Wednesday, July 19, 2017

7/19 Forbes Field Era: Law Gem, Vaughan Cycle, McKiney Out, Duke Joins Up, HBD Nick & Vincente

  • 1935 - C Nick Koback was born in Hartford, Connecticut. In 1953, at the age of 17, Koback signed with Pittsburgh as a bonus baby out of Hartford HS. He made his MLB debut before playing in the minors and as you might imagine, he wasn’t quite ready for showtime. He got some quick sips of coffee with the Bucs from 1953-55 and went 4-for-33 (.121). It was his only big league time; most of his career was spent in the minors and Mexico. He earned a reputation of a good hitter - of Titleists, not baseballs (his minor league lifetime BA was .243), and he became a golf pro after he left baseball. 
  • 1939 - Arky Vaughan went 5-for-5 and hit for his second career cycle against the Giants at the Polo Grounds, scoring four times and driving home a pair of runs. Fern Bell added three RBI in the 10-3 Pirate win. Mace Brown went the distance for the victory, supported by a hearty 19 hit Bucco attack. 
  • 1950 - Frank E. McKinney resigned as president of the Pirates. He sold his interests in the club to partners John Galbreath and Tom Johnson‚ with Galbreath assuming the presidency. Vice President Bing Crosby retained his minority interest. McKinney and the group had bought the Bucs in 1946 from Barney Dreyfuss’ family. 
  • 1950 - The Pirates purchased 3B Bob “Duke” Dillinger from the Philadelphia Athletics for $35,000. The 31-year-old slap-hitter played 70 games from 1950-51 for the Bucs, batting .279. An All-Star (1949) and league hits leader (1948) for the SL Browns, Bob had also claimed the AL stolen base crown from 1947-49, but his wheels were wearing thin and he only swiped six sacks as a Bucco. The Pirates sold him to the White Sox in 1951, and that was his last hurrah after six MLB seasons. Two things conspired against Dillinger - he got to the show late, spending three years in the service, and toward the end he developed an early case of “Steve Sax” disease, often finding himself unable to make the throw across the infield. He spent his final four years in the PCL before becoming an inspector for Los Angeles. 
Vern Law 1955 Bowman
  • 1955 - Vern Law pitched 18 innings against the Milwaukee Braves in front of 10,000 Forbes Field fans. And he didn’t even get the win; Bob Friend worked the 19th frame of the 4-3 victory. Law left giving up two runs - one was unearned - on nine hits with two walks and 12 whiffs. Friend came in and gave up a score, but the Bucs came back with a pair of tallies on Gene Freese’s single, Dale Long’s double that plated Freese and the game winning knock by Frank Thomas. Law took the hill on just two days rest; he got the start when the scheduled hurler, Joe Gibbon, became ill. 
  • 1963 - RHP Vincente Palacios was born in Manlio Fabio Altamirano, Mexico. He tossed five years (1987-88, 1990-92) for the Bucs as a spot starter and long man as a member of the powerhouse 1990-92 teams of Jimmy Leyland. Palacios went 12-8-6/4.03 during his time in Pittsburgh. His career was hampered by a pair of shoulder surgeries, and after his Pirate days he yo-yo’ed between MLB and primarily the Mexican League.

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