Monday, September 11, 2017

9/11 Happenings: Face Streak Ends; HBD Steve, Glenn, Jackie, Dave & Sluggo; Pie Joins Up; Gott To Be Good

  • 1868 - OF Steve Brodie was born in Warrenton, Virginia. He had speed, a great glove and good bat, playing 13 years in the show. He was traded to Pittsburgh against his wishes (he enjoyed playing in Baltimore) and stayed from 1897-98, hitting .283 before being dealt back to the Orioles in mid-season. When he retired, he went on to a career as a college coach, served during WW1, and then returned to run Baltimore’s brand new Memorial Stadium.
Steve Brodie 1898 (photo via Baltimore Sun)
  • 1905 - RHP Glenn Spencer was born in Corning, NY. He was a Bucco in 1928, spent 1929 in the minors, then returned from 1930-32 for Pittsburgh, going 23-29-8 with a 4.48 ERA, mostly from the pen. Control was his Achilles Heel; he walked 201 batters and only K’ed 162 in his five-year pro career which ended with the Giants during the 1933 campaign. He retired to become a salesman and served during WW2. 
  • 1920 - The Pirates bought Pie Traynor from Portsmouth for $10,000. The Boston Braves had stashed the infielder there on the assumption that they would have first dibs on him, but even an appeal to AL President Ban Johnson didn’t help in lieu of a written agreement as the Portsmouth owner was more than willing to let him go to the highest bidder. So instead of playing for his hometown Boston club - he came from Framingham, Massachusetts - Traynor spent his 17 year MLB career in Pittsburgh, eventually earning a spot in the Hall of Fame. 
  • 1940 - Jacinto “Jackie” Hern├índez was born in Central Tinguaro, Cuba. He had to slip into the USA; Cuba had cut its robust baseball program to the bone when Fidel Castro took over and Jackie made it stateside via Mexico to keep playing. He was ready to come home again when his mom told him to stay right where he was at and chase his dream. The good glove, terrible hitting (.205 as a Pirate) SS played three seasons (1971-73) for Pittsburgh, and when the Bucs traded for him in 1970, manager Earl Weaver of the Baltimore Orioles said that “The Pirates will never win a pennant with Jackie Hernandez at shortstop.” Not only did they win the flag, but Jackie was the regular shortstop from late August forward in 1971 as Gene Alley, the starter, had a bad shoulder. As fate would decree, he put the final nail in the Oriole coffin during the Series; the last out of the Bucs seventh game victory was recorded 6-3, Hernandez to Bob Robertson. Jackie’s nine-year MLB run ended with Pittsburgh after the 1973 season and he’s coached & played at different levels and leagues since. At last check, he was still helping the Bucs as an instructor at Pirate City. 
Jackie Hernandez (photo Pirates promo)
  • 1944 - LHP Dave Roberts was born in Gallipolis, Ohio. In June, 1979 he was part of a big deal with the Giants, traded with Len Randle and Bill Madlock to the Pirates for Al Holland, Fred Breining, and Ed Whitson. He went 5-2-1, 3.26 out of the pen for that club and after a cup of coffee with the team in 1980 was traded to Seattle. He was near the end; he worked briefly in 1981 before retiring after 13 years. He passed away in 2009 at age 64 from lung cancer. It’s thought that he suffered asbestos exposure during his younger years when he had to work in a boiler room to make ends meet while developing as a pro player. 
  • 1959 - The LA Dodgers beat Pittsburgh and Elroy Face‚ 5-4, who lost the save and game in relief of Bob Friend in the ninth at Memorial Coliseum by giving up a pair of runs. It was Face's first loss after a record-setting 22 straight wins. The defeat was Face's first to the Dodgers since September‚ 1956, with his last loss to any team going back to May 30th, 1958, at the hands of the Milwaukee Braves, a run of 99 straight outings w/o a defeat. He finished 18-1, the best winning percentage ever posted by anyone who had a minimum of 15 decisions. In an understatement, the Baron of the Bullpen told AP’s Alan Robinson "It was one of those years when nothing went wrong.” Face, along with Hoyt Wilhelm, pioneered and defined the closer’s role for future generations. 
  • 1958 - C Don “Sluggo” Slaught was born in Long Beach. He came to the Bucs in 1990 and platooned during the pennant years with Mike “Spanky” LaValliere. Slaught was the primary catcher in 1993-94, then injuries in 1995 led to his release. Sluggo hit .305 as a Pirate. He was a hitting coach for Detroit in 2005-06, and then began his own private school for hitting instruction in California. 
Jim Gott 1987 Donruss
  • 1987 - Jim Gott set a club record with a save in seventh consecutive outings as the Pirates beat the Phillies, 4-2, at Veterans Stadium. Gott entered the game with runners on first and third and one out in the ninth inning and retired the final two batters of the game on grounders for the save, his 10th. Doug Drabek got the win behind homers by RJ Reynolds and Bobby Bonilla.

No comments: