Sunday, October 21, 2018

10/21: Kiner AS; Frankie Comeback Player; Giusti/Ricketts Deal; Pena Chatter; Burwell Moved; AVS FA; HBD Pap, Ron & Marc

  • 1917 - LHP Frank “Pap” Papish was born in Pueblo, Colorado. Frank worked five post-war years from 1945-49 pretty effectively for the White Sox and Indians, but his effort to squeeze out one more campaign in Pittsburgh fell flat. The 32-year-old southpaw retired just seven of the 19 batters he faced, compiled a 27.00 ERA and was sent to AAA, where he rebounded for the remainder of 1950 but from ‘51-53 couldn’t put up an ERA south of five, retiring from pro ball at 35. 
Ron Davis 1969 Topps
  • 1941 - OF Ron Davis was born in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. He ended his five-year MLB run, mostly spent with Houston, with Pittsburgh in 1969, batting .234 primarily as a pinch hitter after coming over from St. Louis in the Tommie Sisk/Chris Cannizzaro deal. Davis finished out his pro days with two more seasons in AAA before retiring. 
  • 1947 - In its second-ever MLB All-Star team, the Associated Press named Pirates OF Ralph Kiner to the 10-man squad. Ralph had some pretty sweet company in the pasture, joining Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio while earning a spot by hitting .313 with 51 HR and 127 RBI. Oddly enough, he didn’t garner a spot on the NL-AS team, but did begin a six-year All Star run the following season. 
  • 1948 - Third base coach Bill Burwell was relieved of his major league duties by manager Billy Meyer. Burwell stayed with the organization and was reassigned as a minor league pitching coach (he mentored Vern Law) and scout. He later rejoined the big club from 1958-62 as the pitching guru for Danny Murtaugh’s coaching staff. 
  • 1969 - RHP Dave Giusti and C Dave Ricketts came over from St. Louis for 1B/OF Carl Taylor and OF Frank Vanzin. Giusti spent seven years in the Buc bullpen and earned 133 saves, marking his trade as one of the Buccos shrewder deals. Ricketts didn’t have a lot of on-field impact (he hit .182 in his only Bucco season) as a player, but was a popular clubhouse figure. He played basketball at Duquesne with his brother Dick and coached in Pittsburgh from 1971-73 before returning to the Cards to become a long time field coach and catching mentor.
Dave Giusti 1970 Topps
  • 1970 - RHP Marc Wilkins was born in Mansfield, Ohio. He spent his entire six-season MLB career (1996-2001) as a Bucco reliever (he started two games as a rookie), putting up a line of 19-14-3/4.28 and appearing in 70 outings during 1997. It was actually a pretty strong run for a guy who Pittsburgh selected in the 47th round of the 1992 draft. The U of Toledo product is now a financial advisor in Mansfield, Ohio. 
  • 1982 - The Los Angeles Examiner wrote that the Dodgers and Pirates were tinkering with a deal that would send 24-year-old C Tony Pena to LA for either OF Mike Marshall, 22, or 1B Greg Brock, 24. Though the talks broke off, the youngsters were all legit. Marshall lasted 11 years in the show, belting double-digit homers for eight straight campaigns while compiling a .270 BA and landing in an AS Game. Brock spent 10 years in the league, hitting with some pop but putting up .265+ average just twice, with a lifetime .248 BA. Pena was special. He earned five All-Star slots in an 18-year run, batting .260. Tony was eventually traded for Andy Van Slyke after the 1986 campaign. (S/O to John Fredland of PGH Sports History) 
  • 1994 - Andy Van Slyke became a free agent. In his eight years (1987-94) with Pittsburgh, he slashed .283/.353/.458 and was a three-time All Star. But at 34 and with a bad back, he managed a one year/$700K deal with the Baltimore Orioles only after a spring training audition. He played sparingly for them and was traded to Philly; he got into just 80 games total and was done after the 1995 campaign.
AVS 1994 Donruss
  • 2013 - LHP Francisco Liriano (16-8, 3.02) was named The Sporting News “Comeback Player of the Year” for 2013. Frankie had posted ERA’s north of 5 in three of his four prior seasons but sparkled for the Bucs. The runner up was RHP Mark Melancon, the Bucs set-up/closer arm, and third place went to OF Marlon Byrd, who the Pirates picked up from the NY Mets during the stretch run in late August.

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