Friday, October 15, 2021

10/15 Through 1925: '25 WS Champs; Alleghenys Rebirth; Chronicle Cup; Goosed; Bumpus In the Road; HBD Mule & Bob

  • 1881 - HD “Denny” McKnight resurrected the Allegheny Baseball Club of Pittsburgh (it had disbanded after the 1877 season) during a meeting at the St. Clair Hotel and joined the newly formed American Association. In 1887 they entered the NL and in 1891 morphed into the Pittsburgh Pirates after “pirating” away infielder Lou Bierbauer from the Philly A’s. 
  • 1887 - RHP Bob Harmon was born in Liberal, Missouri. He tossed for four seasons for the Pirates (1914-16, 1918), posting a 39-52/2.60 line while splitting his time between starting and the pen. After his baseball career ended in 1918, he became a successful dairy farmer in Louisiana and stayed active in local sports. 
  • 1892 - On the last day of the season, Cincinnati pitcher Charles “Bumpus” Jones no-hit Pittsburgh at League Park in his major league debut. Bumpus won 7-1, fanning three and issuing four walks. His MLB career lasted eight games and he won just one other decision. Bumpus still remains the only player to pitch a no-hitter in his first MLB appearance. Bill James, according to Wikipedia, gave him the distinction of being the “mathematically least likely pitcher ever to have thrown a no-hitter in the major leagues.” 
  • 1896 - RHP John “Mule” Watson was born in Arizona, Louisiana. He worked five games for the Bucs in 1920, one of three teams he played for that season. He didn’t impress, with the worst ERA (8.74) compiled for any of the four teams he spun for over a seven-year career. Mule did have a landmark moment, although in a different set of flannels - on August 13th, 1921, he started both games of a doubleheader, and did pretty well, too, winning 4-3 and 8-0 in a pair of complete game wins for the Boston Braves against Philadelphia. 
Chronicle Cup - Hall of Fame photo via Thom/Wikipedia
  • 1900 - The Pittsburgh Chronicle-Telegraph offered a silver cup to the winner of a best-of-five series at Exposition Park between the NL’s top two teams, the Pirates and the Brooklyn Superbas; Brooklyn won the 1900 title by 4-1/2 games over the Bucs during the regular season. Two future Hall of Famers faced off in the opener as NL ERA leader Rube Waddell (2.37) went against “Iron Man” Joe McGinnity, who topped the league with 28 wins. McGinnity whitewashed the Pirates for eight innings before two unearned runs in the top of the ninth cost him the shutout. Not only was he hurt by shoddy fielding, but he had been knocked out briefly the inning before during a rundown when he was accidentally kneed. He refused to come out after he regained his breath and went the distance for a five-hit, 5-2 victory. Claude Ritchey banged out a pair of knocks in a losing cause. 
  • 1903 - OF George “Mule” Haas was born in Montclair, New Jersey. Haas was signed as a youngster by the Bucs and worked his way to the show in 1925, getting in four games and going 0-for-3. Haas was in a wrong-time, wrong place situation - the Pittsburgh OF that season featured Kiki Cuyler, Clyde Barnhart & Max Carey. Mule (he got his nickname in the minors when after homering, a local beat man wrote that his bat had the kick of a mule) was sold to Atlanta after the season more due to the logjam than poor performance. He played 11 more seasons for the Philadelphia Athletics and Chicago White Sox, hitting .292 and playing in three World Series. 
  • 1925 - Before the final game of the World Series, Senators OF Goose Goslin got some column inches in the Washington Post to debunk reports that Pirates C Earl Smith had gotten under his skin by clowning around behind the dish when Goslin hit. “That’s a lot of apple sauce,” Goslin wrote. “Smith simply is one of these ‘funny boys’ who gets a big kick out of trying to get smiles from the crowd. His imitation of flopping of wings, goose calls and such seem to have worried others worse than it has me. I think my batting record, which includes three home runs and a double out of my seven hits, proves that his antics have not upset me much. The fact is that I have been kidded by experts and have paid absolutely no attention to Earl’s amateurish efforts.” Goose added that Clark Griffith, Washington’s president, had complained to Commissioner Landis “on the grounds that Smith’s actions take away from the dignity of the game” and might even lead to a brawl. “I can promise one thing,” Goslin wrote. “I don’t intend to start any trouble.” Goose and Smith evened out; each went 1-for-4 during the deciding contest. 
"Funny Boy" Earl Smith - 1925 photo Press
  • 1925 - In Game Seven of the World Series at Forbes Field, played on a muddy track soaked by a two-day rainstorm (the game was delayed a day), Kiki Cuyler laced an eighth-inning two-out, two-run, bases loaded double off Washington's Walter “Big Train” Johnson to lead the Pirates to a 9-7 comeback victory and their second World Championship, made all the sweeter by rallying from an early 4-0 deficit. Ray Kremer got the win, his second of the Series, with four innings of one-run relief after pitching a complete game win two days before. Errors by SS Roger Peckinpaugh, the AL MVP, in both the seventh and eighth innings led to four unearned runs. He had a tough Series in the field, committing a record eight errors. With the victory, the Bucs became the first team to win a World Series after being down three games to one. The deciding game was played a day late; rain had washed out the original showdown scheduled for the day before. The Series was a big financial hit, grossing a record-setting $1.2M. Winning shares were $5‚332.72 while the losers pocketed $3‚734.60. And though it would take awhile, Bucco manager Bill McKechnie would become the first MLB skipper to win a WS with two different teams when his Reds beat the Tigers in the 1940 Fall Classic.

10/15 From 1926: Waner Show; Kent Canned; Joyriders; HBD Juan, Mendy, Carlos, Mitchell, Red, Gail, Bill & Don

