Saturday, July 8, 2017

7/8 Happenings: Hanny's Save Streak; HBD Hank, John, Bob, Rosario & J-Hay; Roberto Statue; Veale Cover; Free Balls

  • 1859 - Ump and P Hank O’Day was born in Chicago. He tossed one year for the Alleghenys, in 1885 (5-7/3.67). Later, he became noted as an ump, calling plays for 30 years, most famously the controversial “Merkle Bonehead” decision. He wore the blue for 10 World Series and in 2,710 major league games. O’Day also managed a couple of times, and for his long service to early baseball, he was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012.
  • 1921 - A ruling by the City of Pittsburgh allowed fans to keep balls hit into the stands in Forbes Field. Robert Alderdice‚ the Director of Public Safety, made the call following threatened lawsuits against police who had earlier arrested three fans for refusing to return balls to the team.
John Powers 1958 Topps
  • 1929 - OF John Powers was born in Birmingham, Alabama. Johnny was a legendary minor league masher with 298 long balls during his farm career, but with Pittsburgh between 1955-58, he hit just .190 with four homers in 160 PA. He played two more seasons for four teams, hit two more long balls and that was his career.
  • 1964 - LHP Bob Kipper was born in Aurora, Illinois. The lefty tossed for seven seasons (1985-91) for the Bucs. He spent his first three years as a starter and then was converted to the pen. Kipper went 24-33-11/4.34 with the Pirates, appearing 195 times in his last four seasons and was part of Jim Leyland’s 1991 NLCS club. After retirement, he began coaching for indie teams and in 1999 joined the Red Sox organization, working his way from minor league pitching coach to Boston's bench.
  • 1967 - Bob Veale was featured as the cover story of The Sporting News in an article titled “Bread and Butter Buccaneer.” He went 16-8/3.64 and worked 203 IP, a down year for him as nagging injuries began to take their toll on the big lefty.
Rosario Rodriguez 1992 Fleer
  • 1969 - LHP Rosario Rodriguez was born in Los Mochis, Mexico. He spent parts of three seasons in the majors, the first two with the Reds, and of his 34 appearances, 15 were with the Pirates in 1991 with a line of 1-1-6, 4.11. He had an outing during the 1991 NLCS against the Braves, allowing three runs in one inning, and that was his last MLB call. He opened for AAA Buffalo in 1992 but made just four appearances as he spent three stints on the DL with shoulder issues. His year was shut down in June, and the bum wing ended his career at age 23.
  • 1987 - Josh Harrison was born in Cincinnati. The utility guy was up-and-down with the Bucs since 2011 after coming over in the John Grabow/Tom Gorzelanny deal with the Cubs in 2009. But in 2014, playing LF and then later claiming the third base job, he broke out, winning an All-Star berth with a .315 BA, second best in the NL (he won a second nod in 2017). He inherited the second base spot after Neil Walker was traded to the Mets, but still revisits his old hot corner and outfield spots when needed.
  • 1994 - The statue of Roberto Clemente, located in front of Roberto Clemente Bridge, designed by sculptor Susan Wagner, was dedicated outside of Gate B at TRS, it’s original site, on this date. When PNC Park opened in 2001, it was reinstalled just beyond center field. A neat factoid: under glass blocks representing first, second, and third base is soil from Puerto Rico, Forbes Field and Three Rivers Stadium.
Joel Hanrahan 2011 Topps All Star
  • 2011 - Joel Hanrahan notched his 26th straight save of the season (although he did suffer a couple of losses in non-save situations) when he pitched a perfect ninth against the Cubs, striking out a pair, in a 7-4 win at PNC Park. He would blow his next save opp 10 days later (the Pirates didn’t have many leads to protect in the latter stages of the 2011 season) when he was tagged with a run-producing double by Houston’s Chris Johnson.
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