Friday, June 10, 2016

6/10: HBD Vic & Hank, Gunner Passes On, Paige HoF, First Expo Park Blast & More...

  • 1890 - OF Jocko Fields of the Pittsburgh Burghers hit the first home run at Exposition Park in a 10-4 win over the aptly named Chicago Pirates. The Burghers were part of the Players League, and were manned primarily by guys who had previously played for the Alleghenys such as Fields.
  • 1905 - Vic Harris was born in Pensacola, Florida. His family moved to Pittsburgh in 1914, and Vic spent 23 years playing the outfield for the Homestead Grays, hitting .299. He was also the player-manager of the Grays, and his club won nine consecutive Negro National League pennants from 1937-1945 (he was off during the war years of 1943-44).
Vic Harris Helmar R319 Big League Brew
  • 1911 - The Bucs ran the Dodgers crazy at Forbes Field. Bobby Byrne stole 2B‚ 3B‚ and home in the same inning, taking third base while the Dodgers argued the original call at second. The Pirates pulled off a pair of double steals and an uncredited triple steal that was instead ruled an error on the throw. When the dust settled, Pittsburgh had a 9-0 win over Brooklyn.
  • 1929 - C Hank Foiles was born in Richmond, Virginia. He played for the Pirates from 1956-59, starting two seasons. Foiles was an All-Star in 1957, hitting .270 and throwing out 38% of the base stealers trying his arm, but his bat let him down, and his four-year Bucco BA was just .230.
  • 1935 - Paul Waner‚ Arky Vaughan‚ and Pep Young hit successive HRs in the eighth inning off Benny Frey during the Pirates 14-1 win against the Reds at Forbes Field. Gus Suhr also went yard for the Pirates and Bill Swift earned a complete game victory. The feat wasn’t witnessed by many; only 1,186 fans showed for the contest.
Pep Young 1939 Play Ball
  • 1951 - Ralph Kiner smacked a two run homer in the 11th off Carl Erskine to give the Pirates a 5-4 doubleheader split with Brooklyn at Ebbet’s Field. It was Kiner’s second blast of the game, with Gus Bell adding another to give Bill Werle the win. The Bucs lost the opener 2-1; Ralph Branca, who walked Kiner twice, won a duel against Bob Friend.
  • 1954 - It was a frustrating day for the Pirates as they were shut out 6-0 at Crosley Field by the Reds’ Fred Baczewski. The Bucs had 11 hits on the day (all singles), with the 3-4-5 hitters each banging out two knocks, but they couldn’t push home a run at Cincinnati. Pittsburgh stranded 12 and were even frustrated in the field, committing three errors.
  • 1971 - The Baseball Hall of Fame's new Special Committee on the Negro Leagues formally selected Satchel Paige for induction on August 9th. Paige made stops with the Homestead Grays and Pittsburgh Crawfords during his storied career that carried him through the Negro Leagues, Central America, the Caribbean and finally the MLB.
  • 1973 - IF Calvin "Pokey" Reese was born in in Columbia, SC.A first round pick of the Reds in 1991 out of high school, he played second for the Bucs in 2003-04, hitting .254 but losing most of the second season to injury. His nickname didn't have anything to do with his pace (he stole 144 bases in his career), but there are two tales: Reese was born with a hernia (it wasn’t repaired until he was six) that caused his navel to poke out, so his grandma called young Calvin "Pokey." The second story has it that Reese got his moniker because he was a chubby baby and his grandmother called him Porky, which came out “Pokey” with her southern drawl. Either way, grams hung Pokey on him.
  • 1977 - It took 11 innings, but the Bucs defeated the San Diego Padres 10-7 at TRS. Willie Stargell hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the 11th inning to score Dave Parker and Al Oliver for the walk-off win. That was Pop’s only hit of the night. Bill Robinson had three knocks and three RBI while Rich “Goose” Gossage got the win for the Pirates. He came on during the eighth inning and pitching four scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and striking out four batters.
Willie Stargell 1985 Topps
  • 1985 - The Gunner, Bob Prince, died of pneumonia and cancer at the age of 68. The long time Pirate broadcaster last called a game May 20, when a rain delay sent him to the hospital and he never recovered, lapsing into a coma. He served a 28-year stint as the voice of the Pirates on KDKA known for his “Gunnerisms” and home-town boosterism. Prince was posthumously awarded the Ford C. Frick Award by the Baseball Hall of Fame as a broadcaster in 1986.
  • 2000 - The Royals edged the Pirates 2-1 in 12 innings. But don’t blame 2B Warren Morris; he went 5-for-6. The Bucs banged out 13 hits, but they were all singles, and they didn’t score until there were two out in the ninth to prolong the drama at Kauffman Stadium.
  • 2015 - The Bucs shut out the Brewers at PNC Park by a 2-0 score. The runs came home thanks to a Starling Marte knock and Pedro Alvarez blast that traveled 438’ and cleared the RF stands. But the story of the night was Charlie Morton, who went 7-⅓ IP, giving up three hits, three walks and K’ing six. Charlie set a couple of personal bests during the night. He won five in a row for the first time in his career, and started a season off 4-0 for the first time, too.

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