Saturday, June 17, 2017

6/17: HBD Pete, Bob, Zeb, Joe & Bennie; Cutch's First HR: Bro-Bombs; Pedro's Big Day & Game Stories...

  • 1861 - OF Pete Browning was born in Louisville. One of the great hitters (and terrible fielders - he was known as “The Gladiator” because of his fights with fly balls, although others claim it was due to his tussles with league suits and the media) of early baseball, he played 50 games for 1891 for Pittsburgh, batting .291. He may not have played here long, but he had an influential 13-year career. Per Wikipedia: One of the ballers to jump to the outlaw Players League (he actually helped create it), Browning's decision to sign with Pittsburgh in 1891 helped cement the team's new nickname of "Pirates." When the PL collapsed, its members were supposed to return to their original franchises. Pittsburgh, though, signed several players who were theoretically under the control of other clubs, starting with second baseman Lou Bierbauer. Other franchises decried these acts of "piracy", and the name stuck. Browning is also remembered as the inspiration behind the Hillerich & Bradsby's iconic "Louisville Slugger" (another of his nicknames) bats. He was the first player to buy bats from the company and they used the name a few years later to both recognize its roots and cash in on Pete’s fame. Finally, The Gladiator retired with a .341 lifetime BA, leading SABR to name him as an overlooked but deserving 19th Century Hall of Fame player. The fact he was an early union agitator and helped form the Players League (plus his later bouts of alcoholism, which made his relations with the media contentious) didn’t help his cause.
  • 1887 - OF Bob Coulson was born in Courtney, in New Eagle Township in Washington county and raised in Donora. The Mon Valley community is noted for nurturing stars like Stan the Man and Junior, but Bob was its first contribution to the majors. He played three years for three MLB teams, then the Penn State product spent two more seasons in the bushes spanning the continent with stints in Newark, Kansas City and Portland. He finally got a chance to finish his career at home, playing 18 games for the Pittsburgh Rebels in 1914, hitting .203 before retiring to Washington county where he became a Register of Wills, Department of Labor inspector and Assessment Officer. He’s buried in Beallsville Cemetery.
Zeb Terry 1915 (image via The Day Book)
  • 1891 - SS Zeb Terry was born in Denison, Texas. Zebelon spent seven years in the majors, spending the 1919 season with the Pirates, batting .227. He was raised in California and attended Long Beach Poly HS, which has produced 19 MLB players, before going to Stanford and then the majors.
  • 1910 - RHP Joe Bowman was born in Kansas City. He tossed for the Bucs from 1937-41, split between starting and the pen, with a record of 33-38-6 and a 4.35 ERA. Joe knew his way around a batter’s box, too, hitting .281 with 38 RBI as a Pirate.
  • 1932 - RHP Bennie Daniels was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He underperformed in his Pittsburgh years, going 8-16-1 with a 5.84 ERA, though his FIP was a more solid 3.98. He was traded to the Washington Senators, where he put up workmanlike numbers for five more seasons.
  • 1969 - Richie Hebner was the man of the hour in a twinbill sweep at Forbes Field against the first place Chicago Cubs, driving in the game’s only run in a 1-0 victory in the opener and then plating a walk-off RBI in a 4-3 nightcap win. Bob Veale won the lidlifter with a save by Bruce Dal Canton. Steve Blass won the second game in relief, and helped himself by scoring the winning run.
Richie Hebner 1969 Topps Rookie
  • 2001 - The Pirates scored with two outs in the ninth when Brian Giles singled and came around on Aramis Ramirez’s double to claim a 1-0 win for Todd Ritchie against the Cleveland Indians at PNC Park. Ritchie went the distance, giving up just four hits to the Tribe.
  • 2004 - Tike Redman broke up a pitching duel between Kris Benson and Bartolo Colon by banging homers in the seventh and eighth innings to lead the Pirates to a 5-2 win over the Anaheim Angels at PNC Park. Jack Wilson also went long.
  • 2007 - Nate McLouth doubled twice to drive in four runs and Jack Wilson scored three times as the Bucs held off the Chicago White Sox 8-7 at PNC Park. Matt Capps surrendered two runs in the ninth to keep it interesting but hung on for the save of Shawn Chacon’s W.
Nate McLouth 2007 Upper Deck
  • 2009 - Andrew McCutchen hit his first MLB homer off future teammate Francisco Liriano of the Minnesota Twins at the Mall of America Field in an 8-2 Buc win. He added another knock, marking his sixth multi-hit game in 13 starts. Andy and Adam LaRoche both went yard, the first brother combo to homer in the same game for Pittsburgh since the Waners in 1938. Ian Snell won the contest with help from John Grabow and Steven Jackson.
  • 2012 - Pedro Alvarez had a big day at Progressive Field, driving in six runs in a 9-5 win over the Cleveland Indians. El Toro homered twice and doubled, banging his first bomb off future teammate Jeanmar Gomez.
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