Tuesday, December 19, 2017

12/19 Birthdays: HBD Jose, Mike, Obie, Ray, Eddie, Lou & Artie

  • 1887 - IF Artie Butler (Bouthillier) was born in Fall River, Massachusetts. Art hit .277 in two Bucco seasons (1912-13) before moving along to the Cards. His claim to fame is a bit on the macabre side - he was the last living teammate of legendary pitcher Cy Young before passing on in 1984. 
  • 1898 - RHP Lou Koupal was born in San Gabriel, California. He began his MLB odyssey with the Pirates in 1925-26 and slashed 0-2, 5.02. He was shipped back to the farm, came back and worked three more years in the league, then took a seven year hiatus before closing out his career in 1937. Fun fact from Baseball Junk Drawer: He was one of six 1929 Brooklyn Robins who had been members of the championship 1925 Pirates team, along with Max Carey, Johnny Gooch, Eddie Moore, Johnny Morrison and Glenn Wright. 
Lou Koupal 1925-26 (photo: Conlon Collection/The Sporting News)
  • 1915 - OF Eddie Yount was born in Newton, North Carolina. Eddie was a Wake Forest grad and minor league lifer, starting in 1937 and hanging in there until 1951 when he was 35. He got seven at-bats with the Philadelphia A’s in 1937 with two knocks and two more cuts for the Pirates in 1939 (he struck out both times). He then spent the rest of his time on the farm with a three-year break during WW2, serving with the Hellcats of the 12th Armored Division. 
  • 1917 - RHP Ray Poat was born in Chicago. Mainl a reliever, Ray spent six campaigns in the show while giving the government a couple of years work during the war. He finished his career in 1949 at Pittsburgh, making 11 appearances with a line of 0-1, 6.25, after arriving in June as part of the Kirby Higbe deal. He was pitching with a bum wing and had surgery after the season, but it was a recurring woe and he retired to the life of a chemist (he was an Illinois grad). Fun fact: In 1947, Poat became the first MLB player to swat a season cycle, which is collecting just four hits in a year but with one of each flavor - single, double, triple and home run. 
  • 1918 - OF/3B Tommy “Obie” O’Brien was born in Anniston, Alabama. O’Brien was a three-time All State football player and enrolled at the University of Tennessee, but opted for baseball. He started his MLB career as a Pirate, hitting .301 between 1942-45, toiled in the minors from 1946-48 and returned to the show in 1949-50 with Boston and Washington. His shining moment came in 1943 when he had seven consecutive hits in a doubleheader against the NY Giants. 
Mike Fetters 2002 Upper Deck 40 Man
  • 1964 - RHP Mike Fetters was born in Van Nuys, California. The veteran reliever tossed 16 major league seasons for eight clubs, spending 2001-02 with the Pirates and slashing 2-1-8, 3.75. He’s often remembered for his odd motion; before he delivered the ball, he took a deep breath and turned his head 90 degrees, a move he came up with to counter the stress of pitching. 
  • 1973 - RHP Jose Silva was born in Tijuana, Mexico. Jose worked five years (1997-2001) for the Bucs, starting 53 of his 140 Pirate games. He finished 25-28-4 with a 5.41 ERA in his Pittsburgh years. He worked one more MLB campaign, and moved on to the Mexican League.

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