Tuesday, February 13, 2018

2/13 From the 30s Forward: Cool Papa HoF; Bill Nixes Deal; Inge Inked; RIP Nellie; HBD Stretch & Curtis

  • 1930 - LHP Al “Stretch” (he was 6’4”) Grunwald was born in Los Angeles. He was a guy that flitted between positions. Grunwald was a first baseman in the minors for the first five years, then converted to pitcher. He tossed for the Pirates in 1955 season (three games, 4.70 ERA) and then with the Kansas City Athletics in 1959. Grunwald put in 14 pro seasons between 1947-62 with stints in Mexico and Japan, returning to 1B during his final two seasons. He posted a 41-31/3.96 ERA in 160 appearances and a .295 BA/111 home runs in 1,392 games during that time. 
Cool Papa 2004 Topps E-Topps
  • 1974 - OF James "Cool Papa" Bell was named to the Hall of Fame by the Special Committee on the Negro Leagues. He played for both the Homestead Grays and Pittsburgh Crawfords and was inducted on August 12th. Cool Papa joined the Homestead Grays in 1943, and they won league championships in Bell's first two seasons. They were foiled going for the trifecta, losing in the 1945 World Series to the Cleveland Buckeyes. Per Biography.com, he got his moniker when he began as a pitcher for the St. Louis Stars in the Negro National League. He was dubbed “Cool” by his teammates after he struck out the legendary Oscar Charleston; Bell's manager added the “Papa.” 
  • 1980 - As a five-and-ten veteran, OF’er Bill Robinson vetoed his proposed trade to the Houston Astros for pitcher Joaquin Andujar when Houston wouldn’t offer him a new contract as part of the deal. It’s hard to project how the swap would have worked out. Robinson had a strong 1980 campaign and then faded while Andujar wouldn’t hit his prime until 1982, winning 61 games and two All-Star berths between then and 1985 as a St. Louis Cardinal, who got him early in 1981 for Tony Scott. 
  • 1987 - RHP Curtis Partch was born in Merced, California. Curtis tossed for the Reds for parts of two campaigns and the Pirates signed him to a minor league bullpen depth deal in 2016. He was a strikeout-per-inning guy at Indianapolis, but when called up in June, he gave up three runs in ⅔ IP and was released. He played indie league ball in 2017 and is currently a free agent. 
  • 2005 - Former Buc hurler and Pirate alumni leader Nellie Briles died from a heart attack while golfing in Orlando, Florida, at an Alumni Association outing at age 61. He tossed from 1971-73 for the Bucs, winning game five of the ‘71 series by twirling a two-hit shutout, and in that brief time laid down roots in Pittsburgh, living his post-career days in Greensburg. The Bucs hired him as part of their corporate staff in 1996, mainly involved in alumni affairs. “He wasn’t a homegrown Pirate but became part of the Pirate fabric,” said teammate Steve Blass, “...and he was tireless whenever he represented the Pittsburgh Pirates.” He was buried at St. Clair Cemetery in Westmoreland County. 
  • 2013 - The Bucs signed 36-year-old IF Brandon Inge to a one-year/$1.25M FA contract. 50 games and a .181 BA later, he was released on August 1st, ending his 13 year MLB career. He now lives on a 400-acre farm in his hometown of Lynchburg with his family.
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