Friday, January 12, 2018

1/12: Pops HoF, TSN Cover Boy; Bucs Ink Ivan & Brian; HBD Rich, Big Ed,Tom & Ed S

  • 1859 - C/1B Ed Swartwood was born in Rockford, Illinois. Swartwood played for the Alleghenys from 1882-84 and then spent his last big league season as a Pirate in 1892. He put up some good numbers, including a .322 BA in Pittsburgh. In 1882 he led the American Association with 86 runs, 18 doubles, and 159 total bases, then went on to become the league batting champion in 1883 with a .357 average. Swartwood married a Pittsburgh gal in 1883 while with the Alleghenys and became an Allegheny County sheriff when he was done with baseball (he also umped for a spell after his playing career). He was buried in North Side’s Union Dale cemetery after he passed on in 1924. 
Ed Swartwood via Union Dale Cemetery
  • 1866 - C Tom Kinslow was born in Washington, DC. Tom spent 10 years in the show, squeezing in 19 games with the 1895 Pirates and batting .226 after being traded by the Brooklyn Bridegrooms for Ad Gumbert. The hard-drinking Kinslow (who owned a Washington bar) was released in May for overindulgence, expressing shock - in Brooklyn, they punished his binges with fines. He was by all accounts a friendly galoot, but the drinking led to discipline and conditioning (his weight would yo-yo) issues, and he only played 380 games during his decade in MLB. Tom died young, at 35, from “consumption” (tuberculosis). 
  • 1925 - 1B Big Ed Stevens (actually, a modest 6’1”, 190 lbs, but that was king-sized in the forties) was born in Galveston, Texas. The Pirates got him from Brooklyn when he was bumped off the bag by a rookie named Jackie Robinson. He replaced Hank Greenberg at first for a season in Pittsburgh, then spent his final two campaigns (1948-50; .253 Pirates BA) on the bench. Big Ed didn’t hit it big in the MLB, but was da bomb in the minors. In 16 farm seasons spanning 1941-61, Stevens belted 257 home runs and drove in 1,013 runs on his way to being named to the International League Hall of Fame. After his retirement, he scouted for the Minnesota Twins, Seattle Mariners and Oakland A’s. 
  • 1972 - RH reliever Rich Loiselle was born in Neenah, Wisconsin. He tossed his entire career of six seasons (1996-2001) for the Bucs, and went 9-18-49/4.38 during that span. Loiselle was the Bucco closer in 1997-98 when he picked up 48 of his 49 career saves. He struggled after that, having both control and elbow problems. 
Rich Loiselle 1998 Finest Refractors
  • 1980 - Willie Stargell was featured on the cover of The Sporting News after being selected as TSN’s Man of the Year. Pops hit 32 homers in 1979 and added five more in the post season, winning both the NLCS and World Series MVP awards. 
  • 1987 - RHP Ivan Nova was born in Palenque, Dominican Republic. After seven years with the Yankees, he joined Pittsburgh when the Bucs sent minor leaguers OF Tito Polo and LHP Stephen Tarpley to the Bronx Bombers at the 2016 deadline for him. In 11 starts, Nova went 5-2, 3.07 and the FO lured him back again as a free agent with a three year/$26M deal. He returned to earth in 2017 as his line was 11-14, 4.14, in 31 games, more in line with his career results. 
  • 1988 - Willie Stargell was the only player elected to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA‚ and the 17th player elected in his first year of eligibility. Cap’n Willie was inducted on August 1st. His Pirate slash was .282/.360/.529 with 475 HR and 1,540 RBI. Ralph Kiner is second on the Bucco list of homers; he hit 301. 
Willie Stargell 2012 Triple Play Hall of Fame
  • 1989 - The Bucs signed RHP Brian Fisher, 26, to a one year, $404K contract to avoid arbitration. Pittsburgh had the fireballer penciled into their rotation for the third straight year after coming over from the Yankees but he broke his knee in 1989 and only made three starts; Brian would pitch just 26 more times before retiring in 1993. They also bought the contract of C Tom Prince from AAA as they began to form their 1989 club.
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