Thursday, May 4, 2017

5/4 Through the 30s: HBD Vic, Zip & Smokey; Willis & Adams Have Big Days; Hans Honored

  • 1891 - 1B Vic Saier was born in Lansing, Michigan. Vic took over first base for Frank Evers (Tinker-to-Evans-to-Chance) in 1911 as a Cub rookie. He had six good seasons for the Windy City before he broke his leg in 1917, missing almost all that year and 1918, when he worked in a defense factory. The Bucs took a chance on him in 1919, but Saier hit only .223 in 58 games and was released before the season was over; some say the performance was because Vic was unhappy that he was no longer a Cub.
  • 1892 - OF John Edgar “Zip” Collins was born in Brooklyn. Collins started his career in Pittsburgh in 1914-15 and also played with the Boston Braves and Philadelphia Athletics during his five-year big league run. He came to Pittsburgh as a 22-year-old hotshot out of the Texas League and he did hit .276 during his Pirates tenure before being sold to Boston late in the 1915 campaign. Zip got his nickname because of his strong arm; he had 20 assists for the Pirates, but his 18 errors offset his rifle arm.
Vic Willis 1909 Philadelphia Caramel
  • 1908 - After losing three in a row at Cincinnati’s Palace of the Fans, Vic Willis tossed a five hitter to top Billy Campbell and the Reds 1-0. Honus Wagner tripled in the seventh and a grounder by Ed “Abby” Abbaticchio brought him home.
  • 1909 - The Pirates won their fourth straight over the Cubs by beating Mordecai “Three-Finger” Brown 1-0 in 11 innings at West Side Park behind a Dots Miller RBI and Babe Adams shutout. It was the second time in three weeks that the Pirates defeated the hard-luck Brown 1-0 in extra innings.
  • 1913 - Pitcher Babe Adams was a one man wrecking crew at Redland Field. He threw a two hit shutout against Cincinnati and drove home the game's only run with the Pirates only hit, a triple. The 31 year old Adams (he pitched until he was 40) was the team ace that year, winning 21 games with a 2.15 ERA while working 313-⅓ innings.
Smokey was our local rep in the AAGBL
  • 1931 - P/SS Leonora “Smokey” Mandella was born in McKeesport. She played for four different clubs in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League between 1949 and 1951. She got her break when she impressed AAGBL scouts in a tryout at Renziehausen Park and from there went on to start her baseball career with the South Bend Blue Sox. After the league dissolved, Smokey stay involved with softball in the Steel Valley. Her nickname was thanks to her strong arm.
  • 1933 - The Brooklyn Dodgers tossed a Honus Wagner tribute day at Ebbets Field for their legendary foe. 10,000 showed up for the affair, and the Pirates didn’t spoil the day for their first-year coach, rallying for a 2-1 win behind the pitching of Heinie Meine and Tony Piet’s three hits. It was the first time Wagner appeared in Brooklyn since his playing days ended in 1917. Hans received a proclamation at City Hall, and when the crowd outside clamored for a speech, Honus diplomatically told them that his memory of Ebbets Field and the Dodgers was that “Sometimes you got me out and sometimes you didn’t” before a motorcade parade took him to the ballyard.

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