Monday, December 11, 2017

12/11 Through the 70s: Doc, Silver Fox & Abby Deals; Haney Mgr; HBD Jay, O'Brien Bros, Dutch & Derek; Clemente Complex Games

  • 1885 - C Art “Dutch” Wilson was born in Macon, Illinois. The 14-year vet spent half a season with the Bucs in 1916, batting .258 in 53 games. The Bucs had purchased him from the Federal League’s Chicago Whales in February and traded him and 2B Otto Knabe to the Chicago Cubs for C Bill Fischer and OF Frank Schulte in July. 
Abby 1909-11 Colgan All-Stars
  • 1906 - The Pirates traded veterans OF Ginger Beaumont, P Patsy Flaherty and 2B Claude Ritchey to the Boston Beaneaters for 2B Ed Abbaticchio. Beaumont had a great 1907 for Boston and followed with a pair of solid seasons. Flaherty and Ritchey also had two workmanlike years left in them. Abby stuck with the Pirates until 1910. He started for two years, but was a sub on the 1909 championship team and hit .253 in Pittsburgh. 
  • 1928 - SS Glenn “Buckshot” (his arm was strong but not entirely accurate) Wright was sent to the Brooklyn Robins for LHP Jesse “The Silver Fox” (because he didn’t really make it in the big leagues until his 30s) Petty and IF Harry Riconda. Wright, one of the top SS of the era, suffered a major shoulder injury in 1929 which affected his play in the field, but didn’t hang up the spikes until 1935 with a lifetime .294 BA after 11 big league seasons. Petty was workmanlike in 1929, but the wheels fell off in 1930, his final MLB season. 
  • 1930 - The O’Brien twins, Eddie and Johnny, were born in South Amboy, New Jersey. Utility man Eddie - he played SS, 3B, OF and even pitched 16 innings - spent five years (1952, 1954-57) with the Bucs, hit .236 and had a 3.31 ERA with a 1-0 record. Johnny was a Pirate for five years (1953, 1955-58) and was a middle infielder/pitcher. He put up a .260 BA and went 1-3 with a 5.61 ERA. The O'Briens were the first twins in major league history to play for the same team in the same game. On a side note, the brothers were also strong basketball players at Seattle University, and scored 84 points between them when SU beat the barnstorming Harlem Globetrotters in 1952. 
Ed & John O'Brien (photo via Seattle University)
  • 1952 - Fred Haney was named as manager, replacing Billy Meyer. It was an unusual job search; Haney, the PCL Hollywood coach, was happy there (it was his home), but was the fall-back man if Branch Rickey couldn't land anyone on his short list. The Bucs finished in last place each season under Haney’s three year reign, compiling a 163-299 (.353) record. But that was more an indictment of the Pirates talent than Haney’s leadership. In 1957, he took a Milwaukee team that featured Henry Aaron, Eddie Mathews and Warren Spahn to the World Series title. 
  • 1965 - SS Jay Bell was born at Elgin AFB (Pensacola), Florida. Jay played SS for Pittsburgh from 1989-96, hitting .269, anchoring the infield of Jim Leyland’s 1990-92 division championship clubs and earning an All-Star spot in 1993. Bell also won a Gold Glove in 1993, breaking a string of thirteen straight NL Golden Gloves by SS Ozzie Smith. It was the first GG by a Pirate SS since Gene Alley's back-to-back honors in 1966 and 1967. 
  • 1968 -OF Derek Bell was born in Tampa, Florida. The Pirates signed Bell to a two year deal in 2001; he hit .173 in the first campaign and felt slighted when newswriters told him that he was in competition while in camp to play in 2002. Per Wikipedia, Bell replied “If it is [a competition], then I'm going into 'Operation Shutdown.' Tell them exactly what I said. I haven't competed for a job since 1991." Bell left the team on March 29th, was released on March 31st, and never played in the majors again. The Pirates ate the $4.5M still due to him and Bell pulled anchor on his yacht and sailed away. New York Post writer Tom Keegan described the incident by calling Bell "the perfect Pirate given that he lives on a boat and steals money." 
"The Perfect Pirate" 2002 Topps Heritage
  • 1973 - The Pirates agreed to play two exhibition games in San Juan for the next five years to help fund a Roberto Clemente Sports Complex. It was a team effort - the Expos, Yankees, Mets and Red Sox (twice) agreed to play the series and Eastern Airlines picked up the travel arrangements. General manager Joe Brown said “We are overwhelmed by the cooperation.” The Sports City opened in Carolina, a suburb of San Juan, on land donated by Puerto Rico in 1974 with upkeep and upgrades supported by the games. 
  • 1975 - The Yankees acquired RHP Dock Ellis, LHP Ken Brett and 2B Willie Randolph from the Pirates for RHP Doc Medich. Randolph suited up for 17 more seasons, was named to six All-Star teams and played in four World Series, but was blocked in Pittsburgh by Rennie Stennett, who, as fate would have it, broke his leg in 1977 and left Pittsburgh after 1979.

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