Wednesday, October 10, 2018

10/10 Through the 1940’s: Game Stories; HBD Gino, MLB, Homer, Dave & Ad

  • 1867 - RHP Addison “Ad” Gumbert was born on Frankstown Avenue in Pittsburgh’s East End. He won 123 games in nine major league seasons and was a good enough hitter that he played 38 games in the outfield. Ad was a Buc from 1893-94, going 26-21, 5.73, and even played seven games in the pasture with a .263 BA. He and his brother Billy just missed one another; Billy pitched for the Bucs in 1892, a year before Ad arrived. After he hung up the spikes, Gumbert became a popular local politico and community leader. He was elected sheriff of Allegheny County and later County Commissioner while also serving as chairman of several charitable and civic organizations. 
  • 1868 - LHP Dave Anderson was born in Chester, Pennsylvania. He tossed for a couple of big league seasons, finishing up with 13 starts for the 1890 Alleghenys with a line of 2-11/4.67. Afterwards he toiled for local minor league clubs in Wilmington and Lebanon, hanging it up after the 1891 campaign and returning to Chester. 
  • 1879 - P/UT Homer Hillebrand was born in Freeport, Illinois. Homer was a Princeton grad that was good at multitasking. His MLB career was spent with the Pirates from 1905-06 & 1908, and he pitched in 18 games (11 starts) with an 8-4-1/2.51 line. He also played 26 games in the field at 1B, OF and C (even tho he was a lefty), hitting .237. His 1908 return was short-lived. Homer sat out the ‘07 year to rest a sore arm that never bounced back, causing him to retire after tossing one frame in ‘08. 
Myrl Brown Kolb's Mother Bread pin
  • 1894 - RHP Myrl Brown was born in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. Myrl started his career late, at age 24, following a stint in the service during WW1. He quickly became a minor league ace and in a bit of a bidding war, Barney Dreyfuss bought him from the Reading Orioles in August, 1922, for $20K (Brown got to keep one-third; the rest went to his team) and he showed promise, getting into seven games (five starts) with a line of 3-1, 5.97. He won his first three starts, a feat unmatched until 2013 when Gerrit Cole won his first four outings, and even with the substandard counting numbers, the Bucs liked what they had seen of him. Then he showed up for camp in 1923 with a dead arm; Pittsburgh sent him to a couple of minor league teams to see if it would recover, but with no luck. He took a full year off to restore it and came back in 1924 to work three straight 250+ IP seasons in the bushes, but never got another call to the show. Trivia bit: Myrl Lincoln Brown is thought to be the first MLB ballplayer with the initials MLB. 
  • 1904 - In the final year without a formal October Classic (the 1903 World Series was set up by the two pennant-winning clubs, Pittsburgh and Boston, not by the leagues themselves.) The Naps and Pirates opened a five-game postseason exhibition series of their own at Cleveland’s League Field. It was a natural rivalry due to the proximity of the cities, as a bragging-rights NL-AL clash with both teams finishing fourth in their league and with a bit of star power on display featuring the era’s two best hitters, Hans Wagner and Nap Lajoie (the Cleveland nine was called the Naps in Lajoie’s honor). Alas, the fans didn’t want to see meaningless fall baseball and stayed away in droves, with the Naps taking the series two games to one with two draws. 
  • 1930 - A MLB All-Star team played its first game in Cuba on a ten-day barnstorming tour, including Pirates OF Paul Waner, 3B Pie Traynor and P Larry French. The Cubans proved to be worthy opponents then as now, winning four of the seven games played on La Isla. 
Gene Tenace 1984 Donruss
  • 1946 - C Gino Tennaci (Gene Tenace) was born in Russelton, Pennsylvania, in northeastern Allegheny County. Gene’s claim to fame came as an Oakland Athletic, where he played eight of his 15 MLB years. His final hurrah was in Pittsburgh where Tenace spent his last season as a utility player and pinch-hitter, appearing in 53 games in 1983 and batting .177. He retired after being released in spring training the following year. Gino was thought to be a candidate to replace Chuck Tanner as manager at the time, but Chuck hung around for another season and Tenace began his coaching odyssey with Houston, going to Toronto (twice), Boston and St. Louis before retiring for good after 2009.
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