Saturday, January 13, 2018

1/13 Birthdays Through the 40s: HBD Spades, Ron, Jud, Al, Fred, Goat, Ben & Jim

  • 1865 - RHP Al Krumm was born in Pittsburgh. Al, who had a rep as a pot-stirrer, was ousted from his Lima squad by his teammates in 1888 and came home to work in J&L’s rolling mills. In ‘89, he tossed a game for McKeesport (his only outing with them; he couldn’t pitch much as the day games clashed with his steelworkers schedule) but caught the Alleghenys eye. With Cannonball Morris and Pete Conway injured, they needed pitchers and gave Krumm a shot. He worked his mill shift, took a catnap, and caught a train to NY, getting there three hours before game time. It wasn’t auspicious - the tired hurler walked 10 and gave up two big innings in an 11-7 loss to the Giants. But the contest didn’t nick his confidence any - he vowed to buy a hat for any batter who could work him for a free pass in his next outing. That redemptive game never came, though, and he went back to the mill life, retiring eventually to San Diego.
  • 1869 - 3B Grant “Jud” (his middle name was Judson) Smith was born in Green Oaks, Michigan. He played off-and-on in the show for four seasons, spending 1896 and 1901 with the Pirates. He hit .268 but only got into 16 games over those two campaigns, though he was a part of the Pirates 1901 championship squad. It was Jud’s destiny to be a minor league depth player; he toiled for 15 years on farm clubs, batting over .300 several times. 
Jud is first row, far right, w/Denny Lyons applying the choke hold.
  • 1880 - OF John “Goat” Anderson was born in Cleveland. He only played one year, 1908, in MLB, hitting .206 for the Pirates. But he was the regular RF’er and led off, with a .343 OBP and good baserunning skills. It wasn’t the lack of reaching base that did in the 27-year-old rookie; Goat developed arm problems and played his remaining ball in the minors through 1913. His nickname’s origin we can only speculate on, although based on his career line, we can safely eliminate Greatest Of All Time. We suspect it was because Anderson was small, (his vitals aren’t listed, but he was compared to 5’4” Wee Willie Keeler) aggressive (both on the bases & in the field), stubborn and argumentative with anyone on the field from umpires to his own manager. 
  • 1901 - OF Fred Schulte was born in Belvidere, Illinois. He was an 11-year MLB vet, and spent his last two campaigns in Pittsburgh in 1936-37, batting .248 (his lifetime BA was .291) before being released by the club at the age of 36. He managed and coached afterward in the minor leagues until 1946. Fred was also a scout for the Reds, White Sox, Indians, and Braves from 1947-64. 
Fred Schulte 1936 Rowe Postcard
  • 1909 - Charles “Spades” Wood was born in Spartanburg SC. The lefty twirled for two years in Pittsburgh, from 1930-31, mostly as a starter, and went 6-9, 5.61. He had a little problem with the strike zone, walking 78 in 122 IP while fanning just 56. JC Bradbury of SABR explained his moniker: “Wood earned his nickname from a 13 spades bridge hand he was dealt on a Sunday, which resulted in his expulsion (from his school, Wofford College) - playing bridge on Sunday was not allowed.” 
  • 1920 - OF Ben Guintini was born in Los Banos, California. It took him a spell to get to the majors (two years of minor league ball, two years in the Army and two more years on the farm) but in 1946 the Bucs gave him a shot. He went 0-for-3 in two games and was sent back to the bushes, resurfacing for four at-bats with the A’s in 1950. He spent 10 years in the minors, mainly as a PCL player, and was considered quite an entertainer by the fans and even Joe E Brown, who tried to talk him into the movies. Fun fact: In one game when several hometown fans came to see him play, he did handstands on his way to center field to start the game. He was quickly benched by no-fun skipper Lefty O'Doul, per Baseball Reference. Alas, neither baseball nor show biz saved him from a day job - he became a Cadillac salesman after he retired. 
Ron Brand 1964 Topps
  • 1940 - C Ron Brand was born in Los Angeles. Brand signed with the Pirates in 1958 as an 18-year-old high school kid and begin his MLB journey with the Bucs in 1963, hitting .288. After spending all of 1964 in AAA Columbus, Ron was plucked by the Houston Colt .45s in the 1964 Rule 5 draft and put together an off-and-on eight-year run in the show. He managed for three years after putting away the mask, but then took a long hiatus to raise his family. Brand came back in 1994 as a scout for the Yankees after tending to the home fires. 
  • 1949 - LHP Jim Foor was born in St. Louis, Missouri. Foor was a first round pick of the Tigers (15th overall) in 1967 out of high school. In 1972, he was traded to Pittsburgh by Detroit in a minor deal. Foor pitched in three games for the Pirates, walking one, striking out one and giving up no earned runs while spending most of the year at AAA Charleston in 1973. After the season, the Bucs shipped him to the Royals for Wayne Simpson. That was the end of his MLB career; wildness limited him and he got into just 12 big league games in three years, tossing six frames while walking 11 batters.
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