Sunday, May 27, 2018

5/27: Brett's Big Day; Vinegar Bend Deal; 4-Homers; 18-Innings; Streaky Wilbur; Game Stories; HBD Ross, Jacob & George

  • 1921 - Wilbur Cooper won his eighth straight game, this one by a 5-4 count at Forbes Field against Cincinnati when the Pirates pushed across a ninth inning run. All eight of Cooper’s victories were complete games. Rabbit Maranville’s sac fly brought in Walter Schmidt with the winning tally in the home half of the ninth. Maranville also tripled and scored twice for the Pirates. Between June and July, Cooper would go on an 8-of-10 win streak, and his two hot spells would carry him to a 22-win season for the Pirates. 
Wilbur Cooper (photo Harwell Collection/Detroit Public Library)
  • 1927 - The Pirates overcame a 7-1 deficit by scoring six times in the sixth and seventh innings to defeat the St. Louis Cards in 10 innings at Forbes Field by an 8-7 count. They ran their victory streak to nine games; it reached 11 before being snapped. Kiki Cuyler had three hits to spark the Bucs. Guy Bush pitched three innings of one-hit ball for the win. 
  • 1929 - RHP George O’Donnell was born in Winchester, Illinois. The epitome of a AAAA player, the knuckleballer was signed out of high school by St. Louis in 1948 but only got one MLB shot, for the Pirates in 1954 when he slashed 3-9/4.53. O'Donnell tossed in the minors through 1961 as part of the Browns, Pirates, LA Dodgers and Senators systems. In all, George appeared in 530 MiLB games w/1,948 IP and a career 127-93/3.44 line with two 20 win campaigns. He also played in Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. George retired to farm and then took a job with the state of Illinois. 
  • 1956 - On the way home from a Philadelphia rainout, 1B Dale Long took a detour and stopped in NYC as a guest of Ed Sullivan on his show “Toast of the Town” after hitting homers in seven straight games. After the appearance, he hurried back to Pittsburgh and hit his eighth against Brooklyn. 
  • 1955 - LHP Ross Baumgarten was born in Highland Park, Illinois. Ross tossed the last of his five big league campaigns with Pittsburgh in 1982, coming to town as the key piece of the Vance Law deal, and went 0-5, 6.75. Ross, who finished fourth in the Rookie-of-the-Year voting in 1979, hurt his arm as a Pirate, though the injury remains a mystery to even him. He told Ed Sherman of Spotlight Stories that “I went to see seven of the top doctors in the country, and I got like seven different diagnoses. In those days it was totally different than now. You know, there was no MRIs.” But he landed on his feet, using his U of Florida training to land a job in finance in 1984 and has been building portfolios ever since. 
Vinegar Bend Mizell 1977 TCMA
  • 1960 - Pittsburgh acquired 29-year-old LHP Wilmer "Vinegar Bend" Mizell from the Cardinals‚ along with LF Dick Gray‚ for minor leaguers IF Julian Javier and RHP Ed Bauta. Javier started at 2B for the Cards for a dozen years, but he was blocked in Pittsburgh by a guy named Bill Mazeroski. Mizell went 13-5 for the Bucs with a 3.15 ERA, solidifying their staff during their World Championship run. 
  • 1965 - OF Jacob Brumfield was born in Bogalusa, Louisiana. Jacob spent the middle part of his seven year career as a Pirate from 1995-96, traded here for Danny Clymer. He hit .268 in Pittsburgh before being dealt to Toronto for a minor leaguer. He’s best remembered for his head-on collision with fellow outfielder Dave Clark. The two met full speed ahead and Clark broke his collarbone while Brumfield had 15 stitches worth of cuts on his face. 1999 was his final MLB year, followed by a season in the minors and one more season playing indie ball before he hung ‘em up for good.
  • 1974 - It was a big day for Ken Brett in a DH sweep against the San Diego Padres at TRS. In the opener, he carried a no-hitter into the ninth, settling for a two-hit, 6-0 win in a game that wasn’t decided until the Bucs put up a five spot in the eighth. With that, it took all of 1:38 to play. In the nitecap, his two-run pinch hit triple primed a five-run seventh that keyed the Bucs 8-7 victory (the match was eventually won in the ninth on a two-run, two out homer by Richie Hebner). Brett ended the day going 2-for-4 with a triple, two runs scored and three RBI to go along with his two-hitter in one of the Bucs’ top “do it all” performances. 
  • 2006 - The Pirates won an 8-7, 18-inning match at PNC Park against the Astros when Jason Bay flattened Astros' catcher Eric Munson to score on Jose Bautista’s shallow sac fly. The game time of five hours, 49 minutes tied it as the longest contest ever played in Pittsburgh. Bay also hit a homer in his fifth consecutive game, the first Pirate player to do so in 50 years. While not quite in Dale Long territory, he became the first player in club history to hit nine home runs in nine games for the team. 
    Jason Bay 2005 Donruss Studio

    • 2015 - The Pirates scored five times in the seventh against the Miami Marlins after the bases were empty with two outs to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 5-2 win at PNC Park for their sixth victory in a row. Chris Stewart, Jose Tabata and Josh Harrison singled, scoring a run. Pedro Alvarez dribbled one through the SS hole against the shift to bring home the tying tally, then Andrew McCutchen walked to load the bases. Starling Marte took a 3-2 pitch down and away for a run-producing free pass and the lead. Jung-Ho Kang drilled a final two run single, and that was the ballgame. Gerrit Cole got his seventh win while Mark Melancon earned his 12th save. 
    • 2016 - The Pirates banged out four homers, hit by Starling Marte, Jung Ho Kang, Gregory Polanco and Andrew McCutchen, to defeat the Texas Rangers easily at Globe Life Park 9-1. Jon Niese went six innings for the win, with help from Wilfredo Boscan and Rob Scahill. They defeated former NL nemesis Cole Hamels, who had a 19-start streak without Texas losing (he personally went 12-0 during that span) snapped by the Buccos. 
    • 2017 - The Pirates saved the best for last, scoring in the ninth to send the game into extra innings and winning in the 10th with a two-out, two-strike walk-off knock. The victim in front of 31,658 fans at PNC Park was the New York Mets. The Metropolitans scored four runs in five innings off Gerrit Cole but missed golden opportunities galore, leaving runners on second and third four times in that span. Andrew McCutchen kept the Bucs in it with a two-run blast and doubled home another in the sixth. Pinch hitter John Jaso tied the game with an RBI knock in the ninth and delivered the game-winner an inning later, fouling off four 3-2 pitches before dropping a bases-loaded single into right. The Pirate bullpen worked five innings of two-hit ball, retiring 12 in-a-row at one point, to earn Tony Watson a true team win.

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