  • 1926 - RHP Don Carlsen was born in Chicago. Carlsen was signed by the Cubs as an IF, played a season and then went into the service, coming back two years later as a pitcher. He played in a game for Chicago, then in 1951-52 tossed for Pittsburgh, going 2-4/5.43 in 12 games (seven starts). Don worked in the Pirates minors until 1957, retiring after that campaign. 
  • 1927 - LHP Bill Henry was born in Alice, Texas. The veteran reliever spent the latter half of the 1968 campaign with the Pirates. It was his 15th year in the show and the creaks showed as he had the worst line of his career, compiling no record but tossing to an 8.10 ERA and giving up 18 runs (15 earned) and 29 hits in 16-⅔ IP over 10 appearances. Bill got into three games with the Astros the following year and then hung ‘em up. Henry did have a nice run despite the messy finish; he ended his MLB days with 572 outings, 46 wins, 90 saves and a 3.26 ERA with an All-Star game and World Series under his belt. 
The Waner Wonders - 1927 photo Ray Gallavan/Press
  • 1927 - Although the New York Yankees Murderers Row pushed the Pirates out of the spotlight with a World Series sweep, the Bucs strong season kept the Waner brothers on a big stage a little longer as the "Waner Wonders" vaudeville team toured Loew movie houses in St. Louis, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and other stops for six weeks. Paul blew sax, Lloyd bowed the fiddle, and they told baseball stories between tunes. Per Bob Hersom’s Oklahoman article, "Every so often," Lloyd said, "we'd hit the same notes as the orchestra." The Waners were each paid $2,100 a week, culminating with a $3,000 payday in the Big Apple, stipends that way outstripped their baseball compensation. Even with more big money ripe for the picking, the brothers turned down a proposed extension of their tour; they had to catch up on their off season fishing, hunting and golfing. 
  • 1928 - OF Gail Henley was born in Wichita, Kansas. He hit .300 in his only year with the Pirates (and in the big leagues), 1954, but the spot he was auditing for was more than adequately locked up with the arrival of Roberto Clemente the next year. Henley did serve some minor league time, then managed eventual Pirates skippers Jim Leyland and Gene Lamont. After some time as a skipper in the minors for the Detroit Tigers, Henley joined the Los Angeles Dodgers as a scout and organizational manager. He ended his baseball days with a stint as a scout for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. 
  • 1936 - RHP Art “Red” Swanson was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was signed by the Pirates as a bonus baby in 1955 and spent the next two years in the show, as required by the signing rules, and barely appeared, with 10 outings in all. Red got more work in 1957, slashing 3-3/3.72 in 32 appearances before being sent to the minors, where he pitched until 1963. His dad was Al “Red” Swanson, who coached baseball and basketball at LSU and from whom Red picked up his nickname. 
  • 1951 - OF/1B Mitchell Page was born in Los Angeles. A third round pick of the Pirates in 1973, he tore it up in the minors for four years before being shipped to Oakland in part of the big ‘77 deal that brought Phil Garner to Pittsburgh. He spent seven seasons, four as a starter (.273/64 HR from 1977-80), on the coast before returning to the Pirates in 1984. He went 4-for-12 as a late-season call up, spending most of his time at AAA Hawaii. Mitchell retired after the year and coached off and on for the Royals, Cards and Nats before passing away in 2011. He was known as "The Swinging Rage" in Oakland, a nickname dropped on him by A’s broadcaster Monte Moore. 
Forbes Field Fiasco - 1958 photo Post Gazette
  • 1958 - Some joyriders sneaked into Forbes Field, hot-wired a maintenance truck parked overnight by the scoreboard and rode around the park until they crashed the vehicle several rows deep into the first base boxes, causing $3,000 worth of damage to the ballyard.
  • 1967 - IF Carlos Garcia was born in Tachira, Venezuela. In seven (1990-96) Bucco seasons, he hit .278. Carlos was named to the 1993 Topps All-Star Rookie Team and the NL All-Star squad in 1994. In 1995, he was a hitting machine who had a 21-game hitting streak in June and then a 15-game hitting streak in September. García later coached for Seattle and was the first base coach and infield instructor for John Russell’s staff in 2010. He was named the manager of the Bradenton Marauders in December 2010, and in 2013-14, Garcia managed the Altoona Curve before being released by the Pirates. He then coached and managed in the Mexican League until 2018. 
  • 1973 - IF Mendy Lopez was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Mendy got bits and pieces of seven campaigns in the majors, with some of 2001-02 with the Pirates where he hit .217 in 25 games (he spent almost all of 2002 in AAA Nashville). After his MLB retirement in 2004, he played in Korea, Mexico and the Dominican. Currently, Mendy is the Pirates Latin American Field Coordinator. 
  • 1978 - RHP Juan Cruz was born in Bonao, Dominican Republic. Juan finished up his 12-year career in Pittsburgh in 2012, getting into 43 games and going 1-1-3/2.78 with 14 holds as part of the support group of closer Joel Hanrahan. With several younger back-end options, the Pirates released him in late August and that was it for his MLB journey. 
Juan Cruz - 2012 Topps Update
  • 2002 - Head Trainer Kent Biggerstaff was fired by Dave Littlefield. Biggerstaff, 54, had spent the past 17 years as the Bucs’ head trainer after serving a four-year apprenticeship under Tony Bartirome, who he replaced in 1986. He went on to become an athletic trainer for the PGA Tour, the Summer Senior Olympics, and Minor League Umpires Concussion Coordinator. In 2018, Kent was elected to the National Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Fame. Biggerstaff still works out of PhysioFitness Associates, which he’s been associated with since 1967.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

10/14 Through the 1960s: Tigers Stay Alive In '09; Sortin' It Out; Big-Name Expansion Losses; Bell Dealt; HBD Scoops, Ken, Tom, Fireman, Oscar, Norm & Ona

