Friday, December 22, 2017

12/22 Birthdays: HBD Matty, Connie, Bob, Tommy, Lonnie, Glenn, Jaku & Jacob

  • 1862 - Cornelius “Connie” Mack was born in East Brookfield, Massachusetts. Mack was a reserve catcher for the Pirates from 1891-96, hitting a modest .242. Mack's last three seasons in the NL were as a player-manager with Pittsburgh from 1894 to 1896, eventually leading to a 50 year gig as the field general of the Philadelphia Athletics (1901–1950), where he won five World Series and became a Hall-of-Fame skipper. 
Bob Hall 1955 Bowman
  • 1923 - RHP Bob Hall was born in Swissvale. The local kid only had a three year career, spending his early 20’s with the Coast Guard during the Second World War instead of honing his game in the minors. After two years with the Braves and two more seasons on the farm, he was part of Pittsburgh’s 1953 staff, going 3-12-1, 5.39, in what would be his final MLB campaign. 
  • 1938 - CF Matty Alou was born in Bajos de Haina, Dominican Republic. Obtained from the Giants for the 1966 season, he became a slap-hitting machine under Harry “The Hat” Walker’s tutelage. In his time in Pittsburgh, he won a batting title and hit .300+ for four straight years. Mateo was traded to the Cards for the 1971 campaign after hitting .327 as a Pirate. Alou is part of the Dominican Republic’s first family of baseball, along with his MLB brothers Felipe (who is Moise’s dad) and Jesus. 
  • 1950 - Coach Tommy Sandt was born in Brooklyn. Sandt played only 42 games in the majors, but had a 15-year pro career. After he put down the bat, Tommy was a minor league coach, manager, and major league coach. He worked under skipper Jim Leyland with the Pirates from 1987-96 and stayed with Leyland for stints with the Florida Marlins in 1997-98 and the Colorado Rockies in 1999. Sandt returned as a Pirates coach from 2000-02 with Gene Lamont and Lloyd McClendon. 
Tommy Sandt 1992-93 Nationwide
  • 1955 - OF Lonnie Smith was born in Chicago. Lonnie spent 15 years in the majors, making a 1993 stop in Pittsburgh, an awkward destination considering he was one of the players granted immunity in the infamous 1986 coke trials. The 37 year-old was signed to a $1M FA deal by the Bucs, hit .286 and then was sent to Baltimore in September for a pair of minor leaguers. He closed out his career there after the 1994 season. 
  • 1958 - OF Glenn Wilson was born in Baytown, Texas. He came to the Pirates in 1988 from the Mariners for Darnell Coles and a year later was flipped to the Astros for Billy Hatcher, returning to the Pirates as a FA in 1993, his last season. He played 147 games over those three campaigns with a .274 BA as part of a 10-year MLB tour of duty. 
  • 1978 - RHP Chris Jakubauskas was born in Upland, California. Chris had a hard start; after college, he missed two seasons with TJ surgery and had to work through the indie leagues to earn his big-league bow with Seattle. From there, he ended up with the Pirates and he was called up by Pittsburgh in late April of 2010 and made his Bucco debut the following night at Minute Maid Park. With two outs in first, a Lance Berkman liner drilled him above the ear in one of the Pirates scarier moments. Jaku never lost consciousness and escaped with a concussion and contusion, but it did end his Pirates stay when he was released in the offseason. He made it back with Baltimore in 2011, but then spent AAA time with four organizations, retiring in 2014. 
A scary moment for Jaku (photo Bob Levey/Getty)
  • 1989 - C Jacob Stallings was born in Lawrence, Kansas. Drafted in the seventh round of the 2012 draft out of North Carolina with a rep as a good glove, bad bat catcher, Jake has hit .379 in the show in 10 games between 2016-17, although his .246 BA in the minors is probably a better indicator of his stick. His dad Kevin is Pitt’s basketball coach.

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