Sunday, May 28, 2017

5/28 Expo Park-Forbes Field Era: Dale's HR Streak; HBD King, Steve & Kirk; Reddy; Game Stories

  • 1881 - RHP James “King” Brady was born in Elmer, New Jersey. King worked two of his five MLB seasons with the Bucs in 1906-07, where he didn’t get much work going 1-1, 2.16 in four starts (although he averaged 11.5 hits every nine innings) and was shipped to the minors early in 1907 after taking a liner off the bean. He spent eight years on the farm, winning 85 games. The source of his nickname is uncertain, although it’s thought that a Pittsburgh writer gave it to him after a good outing.
  • 1903 - OF Romer “Reddy” Gray‚ brother of author Zane Grey (they were both originally Grays; their dad changed the spelling allegedly to dodge some bills), made his MLB bow as a Buc. He went 1-for-3 in his only big league game as the Pirates beat Boston 7-6. Gray scored a run, knocked in another, drew a walk, and caught the only ball hit his way in the OF. He played on loan from the nearby Worchester minor league club as the Pirates, due to some injuries and personal issues, found themselves short handed for the game against the Beaneaters at the South End Grounds. Gray was an early AAAA ballplayer; he never found a home in MLB but had a career .311 minor league BA. His author brother was also a ballplayer in his younger days. They were teammates on both the Jaxons and Findlay Sluggers of the Interstate League in 1895, and Zane went on to pen several baseball themed stories.
Steve Nagy 1947 (photo via Baseball Birthdays)
  • 1919 - LHP Steve Nagy was born in Franklin, New Jersey. Steve was teammates with a couple of famous folk, notably TV star Chuck “The Rifleman” Connors (who played for Brooklyn and then the Cubs before going on to Hollywood) at Seton Hall University and Jackie Robinson as a Montreal Royal, but their fame didn’t give him any coattails. He pitched briefly in the majors for two years, spending 1947 as a Pirates reliever and going 1-3, 5.79. Steve missed some time during WW2 while in the navy, but still managed to play 14 minor-league campaigns before he retired from the game after the 1958 season.
  • 1921 - Pittsburgh protested their 4-3‚ 10-inning loss to the Reds and won. After Reds P Dolf Luque misfired the ball into the Cincinnati dugout‚ Clyde Barnhart was called out going to third when the ball was tossed back into the field. The Pirates said no way; it was a dead ball, and NL president Heydler agreed. The game was later replayed from that point (it was 3-3), and the Bucs took full advantage of their second chance, turning the table to win 4-3 on June 30th.
  • 1956 - First baseman Dale Long set a major league record by hitting a homerun in his eighth consecutive game, a 3-2 win over the Brooklyn Dodgers at Forbes Field. The liner was hit off of Carl Erskine in front of 32,221 Forbes Field fans who didn’t settle down until the big first baseman made a curtain call, said to be the first in MLB history. The record was later tied by Don Mattingly (1987) and Ken Griffey, Jr. (1993).
Dale Long 1956 (photo via Baseball Hall of Fame)
  • 1957 - OF Kirk Gibson was born in Pontiac, Michigan. He spent 1992 as a Pirate toward the end of his 17-year MLB run, coming over from KC in a swap for P Neal Heaton, and the 35-year-old was released in May after hitting .196. He closed out the final three years of his career with the Tigers after Sparky Anderson talked him out of retirement. The 1988 World Series hero has since worked as a coach, manager and announcer.
  • 1960 - More Destiny’s Darlings lore: Roberto Clemente was on third and Hal Smith on first with two outs in the eighth with Maz up at Forbes Field. He fanned on a ball that hit in the front of the plate, ricocheted off ump Al Barlick and to Phillies pitcher Jim Owens. Maz froze, Smith jogged to second and Clemente went halfway down the baseline. Owens chased Roberto as his bench called for him to throw to first. In the run-down‚ Clemente knocked the ball out of C Jim Coker's glove to score the tying run. The Pirates won 4-2 in the 13th on Don Hoak's two-run HR.
  • 1963 - Called out at first on a close play for the second time in the game‚ Roberto Clemente twice jostled ump Bill Jackowski while arguing the decision. Clemente was ejected‚ and skipper Danny Murtaugh got his Irish up, challenging the man in blue to duke it out until he was pulled away. The Great One was fined $250 and suspended for five days by the league. To top the day off, the Pirates lost 5-1 to the Phils at Forbes Field.


Cocktailsfor2 said...

IIRC, wasn't The Rifleman a Doyer?

Ron Ieraci said...

Thank u, my friend - he indeedy spend a year in Brooklyn ('49) before playing in the Windy City ('51). I'll add da Bums to his resume.