  • 1863 - LHP (as speculated by SABR; his pitching side is not known for sure) Norm Baker was born in Philadelphia. He got his first taste of the pros with the Alleghenys in 1883, going 0-2/3.32 in a three game tryout and getting released before he put in 10 days on the roster to qualify for a contract. (His ERA wasn’t very indicative of his pitching; he gave up seven earned runs but 16 tallies overall and yielded 24 hits and 11 walks in 19 IP). Baker went on to pitch for the American Association’s Louisville and Baltimore franchises, although he was best known for irritating teammates (he was described as a “contrarian” who argued for the sake of arguing) and a man who never let a contract stand in his way - he switched among amateur, independent and minor-league clubs as freely as the law allowed and then some. He was injured in 1889 in a train accident and tried to come back, but his arm never recovered. Baker umped and managed briefly afterwards, then went on to have a career as a music store salesman - he was a pretty good musician - presumably keeping a lid on his contrarian nature as the customer is...well, ya know. 
Norm Baker - photo via Baseball Reference
  • 1886 - IF Ona Dodd was born in Springtown, Texas. The TCU alum got into five games for the Bucs in 1912 after being selected from Waco, went 0-for-9, and that ended his MLB journey. He played in the Texas League afterward through 1918. Dodd was the second player from Texas Christian to reach the show, and the only one of over three dozen MLB players produced by that school to play for Pittsburgh. 
  • 1896 - CF Oscar Charleston was born in Indianapolis. The Hall of Famer played for the Homestead Grays from 1930-31, and from 1932-37 was the player/manager for the Pittsburgh Crawfords during their heyday. He consistently hit .340+ for the Crawfords, with a .363 BA in 1932. That club, with brother Hall of Famers Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige, and Judy Johnson on the roster, is considered among the best Negro League teams ever fielded. 
  • 1909 - The Pirates scored three times in the first inning, but the Detroit Tigers came back to take a 5-4 win at Bennett Park to force a seventh game in the World Series. The Cats used a balanced attack, banging out 10 hits, five of which were doubles, to give George Mullin the win and send Vic Willis to defeat. The Pirates scored three first-inning runs, keyed by a Hans Wagner double, and almost pulled it out in the ninth. Leadoff singles and a misplayed bunt brought the Bucs within a run with runners on the corners and no outs, but Pittsburgh couldn’t cash in. Bill Abstein was tossed out at home on George Gibson’s bouncer to first and Ed Abbaticchio banged into a game-ending DP to kill the golden goose. It was also the first series to go the full seven-game limit (with the caveat that the World Series only began officially in 1905). 
  • 1913 - RHP Hugh “Fireman” Casey was born in Atlanta, Georgia. Casey was a nine-year vet (he lost a couple of years to the war) who spent most of his time with the Dodgers; he played with the Bucs for most of his final campaign in 1949, going 4-1-5/4.66 before being released to the Yankees for his final four outings. He had started as a fireballer, but an arm injury made him go to a curve and a new pitch, the splitter (although most opponents considered it a spitter, not splitter). Hugh was also noted for once getting into a brawl with author Ernest Hemingway in Cuba where the Dodgers were training. He got his nickname because he was an early baseball fireman, doing what a reliever should - putting out fires. Hugh came to a sad end, committing suicide in 1951 after losing a paternity suit and being sued for back taxes due from his bar/restaurant. 
Ken Heintzelman - 1947 Bowman
  • 1915 - LHP Ken Heintzelman was born in Peruque, Missouri. He pitched for Pittsburgh from 1937-42, was off during the war years, and then returned for 1946-47. In eight years, the southpaw made 154 appearances with 86 starts and went 37-43 with a 4.14 ERA. His son Tom, went on to play MLB ball with the Cardinals and Giants as an infielder between 1973 and 1978. 
  • 1934 - RHP Tom Cheney was born in Morgan, Georgia. Cheney put in eight seasons of MLB ball, working for the Bucs in 1960 and a bit in ‘61 (2-2/4.67 overall) before going to the Senators for Tom Sturdivant. Tom had control issues throughout his career but terrific stuff, and holds the record for most K in a game with 21 in a 16-inning, 228-pitch win for Washington in 1962. Still, he only won 19 games in 71 starts over those eight years. He appeared to have turned the corner in 1962-63, but in August of the ‘63 campaign blew out his elbow and only got into 18 more games. 
  • 1946 - OF/1B Al “Scoops” Oliver was born in Portsmouth, Ohio. He played 10 of his 18 big league years (1968-77) in Pittsburgh with a line of .296/135/717 and three All-Star berths. Scoops was a key member of the early ‘70s clubs that won a World Series and five pennants in six seasons. He hit the last home run at Forbes Field off Cubbie Milt Pappas and also drove in the first run ever scored at Three Rivers Stadium, doubling in Richie Hebner against the Reds’ Gary Nolan. Al was dubbed “Scoops” as a minor league player at Gastonia because of his glove work at first. And his leather was excellent; how many first basemen can you think of who played 840 MLB games in center field? 
  • 1952 - 22-year-old Pirate OF Gus Bell was traded to the Giants for outfielders Gail Henley and Cal Abrams, along with C Joe Rossi. Bell spent the next 13 years in the show, nine with the Reds and four as an All-Star, belting double figure homers for the next eight seasons with a high of 30 long balls in 1953. Abrams hit well in his two Bucco years (.273/15 HR) before being traded to Baltimore, Henley got 30 MLB at-bats and Rossi was a wash-out. 
Gus Bell - 1952 Topps
  • 1968 - The Pirates, in the midst of a youth movement, lost OF Manny Mota, 1B Donn Clendenon and 3B Maury Wills to the Montreal Expos along with pitchers Dave Roberts, Al McBean and Ron Slocum to the San Diego Padres during the expansion draft. 
  • 1969 - The Pittsburgh Press reported that the Pirates were a little flummoxed as to what to do with their peach-fuzz trio of Al Oliver, Richie Hebner and Bob Robertson. The consensus: keep Scoops at first base, move Big Red to third and deal The Gravedigger, who was used in a platoon role during the past season. Fortunately, when the season started, all three were still here thanks to Oliver’s versatility - he played first and both outfield corners full-time (151 games, 609 PAs), allowing Robby to stay at first and Hebner at the hot corner as platoon guys, with both getting 450+ dish visits. It kept that core together - Richie was 22 while the other pair were 23, and the triad remained intact as Pirates through the 1976 season.

10/14 From 1970: '71, '79 WS Wins; Sid's Slide, Smith's Shutout; Cutch Best of Pgh; Strike Moves; HBD Miguel, Kris, Duane, Midre & Ryan

  • 1971 - Nellie Briles tossed a two-hit, two-walk shutout at the Baltimore Orioles, and the 4-0 win put the Pirates up three games to two in the World Series. The Birds never got a runner to second as two Orioles reached with two outs and the Bucs turned a pair of DP on the other set as Nellie faced just 29 hitters. Every Pirate batter reached base during the game, with Bob Robertson hitting a solo shot at TRS in front of 51,377 Pittsburgh fans. 
  • 1971 - OF Midre Cummings was born in Christiansted, St. Croix, in the US Virgin Islands. A first round pick of the Twins in the 1990 draft, he came to Pittsburgh as part of the John Smiley deal. Between 1993-97, he barely got over 500 AB for the Bucs, hitting .217. After the Pirates let him go, he played until 2005 and never hit under .263, although he remained a bench guy, never playing in 100 games or more in any one season. 
Midre Cummings - 1995 Score Select Showtime
  • 1978 - OF Ryan Church was born in Santa Barbara, California. Church was signed to a one-year/$1.5M FA contract by the Bucs in 2010 in the hope that he would provide at least a platoon, if not starting, bat for the outfield. But Church had suffered a second concussion while playing in 2009 and never recovered his old mojo as a hitter, batting .182 and being sent to Arizona at the deadline. He played out the year there, hitting better (.265), but it was his final bow in the show after seven MLB seasons. 
  • 1979 - Staring at elimination, Jim Rooker and Bert Blyleven tossed a combo six-hitter against the Orioles at TRS as the Bucs stayed alive with a 7-1 victory. Tim Foli tripled and had three RBI while Bill Madlock went 4-for-4, leaving Baltimore ahead in the WS win column three games to two. 
  • 1979 - RHP Duaner Sanchez was born in Cotuí, Dominican Republic. The Pirates got him from the D-Backs in July, 2002, for Mike Fetter, and Sanchez was tagged for 15 runs in 8-1/3 IP during his nine outings as a Bucco. He was released in 2003 and the Dodgers claimed him, with Duaner putting together a solid three-year run with LA and the Mets as a set-up man after that. His career took a hard hit in 2006, when a cab he was riding in was sideswiped by a drunk driver, separating his shoulder and pretty much ending his major league days. He put in a full year with the Mets in 2008, albeit with a 4.32 ERA (it was 2.60 before his injury) and after a quick stop at San Diego, he spent 2009-11 in the Dominican, Mexican and indie leagues before retiring. 
  • 1984 - LHP Kris Johnson was born in West Covina, California. Johnson was a #1 pick (40th overall) of the Bosox out of Wichita State in 2006. They released him in 2011 and the Bucs signed him. He got into four Pirates games (one start) in 2013, slashing 0-2/6.10, and was traded to the Twins after the season to get Duke Welker back. He carved out a solid six-year run beginning in 2015 (60-43/2.81) with Hiroshima in the Japanese League before retiring in 2021. 
Zane Smith - 1991 Topps Stadium Club
  • 1991 - The Pirates Zane Smith was the victor as the Bucs took a 1-0 win over the Braves at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium and a 3-2 lead in the NLCS. Tom Glavine was the loser, touched up only in the fifth when Chico Lind singled home Steve Buechele. The Braves lost a run when David Justice missed 3B while heading home after a two-out, fourth-inning single in a call that was controversial with its replay inconclusive. 
  • 1992 - Pittsburgh lost the seventh game of the NLCS to the Braves at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium 3-2 when Sid Bream scored in the ninth, barely beating Barry Bond's off-line throw and Spanky LaValliere’s lunging tag to begin a two-decade long Bucco Dark Age. Pittsburgh carried a two-run lead into the last frame when a Chico Lind error and two walks proved fatal. Francisco Cabrera, whose two-out pinch-hit single tallied Bream, was a backup catcher who had only 11 plate appearances during the regular season. Karma quickly caught up; the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Bravos four games to two in the World Series, taking all four of their victories by one run with three of those wins claimed during their last at bat. 
  • 1992 - LHP Miguel Del Pozo was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He bounced around and had TJ surgery in 2016, landing with Pirates in 2020 as a minor league FA. Del Pozo had been beaten up some in his rookie year with the Angels, and it continued during his season in Pittsburgh. He was called up in 2020 and still had big problems finding the strike zone. Miguel walked eight in 3-2/3 IP and posted an ERA of 17.18; he declared for FA after the season and signed with the Tigers.
  • 1994 - The players may have been on strike, But GM Cam Bonifay was still trying to beef up the edges of the club. LHP Randy Tomlin was DFA’ed (he declared free agency) to make room for IF Nelson Liriano, who was claimed from the Rox. Earlier in the week, he picked up C Mark Parent on waivers from the Cubs and added a pair of outfielders, Jacob Brumfield and Micah Franklin, in deals with the Reds.
  • 2015 - Andrew McCutchen was selected as Pittsburgh’s Male Athlete of the Year in a voter's poll for the City Paper’s “Best Of” issue. Charlie Deitch wrote a feature on Cutch, saying “...the reason (for the award) seems like a simple one: He's really good at playing baseball. But it's more than that...this guy really loves the game; he says it with his words and his actions.”

