation Park was also known as Union Park and later, the Allegheny Athletic Association Grounds. It was tucked between Allegheny Ave, Pennsylvania Ave, Galveston Ave and Behan St in Allegheny West. No pictures of it as a baseball field are known to exist, though there are a couple of newspaper shots of Pitt playing football there. The baseball team left for Exposition Park in 1891 and Pitt followed suit in 1904.
This was not a group to bet against (photo via Boston Library)
  • 1902 - St. Louis Cardinals owner Frank Robison put up a $10‚000 challenge that the Pirates wouldn’t repeat as NL champions. Pittsburgh players pooled their money to meet the bet and then collected easily as they won the pennant by 27-1/2 games. St Louis finished sixth, 44-1/2 games off the Pirates’ pace.
  • 1906 - RHP Ray “Iron Man” Starr was born in Nowatka, Oklahoma. Ray tossed for the Bucs during the second half of his career between 1944-45 in his age 38-39 seasons with a line of 6-7-3, 5.33. He was a product of wartime baseball; after tossing for three years in the show, he spent from 1934-40 in the minors (in all, he spent 15 years on various farm clubs) before he was called back up by the Reds in 1941. Ray picked up his nickname because he was said to have tossed both ends of more than 40 double-headers while in the minor leagues.
  • 1913 - The Pirates were held to three hits by St Louis hurler Bill Steel and lost 3-1 despite Claude Hendrix’s two-hitter (six walks hurt) at Robison Field. The runs were hard earned; the Cardinals scored on a bases loaded walk, steal of home and sac fly while the Bucco run came on an error. The bright spot of the Pirates’ day was a nifty triple play. With the bases loaded, Hendrix speared a comebacker and went home to catcher Billy Kelly for a force; his relay to Dots Miller at first beat the batter and Miller’s return throw home nailed the Card runner who started from second, trying to steal a score during the exchange.
Gene "Genie" Smith (photo via Kansas State University)
  • 1917 - RHP Gene “Genie” Smith was born in Ashley, Louisiana. He pitched for the the Homestead Grays between 1946–1947. During his career, he threw three no-hitters, played in the East-West All Star game and in the Negro World Series, although not with Homestead. He joined them after spending three years in the service and never had another big season afterward, retiring after the 1951 campaign.
  • 1922 - Second baseman Cotton Tierney collected a career-high five hits, doubled three times, and knocked in a game-high four runs in Pittsburgh’s 14-3 rout of the Cubs in Chicago. The Bucs broke the game open with an eight run second inning and then added two more runs an inning later to make it 10-0. It was Pittsburgh’s sixth straight win after beginning the season with losses in each of the first three games. Hal Carlson took the win at Wrigley.

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