Friday, May 19, 2017

5/19 Expo Park-Forbes Field Era: Longs Streak Begins, Clarke's Toys, HBD Bud, Fireball & Ed, Bad Day, RIP Sam

  • 1890 - As Pirates Prospects John Dreker noted in “This Date In Pirates History,” this day was a tough one for Pittsburgh baseball fans. Not only did the Alleghenys lose by an 18-2 score, but the Pittsburgh Burghers of the Player’s League lost big, too, 16-3. It launched the Alleghenys on an 11-game losing streak; the Burghers lost seven in row.
Bud Culloton (photo Conlon Collection/Getty Images)
  • 1897 - RHP Bernard Aloysius “Bud” Culloton was born in Kingston, New York. His big league time consisted of 13 outings for the Pirates from 1925-26 with a line of 0-1, 3.28 in 24-2/3IP. He spent most of his last campaign at Class A New Haven and called it a career.
  • 1913 - RHP Theolic “Fireball” Smith was born in Wabbaseka, Arkansas. He began his career with the Pittsburgh Crawfords from 1936-38, going 4-11 in 16 starts. It was the start of a well-traveled career that lasted until the 1955 season with stops in the Negro League, Mexican League, and Pacific Coast League. Fireball was not only an All-Star pitcher several times over, but hit well enough to be used as an outfielder. His nickname fit him a couple of ways - it described his fastball and also his quick temper.
  • 1915 - Player-manager Fred Clarke filed a patent application for flip down sunglasses that he designed to be used in the outfield. In addition to the shades, which the future Hall of Famer believes are "good for motorist, too", he also created and was issued patents for a sliding pad and a mechanical field tarpaulin.
Fred was the Edison of baseball (1912 photo Frank Bingaman)
  • 1953 - RHP Sam Leever, who spent his entire 13 year career in Pittsburgh (1898-1910) died in his hometown of Goshen, Ohio. Leever went 194-100/2.43 and won 20+ games four times. Leever wasn’t a hard thrower, but his curve and outstanding control made him one of the era’s better hurlers. Mark Armour of SABR passed on this Leever tale: “In 1924 Leever was startled to discover that he was dead, or believed to be so. As reported in The Sporting News, "he had a great deal of enjoyment out of reading his own obituary, and he appreciates all the nice things that were said about him, but he insists that he is not even half-dead. In fact, Sam says he never felt better in his life, and he has no thought whatever of cashing in." The misinformation was due to the passing of a distant relative with the same name; Sam didn’t shuffle off this mortal coil until three decades later.
  • 1955 - RHP Ed Whitson was born in Johnson City, Tennessee. He never worked a full season during his 1977-79 tenure in Pittsburgh, compiling an 8-9-5/3.73 slash. But he lasted 13 years in the show as a fairly durable starter, even making an All-Star appearance as a SF Giant. He’s also noted for his stormy stretch as a Yankee, highlighted by an altercation with manager Billy Martin.
  • 1956 - Dale Long's ninth inning home run against the Cubs’ Jim Davis was the first of eight consecutive games in which he homered. The Bucs won the game 7-4 at Forbes Field. Long also doubled and had four RBI while Nellie King picked up the victory.

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