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

10/13 Through the 1930s: 2-of-3 In WS; Rizzo Deal, Waner, Rhyne Join; Smoky City; HBD Dick, Xavier, Charlie; Frank, Rube & Jack

  • 1876 - LHP George “Rube” Waddell was born in Bradford, Pennsylvania. He pitched just two seasons for the Pirates (1900-01), but his legend deserves mention. He wore out his welcome with Pittsburgh, getting into two games in 1901 after leading the NL in ERA (2.37) the year before with the Bucs. His eccentricities: He was a fire fanatic in a good way; Rube always wore a red t-shirt so he could join up with any fire-fighting brigade that he found in action. Though he never showed up drunk at a game, he was a heavy drinker - The Sporting News called him a “sousepaw” - and was distracted by crowds, who would mesmerize him by flashing shiny objects at him. In exhibition games, he had his teammates sit around him on the mound. Waddell also wrestled alligators in the off season. Current baseball historians believe he was autistic or had ADD before the conditions were commonly diagnosed. But Rube could throw a baseball. He won 193 games and struck out 2,316 batters in his career (349 whiffs in 1904 alone). Rube K’ed three batters on nine pitches in 1902. He was one of the great drawing cards of early baseball, and is in the Hall of Fame. The story of his life was foretold by the stars: Rube was born on Friday the 13th and died on April Fools Day (4/1/1914). 
Rube Waddell - 1900 image The Sporting News
  • 1888 - Manager, coach & scout Jack Onslow was born in Scottdale, between Connellsville and Mt. Pleasant. Jack had a brief MLB career, consisting of two seasons and 36 games as a catcher before coaching for the Pirates (1925–26), Washington Senators (1927), St. Louis Cardinals (1928), Philadelphia Phillies (1931–32) and Boston Red Sox (1934). Onslow also scouted for the White Sox and Boston Braves. He was the White Sox skipper from 1949-50 and managed minor league squads for six seasons. 
  • 1889 - SS Frank Smykal was born in Chicago. He got a six-game cup of coffee with the Bucs in 1916, going 3-for-10 with three walks. He was one of a group of SS’s on the roster as it was Hans Wagner’s final season; the spot stayed patchwork after the Dutchman left until Rabbit Maranville arrived in 1921. It was the 26-year-old Smykal’s only taste of MLB ball, and it appears that after his Pirates stint that he went home to Chicago for good, where he lived until he passed away at age 60. 
  • 1899 - Smoky City, home field edge: Per Charlton’s Baseball Chronology, the Louisville Colonels scored four runs in the ninth to take a 6-5 lead over the Pirates at Exposition Park, as a thick‚ black mist from the local mills slowly settled over the field. The game was called before the Bucs could bat because of poor visibility (darkness, technically), and the score reverted to the last full frame, the eighth inning, giving Pittsburgh a 5-2 victory. 
  • 1903 - Boston won the first World Series five games to three (it was best-of-nine) with a 3-0 win at the Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds in front of 7,455 fans. In a battle between Deacon Phillippe and Bill Dinneen, the key blow was Hobe Ferris’ two-run single in the fourth inning, following a Bucco boot. Dinneen tossed a four-hitter, and ended the game with his seventh K, whiffing Honus Wagner. Even in that rubber-armed era, it was too much work for Phillippe, who started five of the eight games (and went the distance in all of them) because of an injury to Sam Leever’s shoulder, the mental breakdown of Ed Doheny, a 16-game winner during the season, and the defection of 1902 rotation members Jack Chesbro and Jesse Tannehill to the American League. Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss added his share of the gate receipts to the players' share, so the losing team's players actually finished with larger individual shares than the winning team ($1,316.25 to $1,182.00). Dreyfus also gave Deacon Phillippe a bonus and 10 shares of stock in the Pirates for his yeoman efforts. 
Deacon carried the load - 1970 Topps
  • 1906 - IF Charlie Hughes was born in Lawrenceville. Hughes, a gifted gloveman who developed his skills on Ammon Field, played two seasons for the Pittsburgh Crawfords (1931 & 1934) and another campaign for the Homestead Grays (1933). Hughes started in the local black sandlot leagues of the City, playing for the Bluesox of Herron Hill/Lawrenceville and the Edgar Thompson mill team. He played 32 years for ET, off-and-on, as not only did you get to play ball but had a job in the mill to pay the bills. 
  • 1909 - The Pirates broke out the bats at Forbes Field in front of 21,706 fans to take a 3-2 lead in the World Series with an 8-4 win over the Tigers. Fred Clarke had two hits, including a homer with three RBI/two runs scored, to lead the offense. Tommy Leach, Bobby Byrne and George Gibson also had a pair of raps while Babe Adams cruised to his second WS win, giving up six hits and fanning eight. The Bucs tortured Detroit on the basepaths, stealing five bases in six tries. 
  • 1912 - RHP Xavier Rescigno was born in New York City. He tossed for the Pirates during the war years of 1943-45 (it was his entire MLB career), slashing 19-22-16/4.13 in 129 games (21 starts). The curve ball whiz tossed for Manhattan College and was signed by the Yankees but didn’t take off until he joined the Brooklyn organization and was tutored by Burleigh Grimes. The Pirates eventually bought his contract and sent him to Albany, and they brought him and Ralph Kiner up in 1943. He worked through the ‘45 season when at age 32, he was overtaken by the wartime talent returning from the service back to baseball. He worked in the minors for five more years before retiring. Rescigno was known as “Mr. X” and was the first guy named Xavier to play in MLB (there have been six in big league history and the Pirates rostered three - Rescigno, Nady and Paul). In fact, while in his 90s, one of his final baseball acts was to meet up with the newest MLB Xavier at the time, OF’er Nady, during a game at San Diego and Rescigno followed up with a letter welcoming Nady into the Xavier fraternity of baseball men. 
  • 1925 - The Pirates purchased SS Hal Rhyne and OF Paul Waner from San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League, then an unaffiliated independent organization, for $100K and three PTBNL. Rhyne played a couple of years for the Bucs and had a seven-year MLB career while Big Poison went on to the Hall of Fame after spending 15 of his 20 big league seasons with Pittsburgh. 
Big Poison - 1927 photo Paul Thompson
  • 1925 - Pittsburgh evened the World Series at three games each as they downed the Washington Senators, 3-2, at Forbes Field. Ray Kremer bested Alex Ferguson, giving up six hits. Bucco leadoff man Eddie Moore had two hits, including a homer, two runs scored and an RBI; Pie Traynor and Clyde Barnhart drove in the other tallies. All the scoring was in the first five innings. The Sens’ Joe Harris doubled with an out in the ninth, but Kremer routinely retired Joe Judge and Ossie Bluege to seal the deal. 
  • 1932 - IF Dick Barone was born in San Jose. His bio, per BR Bullpen: the 27-year-old Barone was called from Columbus to become the back-up to Dick Schofield in 1960 after Dick Groat was injured. He played in three games (once as a starter) over the final month, and those three contests constituted his entire major league career. He was hitless in six at-bats while flawless in the field, but wasn’t included on the Pirates' 1960 World Series roster as Groat returned and Schofield went back to the bench. Barone's baseball claim to fame is that he once started a game in place of Hall of Famer Bill Mazeroski. Afterward, he played in the minors through 1962 and saw his pitcher grandson, Daniel, play in the show in 2007 with Florida. 
  • 1937 - The Bucs got OF Johnny Rizzo from the Cards for 1B Bernard Cobb, C Tom Padden, OF Bud Hafey and cash. The rookie Rizzo hit 23 homers in 1938, a team record that lasted for nearly a decade (it was broken by Jason Bay and Josh Bell, both who hit 26 dingers), and was traded early in 1940 for Vince DiMaggio. Rizzo went downhill in 1941, and ‘42 was his last MLB season as he enlisted in the Navy the following year. He came back from the service in 1946, spent four years in the minors and retired to work in the sporting goods field and as an auto salesman.

