Friday, June 16, 2017

6/16 Happenings: HBD Fritz, Pete, Max, John, Kevin, Chris & Arquimedes; Groat, Bailey Signed

  • 1890 - 1B Fritz Mollwitz was born in Koburg, Germany. The sweet fielding first baseman played from 1917-19 for the Pirates, hitting .245. He was near the end in Pittsburgh. The Bucs sold him to the Cards in August, 1919, and that was his last MLB stop after a seven year career.
  • 1913 - IF Pete Coscarart was born in Escondido, California. He spent the last five years of his career in Pittsburgh (1942-46) after an All-Star stint at Brooklyn. Coscarart backed efforts in 1946 to form a players union and voted to strike for its acceptance, and as a result, he found himself out of the major leagues. He sued MLB baseball in 2001 for royalties associated with the use of his name and image, lost the case and had his $10,000/year pension taken away from him by Bud Selig because of the suit. He passed away at age 89 without being granted his pension.
Pete Coscarart 1945 Play Ball
  • 1922 - RHP Max Surkont was born in Central Falls, Rhode Island. Max had been an effective pitcher for the Braves, but during his Buc years (1954-56) he sailed in rough waters, tossing for a team noted for its futility. He went 16-32/4.92 as a Pirate.
  • 1952 - Dick Groat was signed out of Duke University as a bonus baby for a reported $25,000 plus $5,000 annually for the next five years. At the time of his signing, the media speculated that it was more like $75,000, and the Pirates never officially announced a figure. The story told is that the Pirates offered Groat a contract the year before, but the All-America hoopster & baseballer told them that he wanted to play out his last college season and if the team came back with the same offer after that, he'd sign with them.
  • 1961- Pirate scouts Bob Hughes and Jerry Gardiner inked highly regarded Woodrow Wilson High grad Bob Bailey, 19, to a deal featuring a $150,000 signing bonus. He didn’t blossom into the next big thing (he never hit .300 or had 30 HR in his 17 year career) but the corner player (3B/1B/OF) did have a lengthy stay in the show, ending with a .257 BA, 189 HR and 773 RBI, playing seven years with Montreal, five with the Pirates plus stops in LA, Cincinnati and Boston.
Bob Bailey 1963 IDL promo
  • 1967 - RHP John Ericks was born in Tinley Park, Illinois. The big righty (6’7”, 220) spent his entire 1995-97 MLB tour in Pittsburgh, slashing 8-14-14/4.78. He and his 98 MPH heater were headed toward a breakout campaign in 1997, with John going 6-of-7 in saves with a 1.93 ERA in his first shot as full-time closer when boom - he went down with shoulder woes, and two operations later, his big league career was done.
  • 1969 - 1B Kevin Young was born in Alpena, Mississippi. Young played 11 of his 12 seasons for the Pirates (1992-95, 1997-2003), hitting .259 with 138 HR. He was the last Buc on the right side of the long losing slide. At the time of his retirement in 2003, he was the only player remaining who had played on the last winning Pirate team in 1992, during his rookie year.
  • 1971 - IF Chris Gomez was born in Los Angeles. Chris closed out his 16-year big league career in Pittsburgh, hitting .273 for the Buccos while playing all four infield positions. He released after the campaign and then was cut by the Orioles out of camp in 2009. He retired a season later after playing nearly 1,500 MLB games and batting .262.
Chris Gomez 2008 Topps Update
  • 1987 - RHP Arquimedes Euclides Caminero (named after Archimedes and Euclid) was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The speed demon - he’s hit 100 on the radar gun - had his contract sold to the Pirates by the Miami Marlins in 2015. In 112 appearances with the Pirates from 2015-16, he went 6-3-1, 3.73 before being dealt to the Seattle Mariners. He’s now toiling in Japan.

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