Saturday, June 3, 2017

6/3 Happenings: Nate Trade; Josh Bomb; HBD Nelson; Draft Day Picks Bonds, Womack, Gonzo, Grabow & More

  • 1906 - In a deal that didn’t pan out very well, the Pirates sent rookie LHP Ed “Loose’ Karger to the St Louis Cardinals for veteran RH hurler Chappie McFarland. Karger pitched well for some bad St. Louis teams and lasted in the show through 1911, going 48-67 with a 2.79 ERA while working for four teams. (Some say Loose’s nickname represented his carefree character; others say it described his delivery) Chappie was waived in August by the Pirates and pitched once more in the majors as a Brooklyn Dodger in 1906.
Josh launched an ICBM  1993 Ted Williams
  • 1937 - Homestead Gray C Josh Gibson hit perhaps his most storied homer, reported by the Sporting News to have traveled 580’, catching the back rim at Yankee Stadium in a game against the NY Black Yankees. If accurate, which is a point of considerable debate (no StatCast back then), it would be longest homerun ever hit. Mickey Mantle’s 565’ blast in 1953 off Washington’s Chuck Stobbs at Griffith Stadium is considered the biggest blast. It was measured literally by a tape measure, leading to “tape measure” homer being added to baseball’s lexicon, and like Gibson’s moonshot is argued as to actual length.
  • 1964 - IF Nelson Liriano was born in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. The veteran infielder saw a lot of part time action for the Bucs in 1995-96, getting in 219 games and hitting .277 after being claimed off waivers from Colorado. His greatest career footnote may be from the 1989 season when as a Toronto Blue Jay, he broke up two no-hitters in the ninth inning within a six-day span, spoiling bids by first Nolan Ryan and then Kirk McCaskill. Nelson became a minor league manager and coach when he left the game, mainly with the Royals organization.
  • 1985 - Barry Bonds was drafted by the Pirates in the first round (6th pick overall) of the 1985 draft and signed two days later for a $125,000 bonus. He was the prize in the Cracker Jack box; the only others to reach the MLB from that year were OF Tommy Gregg and pitchers Brett Gideon & Bill Sampen. And if you’re wondering, BJ Surhoff, Will “The Thrill” Clark, Bobby Witt, Barry Larkin and Kurt Brown were taken ahead of him. Pirate coach Joey Cora was taken #23 overall in that same draft by the Padres.
Barry Bonds 1986 Fleer
  • 1991 - JC catcher Jon Farrell was the Pirates first selection (#24) in the draft; he got as far as AA ball. The only noteworthy selections of the day was seventh-round pick 2B Tony Womack, who spent 13 years in MLB, five as a Buc, for whom he hit .278 while stealing 122 bases. P Matt Ruebel, a third rounder, pitched a couple of years for the Pirates ( 1996-97: 4-5-1, 5.54 in 70 games) and 19th rounder P Marc Pisciotta tossed in three MLB campaigns. Some late prep picks made the grade, although not with Pittsburgh. 39th-round pick RHP Dustin Hermanson worked 12 big-league campaigns, 56th-rounder RHP Paul Brower lasted nine seasons and 57th-round selection RHP Paul Wilson hurled for seven years, but none of the trio signed with the Pirates, going to other clubs in the 1994 draft.
  • 1993 - Pittsburgh pretty much missed the mark in this draft. They selected HS OF’er Charles Peterson first (#22/$420K bonus), who never made it to the show, followed by second round OF Jermaine Allensworth (#34/$194K bonus); he played 2-1/2 years for the Bucs, hitting .272 as a reserve. RHP Kane Davis was the only other big league contributor beyond a cup of coffee; his top season was 2001 for Colorado, when he made 57 appearances and went 2-4 with a 4.35 ERA.
  • 1997 - The Pirates drafted HS OF/1B JJ Davis as their top pick (#8) and signed him to a $1.675M bonus (Davis was a three sport star and had a football scholarship in hand from USC). He played 67 MLB games, with 106 at-bats and a .179 BA. In a bit of goes around, comes around, Paul Meyers of the Post Gazette wrote that RHP Jason Grilli was on the Pirates “hot list” of potential picks, but he went off the board before they could get him as the #4 overall selection of the Giants. They found bullpen arms later on, selecting LHPs John Grabow in the third round and Mike “Gonzo” Gonzalez in the 30th.
The Nate-to-Cutch Era Began 2009 Topps Toppstown
  • 2009 - The Bucs traded OF Nate McLouth to Atlanta for OF Gorkys Hernandez, LHP Jeff Locke and RHP Charlie Morton, clearing an everyday spot for Andrew McCutchen who was called up from the minors that day. Hernandez was later flipped (he’s been involved in several moves) for Gaby Sanchez while Morton (who was sent to the Phillies in 2016 & now with the Astros) and Locke (he became a Marlin in 2017) filled rotation spots. McLouth was a flop for the Braves and during a brief return to Pittsburgh but revived his career with Baltimore. He then signed with Washington, but a shoulder injury cost him the year and he hasn’t played since the 2014 season.

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