Wednesday, October 31, 2018

10/31: Halloween Happenings - Reuss for May; Leyland MoY; Shake It Up; HBD Dee, Hardie, Harry, Ray & Yamaico

  • 1862 - RHP James “Hardie” (his middle name was Harding) Henderson was born in Philadelphia. He tossed for six MLB campaigns, his last stint being a five-game swan song with the Alleghenys in 1888, posting a 1-3/5.35 line (tho he did hit .278; Hardie played some outfield and a smidgen of infield during his career). Hardie had a good arm but forgot the zip code in his final three seasons, issuing 134 walks in 271 IP. He umpired for a while after that before meeting his Maker at age 40 when he was run down by a trolley in Philadelphia. 
Harry Smith 1903 (Photo Getty via the Chicago History Museum)
  • 1874 - C Harry Smith was born in Yorkshire, England. He was a reserve catcher from 1902-07, hitting just .202 as a Bucco after joining the club as a highly touted youngster after his rookie season with the Philadelphia A’s. When the Bucs signed him, the Pittsburgh Press gushed “Clever Harry the catcher pronounced by all the writers who are in sympathy with the National League as being the greatest young backstop in the country.” He didn’t blossom quite as advertised: Harry spent nine years in the NL and hit .209 w/-0.6 WAR. Smith was a player/manager for the Boston Doves briefly and went on to become a minor-league skipper after he hung up the spikes. 
  • 1894 - OF Ray O’Brien was born in St. Louis. Ray was a lifetime minor league guy, playing from 1913-32 on various farm clubs, but he did get a taste of the show in 1916 with the Pirates when he hit .211 in 57 AB/16 games. After his Bucco trial, he put together his longest stretch with one club at Denver of the Western League, spending nine seasons with the Bears.
  • 1924 - 1B Dee Fondy was born in Slaton, Texas. Dee joined the Bucs in 1957 from the Cubs after being dealt for Dale Long and Lee Walls, hitting .313 in 95 games. As a Bucco, he was the last player to bat at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn before the Dodgers switched coasts, grounding out. Fondy was a big guy but a contact hitter, and in the off season, the Bucs dealt him to Cincinnati for the more muscular Ted Kluszewski. Following his playing career he worked as a scout and in the FO for the New York Mets and the Milwaukee Brewers, where he signed Paul Molitor. 
  • 1973 - The Astros traded LHP Jerry Reuss to the Pirates for 22-year-old C Milt May. Reuss ended up 61-46 with a 3.52 ERA as a Buc and was a rotation mainstay for four seasons. The lefty worked six campaigns in Pittsburgh (1974-78, 1990) and spent his last MLB season as a Pirate. He did get around; Reuss was on the roster of eight different clubs at one time or another and won 220 games in a 22-year career. Milt had quite a nice shelf life too, playing 11 more seasons, the final two (1983-84) after a reunion with the Pirates. 
Jerry Reuss 1974 Topps
  • 1987 - IF Yamaico Navarro was born in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic. Navarro got into 79 MLB games over four seasons; 29 were with the Pirates in 2012 after the Bucs sent Brooks Pounders to KC for him. He hit .160 with an OPS+ of 27, then got a short look at Baltimore the next season that ended his big league stay. Navarro has played in Korea, Japan and the Dominican Leagues since, with his last known posting in 2017-18 in the Dominican Winter League. 
  • 1990 - Jim Leyland was selected as the NL Manager of the Year by the Baseball Writers Association of America. He guided the Bucs to 95 wins and a division title, easily outdistancing the Cincinnati Reds’ Lou Piniella in the voting. 
  • 2011 - Roster shake-up day: the Pirates lost C Ryan Doumit, C Chris Snyder, SS Ronny Cedeno and LHP Paul Maholm to free agency after deadline rentals OF Ryan Ludwick and 1B Derrek Lee had declared themselves FAs the day before. Dewey went to the Twins, Snyder to the ‘Stros, Cedeno to the Mets, Maholm to the Cubs, Ludwick to the Reds and Lee retired.

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