Monday, November 5, 2018

11/5 From 1970: Tanner Trade; Gunner Parade; JR Hired; Syd GM; FA's; RRI Goes Down; A-Ram Retires; Frankie & Russ Honored

  • 1975 - After KDKA fired Pirate announcers Bob Prince and Nellie King days earlier, rival station WEEP organized a downtown parade in their honor that drew thousands of fans and featured both Pirates & City politicos as supporters. While the parade was a success, it didn’t move the station or team off their position. The Gunner wouldn’t broadcast a Bucco game again until 1985, after he had been diagnosed with throat cancer, and he died a few days later. 
Chuck Tanner (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)
  • 1976 - The Pirates sent catcher Manny Sanguillen and $100,000 to Oakland to land manager Chuck Tanner. It was the second player-for-skipper deal in MLB history (excluding player/managers), the first being in 1967 when the Mets sent RHP Bill Denehy and cash to the Washington Senators in exchange for manager Gil Hodges. Chuck had a good run in Pittsburgh. During his nine-year tenure, he posted a 711-685 (.509) record and won a World Championship in 1979. Manny returned home after a year in exile in a trade, spending his last three campaigns in Pittsburgh. 
  • 1985 - The Pirates hired Syd Thrift as their GM, replacing Harding Peterson. Syd only lasted until 1988 after a contentious relationship with the owners, but laid the groundwork for the powerhouse early-ninety clubs. Thrift traded for Doug Drabek, Bobby Bonilla, Andy Van Slyke and Mike LaValliere, then hired Jim Leyland to stir the pot. This date is when the news of his hiring was leaked by the media; the official announcement wasn’t made until two days later. 
  • 1990 - Whole lotta shakin’ going on as the following Bucs became free agents after the season: IF Wally Backman, RHP Doug Bair, SS Rafe Belliard, 1B Sid Bream, RHP Ted Power, OF Gary Redus, LHP Jerry Reuss, OF RJ Reynolds, C Don Slaught & LHP Zane Smith. Redus, Sluggo and Smith rejoined the team while the others went on their merry way: Belliard & Beam to Atlanta, Backman to Philly, Bair spent two years on minor league deals and was done, Power to Cincy, Reuss retired, and Reynolds went to Japan for three years before a final season in Mexico. 
  • 1997 - The Regional Renaissance Initiative was soundly defeated at the polls. A funding mechanism for a new stadium, its defeat cast doubts as to whether Kevin McClatchy’s Pirates team could remain in Pittsburgh. Some later political twists and turns eventually led to the selling of the team and the building of PNC Park to save the franchise for the City. 
JR 2008 Topps
  • 2007 - The Pirates named third base coach John Russell as manager, replacing Jim Tracy. The Bucs' new skipper was the 2006 International League Manager of the Year at Scranton. He never was given much to work with, and in 2010 was fired as the Pirates manager after a 105 loss season and an overall record of 186-299, replaced by Clint Hurdle. 
  • 2013 - LHP Francisco Liriano was named the Baseball Writer’s “Comeback Player of the Year,” the second time he took the honor, having earlier won the same recognition from The Sporting News after a 16-8, 3.02 ERA, 9.1K/game campaign. 
  • 2014 - C Russ Martin was named the Wilson Major League Defensive Catcher of the Year after losing the Golden Glove award to Yadier Molina the day before. 
  • 2015 - 3B Aramis Ramirez retired after 18 years in the show. A-Ram, 37, hit .283/.341/.492 with 386 home runs. He made his debut with the Pirates in 1998 and played here for parts of six years before being traded to the Chicago Cubs in a salary dump that still rankles. He returned as a stretch run rental from the Brewers in 2015, hitting .245 with six long balls. Ramirez played his first 17 seasons as a third baseman, never taking the field at another position other than DH, until September; he manned 1B for the Bucs five times in his final go-round.

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