Thursday, August 3, 2017

8/3 Events: Ol' Switcheroo, Bragan Canned, Feeney HoF, ASG, Gott Comes, Hank Goes, HBD Jim, Sid, Kevin & Matt

  • 1950 - RHP Hank Borowy was sold to the Tigers. The 34-year-old started the season with the Chicago Cubs, was sold to the Bucs in June and so was on his way to his third team. Of course, he’s probably lucky that three teams wanted him - he went 1-3/6.25 during the year, and Detroit released him following the 1951 season. 
Fred was flim-flammed 1954 Topps
  • 1954 - At Forbes Field‚ Reds manager Birdie Tebbetts started RHP Bud Podbielan and Bucco skipper Fred Haney countered with an all-lefty Pirate lineup. Birdie then lifted Podbielan after one batter and brought in southpaw Joe Nuxhall. The ploy worked as the Reds won‚ 7-2. Haney was fooled by an old gambit first pulled by manager Bucky Harris in Game 7 of the 1924 World Series. (S/O to John Thorn’s “Old News in Baseball”). 
  • 1957 - The news that Danny Murtaugh replaced Bobby Bragan as manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates leaked to the press ahead of time‚ and Bragan heard it on the radio before GM Joe L. Brown could reach him. It wasn’t much of a surprise; the quirky Bragan had greased his own skids with an outre incident in Milwaukee when he strolled onto the field sipping a drink through a straw and offered it to the umps a couple of days earlier. 
  • 1959 - The second All Star Game of the year was held at LA Memorial Stadium with P Roy Face, C Smoky Burgess, SS Dick Groat and 2B Bill Mazeroski representing Pittsburgh. The AL won 5-3. Face went two innings, striking out two but was touched up by a solo shot off Rocky Colavito’s bat. Burgess and Groat both went 0-for-1 and Maz was planted on the bench. 
Jim Gott 1959 Fleer
  • 1959 - RHP Jim Gott was born in Hollywood. Obtained from the Giants off waivers in mid-1987, the Bucs used him as a closer, and he saved 13 games with a 1.45 ERA. In 1988, he broke Teke’s franchise record with 34 saves. But he only appeared once the following year after an elbow injury, and signed with the Dodgers as a free agent for 1990. Gott came back to Pittsburgh for his final season in 1995. 
  • 1960 - 1B Sid Bream, the harbinger of the Bucco dark ages, was born in Carlisle, PA. Sid played first from 1985-90 for the Pirates with a .269 average, having three pretty solid years from 1986-88. He signed with the Braves in 1990, and in 1992...let’s not talk about it.
  • 1964 - IF Kevin Elster was born in San Pedro, California. The 13-year vet spent 1997 with the Bucs, hitting .225. He had just won the AL Comeback Player of the Year Award as a Texas Ranger in 1996 and signed a $1.65M contract with the Pirates as a free agent, but he broke his left wrist in a collision at first base with and missed all but 39 games of the season. Kevin returned to the Rangers the following year. 
Kevin Elster 1997 Circa Thunder
  • 1984 - OF Matt Joyce was born in Tampa, Florida. The 31-year-old, nine-year vet signed with Pittsburgh for $1M as a 1996 free agent. Joyce hit .242 with 13 homers and a .403 OBP (his 21 pinch-hit walks set a MLB record) for the Pirates as a fourth outfielder/bench bat and he turned that performance into a two-year, $11M deal with Oakland. 
  • 1987 - On his birthday, the Bucs picked up Jim Gott off waivers from the Giants. In a season plus, he saved 47 games for the Pirates, but an elbow injury in 1989 limited him to one outing, and Pittsburgh let him go as a free agent. He’s now coaching in the Angel’s system. 
  • 1997 - Post Gazette Pirate beat writer Charley Feeney was inducted into the writer’s wing of the Hall of Fame after winning the 1996 JG Taylor Spink Award. Charley covered the Bucs from 1956-86. He chronicled two World Series winners, the death of Roberto Clemente and baseball's 1980s drug scandal in Pittsburgh. Before he came to town, he covered the Giants, Yankees and Mets for the New York Journal American. He was known for calling everyone (even himself) “Pally” because he had such a bad memory for names.
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