Sunday, March 11, 2018

Freese Signs; Young Back; WBC; Deacon's Beer Money; HBD Dock, Salomon & Ed

  • 1918 - C Ed Fernandes was born in Oakland, California. Ed had two tours of duty in MLB, the first as a 22-year-old rookie for the Pirates in 1940 after starting in the minors at 17. It didn’t end so well with Fernandes batting .121 in 28 games. He seasoned for a while, popped up again with the White Sox in 1946, hitting .250 in a brief stay, and then finished out his career on the farm, retiring after 18 years of pro ball at age 36. Ed kept his hand in the game by managing in the minors for a spell before taking a job with the Matson Ship line. 
Dock Ellis 1979 Topps Update
  • 1945 - One of the Bucs more colorful characters, RHP Dock Ellis, was born in Los Angeles. He pitched nine seasons (1968-75, 1979) for Pittsburgh, going 96-80/3.16, and tossed the infamous LSD no-hitter against San Diego in 1970. He was part of the early seventies juggernaut that was in four NLCS tilts and won a World Series. Ellis cleaned up his act after his 1980 retirement and remained sober the rest of his days. Dock then devoted his post-baseball life to counseling drug addicts in treatment centers, prisons and ballparks before he died of cirrhosis in 2008 at the age of 63. 
  • 1956 - Vern Law picked up a little pocket money after an outstanding spring outing against Kansas City at Terry Park. He tossed three no-hit innings and smacked a grand slam, earning a ten-spot from Fort Myers (then the Bucs’ spring home) barber Virgil Harris, who promised $5 to every Pirates batter to homer and every Pirates pitcher to go three or more scoreless innings in the home ballyard. 
  • 1972 - RHP Salomon Torres was born in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic. After coaching for three years and then spending 2001 in foreign leagues, he tossed for the Bucs between 2002-07 with a line of 26-28-29/3.63. In 2006, his 94 pitching appearances led the MLB and tied the Pirate record held by Kent Tekulve. His final year was 2008 with the Brewers, retiring afterward to spend time with his family. His lifetime MLB line was 44-58-57 with a 4.31 ERA, working for five teams through 12 seasons. 
Salomon Torres 2007 Upper Deck
  • 2000 - 1B Kevin Young returned after an off season knee procedure, doubling and scoring in his spring debut. A key member in the middle of the Pirates order, he had a solid 2000 campaign in the first season of a four-year/$24M deal, capping a 1998-2000 run that rang up a slash of .276/.344/.481 along with 73 HR/302 RBI. But from 2001-03, his production nosedived - his line was just .236/.315/.397 with 32 HR/123 RBI over that period, and the end of the contract was also the end of his MLB career. 
  • 2006 - The Pirates got back WBC players Jason Bay and Yurendell DeCaster, a pair of guys who were on opposite ends of the Bucco totem pole in 2006. Bay, fresh from signing a four-year/$18.5M contract extension, went on to an All-Star campaign, batting .286 with 35 homers and 109 RBI. DeCaster, a utility infielder, started the year in the minors and was called up twice. He got into three games, whiffing twice, and was released at the end of the year. 
David Freese 2016 Topps Heritage
  • 2016 - The Pirates inked David Freese to a one year/$3M contract. An All-Star and World Series MVP for St. Louis, Freese came to the Bucs as a free agent after a two-year stint with the LA Angels. He was signed to cover for the early season loss of regular hot cornerman Jung Ho Kang, who was rehabbing a leg injury, and to add a veteran bench presence when JHK returned. They liked his work. Freeser hit .270 w/13 dingers, playing both infield corners and even five innings at second base. In late August, the Pirates signed Freese to a two-year contract extension worth $11M with a club option for 2019. He slashed .263/10 HR in 2017.
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