Friday, November 2, 2018

11/2: FA's & Options; Bragan Hired; Early AS's; AA Formed; HBD Orlando, Frenchy, Scott & Gary

  • 1866 - Utilityman Frank “Frenchy” Genins was born in St. Louis, Missouri. Frank’s biggest workload in a three-year big league career came with the 1895 Pirates. He played all the infield & outfield spots (in fact, he was the only other Bucco to play the OF that year other than the starting trio of Patsy Donovan, Jake Starzel and Mike Smith), hitting .250 in 73 games. Genins may not have dented very many major league lineups, but he played his way through much of the midwest in the minors from 1887-1909, with his latter years spent as a player/manager. 
  • 1881 - The American Association was founded. The initial members were the Brooklyn Atlantics (replaced by the Baltimore Orioles), Cincinnati Red Stockings, Louisville Cardinals, Philadelphia Athletics, Pittsburgh Alleghenys, and St. Louis Brown Stockings. The AA was considered a major league organization, though the Alleghenys bolted to the NL after the 1886 campaign and the league folded after the 1891 season. Denny McKnight, the Alleghenys owner, was elected its first president, with his term running from 1882-85. 
The 1885 Alleghenys of the AA
  • 1927 - Although the first All-Star Game wouldn’t be played until 1933, that didn’t stop papers from picking a squad of its own, usually combining leagues. The Brooklyn Eagle’s Hall of Fame baseball writer Thomas Holmes released his 1927 lineup which featured 3B Pie Traynor and OF Paul Waner on the first team. Lloyd Waner was named to the second team. 
  • 1952 - He never played in the Pirate organization, but he sure has some pull in the FO: agent Scott Boras was born in Sacramento. Boras is the rep of Josh Bell (Felipe Rivero dropped him for Magnus Sports) and was Cole Train and Pedro Alvarez’s man. Fun fact: Boras played four years in the minors as an infielder and was a pretty good slap hitter and OBP guy, even earning a spot on the Florida State League All-Star team before hanging up the spikes due to injury and enrolling in law school. 
  • 1955 - Bobby Bragan was named the new Bucco field manager‚ signing a one-year deal to replace Fred Haney. The fiery Bragan didn’t last long, getting the ax in early August of 1957 after compiling a 102-155 record. His spot was taken by Danny Murtaugh, making the first of four Pirates managerial stints. Bobby went on to manage the Cleveland Indians (1958) and Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves (1963-66), compiling an overall 443-478 record. 
  • 1956 - IF Gary Hargis was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was drafted out of high school (Cabrillo HS, California) in 1974 in the second round by the Bucs. His MLB resume is slim; as a September call up, he made it into one game for the 1979 Buccos as a pinch runner, earning a $250 World Series share for his effort. Hargis was injury-plagued on the farm, and he was moved to the OF in 1980 because his arm wasn't considered MLB caliber for short and they were priming him for a utility role. He got married in ‘81 and that was his last pro season at age 24. 
Orlando Merced 1994 Fleer Extra Bases
  • 1966 - OF/1B Orlando Merced was born in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico. Merced played from 1990-96 for the Bucs with a .283 BA, coming in second in the Rookie of the Year voting in 1991. After a solid 13-year MLB career, he now he operates the Orlando Merced Baseball Training Center in Kissimmee, FL. 
  • 1979 - In the MLB Free Agent Re-Entry Draft, the Bucs’ Bruce Kison was claimed by the Indians and Rennie Stennett by the Mets after the Pirates signed Grant Jackson to a new contract the day before to keep him out of the process. The Bucs claimed bidding rights on Dave Goltz of the Twins, John Curtis of San Francisco, Nolan Ryan of California, Milt May of the White Sox, Al Hrabosky of KC, Don Stanhouse of Baltimore and Rick Wise of Cleveland. The purpose of the draft was to lessen the financial impact of free agency for the bidders; FA’s could only sign with a team that selected them. The clubs could only select a limited number of players, and there was also a limit to the number of teams that could select a single player. But there was a loophole for the lesser-sought players and the champagne guys: unless selected by three or more teams, they were available to all. The draft lasted from 1976-80 when a new agreement that eliminated the re-entry procedure went into effect after the ‘81 strike. As for the draft results, Kison signed with the Angels, and Stennett with the Giants as neither was drafted by the minimum three teams. The Bucs inked none of their selections, although they did eventually land ex-Pirate May once again in a 1983 trade. Since they couldn’t sign any of the big name arms, they instead inked Andy Hassler to a six-year, $750 K contract. He lasted until June, when he was sold to California. 
  • 2005 - LHP Mark Redman exercised his $4.95M player option for the 2006 season. Acquired as part of the Jason Kendall deal, he went 5-15/4.90 in 2005 for the Bucs. He didn’t make it to camp, though, as the Bucs swapped him to KC for RHP Jonah Bayliss a month later. 
Mark Redman 2005 Topps Heritage
  • 2015 - The Pirate had eight free agents after the season: P Antonio Bastardo, P Joe Blanton, P AJ Burnett, P JA Happ, 1B Corey Hart, UT Sean Rodriguez, 3B Aramis Ramirez and P Joakim Soria. S-Rod was the only one the team re-signed as AJ and A-Rod retired while the others found new homes during the winter. Bastardo had a homecoming when the Pirates traded to get him back at the 2016 deadline. S-Rod left the flock after 2016, but not for long; the Pirates got him back later in the next campaign. Several other bubble guys were released soon afterward: RHP Radhames Liz, LHP Jeremy Bleich, OF John Bowker, C Wilkin Castillo, RHP Brad Lincoln, RHP Blake Wood and 1B/OF Andrew Lambo.
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