Tuesday, August 8, 2017

8/8 Happenings: HBD Billy, Mark, Brett & Ross; Zane Smith Deal; Bucs Sold & Other Doings...

  • 1865 - RHP Billy Gumbert was born on Frankstown Avenue in Pittsburgh’s East End. He played for the Alleghenys in 1890 and the Pirates in 1892, with a pitching line of 7-8, 3.93 and a .200 BA (he also played a little OF and 1B). Per John Dreker of Pirates Prospects, Billy was only available for home games because he owned & operated a business in Pittsburgh. His brother, Ad Gumbert, was also a major leaguer twirler and pitched for the Bucs from 1893-94. 
Billy Gumbert (photo via Out of the Park Baseball)
  • 1902 - Honus Wagner became the first Pirate to steal second, third and home, against the Boston Beaneaters in an 8-6 loss at the South End Grounds. He did it four times during his career. Other Pirates to swipe a three pack were Max Carey (2), Kiki Cuyler and Bobby Byrne. 
  • 1946 - Bill Benswanger, representing the Dreyfuss family, sold the Bucs to a group headed by Frank McKinney and John Galbreath with Bing Crosby as one of the minority investors. The price was reported to be $2.5M. The Galbreath group controlled the Pirates until 1985 when he sold the club to a group of local business and civic leaders, the Pittsburgh Associates, who baby-sat the club for another decade. 
  • 1957 - RHP Mark Ross was born in Galveston, Texas. Mark got six pretty brief stops in the show, two with Pittsburgh in 1987 and his last go-around in 1990. In 10 Pittsburgh outings, he went 1-0/3.95. Ross pitched for Team USA in 1987 and served for several seasons as a minor league coach for the Atlanta Braves organization. 
  • 1960 - Dick Groat was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated for the story “Fiery Leader of the Pirates.” The team captain and All-Star became the first Pirate to be named MVP since Paul Waner in their last pennant year of 1927 and led league with a .325 BA. 
  • 1963 - Injuries drove RHP Vern Law to the voluntarily retired list. But he returned with a vengeance to win 12 games in 1964, and in 1965, at age of 35, he led the Pirates with 17 victories and a 2.15 ERA. He was honored with the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award as comeback player of the year. But the injuries finally wore him down and the Deacon retired permanently after the 1967 campaign. 
  • 1963 - RHP Brett Gideon was born in Ozona, Texas. He was a sixth round pick of the Pirates in 1985 and made his debut in 1987, getting in 29 games with a 1-5-3, 4.46 line. He was traded to Montreal for Neal Heaton in 1989, and only got in five games in two Expo seasons. Brett worked in the minors until 1992 before hangin’ up the spikes. Now he’s the national sales director for Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals. 
Brett Gideon 1988 Fleer
  • 1982 - RHP Ross Ohlendorf was born in Austin, Texas. Ohlie pitched for the Pirates from 2008-11 with a line of 13-27/4.60. Ohlendorf was a bit more than a jock; he graduated from Princeton and spent a summer as an intern in Washington for the Department of Agriculture. He also tossed an “immaculate inning” - nine pitches to strike out the side - on September 5th, 2009 against the St. Louis Cardinals. Ohlie tossed in the show for four years after leaving Pittsburgh and is now spinning 'em in Japan.
  • 1990 - The Pirates sent IF Willie Greene, RHP Scott Ruskin and a PTBNL to the Montreal Expos for LHP Zane Smith. The other player was OF Moises Alou (named as part of the deal on 8/16), a highly regarded prospect deemed expendable as he was blocked by OFs Barry Bonds, Andy Van Slyke and Bobby Bonilla. Alou played 17 years, made six All-Star teams and carried a .303 career BA. Smith spent six of his last seven seasons with the Pirates, winning 47 games behind a 3.35 ERA, and was a staff mainstay for the early nineties’ clubs, winning 16 games for the division champs of 1991.

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