Wednesday, June 7, 2017

6/7 Events: Klein Signed, Union Vote, HBD Bones, Les, Bill & Virgil

  • 1863 - SS William “Bones” Ely was born in North Girard, just outside Erie. And if you’ve ever wondered who held down SS before Honus Wagner, wonder no more - Bones is the man. Ely played for the Alleghenys/Pirates from 1896-1901, and was a good glove man who hit .256 for Pittsburgh. He was released in the summer of 1901, the Bucs first pennant-winning year, at the age of 38 and his spot was taken by the Flying Dutchman. If you saw him, you’d understand his nickname in a flash - Ely was 6’1” and 155 pounds soaking wet.
Bones Ely (image via SABR)
  • 1907 - Les Biederman was born in Wilkinsburg. He was the Pittsburgh Press' Pirates beat reporter for 31 years (1939-69) and served as The Sporting News' Pittsburgh correspondent. Les was also president of the BBWAA and named “Sportswriter of the Year” in 1960 by a couple of national organizations.
  • 1939 - The Bucs signed former All-Star/triple crown winner and future Hall-of-Famer OF Chuck Klein, who was released by Philadelphia. Klein, 34, hit .300 in 85 games for Pittsburgh and then returned to the Phils as a free agent. In a bit of an oddity, the Bucs released another future Hall of Famer at the end of his career, Heinie Manush, to make roster room for Klein.
  • 1946 - An hour before the game, the Pirates voted against a walkout in support of the American Baseball Guild, which was pushing for a minimum salary of $7‚500‚ arbitration of salary disputes‚ and players sharing in 50 percent of any team sale price. The motion actually carried by a 20-16 vote, but needed a ⅔ majority. The Bucs took it out their frustrations on the poor baseball, beating the New York Giants 10-5 behind a 15 hit attack. Every Pittsburgh starter, including winning pitcher Ed Bahr, reached base via hit/walk and all but C Bill Salkeld either scored and/or chased runs home.
Ed Bahr 1984 TCMA (original 1946 Play Ball)
  • 1955 - Ump Bill Hohn was born in Butler. He spent a decade calling games in the minors with a couple of part-time shots in the show and was hired by the NL full time in 1989. He worked the 1994 All-Star Game, three NLDS sets and was the home plate umpire for Hideo Nomo's 1996 no-hitter. Hohn took a hiatus from 1999-2001 when he was part of the umpire gang that resigned in an effort to get a new labor deal and didn’t get reinstated until the 2002 season. Bill’s last campaign was in 2010; he sat out 2011 with back/neck injuries and retired in 2012.
  • 1982 - RHP Virgil Vasquez was born in Santa Barbara, California. Virgil got a cup of coffee with the Tigers in 2007 and a better shot to show his stuff with a thin Pirates pitching staff in 2009, going 2-5/5.84 in 14 games (seven starts). He was traded to Tampa, but was hit by a car while driving his scooter and broke both wrists. He’s been working as a Twins’ minor league pitching coach since 2015.

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