Monday, October 29, 2018

10/29: Jones - Anderson; HBD Jim, Fido, Solly & Dana; RIP Bill

  • 1863 - RHP Marcus “Fido” Baldwin was born in Homestead. He only pitched two years and some change for the Pirates (1891-93) but the club got its money’s worth. Between 1891-92, Fido started 104 games, went 47-55, and worked 878 IP with a 3.14 ERA. He was known as one of, if not the fastest, thrower of his era. He also was sued by St. Louis owner Chris von der Ahe for trying to influence his players to skip leagues (which he did), and was arrested for participating in the Homestead steel strike (he was freed, claiming to be just a spectator). Fido couldn't stay out of controversy; as a minor league owner in 1896, he and his teammates were arrested and convicted of a Blue Law violation for playing the first-ever Sunday professional game in Auburn, NY, and he was fined $5. Baldwin later became a doctor and was affiliated with Homestead’s Municipal Hospital. He’s buried in Allegheny Cemetery. His nickname came about because he seemed to live his baseball life in the manager's doghouse per Jonathan Light’s “Cultural Encyclopedia of Baseball.” 
Circus Solly 1912 (photo Boston Herald)
  • 1882 - OF Arthur Frederick “Solly” Hofman was born in St. Louis. Hofman played for the Pirates in 1903, then returned again in 1912-13. Coming off the bench, he hit .246 for the Bucs. Solly had a long run in the show, playing 14 years in the National, American and Federation leagues. His nickname was "Circus Solly,” credited to either a comic strip character of the era or to his acrobatic “circus catch” antics in the outfield. 
  • 1944 - RHP Jim Bibby was born in Franklinton, NC. The big guy worked five years (1978-83; he was out all of 1982 with a shoulder injury) for Pittsburgh, and won 19 games in 1980 during his All-Star season. He was 50-32/3.53 during that span. Bibby started three games in the 1979 championship run (1 NLCS, 2 WS) and while not getting a decision in any of them, put up a 2.08 ERA. His Pirates highlight was in 1981, when he gave up a leadoff, bloop single to Atlanta’s Terry Harper and retired the next 27 batters. A shoulder injury suffered later that season eventually led to his retirement in 1984. Originally, the Pirates signed him as a free agent in 1978 to replace Goose Gossage as the new closer, but he started 91 of his 146 Bucco outings. Another factoid: at 6'5", you might suspect he had some basketball genes, and he did. Jim was an older brother of Henry Bibby and the uncle of Mike Bibby, both NBA players. 
  • 1965 - Bill McKechnie passed away in Bradenton at the age of 79. A Wilkinsburg native, Bill spent 11 years in the majors as a player, then went on to lead three different clubs to the NL pennants as a manager and earned a spot in the Hall of Fame in 1962. He was a utility guy for the Pirates in 1907 & 1910-12 to start his career. By 1922, he was a Pirates coach and replaced George Gibson as skipper in mid season. The club played better and eventually won the World Series over the Sens in 1925. The Pirates fell to third in 1926 and McKechnie was fired (he got caught up in the ABC Affair backwash), but bounced back with managing gigs at St. Louis, Boston and Cincinnati to carry him through 1946. As a field general, he split four World Series sets and was twice named Manager of the Year. The Pirates' spring training home, McKechnie Field in Bradenton, was named after him from 1962-2017, when it became LECOM Park.
O'Dell Jones 1977 Topps
  • 1980 - The Pirates traded a PTBNL (AAA Portland’s RHP Larry Anderson) and cash to the Seattle Mariners for RHP Odell Jones. It was a homecoming for Jones, who had pitched for the Bucs in 1975 & 1977-78, and he went 4-5/3.31 in 1981. He was in AAA in 1982 and then lost in the Rule 5 draft to Texas. Anderson had a pretty good run - he pitched through the 1994 season and ended up appearing in 699 MLB games (40-39-49/3.15) before heading out to pasture. Anderson was involved in one other notable deal when he traded by the Astro's a decade later to Boston for Jeff Bagwell. 
  • 1983 - LHP Dana Eveland was born in Olympia, Washington. Eveland was your basic journeyman lefty; he logged parts of 11 big league seasons with 10 teams, making 187 appearances. The Pirates got him in June, 2010, from Toronto for Ron Uviedo and he spent most of the year in the minors, toeing the slab three times for Pittsburgh and giving up nine runs in 9-⅔ IP. Dana tossed a bit in Mexico last year and is a free agent, not working in 2018.

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