Sunday, June 4, 2017

6/4 Happenings: Kiner Trade, FF Lights, Forfeit, Iron Man Gus, Kiki & Gus Cycles, Cutch Star, HBD Herb, Bob, Larry & Tony

  • 1892 - LHP Herb Kelly was born in Mobile, Alabama. Herb spent his brief MLB career in Pittsburgh, going 1-3, 2.95 in 10 outings between 1914-15. Unlike many players of that era, Herb didn’t become a wandering baseball nomad; he hung up the spikes at age 25 after a stint in the minors and got on with his life.
Patsy Donovan 1898 Pepsin Gum Badge
  • 1897 - After losing a game four days prior by forfeit after a disputed call, the Bucs were banged with yet another forfeiture. Down 4-0 to the Philadelphia Phillies/Quakers at the Baker Bowl, the Pirates lost a potential two-run double in the fourth frame on a disputed foul call. Manager Patsy Donovan and the ump discussed the matter between innings, and apparently Patsy was a bit too colorful and/or the Pirates were a little sluggish getting back on the field (although the Pittsburg Press claims all but a pair were in position, and they were part of the convo at home), so ump McDonald called the game in favor of the Phils. The Press noted that “The fair minded Philadelphia fans (quite a change in culture over the decades) were as indignant as the Pittsburg players and yelled ‘Play ball’ but the Phillies hurried into the clubhouse and McDonald disappeared. The Pittsburgh players remained on the field for 10 minutes afterward...” unaware or disbelieving what had just happened. The paper opined that the affair “...added to the bad reputation the Pirates have acquired in the east.”
  • 1908 - RHP Bob Klinger was born in Allenton, Missouri. He was a multi-roled pitcher who could start or close, and went 62-58-9 with a 3.74 ERA in Pittsburgh from 1938-43. Klinger was in the service for two years before closing out his career with the MLB Red Sox between 1946-47. But he didn’t give up on baseball, playing in the minors through 1950. Bob was offered a manager’s job in the bushes, but returned home to Missouri and finished his years running a cement company.
  • 1925 - Kiki Cuyler hit for the cycle plus a walk, driving in three runs and scoring four as the Bucs rolled over the Philadelphia Phillies 16-3 at Forbes Field. Every Pirate starter, including pitcher Lee Meadows, had a hit & scored and/or drove home a run.
Gus Suhr 1939 Play Ball
  • 1937 - First baseman Gus Suhr set the Pirates and then-NL record by playing in his 822nd consecutive game, going 1-for-4 in a loss to Boston at Braves Field. The streak ended when Suhr attended his mother’s funeral the next day, flying to San Francisco for the services.
  • 1940 - The Pirates played their first home game under the lights at Forbes Field, beating the Boston Bees 14-2 behind Joe Bowman’s five-hitter in front of 20,319 fans. Maurice Van Robays and Frankie Gustine combined for seven RBI while six different Buccos scored twice. Night games were supposed to be an attraction for the working fans; it ended up quite a few female fans took in the game, too. The light banks were connected to eight towers, built by the local engineers of Westinghouse. The first night game played at the ballyard was back in 1930 when the Homestead Grays and KC Monarchs played under portable lights; the first MLB night game was at Cincinnati’s Crosley Field in 1935.
  • 1951 - Gus Bell hit for the cycle to lead the Pirates to a 12-4 victory over the Phillies at Shibe Park. Bell, Rocky Nelson and Wally Westlake had three RBI apiece; Nelson and Westlake also collected three hits each. Rookie Bob Friend got the win, his first in the majors, going 6-⅓ IP with help from Murry Dickson, who closed out the game after that.
  • 1953 - General Manager Branch Rickey traded future Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner, the only man to lead the league in home runs for seven consecutive seasons, as the salary dump centerpiece of a huge deal with the Cubs. (After several acrimonious contract battles, Rickey reportedly told the slugger "We finished last with you, we can finish last without you.") At least he didn’t have to travel far. The Cubs were at Forbes Field, and the trade was announced after batting practice. The players involved from Pittsburgh were Kiner, C Joe Garagiola, P Howie Pollet, and OF Catfish Metkovich, who were sent to the Cubs for C Toby Atwell, P Bob Schultz, 1B Preston Ward, 3B George Freese, OF Bob Addis, OF Gene Hermanski, and $150,000.
Larry Demery 1977 Topps
  • 1953 - RHP Larry Demery was born in Bakersfield, California, the son of Negro League outfielder/pitcher Artist Demery. He broke into the Pirate rotation a few days after turning 21 in June of 1974. Demery was mostly a long man, going 29-23-7/3.72, though he did start 46 times. An arm injury in 1977 ended his career after a four year run with the Bucs.
  • 1957 - C Tony Pena was born in Monte Cristi, in the Dominican Republic. Signed in 1975 as an international FA, he spent his first seven years (1980-86) in Pittsburgh, hitting .286 and earning spots on four All-Star teams before he was traded in the 1987 preseason to the St. Louis Cards for P Mike Dunne, C Mike LaValliere and OF Andy Van Slyke. The trade caught Pena, a lifelong Pirate, by surprise; he teared up at the press conference announcing the deal. 
  • 2009 - Andrew McCutchen made his first MLB start against the NY Mets. He singled off Mike Pelfrey in his first at bat and went 2-for-4 with a RBI, three runs scored and a stolen base in an 11-6 win at PNC Park.

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