Tuesday, May 23, 2017

5/23 From the 50s Forward: Vogey Beaned; Whalin' Willie; Skinner for Lynch; HBD Mike; Candy, Kendall & Da Cubbies

  • 1950 - After traveling a twisted trail (he was signed out of high school by the Tigers, granted free agency by the league with a handful of other Detroit farmhands due to some contractual hanky-panky, then signed with the Pirates for $20,000 and become their first “bonus baby” to reach Forbes Field) Bill MacDonald made his first major league start. It was a good one as he shut out the Phillies‚ 6-0, twirling a complete game three-hitter against the future NL champs. “Whalin’ Willie” (his bread-and-butter was the fastball) went 8-10/4.29 for the last-place Bucs, making 32 outings (twenty starts) with two shutouts and six complete games to his credit. His major drawback was a wild streak; he averaged over five walks per nine. MacDonald then missed the 1951–52 seasons when he was in the service during the Korean War years, and when he returned in 1953, he had lost it. Bill pitched poorly in four more games (12.27 ERA), was sent to the PCL and retired after the 1954 campaign.
Bill MacDonald 1951 Bowman
  • 1952 - It took 13 frames, but Johnny Merson’s double scored Gus Bell with the game winner to end an eight-game losing streak as the Bucs topped the Cubs 6-5 at Forbes Field. The Pirates scored four times in the opening inning, but Bob Friend couldn’t hold on. Ted Wilks spun the last 5-⅔ frames without yielding a run to end the drought.
  • 1963 - The Bucs sent OF Bob Skinner to the Reds for Jerry Lynch, who started his career in Pittsburgh. Lynch spent his last four years as a Pirate and set the MLB pinch hit home run record of 18 (since surpassed by Matt Stairs) in a Bucco uniform. Skinner spent nine seasons with Pittsburgh, compiling a .280 BA, and lasted five more years in the show.
  • 1978 - Reliever Mike Gonzalez was born in Corpus Christi. He was drafted by the Pirates and pitched his first four seasons (2003-06) in Pittsburgh. Gonzo became a rare LH closer in 2006, earning 24 saves before being sent to Atlanta in the off season as part of the Adam LaRoche deal. He last pitched in the majors in 2013 for the Brewers.
  • 1984 - Bucco lefty John Candelaria struck out 12 batters in eight innings of work as the Pirates beat Cincinnati, 7-2, at Three Rivers Stadium. It was Candelaria’s fourth win of the year. The Pirates took the lead with six runs in the fifth inning and never looked back. Catcher Tony Pena went 3-for-4 with a triple.
Tony Pena 1984 Donruss
  • 1998 - Jason Kendall had a big if somewhat painful day at Pro Players Stadium against Florida in Pittsburgh’s 10-4. He went 3-for-3 with three RBI. After his first ining single knocked in a run, he was rewarded with a pair of HBPs; he responded by doubling and singling to plate two more runs and touch the dish once. Turner Ward also drove in three runs and Tony Womack scored three times as Jon Lieber and Ricardo Rincon got the win and save.
  • 2016 - In one of PNC Park’s scarier moments, witnessed by 34,529 stunned fans, Pirates pitcher Ryan Vogelsong was hit in the face with an 0-2 fastball by the Rockies Jordan Lyles in the second inning and was carted off the field with facial fractures. Ryan was temporarily blinded in one eye after the beaning, but his vision slowly recovered to nearly normal. He had surgery and against the odds returned to the mound on August 4th and pitched well (six innings, one run, three hits) in his return. The Bucs, btw, won the match against Colorado by a 6-3 score and Lyles was introduced to instant karma - he lost the game and then was sent to the minors the next day.

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