Monday, June 5, 2017

6/5: Moonshot Blasts, Shutout Ball, Stargell's 9-In-A-Row, Bill's Big Day, HBD Happy Jack & Ray, Hard Loss

  • 1874 - RHP Jack Chesbro (nee John D. Cheesbro) was born in Houghtonville, Massachusetts. The righty spent the first four years (1899-1902) of his career as a Pirate, going 70-38/2.83 with a pair of 20+ win seasons. He jumped from the NL Pirates to the AL New York Highlanders in 1903, and won 41 games in 55 appearances (41-12/1.82 with a 14 consecutive wins streak) in 1904, a record that will never be overtaken. The Old Timers’ Committee voted him into the Hall of Fame in 1946 on the strength of that superb season. Chesbro picked up the nickname “Happy Jack” while working at the Middleton NY state mental hospital (he was playing amateur ball for the house team, The “Asylums”) after a patient noted his cheery disposition and friendly grin, per SABR.
Happy Jack Chesbro 2011 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions
  • 1895 - OF Ray Rohwer was born in Dixon, California. Ray’s MLB career lasted from 1921-22 with the Bucs as a back-up outfielder, hitting .284 over that span. Ray was a west coast kinda guy, playing college ball at the U of California at Berkeley before serving in the Army during WW1. After the Pirates, Rohwer spent nine seasons in the PCL, playing for Seattle, Portland and Sacramento where he compiled a career .299 BA. When he retired, he stayed in California working for the Federal Land Bank.
  • 1903 - The Pirates banged out 17 hits against Boston at Exposition Park to take a 9-0 victory and Pittsburgh's fourth straight shutout‚ setting a new MLB record. Fred Clarke went 5-for-5 and Ginger Beaumont 4-for-5 to lead the attack. The Buc pitchers would run their shutout streak to six games before finally yielding a run.
  • 1951 - Buc rookie knuckler Paul “Lefty” LaPalme hurled a 8-0 shutout against Boston at Braves Field in his first major league start. It was his only win of the year, but he lasted seven MLB seasons, four with the Pirates, with a 24-45/4.42 line.
Lefty LaPalme 1952 Topps
  • 1959 - Dick Stuart hit a massive homer over the 457’ mark of Forbes Field center field wall, the longest home run in the history of the ballpark, traveling between 475-500’ by various estimates. Dr. Strangeglove's blast came in the first inning off Glen Hobbie during the Pirates' 10-5 loss to Chicago. The local papers claimed it was the first ball hit over the center field wall. That may have been true of MLB players (although Rogers Hornsby hit the CF flagpole, keeping his moonshot from clearing the wall) but Josh Gibson was said to have launched balls that left the yard in center twice during his Negro League career.
  • 1966 - In a 10-5 Bucs win over Houston at Forbes Field‚ Willie Stargell went 5-for-5 with two HR, a double and four RBI‚ ringing up nine straight hits in two days against the ‘Stros. Roberto Clemente added a 500’ shot off Turk Farrell, hit the opposite way over the 436’ mark and landing in Plaza Field, a little league diamond behind the ballyard. Bob Veale struck out 11 batters in his six frames of work, but Pete Mikkelsen picked up the win in relief, pitching the final three innings.
Willie Stargell 1967 Topps
  • 1968 - The Bucs lost a tough one when Zoilo Versalles slid home, was called out and then a second later ruled safe as plate ump Bill Jackowski reversed himself to give the LA Dodgers a 2-1 win. The umpire said he saw the ball loose on Zoilo’s leg after the tag; catcher Jerry May claimed it was in his glove all the time. Versalles didn’t hang around for the argument but sprinted straight into the Dodger dugout after the reversal, later explaining “...the umpire not sure, he says out and I yell ‘No, no, safe.’ The ump says ‘Oh, he drop ball, you safe.’” Afterward, Larry Shepard darkly told the media that “This ballpark seems to do something to an umpire,” referring to the number of calls the home team seems to have fall its way at Dodger Stadium. LA’s Bill Singer was probably more to blame for the loss than Jackowski as he tossed a six-hit gem against the Bucs with 12 K. Roberto Clemente was the only Pirate who could solve him with three hits and the only run scored while Alvin McBean, who also tossed a six-hitter, took the disputed, hard-luck loss.
  • 1976 - McKeesport’s Bill Robinson hit three homers and drove home four runs, but the Pirates lost in fifteen innings to the San Diego Padres at TRS 11-9 after scoring three times in the ninth, the rally built around Dave Parker’s triple, to send the game into overtime.

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