Wednesday, November 8, 2017

11/8: Bay RoY; Starling GG; Greg Goes; HBD Wally, Rex & Bill

  • 1870 - RHP Bill Hoffer was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Bill started out on fire, winning 78 games for the Orioles from 1895-97 before the bottom fell out. He worked for Pittsburgh from 1889-90, going 11-10, 3.33, but was near the end of his career, pitching MLB ball again in 1901 as his swan song. He also played some outfield, but put up a measly .186 BA. Bill retired back to Iowa and became an engineer/conductor on the interurban railway between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City and was later named to the Des Moines Register Iowa Sports Hall of Fame. 
Wally Westlake 1949 Bowman
  • 1920 - OF Wally Westlake was born in Gridley, California. He played 4-1/2 seasons for the Pirates (1947-51) and hit .281 with 97 HR in that span as an everyday player. Wally was an All-Star in 1951, the season he split between the Pirates and Cardinals, and played through the 1956 season. Wally retired and returned to the coast as a labor foreman and dedicated fisherman/hunter. 
  • 1937 - PH Rex Johnston was born in Colton, California. Rex was signed for $40K but only played briefly for the Bucs, going hitless in seven at-bats in 1964. In 1960, the former two-sport Southern Cal star played as a kick returner for the Steelers (he was behind John Henry Johnson & Tom “The Bomb” Tracy in the backfield) during the minor league off-season and thus became the only athlete to date who suited up for both the Bucs and the Steelers. Rex retired after the 1966 season and went back home to California to run the family painting business. Johnston factoid: he was teammates with the Phil’s Hall of Fame GM Pat Gillick, who was a lefty pitcher when USC won the 1958 College World Series. 
  • 2004 - Jason Bay, who hit .282 with 26 HRs and 82 RBI, became the first Pirate (and Canadian) player to win the NL Rookie of the Year Award. Although he didn't begin his year until May while recovering from shoulder surgery, Jay led all NL rookies with a .550 slugging percentage, 54 extra base hits and 226 total bases. (Johnny Ray won The Sporting News ROY award in 1982). He had a pretty good week; he married his college sweetie Kristen two days before winning the award. 
Jason Bay 2004 Sports Collectibles
  • 2016 - Starling Marte became the ninth Pirate to win multiple Golden Gloves as he was selected for his second straight Rawlings GG award. Starling threw out 17 runners - 16 without a relay man - topping his previous best of 16 assists. He’s the first Pirate since Andy Van Slyke (1988-92) and Barry Bonds (1990-92) to win consecutive honors. 
  • 2016 - Greg Schiltz, who began his scouting career at Pittsburgh in 2004 and worked his way from amateur bird dog to Northern Regional Supervisor, was hired away by the Phils to become their National Scouting Coordinator; he’s now their Assistant Director of Amateur Scouting.
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