10/13 From 1940: '60 Maz Mania & Game 7 Gang; WS Split With O's, NLCS Even Up w/Braves; Russell Drafted; Skipper Shep; HBD Bob & Hayden

  • 1941 - The Pirates drafted Fayette City’s Jim Russell from Memphis of the Southern Association in the minor league draft. He hit .277 from 1942-47 for the Bucs before spending his next four MLB campaigns playing for the Braves and Dodgers. Jim’s career was cut short by heart problems he had contracted as a child. He stayed on in the sport, though, scouting for the Dodgers and Senators for two decades after his playing days had ended. 
Bob Bailey - 1964 Topps
  • 1942 - 3B Bob Bailey was born in Long Beach. He was inked to the largest signing bonus ever paid up to that time, a reported $135,000, and began his 17 year pro career in Pittsburgh (1962-66) where he hit .257 with occasional power. Bailey had his best years with Montreal in the early seventies, with three 20+ HR seasons and three more with 80+ RBI. When he retired, he spent a decade managing in the Montreal system with side gigs as a hitting instructor. He passed away at age 75. 
  • 1960 - Game Seven of the World Series at Forbes Field ended with this call by NBC’s Mel Allen “There's a drive into deep left field, look out now… that ball is going, going, gone! And the World Series is over! Mazeroski… hits it over the left field fence…” Bill Mazeroski led off the bottom of the ninth with the most dramatic home run in Series history, a blast off Ralph Terry, breaking a 9-9 tie with the Yankees and bringing Pittsburgh its third World Championship. It’s still the only homer to win a seventh game in the ninth inning. Hal Smith hit a key two-out, three-run blast in the eighth to give Pittsburgh a short-lived lead before Maz stole his thunder. Harvey Haddix, the fourth Pirate hurler, recovered from a blown save in the ninth to get the win. Maz’s blast also cost Casey Stengel his job; the Ol’ Perfessor “retired'' as NY manager five days after the loss, telling the media "I wasn't retired - they fired me." Other factoids: Bobby Richardson of the Yankees was named MVP of the Series, the only time that someone from the defeated team has been so honored, and it was the only World Series game ever played without a strikeout recorded by either club. And since 1985, the event has been celebrated on its anniversary outside the remaining wall. 
  • 1967 - Larry Shepard was named manager, replacing Danny Murtaugh, who in turn had replaced Harry Walker earlier in the year. He lasted two seasons (replaced by Murtaugh), then became the pitching coach of Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine under Sparky Anderson from 1970 through 1978. He finished his coaching career with the San Francisco Giants in 1979. 
Larry Shepard - 1968 Topps
  • 1971 - Roberto Clemente had three hits while Milt May drove in the winning run with a pinch-hit single in the eighth as the Pirates rallied to defeat the Baltimore Orioles, 4-3, at TRS in Game Four of the Fall Classic. Luke Walker gave up three runs in the first frame before heading to the showers with two outs, but Bruce Kison came to the rescue, tossing 6-1/3 one-hit innings, then Dave Giusti saved it by pitching perfect ball over the last two frames. It was the first scheduled night World Series game in baseball history (in 1949, the lights were turned on in the ninth inning at Ebbets Field because of darkness in a WS game between Brooklyn & the Yankees) and set two attendance records: 61M TV viewers and 51,378 fans in the park. It was a successful experiment; by 1987, all World Series games would be scheduled under the lights. The win evened the Series at two games. It also got foul poles added to TRS the following season after a rhubarb over a Clemente drive (the Bucs claimed homer; the ump called foul) led the Pirate brass to discovered that TRS’ painted yellow foul line had a 20” recess between the fence on the field and the back wall, leaving enough room for a curving ball that would otherwise kiss the foul line to slip foul. 
  • 1979 - The Bucs took a 6-3 lead into the eighth against the Orioles in the fourth game of the World Series, but they and 50,883 fans were stunned by a six-run eighth by the O’s and a 9-6 loss snatched from the jaws of victory at TRS. Kent Tekulve, inheriting a mess from Don Robinson, gave up a pair of two-run doubles to Terry Crowley and John Lowenstein to take the defeat. The Pirates banged out 17 hits, but stranded 10 with two DP, a caught stealing and a throw-out at home. Willie Stargell had three knocks, including a homer and double, but Pittsburgh fell into a three games to one hole against Baltimore. 
  • 1984 - RHP Hayden Penn was born in La Jolla, California. Penn appeared in 33 games over four years in the majors. His last three outings were with the Pirates in 2010, when he gave up eight runs in 2-1/3 IP after being claimed off waivers from the Marlins during training camp. Penn was sent to AAA Indianapolis, then his contract was sold and he threw in Japan for three seasons afterward, winning a Japan Series game (their WS) in 2010. He made his last hurrah with the indie Bridgeport Bluefish in 2013. 
  • 1985 - Saul Finkelstein sat at the base of the flagpole by the Forbes Field wall outside Schenley Plaza and listened to a taped NBC radio broadcast of Chuck Thompson and Jack Quinlan calling the seventh game of the 1960 World Series on his boombox. After that day, it soon evolved into an annual party & ceremony open to all under the auspices of the Game Seven Gang, often drawing an assortment of politicos and members of the championship team to mingle with the fans. 
  • 1991 - Pittsburgh evened the NLCS at two games with a 10-inning, 3-2 win at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium over the Braves. Mike LaValliere’s two-out, pinch hit single off Mark Wohlers scored Andy Van Slyke, and Stan Belinda tossed two scoreless frames for the win. Steve Buechele's three hits gave him five straight over two games to tie an NLCS record that would stand until 2003. 
  • 1992 - The Pirates pounded the Braves, 13-4, at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium to even the NLCS series at three games each. Tim Wakefield won his second game while Jay Bell, Barry Bonds and Lloyd McClendon homered. The Bucs ran away with the game after an eight-run second inning, featuring a pair of hits by Bonds and McClendon during the frame.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

