Wednesday, May 24, 2017

5/24: HBD Sam, Ballhawk Billy, Wily Connie, Back-to-Back Bobby, Friendly Fire, Cover Boy Richie, Game Stories

  • 1859 - 2B Sam Barkley was born in Wheeling. After a contract kerfluffle (he had signed with Baltimore, but had been sold by his old club to the Alleghenys), he played for Pittsburgh from 1886-87. In his opening year, he hit .266 with 31 doubles and stole 22 bases while playing in 122 games. His performance dipped in 1887, playing in 89 games and hitting .224. After the season, Pittsburgh sold him to the Kansas City Cowboys of the American Association. Sam retired to Wheeling after the 1889 campaign to become a cigar maker.
  • 1884 – Al Atkinson of the Philadelphia Athletics retired the final 27 batters in pitching a no-hitter over the Pittsburgh Alleghenys at the Jefferson Street Grounds. Atkinson hit leadoff batter Ed Swartwood, who stole second, moved to third on a grounder and scored on a wild pitch. He was the only Allegheny baserunner in the 10–1 Philly victory.
Billy Kuehne showing off his form - 1887 Goodwin/Old Judge
  • 1889 - Bill Kuehne converted 13 chances at the hot corner, handling three putouts and 10 assists without an error (“...a remarkable game” per The Pittsburg Press)‚ for a MLB record. His stellar work in the field helped Harry Staley and the Alleghenys to a 9-7 win over Washington at Swampoodle Grounds. Kuehne wasn’t exactly noted for his glove work, though. He had 34 errors that season and finished with a .908 fielding average, making his feat remarkable indeed. Jake Beckley led the hit parade with three knocks including a pair of doubles while Billy Sunday and Pop Smith, who homered, collected a pair of hits each.
  • 1893 - Before the days of the infield fly rule, C Connie Mack intentionally allowed a popup in front of home plate to fall and then started a triple play against the Browns. He later drove in the winning run in the bottom of the eighth to lead Pittsburgh to an 8-7 win over St. Louis at Exposition Park. Mack was a backup catcher who hit .286 for the Pirates that year, and later entered the Hall of Fame as a manager.
  • 1894 - The Pirates rallied to beat the Cleveland Spiders and Cy Young 6-5 at League Park. Down 5-2 late, the Bucs scored twice in the seventh and twice more in the eighth for the win. Red Ehret went eight innings for the victory. Jake Stenzel had two hits and scored three runs while Jake Beckley added three knocks.
Preston Ward 1955 Topps
  • 1955 - The Bucs broke an 11 game losing streak in style by pounding the Brooklyn Dodgers 15-1 at Forbes Field. Preston Ward had a single‚ triple and HR to lead the attack. Ward, Gene Freese and Roberto Clemente each had three RBI with Bob Friend getting the win in relief of Vern Law. One of the Dodger relievers they tortured was future manager Tommy Lasorda, who gave up five runs in two innings of work.
  • 1959 - The Bucs swept a pair from the Reds at Forbes Field by 2-1 and 5-4 scores; both games were won by walk-off, pinch hit doubles. Danny Kravitz drove home Don Hoak to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat for Ron Kline, who had surrendered an unearned ninth inning run. The Pirates were down 4-2 in the nightcap and down to their last out when Rocky Nelson tied the game with a two run homer. Pittsburgh won it in the tenth when Smoky Burgess doubled home Roman Mejias to give Ron Blackburn the win. The Bucs took the four game series from Cincinnati, winning by a run each time.
  • 1961 - Roberto Clemente homered in back-to-back at bats against Dick Ellsworth and drove in four runs to lead the Pirates to a 7-3 win at Wrigley Field. Dick Stuart also went long and added a triple to help Vinegar Bend Mizell to the victory, closed by a Clem Labine save. The Bucs needed Clemente’s big day; they hit into three twin killings and committed a pair of errors during the afternoon.
  • 1969 - Richie Hebner was featured on the cover of The Sporting News for the story “Pirates Pin-Up Prize.” In his first full season as a Pirate, he hit .301 after inheriting the hot corner from Maury Wills.
  • 1981 - A lot of little oddities occurred in the Bucs 7-1 win over the Phils at TRS. The Pirates drew four intentional walks, stole five bases in six tries and got a two-run homer from pitcher Jim Bibby. With all that, they didn’t put the game away until the eighth when one of the intentional walks backfired. They went into the frame up 2-1 on the strength of Bibby’s bomb and added another on Phil Garner’s one-out triple and a Dale Berra single. With runners on second and third and two gone, Philadelphia put Lee Lacy aboard to get to Omar Moreno. The Antelope singled home a pair off Sparky Lyle and Bill Madlock followed with a two-run two-bagger to ice the game. Bibby got the win and Victor Cruz worked two inning for the save in front of 21,771 fans.
  • 1998 - Relievers Marc Wilkins (who was on the DL with rotator cuff damage) and Jeff Tabaka got into a fight over a card game at Milwaukee’s Pfister Hotel that grew heated, and Wilkins punched Tabaka, breaking his jaw. The two were roommates who shared an apartment in Pittsburgh during the season, and made up shortly after the brawl. GM Cam Bonifay brushed it off, telling the Associated Press that “Each other took a stance, as manly gentlemen sometimes do.”
Frankie Liriano 2015 Topps Museum Collection
  • 2015 - Francisco Liriano capped a sweep of the Mets by K’ing 12 batters in six innings on the way to a 9-1 win at PNC Park, aided by homers off the bats of Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte. It was historic work at the franchise level, as Liriano followed Gerrit Cole and AJ Burnett, who both fanned 10 in the series first two games, becoming the first trio of Pirate starters to compile three straight double-digit strikeout games since September 11-12th, 1969, when Bob Veale, Bob Moose and Dock Ellis did the deed. It's only the third time since 1900 that Pittsburgh put together such a stretch. The swing-and-miss fest also set an MLB record, per Elias Sports: "It is the only time in modern major league history (from 1900 to date) that a team's starting pitchers won three straight games within one series while recording a double digit strikeout total in each game."
  • 2016 - The Pirates romped over the Diamondbacks 12-1 at PNC Park as Gregory Polanco homered, doubled, scored twice, and had five RBI. The first 11 Bucs in the lineup that got at bats had hits, with the streak ending after Arquimedes Caminero, in his first MLB at-bat, grounded out in the seventh inning. Frankie Liriano got the win, but was a wild child, giving up just four hits but walking five. He wasn’t as wild as Caminero, who hit two Snakes in the head as a reliever, not as a matter of bad blood but of bad control. After the game, Arizona manager Chip Hale questioned if Arquimedes should even be in the league with command that poor.

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