Monday, October 8, 2018

10/8: To the End; Jackie's All-Stars; Cannonball's Shutout; HBD Danny, Catfish, Spanky, Donie & Tom

  • 1870 - RHP Tom Colcolough was born in Charleston. He pitched for the Pirates from 1893-95 with a line of 10-8, 6.55 in 38 games, 23 as a starter. Tom spent the remainder of his career in the minors, with a brief 1899 stop with the NY Giants. When Colcolough’s baseball days were done, he returned to Charleston, where he became an alderman. 
  • 1886 - Ed “Cannonball” Morris whitewashed the New York Metropolitans 9-0 at Recreation Park. It was his 12th shutout, a record for lefties. Cannonball went 41-20 that year with a 2.45 ERA over 555-⅓ IP, striking out 327 batters. 
Donie Bush 1927 (photo via Harwell Collection/Detroit Public Library)
  • 1887 - Owen “Donie” Bush was born in Indianapolis. He was a hometown hero (Donie was a manager, president and part-owner of the Indy club who was known as “Mr Baseball” around town) and until 1996, the Indy ballyard was called Bush Field before a new downtown park (Victory Field) opened. After a 16 year playing career, mostly with Detroit, the infielder managed the Bucs briefly from 1927-29, taking them to a World Series in 1927 against the Yankees’ “Murderers’ Row” club (and the Pirates got murdered in four straight). But he’s probably best remembered for his feud with Hall-of-Fame OF Kiki Cuyler, whom he benched and then traded to the Cubs. Donie managed four big league clubs, three top minor league franchises and did some scouting. He was given the title "King of Baseball" (a minor-league service award) during Major League Baseball's 1963 winter meetings and was an inaugural inductee of the Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame. His nickname “Donie” (pronounced like Tony) was a misrepresentation of his original nickname, Ownie, but it stuck with him. 
  • 1905 - Cincinnati Reds CF Cy Seymour and Pittsburgh Pirates SS Honus Wagner faced one another in a doubleheader on the season’s final day as the pair would finish the year one-two in the race for the batting title. Seymour was well ahead going into the games and collected four hits to Hans’ two to finish as the easy winner at .377 while The Dutchman clocked in at .363 at the end of the day. A newspaper account of the twinbill stated "...10,000 were more interested in the batting achievements of Wagner and Seymour than the games...cheer upon cheers greeted the mighty batsmen upon each appearance at the plate..." The Reds swept the Bucs at the Palace of the Fans by 3-1 and 4-1 scores. 
  • 1917 - Danny Murtaugh was born in Chester, Pennsylvania. He was a Bucco infielder from 1948-51, with a lifetime BA of .256 and a stolen base crown in 1941. The Irishman won a couple of World Series as the skipper in 1960 and 1971, managing the club from 1957–1964, 1967, 1970–1971, and in 1973–1976. He guided five playoff squads and had a record of 1115-950. He was known as "The Whistling Irishman" (it's even the title of his biography) because he used to whistle while playing the infield. 
Danny Murtaugh 1970 (photo: Getty Images)
  • 1920 - 1B/OF George “Catfish” Metkovich was born in Angels Camp, California. George was signed by the Tigers and declared a free agent in 1940 in a wholesale release of Detroit players, the penalty for illegally restricting their movement (Johnny Sain of the Braves was another freed by this decree). That launched Catfish on a 10-year career, with a 1951-53 stop at Pittsburgh. He had a line of .276 with lots of playing time, but in May of 1953 left as part of the Ralph Kiner deal with the Cubs. George played through 1954, spent three years in the PCL, then took some minor-league managing and scouting work before retiring to open a restaurant with his brothers. He got his nickname because one day when he was fishing during training camp in Florida, he caught a catfish and accidently stepped on it; a fin penetrated his shoe and foot and had to be removed at a hospital. His manager at the time, Casey Stengel of the Boston Bees, spread the story and George became “Catfish” or just plain ol’ “Cat” for the rest of his playing career. 
  • 1944 - Utilityman Ed “Spanky” Kirkpatrick was born in Spokane, Washington. He played 16 years in the majors (oddly, he suited up for just three teams - the Angels, Royals and Pirates - during his first 15 years and three teams - Pittsburgh, Texas and Milwaukee - in his last campaign) and was a Bucco from 1974-77, batting .236 while playing the infield corners, all three OF spots and pinch-hitting. He got his nickname while with the California Angels because he looked like Spanky of the “Little Rascals” TV show. 
  • 1946 - The Jackie Robinson All-Stars beat the Major League All-Stars (a sort of pick-up club with Pirates Frankie Gustine, Lee Handley and Al Gionfriddo in the lineup) 6-4 at Forbes Field. Jackie led both teams in hits, collecting three, and won the respect of a local old-timer who was at the game, Honus Wagner. Robinson would became MLB’s first black player the following year, and Post Gazette writer Al Abrams asked him if he caught much grief from the fans while a minor-leaguer or touring. Jackie said “No more than when I played college ball...I didn’t let it bother me. I just went about my business and made the fans like me whenever I could. The players were grand.”
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