Wednesday, October 17, 2018

10/17 Through the 1920’s: Cup Series; Waners Sign; HBD Pete, Kid, Pop, Bert, Red & Mike

  • 1870 - LHP George “Kid” Nicol was born in Barry, Illinois. George was called up from the semi-pro ranks to pitch for St Louis (he was 19 years old, hence “Kid”) of the American Association, and he began his career with a no-hitter (seven innings, nine walks) and a one-hitter over five frames. With the demise of the Player’s League that season, there were more players than roster spots around baseball so the Kid went to the minors despite that opening spurt. He got a couple of more shots in the majors, with Pittsburgh giving him the ball eight times (five starts) in 1894, with Nicol going 3-4, 6.50 and giving up 57 hits and 33 walks in 44-⅓ IP. He had a curve that baffled lesser hitters but looked like a beach ball to better stickmen and control issues bit him throughout as he issued 8.3 free passes every nine innings. To boot, it was suspected that his performance with the Pirates was the opening round of arm problems; the Kid returned to the minors and converted to the outfield. He played on farm clubs until 1906, retiring to the life of a hubby, father and working Joe machinist in Milwaukee. 
Pop Dillon (photo via Baseball  History Daily)
  • 1873 - 1b Frank “Pop” Dillon was born in Normal (North Bloomington), Illinois. Pop spent the first two campaigns of his five-year MLB career in Pittsburgh (1899-1900) and he hit .237 as a bench guy. He lost out the following year after the franchise was reinforced by Barney Dreyfuss’ bringing in the Louisville roster, but found a new home on the coast. He became a player and manager for the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League from 1902-15, taking the LAA to PCL pennants four times. It was also there that he earned his nickname; after his decade plus of service with the Angels, his hair had gone gray and so he became “Pop.” He went on to work for the Association of Professional Ball Players of America (a charity that assisted pro ball players, including minor leaguers) after the Angels gig and was inducted into the PCL Hall of Fame. 
  • 1886 - RHP James ”Bert” (his middle name was Albert) Maxwell was born in Texarkana, Texas. Bert worked 21 games over four MLB seasons, with his debut being one start for the Pirates in 1906. He gave up six runs (five earned) in eight innings. He spent seven years tossing baseballs, mostly in the Sally League, and went on to manage in the minors afterward. 
  • 1892 - C Frank “Red” Madden was born in Pittsburgh. He got a brief taste of the bigs by getting into two games for the 1914 Pittsburgh Rebels of the Federal league, going one-for-two. Not much info on Mr. Madden; he was apparently brought in for depth from the Ohio State League, where he played minor league ball. 
  • 1900 - Pittsburgh avoided being swept in the Chronicle-Telegraph Cup series by nickel-and-diming Harry Howell for 13 singles and 10 runs. Tommy Leach reached base five times and scored four runs. Ginger Beaumont had three hits, and Claude Ritchey, Honus Wagner and Bones Ely added a pair. Deacon Phillippe threw a six-hit shutout for the win at Exposition Park, although the Pirates still trailed the best-of-five series two games to one. 
  • 1915 - C Mike Sandlock was born in Old Greenwich, Connecticut. He played for parts of five years in the majors, with his last campaign as a Bucco in 1953, when he got into 64 games and hit .231 as a 38-year-old. He had a six-year hiatus between MLB gigs; the Pirates brought him up with knuckleballer Johnny Lindell from the PCL Hollywood Stars as Sandlock was used to catching the floater. It didn’t work out quite as planned as Mike allowed 15 passed balls and Lindell tossed 11 wild pitches, both league-leading numbers. Even more embarrassing, Johnny outhit Sandlock with a .286 BA. Mike finished his pro career in the Phils system after 16 years and retired, becoming a carpenter. 
Pete Peterson 1958 Topps
  • 1929 - Pirate catcher and GM Harding “Pete” Peterson was born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. He appeared in 65 games over four seasons (1955; 1957–59) for Pittsburgh and batted .273 in limited service, due to a two-year stint in Korea. His playing career was effectively ended as the result of a broken arm suffered in a home plate collision at Wrigley Field in early 1959. Pete coached and headed the scouting department for the Bucs afterward, and took Joe L. Brown’s spot as GM in 1976. He fielded strong teams in the late seventies with a championship club in 1979. Peterson lasted until 1985, dragged down by the cocaine trails and the churn over team ownership. 
  • 1929 - After being pre-season holdouts the year before, the Waner brothers were among the first to turn in signed contracts for the 1930 season per team Treasurer Sam Dreyfuss. Neither salary agreement was released, but Paul (who was rumored to be on the trade market) probably inked a deal in the ballpark of $13K while Lloyd likely settled for a grand less.

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