Tuesday, July 11, 2017

7/11 Games & Events: Jackson Deal; Lefty Out; HBP Pop, Skeets, Otter & Javier, Game Stories

  • 1865 - C William “Pop” Shriver was born in Brooklyn. He was a part-time catcher for the 1898-1900 Bucs, hitting .265 toward the end of a 16-year career. He played one more year for St. Louis, then hung them up after 1901. He’s part of early baseball’s folklore when in 1894 he was alleged to have caught a ball tossed from the top of the Washington Monument, over 500’ high, by Clark Griffith, who at the time was a pitcher and Pop’s teammate on the Chicago Colts. The usual tale is that he missed the first ball but snagged the second, although some say (much after the fact) that the ball popped out of his mitt. 
Pop Schriver 1898-1900 (photo Detroit Public Library)
  • 1902 - “Pittsburg won from New York yesterday but at a terrible price. Lefty Davis caught his foot in second base and fell with a fractured leg,” was the Pittsburg Press’ lead. Davis had stolen second base and bounced up to head to third when the throw got away, but stumbled over the sack, breaking his ankle, passing out and then being carried to the clubhouse. The 27-year-old outfielder never quite recovered his game; Davis was a .287 hitter with 45 steals in 171 big league games to that point, but missed the rest of the campaign and finished his remaining 177 games batting .234 with 20 thefts. The Pirates did win the ballgame at the Polo Grounds 6-3 as five Bucs banged out a pair of hits in support of Deacon Phillippe. 
  • 1908 - Per the Pittsburg Press' Ralph Davis: "In a game filled with pretty fielding plays and delightful batting rallies..." Vic Willis tossed a one-hitter in a 6-2 win over the Giants at Exposition Park. Mike Donlin's triple was the only New York knock. Roy Thomas had three hits for the Bucs (two were triples) and Hans Wagner added a pair of knocks. 
  • 1921 - RHP Hal “Skeets” Gregg was born in Anaheim, California. He worked for three years (1948-50) for the Bucs after a five-year run in Brooklyn. Skeets tossed mostly from the pen and went 3-6-1 with a 4.85 as a Pirate when he was on the downside of his career, suffering arm and back woes. Quick factoid: Gregg was noted for his fastball, which he honed as a child by rifling oranges at various targets on his parent's orange grove.
Lee Meadows 1925 (image via Pittsburgh Press)
  • 1925 - The Bucs managed to blow a five run lead to the Brooklyn Robins at Ebbet’s Field by giving up a six-spot in the eighth, but back-to-back triples by Clyde Barnhart and Pie Traynor in the top of the ninth were the spark that pushed the Pirates to a 7-6 victory, sealed by a running grab of a shot to deep center by Max Carey with the tying run on base. Lee Meadows went the distance for the win. 
  • 1951 - Ed Ott was born in Muncy, PA, just east of Williamsport. He caught righty but hit lefty, putting him in a platoon role for Pittsburgh for seven seasons (1974-80), hitting .259. He was effective in the 1979 World Series; in three starts, he hit .333 with three RBI in just 12 at-bats. Not too surprisingly, he was nicknamed “The Otter.”
  • 1963 - In a 3-0 win over the Colt .45s at Forbes Field, Roberto Clemente’s bullet chased Jim Wynn from the infield to a career in the pasture. As the Toy Cannon, who was a rookie playing SS then, told Baseball Digest “Clemente hit a screaming line drive, and I got my glove up just as the ball hit the left field wall. After that, I told the coaches and manager to get me out of the infield.” Wynn was granted his wish, and played 1,810 games in the OF after 21 appearances at short during his rookie campaign. 
  • 1973 - Willie Stargell cracked the 302nd home run of his career to pass Ralph Kiner as the all-time Pirate HR leader in a 10-2 victory over the Padres at San Diego Stadium. Bob Robertson, Al Oliver and Dal Maxvill each had three hits while Nellie Briles went the distance, tossing a seven hitter with seven punchouts. 
Javier Lopez (photo USA Today Sports)
  • 1977 - LHP Javier Lopez was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Lopez signed as a FA with the Pirates in 2010 for $775K after having a horrible year in Boston. The 32-year-old LOOGY rebounded with a slash of 2-2/2.79 and was moved at the deadline to the San Francisco Giants for RHP Joe Martinez and OF John Bowker. He spent seven seasons with the G-Men, working in four playoff runs and two World Series before retiring in 2017. 
  • 1992 - The Pirates traded 3B Steve Buechele, made expendable by the emergence of Jeff King, to the Cubs in exchange for LHP Danny Jackson as a stretch run acquisition. Jackson went 4-4/3.36 in 15 starts, lost his only playoff start, and went to the Marlins in the 1992 expansion draft. Buechele played until 1995. King held the hot corner in Pittsburgh for eight years. 
  • 2002 - Brian Giles was the man of the hour for the Pirates at Miller Park when he homered in the 10th inning to give the Bucs the 3-2 lead and eventual win over the Milwaukee Brewers. Pokey Reese had a two-out, two-run, bases-loaded single in the fourth. Brian Boehringer improved to 2-2 on the season after picking up the win in relief of Josh Fogg. Mike Williams came in for the bottom of the 10th and recorded his 26th save of the season. 
Vance Worley 2015 Topps Heritage
  • 2015 - It was a game that the Bucs and Cardinals squeezed for every drop of drama at PNC Park in front of 37,318, shown nationally on Fox Sports. The two best teams in baseball by record, Pittsburgh won a 6-5, 14-inning walkoff victory in a contest that lasted into the next day. Mark Reynolds drew first blood when he homered after striking out - he swung and missed for strike three, but plate ump Vic Carapazza miscalled it a foul, and he then belted the reprieve into the LF stands. The Redbirds were up 3-0 before AJ Burnett, the Pirate starter, hit his first homer in a decade. The Pirates tied it in the eighth, fell behind in the 10th, tied it in the bottom half on a Jung-Ho Kang triple and Chris Stewart knock, and fell behind again in the 14th only to win it when Neil Walker singled and Andrew McCutchen homered into the batter’s eye in center (he also extended his hitting streak to 18 games). Vance Worley got the win that cut the Cards’ lead in the NL Central to 3-½ games; it had been a nine-game gap on June 28th.

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