Wednesday, January 10, 2018

1/10: Peace in the Valley; NNL 2.0; Rex Heads Scouts; Bing Double Dips; HBD Cliff, Bo & Bob

  • 1903 - The simmering feud between the National and American Leagues was settled amicably after a meeting of the owners in Cincinnati. The NL asked for a consolidated 12 team league; the AL instead vowed to send Samuel Angus’ Detroit Tiger club to Pittsburgh to go head-to-head with the Pirates. But the owners decided to begin sharing the sandbox. The leagues remained pretty much the same & agreed on common rules, the American Association officially became a minor league circuit, and the players who were under conflicting contracts for the season had their rights assigned to one club. However, a working World Series agreement between the leagues wouldn’t be made until 1905, although the league champions, the Pirates and Boston Americans, scheduled a best-of-nine set after the campaign in what’s considered the first modern World Series. 
Cliff Chambers 1949 Eureka Sports Stamp
  • 1922 - LHP Cliff Chambers was born in Portland, Oregon. He worked for the Bucs between 1949-51, going 28-28 with a 4.33 ERA. But he had a shining moment: On May 6th, 1951, Chambers pitched a no-hitter (albeit with eight walks) for the Pirates, beating the Boston Braves 3-0 for the second no-no in franchise history (the first was Nick Maddox’s 1907 gem v Brooklyn). 
  • 1926 - SS George “Bo” Strickland was born in New Orleans. The Pirates got him from the Red Sox in the Rule 5 draft, and he played for the Bucs from 1950-52, helping to mentor a young Dick Groat. He hit .199 over that span, and then was traded to the Indians, where he lasted eight more seasons, several as a starting SS and manning the middle for the 1954 AL championship club. Strickland was a solid glove guy and good thing; he hit over .238 just once in his 10 year MLB career. Per Mel Marmer of SABR, Bo got his nickname as a kid; he was always covered with scrapes and cuts, and all those “boo-boos” earned him the moniker Bobo, which was shortened to Bo as he grew up. 
  • 1933 - The second Negro National League was established in 1933, two years after the original Negro National League (NNL) folded. It consisted of seven teams: the Baltimore Black Sox, Cole's American Giants, Columbus Blue Birds, Detroit Stars, Homestead Grays, Nashville Elite Giants and Pittsburgh Crawfords. Homestead was expelled early in the first season for raiding Detroit's roster, but remained an associate club until 1935, when they were reinstated as a full member once again. They held on until the league’s end in 1949, while the Crawfords disbanded after the 1938 season. Each local club claimed two NNL titles, with Pittsburgh earning two more half-season crowns in the league’s earliest years. 
  • 1956 - Scout Bob Rossi was born in Scranton. He got around, scouting for the Pirates (1986-90), New York Mets (1991-2004) and Chicago Cubs (2005-07) after starting out as a part-timer for the Cards. He signed C Keith Osik, who played seven years for the Bucs.
Maz was Rex Bowen's prize catch.
  • 1957 - Rex Bowen became the Pirates scouting supervisor, replacing George Sisler. Bowen, who started with the Brooklyn Dodgers - he signed Maury Wills - joined the Pirates as a scout in 1950 and inked the 17-year-old Bill Mazeroski in 1954. Rex also signed Dick Groat, Gene Michael, Bruce Dal Canton and Gene Freese before joining the Reds in 1968. He was recognized by Baseball America as one of the top ten baseball scouts of the 20th century. Rex’s brother Joe and grandson Jack also worked in the Bucco scouting department. 
  • 1957 - Commissioner Ford Frick ruled that Bing Crosby could keep his 5% share of the Detroit Tigers, even though he was also a minority owner (16%) of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The dual ownership never became an issue (Der Bingle slipped through a minority-interest loophole) as he sold his shares in both teams by the early sixties. Bing liked keeping his hand in baseball; he also owned shares in the minor-league Hollywood Stars until 1957, when the club was sold, while also a Pirates owner.
Post a Comment