Saturday, April 8, 2017

4/8 Through the 70s: Bonus Ball; MLK; HBD John, Reddy, Kirby & Tom

  • 1850 - Middle infielder John Peters was born in New Orleans. He played the final three years of his 11 season MLB career (1882–84) with the Pittsburgh Alleghenys, batting .273. Peters was a pretty good all-around player; once he hit .351 (.278 lifetime BA) and led the NL in putouts twice.
  • 1875 - OF Romer “Reddy” Grey was born in Zanesville, Ohio. The long-time minor leaguer was “borrowed” on May 28th, 1903 from his Worchester club by the Pirates due to the absence of several Bucco regulars. He played left field, went 1-for-3 with a walk and then returned to Worcester, ending his MLB career. Reddy's brother was author Zane Grey, who also played minor league baseball, a couple of times on the same club as Reddy. Romer was also an author. An avid fisherman, he wrote "Adventures of a Deep Sea Angler" in 1930. His nickname was a nod to his flaming red hair.
Kirby Higbe 1947 Exhibits
  • 1915 - RHP Kirby Higbe was born in Columbia, South Carolina. He pitched for Pittsburgh at the tail end of his career as part of the rotation in 1947 and a swingman in 1948 but began losing it by 1949. The Bucs traded the 34-year-old to the Giants that season, and after 1950, he hung 'em up. The hard partying righty had a solid career - in a dozen seasons, he claimed 118 wins and won a World Series with Brooklyn.
  • 1938 - RHP Tom Butters was born in Delaware, Ohio. He spent his brief four-year MLB career (1962-65) with Pittsburgh, compiling a modest 2-3 record with a 3.10 ERA. The fireballer was signed at age 17 and spent six years in the minors trying to master the strike zone. He looked like he was going to get his shot after a the 1964 season (2-2, 2.38 ERA) under Danny Murtaugh, but he was hurt in a car accident going to camp the following year and retired two months into the season because of the injury. Butters did go on to have a very successful 30-year career as a Duke athletic administrator after baseball before he passed away in 2016.
  • 1968 - Because of the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., the Pirates voted not to play games on Monday, the day of the scheduled opener (which ended up canceled league-wide) or Tuesday. They opened on Wednesday the 10th at Houston.
Bruce Dal Canton 1971 Topps
  • 1969 - The Pirates took a since-eclipsed NL opening-day record 14 innings to defeat St. Louis 6-2, tying their own 1958 benchmark. They scored four times in the 14th on five consecutive two-out singles, with Manny Sanguillen and Matty Alou each driving in a pair of runs to earn Bruce Dal Canton the win with a Chuck Hartenstein save at Busch Stadium. Alou, along with Willie Stargell, collected three hits for the Buccos. 
  • 1972 - Roberto Clemente was featured on the cover of The Sporting News for the story “Mr. Big.” He went on to bat .312 and collected his 3,000th hit, winning All-Star and Golden Glove recognition in his final campaign.

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