Wednesday, July 11, 2018

7/11 Expo Park-Forbes Field Era: Lefty Hurt; "Delightful Batting"; Rally Triples; Wynn Quits; HBD Otter, Pop, Skeets & Harry

  • 1865 - C William “Pop” Shriver was born in Brooklyn. He was a part-time catcher for the 1898-1900 Bucs, hitting .265 toward the end of a 16-year career. He played one more year for St. Louis, then hung them up after 1901. He’s part of early baseball’s folklore when in 1894 he was alleged to have caught a ball tossed from the top of the Washington Monument, over 500’ high, by Clark Griffith, who at the time was a pitcher and Pop’s teammate on the Chicago Colts. The usual tale is that he missed the first ball but snagged the second, although some say (much after the fact) that the ball popped out of his mitt. 
Pop Shriver (photo Moller/Detroit Public Library)
  • 1884 - OF Harry Wolter was born in Monterey, California. The seven-year MLB vet started out in 1907, playing for three teams. The Bucs bought his contract from the Reds and he got one appearance for the Bucs as a pitcher (he was converted to an outfielder and sometimes 1B in 1910) and worked two innings, giving up a run before being sold to the Cardinals. The Santa Clara alum played pro ball from 1905-20, with a final bow in as a player/manager 1927. Following his playing career, he coached baseball at Stanford University for 26 years, in 1916, from 1923-1943, and one more time from 1946-49 and also coached the US Olympic team in 1936. 
  • 1902 - “Pittsburg won from New York yesterday but at a terrible price. Lefty Davis caught his foot in second base and fell with a fractured leg,” was the Pittsburg Press’ lead. Davis had stolen the bag and bounced up to head to third when the throw got away, but stumbled over the sack, breaking his ankle, passing out and then being carried to the clubhouse. The 27-year-old outfielder never quite recovered his game; Davis was a .287 hitter with 45 steals in 171 big league games to that point, but missed the rest of the campaign and finished his remaining 177 games batting .234 with 20 thefts. The Pirates did win the ballgame at the Polo Grounds 6-3 as five Bucs banged out a pair of hits in support of Deacon Phillippe. 
  • 1908 - Per the Pittsburgh Press' Ralph Davis: "In a game filled with pretty fielding plays and delightful batting rallies..." Vic Willis tossed a one-hitter in a 6-2 win over the Giants at Exposition Park. Mike Donlin's triple was the only New York knock. Roy Thomas had three hits for the Bucs (two were triples) and Hans Wagner added a pair of knocks. 
Vic Willis 1909 American Tobacco
  • 1921 - RHP Hal “Skeets” Gregg was born in Anaheim, California. He worked for three years (1948-50) for the Bucs after a five-year run in Brooklyn. Skeets tossed mostly from the pen and went 3-6-1 with a 4.85 as a Pirate when he was on the downside of his career, suffering arm and back woes. Quick factoid: Gregg was noted for his fastball, which he honed as a child by rifling oranges at various targets on his parent's orange grove. 
  • 1925 - The Bucs managed to blow a five run lead to the Brooklyn Robins at Ebbet’s Field by giving up a six-spot in the eighth, but back-to-back triples by Clyde Barnhart and Pie Traynor in the top of the ninth were the spark that pushed the Pirates to a 7-6 victory, sealed by a running grab of a shot to deep center by Max Carey with the tying run on base. Lee Meadows went the distance for the win. 
  • 1951 - Ed Ott was born in Muncy, PA, just east of Williamsport. He caught righty but hit lefty, putting him in a platoon role for Pittsburgh for seven seasons (1974-80), batting .259. He was effective in the 1979 World Series; in three starts, he hit .333 with three RBI in just 12 at-bats. Not too surprisingly, he was nicknamed “The Otter.” He managed Pirates farm teams in 1985-86, was a skipper in the indie leagues for three seasons, and coached for the Houston Astros under former Pirates teammate Art Howe from 1989-93. He later returned to coaching at the indie level, finally retiring in 2014. 
Ed Ott 1981 Fleer
  • 1963 - In a 3-0 win over the Colt .45s at Forbes Field, Roberto Clemente’s bullet chased Jim Wynn from the infield to a career in the pasture. As the Toy Cannon, who was a rookie playing SS (it was his second MLB game), told Baseball Digest “Clemente hit a screaming line drive, and I got my glove up just as the ball hit the left field wall. After that, I told the coaches and manager to get me out of the infield.” Wynn was granted his wish, and played 1,810 games in the OF after 21 appearances at short during his rookie campaign. As for the Bucs, Roberto’s scary double was cashed in by Donn Clendenon in the eighth and was the winning run; Don Cardwell went all the way for the win.
Post a Comment