10/12 Through the 1930s: Bucs Stay Alive in '25, Tigers Even Up In '09; HBD Cro, Joe, Pete, Erv, Sunset Jimmy, Frank, Pop & Charlie

  • 1854 - Utilityman Charlie Morton (no relation to later Bucco pitcher Charlie “Ground Chuck'' Morton) was born in Kingsville, Ohio. He got his brief career off to a fine start by batting .296 in 1882 for the Alleghenys, but was released in July and finished the year with St. Louis. He spent a year in the bushes and played in 54 more games for Toledo and Detroit as player/manager for both clubs to close out his MLB days; his Pittsburgh stint was the only time he hit over the Mendoza Line. After some managing, Charlie later went on to found the Ohio-Pennsylvania League and was its president during its existence from 1905-12. Over that time, it hosted a lot of local Western PA ball clubs (Braddock, Butler, Homestead, Mansfield/Carnegie, McKeesport, New Castle, Pittsburgh, Sharon and Washington). In fact, it was home to 40 teams from 20 towns in those eight years. 
Pop Smith - 1889 Goodwin
  • 1856 - Charles “Pop” Smith was born in Digby, Nova Scotia. He played the infield for the Pittsburgh Alleghenys from 1885-89. Pop wasn’t much with the bat, hitting .220 for the Alleghenys, but could run (117 stolen bases in 557 games) and was a good glove man who could play second or short equally well. Smith was one of the earliest Canadian major league players, first joining the show in 1880 as a Red. 
  • 1860 - 1B/C Frank Ringo was born in Parkville, Missouri. He didn’t make much of a dent in Pittsburgh, getting into just 18 games for the Alleghenys from 1885-86 and batting .209. Ringo was an alcoholic who couldn’t conquer his demons and in 1889 became the first known major league player to take his own life, via a morphine overdose. 
  • 1874 - 3B “Sunset Jimmy” Burke was born in St. Louis, Missouri. Burke spent seven years in the show with part of 1901 (Pittsburgh was his third team that season) and all of 1902 as a Bucco, hitting .276 in 74 games before he was traded to his hometown St Louis club. He played in the NL until 1905, then spent time mostly in the American Association until 1913. Sunset Jimmy was a player/manager for the St Louis Perfectos, coach for the Detroit Tigers, manager for the St. Louis Browns, and a coach for the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs and the New York Yankees, finally retiring in 1933. Jimmy got his nickname from a superstition/habit of his, believing it was unlucky to eat dinner until after sunset. 
  • 1882 - Negro League OF and manager John Preston "Pete" Hill was born in Culpepper County, Virginia, but was raised in Pittsburgh after arriving in town as an infant. He played for 11 teams during his Hall of Fame career, getting his first taste of organized ball as a teen with the semi-pro Pittsburgh Keystones in 1899. A reader poll by the Pittsburgh Courier in 1952 selected Pete as the fourth best outfielder in the history of the Negro Leagues, behind only Oscar Charleston, Cristobal Torriente and Monte Irvin.
Pete Hill - Hall of Fame 
  • 1901 - RHP Erv Brame was born in Big Rock, Tennessee. He spent his five-year MLB career (1928-32) with Pittsburgh, going 52-37-1/4.76, mostly as a starter who was converted to the pen in his last season. He was 16-11 in 1929 with 19 complete games in 28 starts, then posted a 17-8 record and led the NL with 22 complete games in 29 starts in 1930. Erv had a nice stick, too, as his career batting mark was .306 with 21 doubles, eight homers, 43 runs scored and 75 RBIs. 
  • 1906 - SS Joe Cronin was born in San Francisco. He spent his first two seasons (1926-27, .257 BA) of a 20-year career in Pittsburgh, getting in 50 games before being sold. The Bucs should have exercised a little more patience. During the next 18 seasons, Joe made seven All-Star teams with Washington & Boston, eventually entering the Hall of Fame. 
  • 1909 - The Tigers, behind George Mullin’s five-hit whitewash, evened up the World Series at two games with a 5-0 win at Bennett Park. Deacon Phillippe tossed four shutout innings for Pittsburgh after relieving starter Lefty Leifield, who gave up three runs in the fourth with the bases empty and two outs, to give the Pirates a chance, but the bats never warmed up. Pittsburgh fielders didn’t help out as they committed six errors during the contest although none led to a score. 
  • 1925 - Five different Pirates banged out a pair of knocks as Pittsburgh used a 13-hit attack to defeat the Washington Senators, 6-3, at Griffith Stadium and stay alive in the World Series, although down two games to three. Vic Aldridge went the distance for the win. Clyde Barnhart had a pair of hits, two RBI and a run scored (Max Carey, Kiki Cuyler, Glenn Wright and Earl Smith also had two raps) while Washington’s Joe Harris, who would play for Pittsburgh’s 1927 WS club, homered to lead the Sen’s offense. 
Vic Aldridge - 1925 photo Conlon Collection/Detroit Public Library
  • 1930 - RHP Joe Trimble was born in Providence, Rhode Island. Joe was a standout in high school and signed with Cincinnati. He lasted until 1950 but had arm woes; he left baseball and joined the Marines, seeing action in Korea. The time off strengthened his arm; he came back and was signed by the Bucs in 1954. Trimble was later lost to Boston in the Rule 5 Draft, but they returned him to the Pirates after a brief MLB look. Following a year at AAA Hollywood, he got some work for Pittsburgh in 1956, but went 0-2/8.24 in five games (four starts) with his arm again failing him. That finished him in baseball, although he did pretty well afterwards, going to night school and eventually becoming a local VP for Coca Cola in Providence. He also ran the John Trimble Fund Pro-Am Golf Tournament for Autism, which has raised more than a million dollars to help fight autism.

