Wednesday, July 11, 2018

7/11 TRS-PNC Park Era: Pops #1; Bo Signed; Jackson Deal; Game Stories; HBD Javier & John

  • 1973 - Willie Stargell cracked the 302nd home run of his career to pass Ralph Kiner as the all-time Pirate HR leader in a 10-2 victory over the Padres at San Diego Stadium. Bob Robertson, Al Oliver and Dal Maxvill each had three hits while Nellie Briles went the distance, tossing a seven-hitter with seven punchouts. Willie would pile on to his franchise-leading number of dingers, retiring with 475. 
Javier Lopez (USA Today Sports)
  • 1977 - LHP Javier Lopez was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Lopez signed as a FA with the Pirates in 2010 for $775K after having a horrible year in Boston. The 32-year-old LOOGY rebounded with a slash of 2-2/2.79 and was moved at the deadline to the San Francisco Giants for RHP Joe Martinez and OF John Bowker. He spent seven seasons with the G-Men, working in four playoff runs and two World Series before retiring in 2017. 
  • 1981 - 18-year-old Bobby Bonilla was signed by the Pirates as a non-drafted free agent after a Pirate City tryout set up by scouting director and later GM Syd Thrift. He spent five years in their farm system before being lost to the Chicago White Sox in the Rule 5 draft after the 1985 season. The Pirates got him back quickly in a July trade for pitcher Jose DeLeon and he remained a Bucco until he joined the Mets in 1992 after inking a five year/$29M contract, making him the highest paid player for a bit and dwarfing Pittsburgh’s reported four year/$16.5M offer. 
  • 1987 - The Pirates gave away the lead with two outs in the ninth but came back to claim a 6-5 win over San Diego at TRS in 11 innings. The Bucs rallied to take a 5-4 lead after Bob Kipper had been chased, with Doug Drabeck, Doug Jones and John Smiley holding the fort (the starters were available because of the upcoming All-Star break). Jim Leyland yanked Smiley with two outs in the ninth and the bases empty for Don Robinson (the skipper didn’t like the looming Smiley/Bruce Bochy matchup) who gave up a game-tying homer to pinch-hitter John Kruk, bringing down the boos from the 13,109 on hand. Johnny Ray saved his bacon when he doubled home Bobby Bonilla, going the opposite way with two outs, for the win. Andy Van Slyke had a homer and four RBI and Barry Bonds had four raps to lead the Bucco hit parade. 
Danny Jackson 1993 Donruss
  • 1992 - The Pirates traded 3B Steve Buechele, made expendable by the emergence of Jeff King, to the Cubs in exchange for LHP Danny Jackson as a stretch run acquisition. Jackson went 4-4/3.36 in 15 starts, lost his only playoff start, and went to the Marlins in the 1992 expansion draft. Buechele played until 1995. King held the hot corner in Pittsburgh for eight years. 
  • 1996 - The Pirates defeated the Reds 5-3 at TRS, highlighted by a steal of home by an unlikely suspect, Jeff King. Jay Bell was at bat and King said “I was hoping and praying Jay would see me coming. I wondered if I should yell when I get about halfway?” But no worries. Bell told the Post Gazette “You can’t miss those big feet lumbering down the line.” Smiley, who had a slow delivery, tossed the pitch high and a sliding King got under the tag. Al Martin and Orlando Merced had three hits, with Orlando adding a homer. Denny Neagle got the win - he had been traded for Smiley by the Twins in 1992 - and Dan Plesac earned a save. 
  • 1992 - RHP John Barbato was born in Miami. The Pirates sent a minor leaguer to the Yankees for Barbato, and as a depth option who started out at Indianapolis, he still made 24 appearances for the Pirates in 2017, with a 1-1/4.05 line. He was waived at the end of the year and claimed by Detroit. 
  • 2002 - Brian Giles was the man of the hour for the Pirates at Miller Park when he homered in the 10th inning to give the Bucs the 3-2 lead and eventual win over the Milwaukee Brewers. Pokey Reese had a two-out, two-run, bases-loaded single in the fourth. Brian Boehringer picked up the win in relief of Josh Fogg. Mike Williams came in for the bottom of the 10th and recorded his 26th save of the season.
Brian Giles 2002 Donruss Diamond Kings
  • 2015 - It was a game that the Bucs and Cardinals squeezed for every drop of drama at PNC Park in front of 37,318, shown nationally on Fox Sports. The two best teams in baseball by record, Pittsburgh won a 6-5, 14-inning walk off victory in a contest that lasted into the next day. Mark Reynolds drew first blood when he homered after striking out - he swung and missed for strike three, but plate ump Vic Carapazza miscalled it a foul, and he then belted the reprieve into the LF stands. The Redbirds were up 3-0 before AJ Burnett, the Pirate starter, hit his first homer in a decade. The Pirates tied it in the eighth, fell behind in the 10th, tied it in the bottom half on a Jung-Ho Kang triple and Chris Stewart knock, and fell behind again in the 14th only to win it when Neil Walker singled and Andrew McCutchen homered into the batter’s eye in center (he also extended his hitting streak to 18 games). Vance Worley got the win that cut the Cards’ lead in the NL Central to 3-½ games; it had been a nine-game gap on June 28th.
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