Thursday, July 27, 2017

7/27 Expo/Forbes Field Era: HBD Biz, RIP Babe, Two for Harris, All-Star Buck, Tryouts That Weren't, Cover Boy Matty, More

  • 1897 - C Biz Mackey was born in Eagle Pass, Texas. The 2006 Hall of Famer played for 24 seasons in the Negro Leagues and made a brief stop in the area in 1927, playing for the Homestead Grays when they were an independent team. He put together a .329 lifetime BA and is considered one of the two top catchers in black baseball history, along with Josh Gibson. 
Hans 1909 Philadelphia Caramel
  • 1908 - Honus Wagner and Chief Wilson led the Bucs to a 4-3 win over the NY Giants and Christy Mathewson at the Polo Grounds. The Flying Dutchman had a pair of doubles good for two runs and an RBI while Wilson had two knocks including a triple, scored once and drove in a pair. Nick Maddox got the win while Irv Young came on the get the last out in the ninth. 
  • 1927 - Vic Aldridge tossed a five hitter and the Bucs scored twice in the eighth to beat Dazzy Vance and the Brooklyn Robins‚ 2-1 at Forbes Field to take over undisputed possession of first place. Kiki Cuyler’s single scored Paul Waner, who had three hits on the day, and George Grantham for the win. 
  • 1932 - Bill Harris notched a pair of wins in a twinbill against the Giants at the Polo Grounds‚ tossing three innings in the opening 9-8 win followed by two perfect frames in a 4-2 nitecap victory. In the first game, Lloyd Waner had four knocks while Arky Vaughan and Tony Piet homered. The Pirates scored three in the ninth to take the second match with C Earl Grace knocking home two of his three RBI and Harris singling in another. The Pirates increased their NL lead over the Cubs to five games, but would finish the season four games behind Chicago in the pennant race. 
Bill Harris (photo via Retro Images Collection)
  • 1941 - Homestead Gray 1B Buck Leonard launched a three-run homer at Comiskey Park to lead the East to an 8-3 win over the West in the Negro League All-Star Game. The contest drew a record crowd of 50,256. 
  • 1942 - The New York Daily Worker announced that Pittsburgh Pirates owner Bill Benswanger planned a tryout for Negro League players Roy Campanella, Sammy T. Hughes, and David Barnhill per BR Bullpen. According to “Celebrating Ourselves” by Daryl Russell Grigsby, the August tryout date was pushed back to September while Benswanger added Josh Gibson, Willie Wells, Sam Bankhead and Leon Day to the list. But the new September showcase never happened for unknown reasons (it was thought that commissioner Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis and most owners were opposed to the idea) and a black ballplayer wouldn’t join MLB until Jackie Robinson in 1947. 
  • 1961 - Giants’ Manager Alvin Dark said before the game that "Juan Marichal will go all the way" and kept his bullpen in the dugout to emphasize the point. And he was right. Marichal threw a complete game, five-hit shutout at Forbes Field, winning 2-0 over Vinegar Bend Mizell. 
  • 1968 - Matty Alou was featured as the cover story of The Sporting News in an article titled “Pistol Packing Pirate.” Mateo was indeed packing - he hit .332 for his third straight .330+ campaign as a Pirate and earned a spot on the NL All-Star team for the first time. 
  • 1968 - Babe Adams passed away in Silver Springs, Maryland, at age 80. The righty was on the short list of great Bucco pitchers, slashing 194-139-16/2.74 in 18 Pirates campaigns. Babe was the hero of the 1909 World Series, going 3-0/1.33 against Ty Cobb and the Tigers. He later was a writer, covering local sports and also serving as a foreign correspondent during World War II.

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