Monday, April 3, 2017

4/3 Birthdays: HBD Guy, Larry, Dick, Alex, Miguel, Bobby & Dewey

  • 1856 - Manager and 1B Guy Hecker was born in Youngsville, in Warren County. He was the Alleghenys player-manager in 1890, and it wasn’t a great year for Guy’s resume - he hit .226 as the first baseman and the team finished 23-113, decimated by Player League roster raids. Guy compiled quite a resume, though. During his career he played for Louisville Eclipse prior to the Alleghenys and is considered by some baseball historians to be the best combination pitcher and hitter to play in the 19th century. Hecker remains as one of the only two pitchers in MLB history to hit three home runs in one game, along with Jim Tobin, and the only pitcher to win a batting title (in 1886). In addition, he is the only pitcher in baseball history to get six hits in a nine-inning game. He could toss it, too - Hecker was the second pitcher ever in the American Association to pitch a no hitter and led that league in Ks in 1884.
Larry Shepherd 1969 Topps
  • 1919 - Manager Larry Shepherd was born in Lakeland Ohio. He managed in the Pirate system from 1953 to 1966, spanning the Sally to the International Leagues, and won three pennants along the road. He returned to the Bucs after a year off in 1968 to replace Harry the Hat Walker at the helm, and in almost two seasons put together a 164-155 record. Shepherd was replaced by Alex Grammas with a week to go in the '69 season despite an 84-73 slate.
  • 1921 - RHP Dick Conger was born in Los Angeles. The Rule 5 selection from Detroit got a pair of Bucco appearances in 1941 and two more in 1942, split between starts and relief appearances. In his 12+ IP, he had no record but posted a sharp 1.46 ERA. Small samples have their flaws, tho, and in 1943 he went 2-7/6.09 with Philadelphia. It was his last MLB go-around as he entered the service the following year and upon his return tossed in the minors until 1950.
  • 1926 - Coach Alex Grammas was born in Birmingham, Alabama. Grammas served as a coach for the Pirates from 1965-69 and was the Bucs’ interim manager for five games in 1969 after Larry Shepard was fired. When Danny Murtaugh took over for 1970, Grammas caught on with Sparky Anderson at Cincinnati, and would eventually end up with a gig as the Milwaukee Brewers’ head man.
Miguel Garcia 1989 Donruss
  • 1967 - LHP Miguel Garcia was born in Caracas, Venezuela. The Pirates got him from the Angels as part of the Johnny Ray deal. Miguel had brief big league visits from 1987-89 with the Bucs, going 0-2/7.71 in 13 outings. ‘89 was his last stop in the show.
  • 1978 - 2B Bobby Hill was born in San Jose. Part of the return from the A-Ram salary dump, he played in Pittsburgh from 2003-05. He hit .262 over that span and lost the second base job to Jose Castillo in 2005 after being the starter the year before. That would be his last MLB season.
  • 1981 - C Ryan Doumit was born in Moses Lake, Washington. Dewey was drafted by the Pirates in 1999 in the second round out of high school and caught ‘n’ stuff for the Pirates from 2005-11, with Bucco career numbers of .271, 67 HR and 266 RBI. Unfortunately, in those seven years he never stayed healthy and he only got into 100+ games twice for Pittsburgh. He retired after the 2014 season, taking his final spin with Atlanta. He will always be one of the great debates of Pirate evaluation. Despite a solid stick, defense and injuries kept him from becoming an everyday catcher, and the question is begged as to how his career may have turned out if he been converted to the OF early in his career.

No comments: