Tuesday, January 9, 2018

1/9: Dreyfuss' Folly; Jeromy & Curtis Signed; Burleigh Goes, Jeanmar Arrives; RIP Dirt; HBD Harley

  • 1868 - LHP Harley Payne was born in Windsor, Ohio. He closed out his fourth MLB campaign in 1899 as a Pirate, going 1-3/3.76. Harley had been a workhorse for Brooklyn from 1896-97 (he was their Opening Day pitcher in ‘87), making 74 appearances (66 starts) and going 522 IP but only tossed six games the next two seasons before leaving baseball to work his farm. 
Forbes Field (photo via Library of Congress)
  • 1910 - Dreyfuss’ Folly, Forbes Field, drew some raves from the local press after a busy debut season. The Pittsburgh Press noted that “...from its opening to the end of football season, Forbes Field drew nearly one million fans...nothing even approaching this record was ever made at any other athletic venue.” Half the crowd was attracted by baseball; the remainder filled the seats for football, track meets, hippodrome events, police drills, and even a Communion service as the Oakland ballyard quickly become Pittsburgh’s big-event host. 
  • 1918 - The Pirates traded P Burleigh Grimes to the Brooklyn Robins along with P Al Mamaux and SS Chuck Ward for 2B George Cutshaw and OF Casey Stengel, who was making his second stop at Pittsburgh. Hall of Famer Grimes went on to win 158 games in nine seasons with Brooklyn. The Bucs top prize was Cutshaw, who manned second for Pittsburgh for four years, hitting .275 and providing solid up-the-middle defense. 
  • 1991 - The Pirates signed backup IF Curtis Wilkerson to a one-year/$450K deal, replacing unsigned FA Wally Backman, who signed with the Phillies a day later (two years/$1.3M). Proving you generally get what you pay for, Wilkerson hit .188 in 85 games and moved on to Kansas City following the season. 
Jeromy Burnitz 2006 Topps Turkey Red
  • 2006 - 37-year-old OF Jeromy Burnitz was officially signed to the Pirates richest free agent contract to date, a $6M deal with a 2007 mutual option worth $6M/$700K buyout. The option didn’t come into play - he hit .230 for Pittsburgh during 2006 and the Pirates opted not to renew his contract. The following spring, Burnitz announced his retirement after 14 seasons during which he logged 315 HR and 981 RBI while playing for seven teams. 
  • 2013 - The Indians traded RHP Jeanmar Gomez to Pittsburgh for OF Quincy Latimore. Gomez was effective in a long role for a couple of seasons (5-2-1, 3.28, 78 appearances) before signing with the Phillies in 2015 while Quincy has bounced around the minors and Latin leagues. 
  • 2014 - Steve “Dirt” DiNardo, who had been the head groundskeeper at Three Rivers Stadium after starting as a part-timer at Forbes Field in 1961 (he retired in 1994), passed away at the age of 82. Dirt was legendary for his tricks, once alleged to have lowered the bullpen mounds of heated rivals, the Cincinnati Reds, when they were in town along with feats of homerism on behalf of the Steelers.
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