Friday, March 6, 2015

3/6: Cap'n Willie's B-Day, Maz & Arky Voted Into Hall

  • 1863 - RF/1B John Coleman was born in Saratoga Springs, NY. He was an Allegheny in 1886 and then played with the Pirates from 1887-88 and again in 1890. For beginning his career as a pitcher, he did OK with the bat, putting up a .266 BA in his Pittsburgh days.
  • 1940 - 1B/OF Wilver Dornell Stargell was born in Earlsboro, Oklahoma. Pops played his entire 21-year MLB career (1962-1982) for the Pirates. Captain Willie hit .282, with 2,232 hits, 423 doubles, 475 HR and 1,540 RBI. His teams captured six NL East division titles, two NL pennants and two World Series (1971, 1979). Stargell was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1988.
Willie goes long in Game #7 of the 1979 World series (photo by Associated Press)
  • 1973 - In an spring exhibition game against the Bucs, the Twins’ Larry Hisle, in most (but not all) historians minds, became the first DH in MLB history. He did a good job, too, hitting two HR and collecting seven RBI. It was the first year the rule was in effect, and five teams used a DH that day, which is why there’s still some debate over who the first guy actually was.
  • 1979 - SS Clint Barmes was born in Vincennes, Indiana. The slick fielding, stick-challenged infielder joined the Buccos in 2012 when he signed a two-year, $10.5M FA contract. He  returned in 2014 for $1.5M, although he was hurt much of the year and during the off-season signed with the San Diego Padres.
  •  1985 - SS Arky Vaughan was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee. Vaughan batted .318 with a .406 OBP over a 14-year career with the Pirates (1932-41) and Brooklyn Dodgers. He was inducted on July 28th. Earlier, in 1981, Lawrence Ritter and Donald Honig included him in their book The 100 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time. Twenty years later, in his 2001 New Historical Baseball Abstract, Bill James rated Vaughan as the second-best shortstop in MLB history, behind fellow Pirate and mentor Honus Wagner.
Arky Vaughan via Deadball Era
  • 1996 - RHP Jim Bunning was elected into the Hall of Fame. Most of his 17 year career was spent with the Tigers and Phillies, pitching in Pittsburgh from 1968-69 and earning 14 of his career 224 wins. He was inducted on August 4th. The pitcher-turned-politico was one of five players to throw a no-hitter in both leagues, with Cy Young, Randy Johnson, Nolan Ryan and Hideo Nomo.
  • 1999 - 1B Kevin Young signed the richest contract in Pirate history, a $24M, four-year deal that was made possible by anticipated revenues from the team's soon-to-be-built stadium. The deal called for a $500,000 signing bonus and salaries of $5.5M in 2000, $6M in 2001, $5.5M in 2002 and $6.5M in 2003. That carried him to the end of his 12 year career, with all but one campaign spent as a Pirate. He rejoined the team in 2015 as a special assistant of the baseball operations staff.
  • 2001 - 2B Bill Mazeroski was voted into the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee. He was inducted on August 5th, tearing up during his speech and tucking his handwritten notes away, saying "I think you can flush these 12 pages down the drain." The Pirates retired his number, built him a statue, and every October 13th fans meet at the Forbes Field wall to celebrate his home run, selected by ESPN as the “Greatest Home Run of All Time.”
Maz in the middle (Corbin-Bettmann Image Collection)
  • 2007 - The Bucs signed Cuban righty Yoslan Herrera to a three year/$1.92M deal. He made it to the show in July, 2008, and in five starts, he went 1-1/9.82. The Pirates released him during the 2009 offseason, and he was out of baseball after another year. Herrera did rebound though, pitching for the LA Angels in 2014 and moving on to Japan this season.
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