Friday, May 5, 2017

5/5 Through the 40s: Beanballin'; HBD Wattie, Jose & Tommy; Sunday Spoilers; Sweep, Bad Day

  • 1858 - Pirate manager Bill “Wattie” Watkins was born in Brantford, Ontario. In 1898, Watkins was hired as the manager of the Pirates and his club finished in eighth place (out of twelve teams) with a 72–76 record. Watkins returned in 1899 but resigned in May after the team began the season with a 7-15 record. He was known as a strict disciplinarian in an era of free spirits and was also among the first skippers to give signs to hitters from the bench.
  • 1891 - Talk about your bad inning in Chicago: LF Pete Browning bunted into a triple play in the top of the sixth frame and then booted a ball to allow the game’s only run in the bottom half as Pittsburgh lost to the Chicago Colts 1-0. Ed Stein, who tossed a two hitter, took the decision over Pud Galvin, who surrendered six knocks. As the Pittsburg Press wryly noted of the Pirate hitters: “Sluggers who don’t slug...will rarely win victories.”
Jack was little feisty...1895 Mayo Chew
  • 1894 - Beanballs go back a long way. Per the Pittsburg Press: “In the fifth (St. Louis P Pink) Hawley acted as though he were trying to hit (Pirates SS Jack) Glasscock with a pitched ball. Two (pitches) came dangerously close to Jack’s chin and when the third went under his head the shortstop said ‘I’ll throw my bat if you do that again.’ Hawley put the fourth in the same spot and to the surprise of everyone Glasscock sailed his stick toward the pitcher’s box. Hawley got out of the way but did not run when Glasscock rushed up. The men did not come together, however, as (Pirates Captain Patsy) Donovan promptly parted them and restored order. Glasscock was fined $10 for the act.” The article went on to add that “The governor was not asked to order out the militia, but Umpire McQuaid could not have preserved order at Exposition Park had it not been for the timely assistance of Captain Donovan.” The game was as exciting as the sideshow. It was tied 5-5 in the ninth when Donovan made a diving catch in right to close the frame and save a run, then the Pirates won it in their half when Glasscock’s two-out knock scored Patsy from second. Gotta love karma!
  • 1929 - The Boston Braves played their first Sunday home game in history. Apparently they still considered it a day of rest as they lost to Pirates, 7-2, before 35,000 fans. P Burleigh Grimes aided his own cause by starting a third inning triple play. Five Bucs had a pair of knocks each, and the Waner brothers, Paul and Lloyd, each tripled at Braves Field.
Jose Pagan 1971 Topps
  • 1935 - Pirate infielder Jose Pagan was born in Barceloneta, Puerto Rico. After spending seven years with the Giants, the infielder played in Pittsburgh for the next eight seasons (1965-72). He was used in every position but pitcher and center field during his time here and hit .263 as the Bucs super-sub. Pagan played four games in the 1971 series and doubled home Willie Stargell with the eventual winning run in the eighth inning of game #7.
  • 1941 - IF Tommy Helms was born in Charlotte, North Carolina. Helms spent 1976 and a bit of 1977 in Pittsburgh (.242 BA as a utilityman) as part of his 14-year MLB resume. The Pirates got him from Houston for Art Howe, sold him to Oakland a year later, got him back four months after that in the Phil Garner megadeal, then released him in June. He finished the 1977 campaign with Boston to conclude his major league stay. He coached and managed for the Reds briefly, leaving the organization after feuding with owner Marge Schott.
  • 1946 - The Bucs took two from the first place Brooklyn Dodgers, 5-4, in eleven innings and 4-3 in a six-inning game shortened by the Sunday curfew. The game drew an overflow crowd of 37,953. The SRO folk were on the field behind ropes, and the teams combined for nine ground rule doubles that ended up in the sea of unseated fans at Forbes Field. Jack Hallett won the opener and Preacher Roe took the nightcap. Billy Cox had the hot stick, with four hits, including a pair of two baggers, and three RBI over the course of the afternoon.

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