10/12 From 1960: '71 Series Missed Bunt Win, Long Day Otherwise; Wood-For-Pizarro, Polo Ground All-Stars; HBD Casey & JT

  • 1960 - Whitey Ford again owned the Bucs in the World Series, tossing a seven-hitter as New York blanked Pittsburgh 12-0 at Forbes Field to stave off elimination and force a seventh game. Bobby Richardson tripled twice and had three RBI as the Bronx Bombers amassed 17 hits against Bob Friend and a beleaguered bullpen. Roberto Clemente and Hal Smith had a pair of hits each for the Pirates, who added to their misery by bouncing into three double plays. 
  • 1963 - The final baseball game at the Polo Grounds was the Hispanic American All-Star game, the first and only one held in MLB history. The starters were Juan Marichal and Pedro Ramos while the roster of Latino stars included Pirates Roberto Clemente (who also served as the NL manager), Manny Mota, who delivered a clutch two-run pinch-hit single, and Alvin McBean, who got the win in a 5-2 NL victory. The game drew 14,235 fans. 
  • 1966 - The Pirates traded out-of-options RHP Wilbur Wood to the White Sox for cash and a PTBNL (Juan Pizarro). Chicago converted him to a straight knuckleball guy and he responded by becoming a rubber-armed reliever before being flipped to a 300 IP starter later in his career. The Bucs were rumored to have been offered a Wood-for-Hoyt Wilhelm deal earlier, but that was nixed because the Pirates lacked a knuckleball receiver, greasing the skids for Wood. In a little bit of baseball irony, Wilhelm tutored Wilbur when he arrived in Chi-town. 
Robby after homer - 10/13/1971 AP/Post Gazette photo
  • 1971 - The Bucs broke open a duel between Mike Cuellar and Steve Blass by scoring three times in the seventh on the way to a 5-1 World Series win at TRS in front of 50,403 fans. Bob Robertson blasted the deciding three-run homer after he missed a bunt sign (Roberto Clemente was aboard and tried to call time when he saw Big Red had missed the sign, but Cuellar was already into his motion so his effort was ignored). Steve Blass was sitting next to Danny Murtaugh in the dugout at the time, and told the skipper: "If you fine him (Robertson, for missing the bunt sign), I'll pay." Murtaugh didn't. Blass' three-hit gem left Pittsburgh with a pulse, as they were now down two games to one in the Fall Classic.
  • 1979 - The Pirates brought the World Series back to TRS and 50,848 fans, but were run off the field, 8-4, by Baltimore, which lit up John Candelaria with a five-run fourth inning. The Birds were led by Kiko Garcia, who drove in four runs with four hits. For the Bucs, Willie Stargell had a pair of raps and scored twice while Phil Garner chipped in with two RBI and Omar Moreno added a pair of doubles. It was too little, too late against Scott McGregor as the Orioles went up two games to one. 
  • 1982 - 1B/3B Casey McGehee was born in Santa Cruz, California. Casey played eight years in the majors, making a Pittsburgh stop in 2012. The Pirates got him from the Brewers before the campaign for P Jose Veras; after hitting .230 w/eight HR, the Bucs moved him at the deadline to the Yankees for P Chad Qualls. Casey played for the Tigers some in 2016 and spent 2017-18 in Japan. 
  • 1990 - Danny Jackson, Norm Charlton and Randy Myers combined on a one-hitter as Cincinnati beat the Pirates 2-1 to win the NLCS in six games. 1B Carmelo Martinez had the only Bucco hit, a double that scored Barry Bonds (aboard on a walk) as Zane Smith took the loss at Riverfront Stadium. Jim Leyland started a back-end reliever, Ted Power, in order to keep the Reds from using their favored platoon lineup (he followed him with LHP Smith in the third) and it almost worked. The game clincher was an over-the-fence catch by RF Glenn Braggs, robbing Carmelo Martínez of a two-run homer with an out in the ninth, to preserve the win in dramatic fashion. The Reds would go on to sweep Oakland in the World Series. 
JT Riddle - 2020 Topps Update
  • 1991 - Utility man JT Riddle was born in Frankfort, Kentucky. The Pirates signed the SS/CF to a one-year, $850K MLB contract as a free agent. He had hit .229 over three years (2017-19) for the Miami Marlins and was out of options, so it was a make-or-break camp for him. JT began the year on the IL and was recalled to the MLB roster in early August. He was released after the season with a BA of .149. 
  • 1991 - The Braves returned to Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium and pasted the Pirates, 10-3, to take a 2-1 lead in the NLCS. Pittsburgh had 10 hits, but stranded 11 runners as John Smoltz took the win from John Smiley. Jay Bell and Orlando Merced homered for Pittsburgh, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a four-run first and a three-run pinch hit homer by Sid Bream in the eighth frame.

Monday, October 11, 2021

10/11 Through the 1960s: Big Train Derails Bucs in '25; Dutchman Flying; 41 For Cannonball; Rube Rules; Barnstormin'; Burleigh, Jerry Released; HBD Buttercup & Wayne

  • 1885 - OF Lew “Buttercup” Pessano Dickerson was born in Tyaskin, Maryland, and is one interesting dude who made a brief stop in the City. Dickerson hit .249 while playing five different positions for the Alleghenys in 1883, and during his career played in three different major leagues (The American Association, the National League and the Union Association.) His nickname "Buttercup" was given to him by his Cincinnati Reds teammates during the 1879 season, after the "Little Buttercup" character in Gilbert and Sullivan's operetta H.M.S Pinafore. No, we don’t why; Buttercup in the musical is described as a “bumboat woman.” On the other hand, Dickerson was known as a lush, league-jumper and all-around street hustler, so maybe he was a “bumboat” ballplayer. Also, he’s sometimes referenced as the first Italian ballplayer (he’s a member of the Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame, a gang that apparently doesn’t check ID very well), but it ends up the “Pessano” name associated with Dickerson is actually his given middle name, bestowed to honor Doc Pessano, who delivered him, as was a custom of the era. Ed Abbaticchio is generally recognized as the first paesano in baseball - pro football, too; he was an all-around athlete - and played for the Pirates from 1907-10. 
  • 1886 - Lefty Ed “Cannonball” Morris claimed his 41st win of the year by a 4-1 score against the New York Metropolitans at Recreation Park, three days after he had shut them out to open the series. His 41 wins set an Alleghenys/Pirates record and led the American Association that season (Pittsburgh joined the NL the following year), as did his 12 shutouts and 1.032 WHIP. Cannonball also worked 555-⅓ IP in 64 appearances (63 starts and one save) while posting a 2.45 ERA. 
  • 1900 - Rube Waddell punched out a NL season-high of 12 in a 2-1 win over the Chicago Orphans at Exposition Park. He led the senior circuit with a 2.37 ERA and was second with 130 strikeouts in 208-1/3 IP, even though his record was just 8-13. He had quite a year, leading the league with fewest hits allowed per nine (7.5), most strikeouts per nine (5.6; no other twirler averaged four) and WHIP (1.107). Rube only pitched twice more for Pittsburgh in 1901 before being sold to the Chicago Orphans and embarking on a Hall-of-Fame career, mostly based on stints with the Philadelphia Athletics and St. Louis Browns. 
Rube Waddell - 2011 Upper Deck/Goodwin Champions
  • 1905 - With the season over, Hans Wagner took his barnstorming team of Buccos through a week-long schedule of local challengers both as a final bow after the campaign and a chance to make a little beer money to help carry the troops through the offseason. Other players on the touring team were Claude Ritchey, Tommy Leach, Otis Clymer, Heinie Peitz, George Gibson, Deacon Phillippe, Patsy Flaherty, Otto Knabe and one or two other Pirates tagalongs. This date opened the postseason tour with a game in Homestead. 
  • 1909 - Honus Wagner became the first player to steal three bases in a World Series contest as Pittsburgh beat Detroit at Bennett Park, 8-6, in Game Three of the Fall Classic to go up two games to one. The next player to swipe three sacks was LA’s Willie Davis, who matched the feat in 1965 (the Cards’ Lou Brock in 1967 and the Rays’ BJ Upton in 2008 also scored the hat trick). Nick Maddox struggled but went the distance for the win, buttressed by a five-run first inning outburst by the Bucs against Ed Summers; all the opening runs were unearned as Motown made three errors in the inning. It was a sloppy affair as 11 of the 14 runs were unearned; Motown had five boots and the Bucs committed a pair. Honus Wagner had three hits with three RBI, and Bobby Byrne, Tommy Leach and Bill Abstein each added two more knocks. 
  • 1912 - RHP Wayne Osborne was born in Watsonville, California. Osborne made seven MLB mound appearances; two of them were with the Bucs in 1935, giving up a run in an inning and two-thirds while also getting a call to pinch-run once. He did have a long pro career, starting right out of high school in 1931 as a teen and tossing until he was 30 with 13 campaigns in the Pacific Coast League with Hollywood, Mission and Portland. Old age didn’t catch up to him; his ball playing days ended when he was drafted in 1943 at age 30. It was a surprise call up by Uncle Sam; Osborne was missing a finger on his pitching hand, which he used to his advantage in mastering the curveball per Donald Wells in “Baseball’s Western Front.” 
  • 1925 - The Big Train, Walter Johnson, shut out the Pirates, 4-0, on six hits at Griffith Stadium to give the Senators a three games to one lead in the World Series. Washington scored all four runs in the second inning off Emil Yde, the big blow being a three-run homer by Goose Goslin, with Joe Harris adding another long ball. Johnson was in complete control; only one Pirate runner reached second all day.
Burleigh Grimes - 2013 Panini Cooperstown
  • 1934 - It was the end of an era as the Pirates released RHP Burleigh Grimes. The Hall of Famer was the last player to legally toss a spitter, one of 17 hurlers exempted when the pitch was outlawed in 1921. He finished the year as a Yankee, then went on to a long career as a coach, manager and scout. 
  • 1966 - The Pirates released one of baseball’s elite pinch hitters, Jerry Lynch, ending a 13-year MLB career that was evenly split between the Bucs and Cincinnati. He had 116 pinch hits during his tenure (.263 BA), which ranks him 10th all-time, and is third on the all-time pinch hit home run list (he was first when he retired) with 18.

