Monday, July 17, 2017

7/17 Happenings: HBD Jim, Chummy & Jerry; Hans Day; Loaiza Trade; FF Fire; ASG; Klein Joins Up; Tony's Blast

  • 1866 - RHP Jim Handiboe was born in Columbus, Ohio. Jim’s big league stay consisted of a season with the Alleghenys in 1886 where the 20-year-old put up a respectable 7-7/3.32 slash, going the distance 12 times. Apparently the team thought he needed a little more seasoning; Jim toiled in various whistle stops until 1901.
  • 1873 - RHP George “Chummy” Gray was born in Rockland, Maine. His tale is that of a AAAA pitcher getting his moment in the sun. After back-to-back 20 win seasons, Gray tossed a no-hitter with one walk for Buffalo in 1899. He got his reward when the Pirates brought him up for the last month of the season. Gray went 3-3/3.43 in nine games, completing six of his seven starts. Chummy then rattled around the minor leagues for a few more years, but never again returned to the majors before hanging up the spikes after the 1901 season. He passed away at age 40 from tuberculosis and is remembered as a member of the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame. 
Hans 2016 Panini Diamond Kongs
  • 1908 - Honus Wagner Day was celebrated at Exposition Park, and players from both teams lined up before the game to honor The Flying Dutchman. (Wagner's tribute was bumped back a day so it wouldn’t conflict with a benefit picnic for orphans, at Honus’ request.) Wagner was presented with a $700 gold watch. The Boston Doves won the game 4-0 behind ex-Pirate Tommy McCarthy’s five-hitter. It could have been worse - the Doves tacked on six more runs in the eighth, but the game was called because of darkness before the Pirates could bat. 
  • 1930 - OF/PH Jerry Lynch was born in Bay City, Michigan. Lynch started (1954-56) and ended (1963-66) his career in Pittsburgh, spending the seven middle years with the Reds. He hit .263/45/188 as a reserve Pirate outfielder and primo pinch hitter. Lynch had 116 pinch hits during his 13-year big league tour of duty with 18 HR, and even today he rates high on the hit lists for PH. 
  • 1939 - Newly acquired Bucco outfielder Chuck Klein made his first appearance back in Philadelphia since leaving the city where he spent 10 years as a player and jacked a pair of homers to lift the Bucs to a 7-4 win at Shibe Park. The Bucs released Klein in August, and he returned to his old club, retiring in 1944 as a Phil. 
  • 1971 - A deserted Forbes Field suffered its second fire in a matter of weeks, and the structural damage was so bad that its demolition, already scheduled by Pitt, began almost immediately. Now the former ballyard’s footprint is the site of Posvar Hall, with home plate still showcased in the building and a bit of the brick & ivy wall left standing. 
  • 1979 - The NL won its eighth straight All-Star Game, 7-6, at the Kingdome in Seattle. Pittsburgh’s only representative, Dave Parker, threw out a runners at home & third and was named the game's MVP. The Cobra went 1-for-3 with an RBI and was intentionally walked once. The ASG was the only one played at the Kingdom. By the time the Midsummer Classic returned to Seattle in 2001, the Mariners were playing in Safeco Park.
  • 1998 - The Bucs traded RHP Esteban Loaiza to the Texas Rangers for RHP Todd Van Poppel and 2B Warren Morris. Loaiza pitched for another 10 seasons (albeit with seven teams), topped by a 21-9/2.90 campaign with the White Sox in 2003 when he was an All-Star and Cy Young runner up. Morris was released after the 2001 season and Van Poppel worked one year for Pittsburgh. 
Todd Van Poppel 1999 (photo Vincent Laforet/Getty)
  • 2013 - The International League won the AAA All-Star Game, 4-3, over the Pacific Coast League. The big bop was delivered by Pirates C prospect Tony Sanchez of the Indy Indians who banged a three-run homer off Jarred Cosart in the second inning and won the game MVP. He got a late call to the big club that season, hitting .233 in 22 games, but is still bouncing around among organizations in the minors.

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