Tuesday, June 6, 2017

6/6: Big Innings, Jubilee, Hard Hats, D-Day, Blackies Day, HBD Tommy & Doug, Higbe Deal, Long Balls, Scufflin'

  • 1894 - The Pirates set a club record by scoring 27 runs when they routed the Boston Beaneaters, 27-11, at Exposition Park in the North Side. Boston actually led 2-0 in the second inning and was tied 3-3 going into the bottom of the third, until Pittsburgh scored 21 runs in the third and fourth innings. Jake Stenzel homered twice in the third inning off Henry Lampe, a Bucco feat that wouldn’t be duplicated again until 1995 by Jeff King. The Bucs hit four homers and scored 12 times in the third frame, sending 15 players to the dish and setting a HR record of seven bombs in a single game that wouldn’t be matched until 1947.
Jake Stenzel (photo via Find A Grave)
  • 1902 - 2B Lafayette Fresco “Tommy” Thompson was born in Centerville, Alabama. He first planted his MLB roots in Pittsburgh, playing 14 games and batting .286 for the World Champion 1925 Pirates club before moving on to spend eight more years in the show, notably with Philadelphia. But Tommy made his name after his playing days, managing in the minors and then becoming a big wheel for the Dodgers, rising from assistant farm director to head of minor league operations under Buzzy Bavasi, who he even replaced him as GM briefly. Thompson put together the 1968 draft that netted Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Ron Cey, Bill Buckner, Bobby Valentine, Joe Ferguson and Tom Paciorek. Sadly, he didn’t get to enjoy the fruits of his labor as he passed away a few weeks later.
  • 1925 - The Pirates held their Golden Jubilee celebration, bring back old stalwarts like Jack Chesbro, Honus Wagner, Fred Clarke, Kitty Bransfield, Deacon Phillippe, Ginger Beaumont, CL Zimmer, Tom McCreedy, Jess Tannehill, George Yeager, Jimmie Burke, Tommy Leach and Claude Ritchey. The 1901 team played the 1925 vets in a special, pre-game exhibition that lasted three innings, with the current club beating the old timers by a 5-3 score. Pittsburgh went to work afterwards, beating the Phils 9-3 at Forbes Field behind Emil Yde in the game that counted. Eddie Moore homered, Pie Traynor had a double and triple and Glenn Wright contributed a pair of knocks, including a two-bagger, to lead the Pirate attack.
  • 1940 - The Bucs fell behind Boston 5-0 in the second, then put up a six-spot of their own in the third and hung on for a 7-6 win at Forbes Field. It was an all-hands-on-deck performance with six of the eight Pirates position players having hits with runs and/or RBI on the score sheet. Rip Sewell tossed eight innings for the win in relief; he gave up 10 hits but just two runs.
Rip Sewell 1989 Pacific Trading
  • 1941 - The New York Giants became the first team to wear headgear in a game against the Pirates at the Polo Grounds as Pittsburgh swept the doubleheader, 5-4 and 4-3. They really didn’t need the protection; no one was beaned in either contest. The Pirates made batting helmets mandatory a decade later under Branch Rickey’s direction. In the nitecap of the twin bill, Rip Sewell flashed some golden glovework as he set a NL record with 11 assists as a pitcher.
  • 1944 - The Pirates joined Brooklyn (which hosted the only other MLB game scheduled for the day) by cancelling their game against the Reds at Forbes Field in tribute to D-Day. Pirates president William Benswanger said “...merely asking the audience to rise and offer silent prayer for the Allied armies who have just invaded the enemy’s stronghold would scarcely be sufficient for such a solemn occasion.” The game was pushed back 24 hours, with the Bucs taking a 4-2 decision behind Rip Sewell’s seven hitter and Vince DiMaggio’s two-run single in the eighth. The win cemented the Pirates hold on second place, where they would finish the year with a 90-63 record, 15 games behind the St. Louis Cards. The Redbirds won the “Streetcar Series” against the St. Louis Browns.
  • 1949 - RHP Kirby Higbe was traded to the New York Giants for P Ray Poat and IF Bobby Rhawn. It ended up a minor deal; Higbe was about at the end of his MLB days (he retired after the 1950 season) and the Giant pair played briefly for the Bucs in ‘49 but were gone the following season. Manager Bill Meyer said somewhat tartly but accurately of the deal “We didn’t get anything too much, but we gave away nothing.” The Bucs were cleaning house; pitcher Bob Moncrief was waived and sold to the Cubs for $10,000 on the same day.
Kirby Higbe 1949 Bowman
  • 1956 - Three Bucco batters (Dale Long, Frank Thomas and Roberto Clemente) went deep in the Pirates 8-2 win over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Clemente and Thomas each had three hits and three RBI on the day while Ron Kline went the distance for the win.
  • 1959 - Ron Blackburn had a good day even if his team didn’t. The reliever smacked the only longball of his MLB career off Moe Drabowsky and tossed four innings of perfect ball in an 8-2 loss to the Cubs at Forbes Field.
  • 1959 - OF Doug Frobel was born in Ottawa, Ontario. He played for Pittsburgh from 1982-85. Frobel looked ready to break out after hitting .286 in limited at-bats in 1983, but couldn’t match that pace in following campaigns, ending his Bucco career with a .213 BA.
Doug Frobel 1984 Topps
  • 1986 - The Bucs split a twinbill with the Mets at TRS but not without a little dancing. Rick Rhoden was cruising on his way to a 7-1 opening game win when ex-Bucco and New York coach Bill Robinson called him a cheater (Rhoden was often accused of scuffing a ball), Rick cussed back, Robby gave him a good shove and for five minutes the benches and bullpens did the baseball cha-cha around the mound. Order was restored; apparently the trigger point was when Rhoden threw a ball in the dirt that left a mark, causing Robinson to call on the ump to check the pitcher for foreign objects, which he did without success. RJ Reynolds did the most damage (with his bat, not his knuckles) with three hits, missing the cycle by a long ball. Barry Bonds had a pair of hits and a homer. The second game went the other way with the New York nine running up a 10-4 score as Jose deLeon was chased in the fourth inning.
  • 2014 - The Pirates scored eight times in the sixth inning to hand the Milwaukee Brewers a 15-5 thumping at PNC Park, the biggest Bucco frame since 2012 when they accomplished the feat against San Diego. The 15 runs were the most scored since 2010, also against Milwaukee. The Bucs parlayed six hits and four walks into their big inning. Seven Pirates had multi hit outings, led by Russ Martin, who had three hits, four RBI and three runs scored to prime the 16 hit attack.
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