Saturday, April 29, 2017

4/29: Greenlee Field Opens; Big Sticks; Sunday Ball; Sac Fly Day; Justin No-No; HBD JVW, Tony Jr & Steven

  • 1930 - Rollie Hemsley, George Grantham, and Charlie Engle combined for 11 hits and 12 RBI to lead the Pirates to a 13-9 win over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. The Bucs rallied from a 7-1 deficit with a seven run sixth inning and never looked back. Ralph Erickson got the win (his only MLB victory) in relief of Ray Kremer with a save going to Steve Swetonic. Pittsburgh and Chicago were just holding up their end in a day of MLB fireworks - in the seven games played on this date, an average of 17+ runs per game plated.
Greenlee Field (photo Teenie Harris)
  • 1932 - Greenlee Field in the Hill, home of the Pittsburgh Crawfords, opened in front of 4,000 fans. Hall of Famers Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson were the battery as the Pittsburgh Crawfords lost the opener to the New York Black Yankees 1-0 in a pitching duel with Jesse "Mountain" Hubbard. Paige struck out 10 and allowed six hits, but Hubbard was better, surrendering just three knocks. The Allegheny County commissioners, Pittsburgh's mayor, and the city councilmen caught the opener from the field boxes. It was the first ballfield built specifically for a black team, erected by team owner Gus Greenlee. When finished, the grounds would seat 7,500, with lights added in 1933. It was demolished in 1939 to clear space for the Bedford Dwellings.
  • 1934 - Red Lucas won Pittsburgh’s first Sunday home game as the Pirates beat Cincinnati 9-5 at Forbes Field, backed by Gus Suhr’s three hits and four RBI. Both Suhr and Paul Waner, who also had three knocks, homered. Because of Pennsylvania’s Blue Laws, Pittsburgh was the last major league city to play a home game on a Sunday after local referendums in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia approved Sunday ballgames in the 1933 November elections.
  • 1966 - OF/1B John Vander Wal was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He played for the Bucs in 200-01 and in 232 games hit .290 w/35 HR and 144 RBI. The Pirates traded him at the 2001 deadline with Jason Schmidt to the Giants for Ryan Vogelsong and Armando Rios in one of GM Dave Littlefield’s early deals after replacing Cam Bonifay in mid-July.
Tony Armas Jr 2007 Upper Deck
  • 1978 - RHP Tony Armas Jr. was born in Puerto Piritu, Venezuela. Tony worked 10 big league campaigns as a journeyman starter and spent 2007 as a Pirate (4-5, 6.03) after inking a $3.5M deal. It proved to be his final full MLB season as the Bucs didn't pick up his 2008 option and Mets released him the following year after one outing. Junior was the son of All-Star OF Tony Armas who had been a hot Bucco prospect but was traded to the A’s after a cup of coffee in Pittsburgh as part of the Phil Garner deal.
  • 1990 - The Bucs swept San Diego 10-1 behind a four homer barrage at Jack Murphy Stadium. Barry Bonds and Jay Bell hit three-run bombs, Bobby Bonilla banged a two-run blast, and Don Slaught added a solo shot to grease an easy outing for Doug Drabek. It was the Pirates sixth consecutive win.
  • 1992 - LHP Steven Brault was born in La Mesa, California. Drafted by the Orioles in 2013, he was sent to the Pirates as part of the Travis Snider deal. The lefty moved through the system quickly and in July of 2016 made his MLB debut. He slashed 0-3, 4.86 but was in the running for a back-end rotation spot in 2017 camp, where he pitched well but lost out to Tyler Glasnow and was returned to Indy; he’s presumably next up if the Bucs need another arm. 
Steven Brault (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)
  • 2000 - For the purists and the believers in productive outs, this was a game for you - the Pirates and Reds tied the MLB record in Cincinnati's 6-5 victory at TRS by hitting five sacrifice flies (the Redlegs also dropped a pair of successful bunts). Neither club was very clutch other than cranking out flies - the two teams combined to go 1-for-19 w/RISP during the game. Pat Meares and Warren Morris both homered in the losing effort, triggered when Cincy overcame an early Bucco lead by scoring five times in the seventh and eighth innings (with two of the runs plating on sac flies).
  • 2012 - Pitching for the AAA Indianapolis Indians against the Durham Bulls, Justin Wilson tossed the first 7-1/3 innings of a combined no-hitter (2 walks, 9 K, 107 pitches), completed by Jose “Jumbo” Diaz and Doug Slaten. He worked his first Bucco game on August 20th.

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