Wednesday, May 10, 2017

5/10: Hot Earl; O'Brien Twins; Teke; HBD Al, Russ, Pete & Tony; Game Stories...

  • 1913 - Utilityman Al Rubeling was born in Baltimore. Rubeling, who was probably noticed by the Bucs after playing minor league ball for Monessen, played for Pittsburgh in 1943-44 and batted .253. He was mostly a bench guy, getting some 70 starts over the two years, and his career ended with the return of the wartime players.
  • 1914 - RHP Russ Bauers was born in Townsend, Wisconsin. He pitched for the Bucs from 1936-41, and in 1937-38 went 26-20, appearing in 74 games with 53 starts and working 430-2/3 IP with an ERA of 2.98. In 1939, he pitched well but only made 15 outings for 53-2/3 innings after hurting his arm in a car accident. The Pirates released him in 1941, and he became a minor league mainstay after the war (he was in the service from 1942-45), pitching briefly at the MLB level in 1946 and again in 1950.
Earl Hamilton 1922 Neilson's Chocolates
  • 1918 - LHP Earl Hamilton had a sizzling start to the campaign, winning his sixth straight complete-game start by a 4-2 tally at Forbes Field over the New York Giants while compiling an ERA of 0.83. But alas for the Bucs, it would be his last start of the season as Earl went off to join the Navy. Hamilton wasn’t alone; 17 Buccos were in the Army or Navy before the 1918 season ended. He was back for the following year and tossed until 1923 for the Pirates, going 55-55/3.35 over his six year Pittsburgh run.
  • 1953 - IF Eddie and Johnny O'Brien become the first twins to play for the same team in the same game when Johnny entered the nitecap of a twin bill to play second base and Eddie later pinch ran (and scored). The sibling karma didn’t carry over as the Bucs were swept by the NY Giants 4-0 and 3-2 at the Polo Grounds. The Pirates have had several brother acts: Beside the O’Briens (1953, 55-58), there were Harry & Howie Camnitz (1909), Carson & Lyle Bigbee (1921), Johnny & Phil Morrison (1921), Paul & Lloyd Waner (1927-40), Gene & George Freese (1955) and Andy & Adam LaRoche (2008). The tradition dates back even further - the Pittsburgh Alleghenys featured Henry & John Gilbert in 1890!
  • 1964 - Steve Blass scattered two hits in five scoreless innings of relief while making his MLB debut in the second game of a doubleheader against Milwaukee at Forbes Field. Tommie Sisk started the game, but failed to retire a batter while giving up five runs in the first inning. The Bucs scored once in the bottom of the first, twice in the eighth and three times in the final frame for a 6-5 win, capped off with a two-out, walkoff single by Willie Stargell. Roberto Clemente had a homer and three RBI while Al McBean claimed the win. The Braves bombed Pittsburgh in the opener, romping to an 11-5 decision.
Al McBean 1964 Topps
  • 1966 - The second place Bucs lost 2-1 in 15 innings to the first place Giants at Forbes Field. Tied in the 15th, the G-Men got a Tom Haller single to open the frame off Bob Purkey. A bunt put runners at first and second when the force at second was late, and they were loaded when a swinging bunt rolled into center. A one-out sac fly gave San Fran the lead. The Pirates tried to rally, putting runners on the corners with an out, but Andre Rodgers, pinch hitting for Willie Stargell (lefty Joe Gibbon was on the hill, and Pops’ early splits against same siders was pretty poor) banged into a 6-4-3 DP to end the game. It was so cold out that the Giant bullpen started a fire to keep warm. It also marked a rarity for that era: an infield shift, as Harry Walker stationed three of his infielders between second and third against Willie Mays.
  • 1969 - LHP Pete Schourek was born in Austin, Texas. He pitched for the Pirates toward the end of his 11-year career, slashing 4-7/5.34 in 1999 after signing a $2M free-agent deal. He was released during camp the following season and ended his big-league run with two more years with the Red Sox. Pete won 18 games for the Mets in 1995, but a series of nagging injuries left him as a journeyman hurler in following campaigns.
  • 1979 - OF Tony Alvarez was born in Caracas, Venezuela. A Top Ten prospect in the Bucco system, Alvarez played in both the World Baseball Classic and the Futures Game. But his five-tool resume didn’t carry over in the show. He made two brief appearances in Pittsburgh in 2002 and again in 2004, hitting .250 in 38 games, and that was the sum of his big league career. Tony may have just had too many irons in the fire, marrying three Miss Venezuela’s of various years in succession, and in 2009 he became noted as a reggae artist under the stage name of El Potro Alvarez. In 2014, he was named Venezuela’s Minister of Youth and Sports. Alvarez may not have hit it big in baseball, but he sure has enjoyed a grand post-career.
Teke 1980 (pirates promo)
  • 1980 - Kent Tekulve was featured on the cover of The Sporting News for the story “Buc Stopper.” The article didn’t portend a great year by Teke standards. Although he was named to his only All-Star game, he slashed just 8-12-21/3.39 in 78 outings.
  • 1984 - Pittsburgh defeated the Giants 4-2 at TRS behind some clutch bullpen work. Don Robinson inherited a bases loaded, no outs jam in the eighth from Cecilio Guante and got a pop up and DP. In the ninth, Robinson left the sacks juiced with two out for Teke, who retired Joel Youngblood on a fly to ice the win. Dale Berra homered and drove in three runs to spark the offense.
  • 1989 - In a minor deal, the Pirates sent struggling infielder Ken Oberkfell to the San Francisco Giants for Roger Samuels. Oberkfell was rejuvenated, hitting .319 for the G-Men before finishing his career in 1992 after stops at Houston and California. Samuels worked 3-⅔ IP for the Pirates and was shellacked, never appearing in the show again.
Wil Cordero 2000 Upper deck MVP
  • 2000 - Wil Cordero, Kevin Young and Pat Meares teamed up to lead the Bucs to a 13-9 victory over the Mets at TRS. Cordero went 5-for-5 with four RBI and three runs; Young went 4-for-5 with two runs driven in and four runs scored and Meares went 3-for-4 with a pair each of RBI and runs. Cordero had a HR and double, Young a long ball and Meares banged a three-bagger.

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