Thursday, May 17, 2018

5/17 Games & Happenings: Virdon Deal; Hank & Jackie; Cervy Contract; Pedro Splashdown; 10-Run Frame; Rallies; Game Stories

  • 1889 - Per John Dreker of Pirates Prospects “After issuing 10 BB in his debut (on this date), Pittsburgh P Al Krumm offered to buy a hat for any batter than drew a BB off him next game.” The Alleghenys lost that match to the NY Giants 11-7 as Krumm went the distance. He never did get a chance to back up his bet - it was the only MLB game he ever pitched. 
  • 1906 - “The Goshen Schoolmaster” Sam Leever tossed a three-hit shutout against Iron Man Joe McGinnity as the Bucs defeated the New York Giants 2-0. Leever faced just 27 NY batters at Expo Park. Two runners were erased on DPs and the other was caught stealing. Tommie Leach scored the first run and drove home the second. It was a turnaround in fortune for the Pirates. The Pittsburgh Press wrote that after the win “You couldn’t find a ‘knocker’ within 10 miles of Exposition Park (when) a week ago those Buccaneers were mutts.” To add insult to injury, Giant manager John “Mugsy” McGraw was hauled in front of a magistrate after the game and charged with assault after getting into a post-game shouting match with some boys on the way back to his hotel. The “joshing” ended when Mugsy grabbed a whip from his coach driver and lashed at the kids (literally) and caught one in the face, sending him tumbling out his passing wagon. 
5-18-1906 Pittsburg Press
  • 1920 - The Pirates scored three runs in the bottom of the 15th to edge the Giants‚ 7-6 at Forbes Field. NY plated a pair in the 15th when C Walter Schmidt took his sweet time chasing down a wild pitch by Elmer Ponder, allowing not one but two Giants to score. Pittsburgh rallied and took the contest in their half when Charlie Grimm singled in Possum Whitted with two down for the game winner. With all that, the game took just 2:43 to complete. 
  • 1947 - Hank Greenberg, who had heard an anti-semitic slur or three during his career, made Jackie Robinson’s transition a little easier when he checked on Robinson after a collision at first, then advised Jackie to “...stick in there. You’re doing fine.” during a 4-0 Bucco win at Forbes Field over the Brooklyn Dodgers. Per Paul Guggenheimer of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Hammerin’ Hank (Greenberg was the original) told Jackie “Don’t pay attention to these guys who are trying to make it hard for you. I hope that you and I can get together for a talk. There are a few things I’ve learned down through the years that might help you and make it easier.” As far as the game went, da Bums outhit Pittsburgh 12-4, but one of the Pirate knocks was a two-run homer by Greenberg. 
  • 1956 - The Pirates traded with St. Louis for CF Bill Virdon, sending LHP Dick Littlefield and OF Bobby Del Greco to the Redbirds. The Quail, who was Rookie of the Year in 1955 for the Cards, played 11 seasons for the Pirates, roaming the spacious center field pasture of Forbes Field for a decade while hitting .266 and later returned as a coach and manager. 
Bill Virdon 1957 Topps
  • 1959 - The Cubs and Pirates traded long balls in a doubleheader split at Wrigley Field, with the clubs banging out 10 homers. Bill Mazeroski hit a pair and drove in three runs as the Bucs took the opener 5-4 behind Vern Law and ElRoy Face. The Cubs came back in the nightcap, claiming a 7-6 win thx to Pittsburgh’s “messing up of a pop fly” per Post Gazette writer Jack Herndon, giving Bennie Daniels the loss. Beside Maz’s two long flies, Roberto Clemente added a pair (one flew just to the left of the scoreboard, one of the longest blows ever hit at Wrigley) while Dick Hoak and Bob Skinner also homered. 
  • 1971 - Roberto Clemente's two-out, two-run, walk-off triple off Mike Marshall carried the Bucs to a 6-5 win over the Expos at TRS. Clemente had three hits, including a homer, and three RBI. His home run and Bob Robertson’s in the eighth had pulled Pittsburgh within a run to set up Clemente’s ninth inning heroics. Montreal had jumped to a 5-0 lead in the third off Luke Walker, but the bullpen work of Jim Nelson, Nellie Briles and Mudcat Grant shut them down the remainder of the game. 
  • 1984 - The Bucs took a break from the schedule and played against their Class AA minor league club at Nashua. Pittsburgh beat the farmhands 3-2 in front of their biggest crowd of the week, 6,089. In the three-game set with Houston at TRS just before the exhibition, the Bucs drew 3,395, 2,978 & 4,523 faithful to the home ballyard. 
Jacob Brumfield 1995 Select
  • 1995 - Hideo Nomo tossed seven innings of two-hit shutout ball‚ fanning 14 batters, but the Bucs scored three times in the last two frames off four LA relievers to take home a 3-2 win at Dodger Stadium. Orlando Merced was intentionally walked in the ninth to get to Jacob Brumfield, who lined a single to center off Antonio Osuna to score Angel Encarnacion with the winning run. Four Pirate relievers tossed five innings of scoreless ball with Dan Plesac getting the win and Dan Miceli earning the save. 
  • 2009 - The Pirates erupted for 10 runs in the seventh inning to turn a 4-1 deficit into a 11-4 laugher against the Colorado Rockies at PNC Park. The Bucs’ first 11 batters reached safely in the frame; the first out was recorded on the bases when Eric Hinske was thrown out trying the reach third after a Delwyn Young single. Pittsburgh used nine hits (three were doubles), two walks and a couple of Colorado errors to cobble the frame together against four Rox twirlers. Zach Duke hung around long enough to get the win. The Pirates wouldn’t have an inning that big again until 2017 when they put up a first-inning 10 spot against Jon Lester at Wrigley Field. 
  • 2013 - The Bucs overcame a 4-1 deficit to defeat the Astros 5-4 at PNC Park when two Astro fielders ran into each other with two down in ninth, allowing Russ Martin’s pop to drop and Andrew McCutchen to score the walk-off run. There were also some legit efforts by Pittsburgh. Tony Watson, Vin Mazzaro and Justin Wilson tossed 4-1/3 frames of scoreless ball and Pedro Alvarez cranked a 462’ shot into the Allegheny on the hop off the Riverwalk. The eighth-inning, game-tying two-run shot fell a foot short of Matt Lawton’s 2005 drive against Jamey Wright of Colorado of becoming the longest homer ever hit at PNC Park. 
Splashdown - Pedro Alvarez 2015 Topps Gold
  • 2016 - The Pirates extended C Fran Cervelli’s contract for three years (2017-2019) and $31M ($9M - ‘17, $10.5M - ‘18, $11.5M - ‘19). With the extension, the Pirates had their starting eight players under contract for the next season and seven of the eight (Cervelli, Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco, Josh Harrison, Jung Ho Kang and Jordy Mercer) under team control through 2018. Cervelli was due to hit free agency at the end of the season.
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