Saturday, November 11, 2017

11/11 Through 1910: Stenzel for Brodie; HBD Pie, Rabbit, Charlie, Joe, Art & George

  • 1853 - IF Joe Battin was born in West Bradford, in Chester County, although some cite Philadelphia as his birthplace. Joe was a good glove, bad bat guy who spent 10 years in a variety of major leagues - the National Association, National League, American Association, and the Union Association. He was with the Alleghenys from 1882-84, batting .215 and serving briefly as a player manager for a smidgen of the 1883 and ‘84 campaigns, going 8-18. His career highlight was taking part of the 1874 tour of the UK and France by the Philadelphia Athletics & Boston Red Stockings. The Yanks not only introduced the Euros to baseball, but also were booked for several cricket matches. 
Charlie Hastings 1896 (photo via Wikipedia)
  • 1870 - RHP Charlie Hastings was born in Ironton, Ohio. Working mostly as a fourth starter in the days when two or three were the norm, he put up a 11-14-1 record with a 4.51 ERA between 1896-98, appearing in 67 games (45 starts). Charlie played through the 1904 season before spending a few seasons as an ump. He then retired to Parkersburg, WV, where he collected bridge tolls for a living before passing away in 1934. 
  • 1891 - IF Walter “Rabbit” Maranville was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. The Hall of Famer spent four (1921-24) of his 23 big league seasons in Pittsburgh, hitting .283 during his stay. In 1922, he led the league with 746 PA and 672 AB, scoring 115 times. There are a couple of tales regarding the origin of his nickname. One is that he earned it because of his big ears. He begged to differ, claiming that the young sister of a friend came up with it after watching him bounce around like a rabbit on the field. 
  • 1896 - CF Jake Stenzel was traded along with bench players RHP Elmer Horton, OF Tom O'Brien and IF Harry Truby to the Baltimore Orioles for CF Steve Brodie and 3B Jim Donnelly. Stenzel, who had a .360 BA over five years with the Bucs, hit .353 with 116 RBI for the O’s in 1897. Brodie was released after 1-1/2 years in Pittsburgh and Donnelly only lasted one season. Brodie was re-signed by Baltimore after the Bucs let him go and hit .308 for them through 1899, and in a bit of karma replaced Stenzel, who was traded to the St. Louis Browns after his big 1897 season. 
Steve Brodie (photo via Find A Grave)
  • 1898 - Harold “Pie” Traynor was born in Framingham, Massachusetts. The Hall of Fame 3B played 17 seasons (1920-35, 1937) for the Pirates with a career .320 BA. He hit over .300 ten times, had over 100 RBI in a season seven times, and was considered the top third baseman of his era. The ensuing local generations may remember him for his “Studio Wrestling” promos, when he touted American Heating with his “Who Can? Ameri-Can!” line. Traynor became a scout for the Pirates when his career ended (he held that post for the rest of his life) and hosted a radio program six days a week for 20 years on KQV called "The Pie Traynor Club" where he talked baseball with local kids. Pie passed away in 1972 and is buried in Homewood Cemetery. There are several stories involving his nickname. A couple revolve around his love of pie when he was a kid, with another explaining that his round puss made him look "pie-faced." 
  • 1906 - Announcer Art McKennan was born in Oakland. Starting out as a Forbes Field errand boy, he did odd jobs around the park, working his way up to bat boy and scoreboard runner. Art got a job in the real world and continued on as an usher. He couldn’t keep that gig, though - in 1930, he was diagnosed with polio. But it didn’t stop him. Art was the voice of the Pirates at Forbes Field from 1948 until it closed, and then at TRS until 1987 (he did Sunday games after that until 1993). He also had stints with the Penguins, Pitt football and Duquesne hoops along with a 30-year career in Pittsburgh’s Parks Department. He died in 1996 at the age of 89. 
Art McKenna (photo via SABR)
  • 1906 - Scout George Detore was born in Utica, New York. He served on Danny Murtaugh's MLB coaching staff during 1959 season, taking the place of Jimmy Dykes when he left the Pirates to become the manager of the Detroit Tigers. Detore joined Pittsburgh in 1950 as a minor league coach, then as a New York based scout/scouting supervisor, serving in that role from 1955–58, 60-63 and once again from in 69–86.
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