Monday, May 22, 2017

5/22 From the 40s Forward: Josh Bomb, Pops Big Day, Ducky Traded, Cover Boy Starg, Frankie, HBD Jose & Julian

  • 1946 - Josh Gibson hit a homer an estimated 490’ over the left center wall at Forbes Field to lead the Homestead Grays to an 11-8 victory over the New York Black Yankees. Gibson hit .379 that season and led the Negro League with 16 homers in 49 games. It was the opener for the defending Negro National League champion Grays, played in front of 5,000 fans; Homestead CF’er Jerry Benjamin led both teams with four hits.
Josh Gibson  2006 Upper Deck
  • 1965 - The Pirates sent IF Dick Schofield to the Giants for IF Jose Pagan. Pagan spent seven years with Pittsburgh, hitting .263 and driving in the winning run in the seventh game of the 1971 World Series. Ducky played until 1971, but the light-hitting utilityman only batted above .221 twice during that span, most notably in 1960 when he swatted .333 replacing injured SS Dick Groat late in the season.
  • 1966 - RHP Jose Mesa was born in Pueblo Viejo, Dominican Republic. The two-time All-Star and 1995 Reliever of the Year (he had 46 saves for the Indians and a 1.13 ERA) signed with the Pirates late in his 19-year major league career, looking for a place where he could again compete as a closer. He won the job in Pittsburgh and in 2004-05 picked up 70 saves, although with a 3.93 ERA and 12 blown saves. He went on to play two more seasons as a set-up man for Colorado, Detroit, and Philadelphia before retiring in 2007.
  • 1968 - With the wind blowing out at Wrigley Field‚ the Pirates came from four runs down to defeat the Cubs 13-6. Willie Stargell hit three home runs and just missed a fourth, drilling a double that bounced off the left field railing and back onto the playing field. Pops also smacked a single for 15 total bases and seven RBI on the day.
Julian Tavarez 2003 (photo Ezra Shaw/Getty)
  • 1973 - RHP Julian Tavarez was born in Santiago, Dominican Republic. Tavárez had been starter, but suffered a shoulder injury in 2002 as a Marlin that he pitched through not very successfully. The 30-year-old signed a minor league deal with the Pirates the following season. They converted him to the bullpen (where he had started his career) and he put up a career-high 11 saves, going 3-3-11/3.63. The Bucs lost him to free agency the next year when he signed with the Cards. Julian had a 17-year MLB run, playing for 11 teams before his final campaign in 2009.
  • 1981 - Willie Stargell was featured on the cover of The Sporting News for the story “Streaking Slugger.” The Captain was on the downside of his career, being a sub/pinch hitter from 1980 until his retirement after the 1982 season. He only got 66 PA in 1981 playing behind Jason Thompson and for the first time since his rookie campaign, when he had just 31 AB, he went without a homer though he did bat .283.
  • 2013 - Francisco Liriano outdueled the Cubs Jeff Samardzija 1-0 at PNC Park; the only run scored in the first, when with two outs Andrew McCutchen doubled and Garrett Jones singled him home. Liriano gave up two hits, a walk and K’ed nine in seven innings. It was only the second time in Pirate history that a pitcher began his Pittsburgh career by allowing a run or less in his first three outings, the other being Dave LaPoint in 1988.

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