Sunday, March 23, 2014

3/23: Mike Smith, Ray Kremer, Wendell Smith, Johnny Logan, Lanny Frattare...

Mike Smith, Ray Kremer, Wendell Smith, Johnny Logan, Lanny Frattare...

  • 1868 - OF/P Elmer “Mike” Smith was born in Pittsburgh. Smith was a pitcher that was converted to the OF, and played from 1892-97, then briefly again in 1901, for the Pirates. He was a good hitter with a .325 BA, .415 OBP and 136 OPS+ during his Bucco years. Smith also tossed for the Pirates in 1892, going 6-7/3.62. He remained a local boy after his 14 year career in MLB, and when he died, he was buried in North Side’s Union Dale Cemetery. 
  • 1893 - RHP Remy “Ray” Kremer was born in Oakland, California. Kremer pitched ten seasons for the Pirates (1924-33), his only MLB club, and went 143-85, winning 20 games twice and leading the NL in ERA in 1926 and 1927. What's more amazing is that he didn't make his major league debut until he was 31 years old! 

 Pittsburgh Baseball Hero Deck

  • 1914 - Writer Wendell Smith was born in Detroit. He was the baseball writer and sports editor for the Pittsburgh Courier from 1937-47. Smith covered the Homestead Grays, Pittsburgh Crawfords and the Pirates. He chronicled the early days of Jackie Robinson, and was reputed to be one of the industry insiders to recommend Jackie to Branch Rickey. He was recognized by the BBWAA Spink’s Award in 1993. In a bit of irony; the group had turned down his membership application while he was with the Courier, though in 1948 they finally relented and admitted him as one of its earliest black members, behind only Sam Lacy. 
  • 1926 - IF Johnny Logan was born in Endicott, NY. Logan spent the end of a productive 13 year career with the Pirates (1961-63) as a reserve, getting in 152 games and hitting .249. 
  • 1948 - Pirate announcer Lanny Frattare was born in Rochester, NY. He was part of the Pirate broadcasting team from 1976-2008 and announced over 5,000 Bucco games during those 33 seasons, becoming the Pirates longest-tenured voice ("...and there was no doubt about it") before moving on to academia. 
The image is from the Pittsburgh Baseball Hero Decks, available at: Heinz History Center, Sportzburgh, Pittsburgh Airport & Settlers Ridge Shopping Center, Hall of Cards, 300 Mt Lebanon Blvd, Allegheny General Hospital Gift Shop, Morini, The Mall at Robinson, Do It Best Hardware, Ambridge, PA, Washington Hospital Gift Shop, Synders Gateway Travel Plaza, Breezewood, PA

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