10/11 From 1970: '71, '79 WS, '72, '92 NLCS Splits; Tracy Hired; Big Deal Nixed By Chub; Price Hike; HBD Ty & Shane

  • 1971 - In a game that was delayed a day by rain, Brooks Robinson set a World Series record by reaching base five consecutive times (three hits, two walks) against the Pirates as Baltimore won 11-3 in Game Two. Bob Johnson and Bob Moose were hit hard at Memorial Stadium - the O’s scored nine times in the fourth and fifth frames and belted three homers in the laugher. The Bucco runs came in the eighth on Richie Hebner’s three-run shot. 
  • 1972 - Bob Moose's wild pitch in the ninth inning allowed George Foster to score the winning run with two outs as the Cincinnati Reds beat the Bucs, 4-3, at Riverfront Stadium to capture the NLCS to earn a World Series berth. The Pirates had entered the ninth inning with a 3-2 lead but couldn’t hold on. Johnny Bench's lead-off solo homer against Dave Giusti tied the game before Foster’s scamper won it. Cincy pitching was the difference. Pittsburgh led the NL with a .274 team BA, but hit just .190 during the NLCS, scoring only 10 runs in the final four games. The Reds lost the World Series to the Oakland A’s in seven games. 
Ty Wigginton - 2005 Fleer
  • 1977 - IF Ty Wigginton was born in San Diego. He came over from the Mets as part of the Kris Benson deal and played for the Pirates from 2004-05, primarily at third, but hit just .237. He played 12 seasons before his last game in 2013, making stops at eight different cities. Ty’s now a high school coach, following in his dad’s footsteps. 
  • 1979 - Pittsburgh pushed a run across in the ninth to knot the World Series with Baltimore at a game apiece, taking a 3-2 win at Memorial Stadium. Bill Madlock and Ed Ott drove in second inning runs while Eddie Murray homered and doubled to plate a pair. Jim Palmer and Bert Blyleven started the game and left it to the bullpens to decide. Both teams left the bases loaded in the seventh. Bill Robinson singled to start the ninth against Tippy Martinez, and Matt Alexander came in to run, only to be caught stealing. With Don Stanhouse on the mound, Bill Madlock drove one deep to center, but it was a loud out. The Bucs kept on, though, as Ed Ott hit a ground ball single, Phil Garner drew a four pitch walk, and pinch hitter Manny Sanguillen singled to right for the lead. Don Robinson got the win and Kent Tekulve the save, striking out a pair of Orioles in the ninth to ice the victory. 
  • 1979 - LHP Shane Youman was born in New Iberia, Louisiana. Shane made 23 appearances (11 starts) in 2006-07 for Pittsburgh with a line of 3-7/5.13, and that was the extent of his MLB career. He spent four years pitching in the indie leagues, another four campaigns in Korea, and spent some winters tossing for Latin clubs, with 2016 split between in the Mexican League and the winter Venezuelan League. He returned to Korea in 2018 at age 37, and now coaches high school players in Texas. 
  • 1983 - Pirates beatman Charley Feeney of the Post Gazette wrote that the Bucs and Giants had submitted a big late-August trade for league approval, but were denied by NL President Chub Feeney because of a rules violation. Per the article, the Buccos were going to send 1B Jason Thompson, 2B Johnnie Ray, LHP Rod Scurry and OF Lee Lacy to the Bay for OF Jack Clark and lefty reliever Gary LaVelle. GM Pete Peterson was looking for a power bat to replace OF Dave Parker, who was in the walk year of his contract (and did sign with the Reds after the season). The catch? The Pirates wanted two unspecified players to stay with the team until the end of the season - the Bucs were in a pennant race at the time (they ended up second after the smoke cleared) but that ran counter to a reg that forbid a club from keeping players on their original team after they were announced as part of a deal. The talks had begun back in June, with San Francisco seeking 2B Denny Gonzalez and C Tony Pena as part of the original proposed package. 
Walkie - 1992 Donruss
  • 1992 - Pittsburgh stayed alive against the Atlanta Braves at TRS, as they scored four times in the first inning to chase Steve Avery and rode a three-hitter by Bob Walk to a 7-1 win. Lloyd McClendon and Jeff King each had three knocks while the Bucs drilled five doubles among their 13 hits. The Pirates returned to Atlanta down three games to two in the NLCS. Deion Sanders flew to Pittsburgh for the game after playing for the Miami Dolphins that afternoon looking to become the first player to take part in two pro games in different sports on the same day, but even in a blowout didn’t get into the lineup. 
  • 2000 - As expected, ticket prices for the new PNC Park went up from the TRS days. The majority of $20 TRS seats jumped to $23-$25 and overall prices ranged from $9-$35, with most fees going up $2-$5. The Pirates prices were still lower than most of the new parks, and the FO cited a view closer to the action and more comfortable seating as the reason for the hike. 
  • 2005 - The Pirates hired Jim Tracy as manager, signing him to a three-year deal. It was the first time in two decades, since the hiring of Jim Leyland from the White Sox, that Pittsburgh went outside the organization to select its field boss. He lasted two years, then signed on as a bench coach at Colorado and replaced Clint Hurdle as skipper of the Rox in 2009. Clint returned the favor by becoming the Pirates manager in 2011. May the circle be unbroken...