Sunday, May 14, 2017

5/14 Expo Park-Forbes Field Era: Six Hits For Jake & Johnny; HBD Horace, Johnny & Joey; Contractuals

  • 1853 - Horace Phillips, manager of the Pittsburgh Alleghenys from 1884-89, was born in Salem, Ohio. He coached the club to a 294-316 record with a couple of winning campaigns, but in the end lost his battle with mental illness and died young at the age of 42.
Horace Phillips (image 1884 New York Clipper)
  • 1889 – Wonder why players want contracts that are guaranteed and why in many cases GM’s get them insured? Because in the founding days, pennies ruled and contracts often weren’t worth the paper they were printed on as GM’s looked to save every nickel they could. The Pittsburgh Alleghenys suspended Ed Morris and Pete Conway on this date to dodge paying the salaries of the sore-armed pitchers. Morris returned in three weeks although he was never again effective while Conway never pitched again. Conway had won 30 games and Morris 29 in 1888.
  • 1896 - Jake Stenzel collected six singles and added a stolen base in a 20-4 pounding of the Boston Beaneaters at Expo Park. The Bucs collected 27 hits during the day. Jake hit three doubles a day later and The Pittsburg Press noted that "Good pitchers do not frighten Jakey Stenzel. The pitchers will soon take to giving Stenzel a chance to walk."
  • 1912 - Umpire Johnny aka Willie (his middle name was William) Stevens was born in Duquesne. After learning the ropes in the Eastern League, Stevens umped in the AL from 1948 to 1971, working in four World Series, five All-Star Games, and behind the plate for a pair of no-hitters. In all, he was part of the blue crew for 3,345 games and became an evaluator at umpire school after he retired. Stevens also refereed college basketball, calling both NIT and NCAA tourney games.
Ump Johnny Stevens in 1960 Series (photo Bettmann/Getty)
  • 1950 - All-Star OF Johnny Hopp went 6-for-6 with a pair of homers, three runs, and three RBI in a 16-9 win over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in the second game of a DH with Woody Main credited with the victory. It took another decade before a Buc batter matched Hopp’s line when Dick Groat went 6-for-6 in 1960 against the Braves. The Pirates scored two in the ninth of the opener to win 6-5 and earned Bob Chesnes a W for his four inning, two-hit shutout relief stint.
  • 1965 - Coach Joey Cora was born in Caguas, Puerto Rico. A 1985 first-round draft pick, he had an 11-year big league career as an infielder. When his ball-playing days ended, Joey coached in the Mets system, then became a member of the White Sox and Marlins major league staff, where he served as third base/bench coach and had some brief stints as an interim skipper. In 2016, he joined the Pirates organization as Altoona’s manger and the following year got the call to Pittsburgh as the third base coach, replacing Rick Sofield.

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