Wednesday, August 9, 2017

8/9 Happenings: HBD Roman, Ted, Pat & Matt; Casey Dealt; Rabbit HoF; ASG & Random Factoids

  • 1919 - The Pirates traded OF Casey Stengel to the Philadelphia Phillies for utilityman Possum Whitted when Stengel’s contract demands got him a ticket out of Pittsburgh. Possum batted .286 in 277 games for the Bucs through 1921, playing 1B, 3B & OF. The Old Professor lasted until 1925, but only started two more seasons.
  • 1930 - OF Roman Mejias was born in Abreus, Cuba. Mejias was a spare OF’er and pinch hitter for six seasons (1955, 1957-61) in Pittsburgh, hitting .245 over that span. He earned his way to Pittsburgh with a 55 game hitting streak for Class B Waco of the Big State League in 1954, where he ended the year with a .354 BA. Mejias couldn’t break into the Pirate OF of Bob Skinner, Bill Virdon and Roberto Clemente, but was selected by the Houston Colt .45s in the expansion draft and had his best season for them in 1962, batting .286 with 24 HR.
  • 1949 - GM Ted Simmons was born in Highland Park, Michigan. Ted caught for two decades in the majors, and after he retired, Simmons was hired as general manager of the Pirates in 1992 after working in a front office job for St. Louis. He held the spot for just a year, retiring after suffering a heart attack in June 1993. He may have been best known for agreeing to trade Barry Bonds to the Atlanta Braves for P Alejandro Pena, OF Keith Mitchell and a PTBNL during camp in 1992. He reversed fields when manager Jim Leyland “blew up” and stormed into president Carl Barger’s office, and Barger vetoed the deal. The Pirates won a third division title under him, but he was faced with Bonds and Doug Drabek becoming free agents and an ever-tightening payroll, no doubt adding to his stress. After he recovered, he went on to primarily scouting and player development jobs with a couple of bench coach gigs thrown in for several organizations.
  • 1954 - SS Rabbit Maranville was inducted into the Hall of Fame after a 14 year wait. The sweet fielder played for Pittsburgh from 1921-24, hitting .283. Rabbit sadly passed away in January, so his long anticipated moment was posthumous. Rabbit’s given name was Walter; he earned his moniker because he was quick as a bunny thx to his speed and size (5’5”).
  • 1970 - RHP Pat Mahomes was born in Bryan, Texas. He began his 11-year career as a starter before being converted into a bullpen arm/spot starter and closed it in Pittsburgh in 2003, going 0-1, 4.84 in nine outings with most of his time spent in AAA Nashville. Pat got around; he worked for six teams in both leagues, pitched in the WS with the Mets in 1999, tossed a couple of seasons in Japan and closed out his career in the indie leagues. His son, Patrick II, also used his arm to make his mark in the pro sports world when he became the 10th overall pick of the 2017 NFL draft as a QB from Texas Tech.
  • 1974 - RHP Matt Morris was born in Middletown, NY. Matty Mo was at the end of a solid career when the Pirates took over his hefty contract in 2007 by sending Rajai Davis to the SF Giants for him. Mo went 3-8, 7.04 in 16 Bucco starts from 2007-08 and was cut, leaving the Pirates approximately $10M in dead money and greasing the skids for then GM Dave Littlefield.
Matty Mo (photo Associated Press)
  • 1981 - The NL squeaked out a 5-4 win over the AL in the All Star game at Cleveland Stadium. Dave Parker went 1-for-3 with a solo homer, Mike Easler 0-1 with a walk and a run, Bill Madlock batted 0-for-1 and Phil Garner came in as a defensive sub. The game was held at this late date (it was scheduled originally for July 14th) because of a six week players’ strike, but the fans held no grudges and were happy to see the boys of summer back as 72,086 jammed the ballyard.
  • 1995 - A little fun factoid from BR Bullpen: The Giants defeated the Pirates, 4-3 at Candlestick Park with the winning pitcher William Van Landingham and the loser Jason Christiansen. The 25 letters in the surnames of the two pitchers of record were the most ever in a major league game. Christiansen had a chance to ice the game and avoid becoming a trivia answer but gave up a pair of runs in the seventh to earn a blown save/loss.
  • 2012 - Pitching for the AAA Indianapolis Indians, lefty Justin Wilson tossed his second no-hitter of the season, a rain shortened eight inning gem against the Charlotte Knights. He walked one, K’ed five and was efficient, using only 86 pitches. Wilson was called up that year by the Pirates as a reliever and spent three seasons with Pittsburgh. After a stint in the AL, he’s now plying his bullpen trade with the Cubs.
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