Tuesday, March 13, 2018

3/13: Roberto Stays in Vegas; Crystal K; HBD Jason, Al, Gary, Eddie & Chappie

  • 1875 - RHP Charles “Chappie” McFarland was born in White Hall, Illinois. After four years with the Cardinals, he spent his final campaign of 1906 spinning for three clubs; six of his last season’s outings were with the Bucs. He went 1-3, 2.55, with five starts after the Bucs sent Ed Karger to the Cards for his services in June; by August he was waived and finished his MLB days with Brooklyn. Chappie had a brother, Monte, who tossed for the Cubs. After McFarland's baseball career, he stayed in show biz by opening the first vaudeville theater in Houston, then becoming a movie theater manager in charge of several houses. 
Eddie Pellegrini 1953 (photo via Out of the Park Development)
  • 1918 - Utilityman Eddie Pellagrini was born in Boston. He lost four years to the service but still put in eight seasons in MLB, his last two (1953-54) with the Bucs, hitting .237. After retiring, Pellagrini spent 32 years as the manager of the Boston College Eagles. Fun fact: in 1946, Eddie hit a home run in his first MLB at bat with the Red Sox. 
  • 1939 - OF Al Luplow was born in Saginaw, Michigan. He closed out his seven-year MLB career as a Buc in 1967 after the Pirates bought his contract from the Mets, hitting .184 in 55 games. Al made one of baseball’s great grabs in 1963 when he went flying over a five-foot fence in right to steal a three-run homer from Boston's Dick Williams at Fenway Park, landing in the bullpen and climbing back over the wall with the ball raised in his hand. And yes, they’re related: Pirates OF’er Jordan Luplow is his great-nephew. 
  • 1940 - All-purpose player Gary Kolb was born in Rock Falls, Illinois. Kolb played all three OF spots, 2B, 3B and catcher for the Bucs in 1968-69 (he played every position in the minors and all but pitcher and short in the majors). But while the glove was willing, the bat was weak and he hit just .186 as a Pirate, ending his MLB career. His cousin Danny, a RH reliever, also finished his nine-year run in the majors as a Bucco in 2007. 
  • 1975 - Roberto Clemente and 13 others were inducted into Las Vegas’ Black Athletes Hall of Fame. James Brown hosted the ceremony and Aretha Franklin provided the entertainment as Roberto (in memory), Roy Campanella and a dozen other athletes were honored during the affair at Caesar's Palace Convention Center. 
Jason Rogers 2016 (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)
  • 1988 - 1B Jason Rogers was born in East Point, Georgia. He was traded by the Milwaukee Brewers for OF Keon Broxton and P Trey Supak depth during the 2015 off season as the Pirates were looking to fill a void at first base. However, Jason was bumped from the mix when the Bucs later signed veteran free agents John Jaso and David Freese, then shot himself in the foot by going 2-for-25 in 2016. Rogers was released the following year and took his game to Japan. 
  • 2008 - In a spring game against the Pirates, comedian and lifelong Yankee fan Billy Crystal led off as the DH after signing a one-day contract with New York. He made contact, fouling a fastball up the first base line, but was eventually struck out by Paul Maholm on six pitches. He joined Garth Brooks, Tom Selleck and Will Ferrell as celebrities who appeared in a MLB exhibition game.
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