Wednesday, November 7, 2018

11/7 From 1970: No Sale; Eli Inked; FA's; Cordova Deal; HBD Todd & Kris

  • 1971 - RHP Todd Ritchie was born in Portsmouth, Virginia. Ritchie went 35-32/4.29 for the Bucs from 1999-2001, winning 15 games in ‘99. In 2001’s off season, he was traded to the White Sox for Kip Wells, Josh Fogg and Sean Lowe. He signed again with Pittsburgh in 2005, but retired during camp. Todd’s final comeback effort was in 2008 with the Rockies; he lasted through five minor-league starts before leaving the slab for good. 
Todd Ritchie 2001 Upper Deck Vintage
  • 1974 - RHP Kris Benson was born in Kennesaw, Georgia. The first overall selection of the 1996 draft, the Clemson grad pitched for the Pirates from 1999-2004 (missing 2001 after TJ surgery) with a line of 43-49/4.26. His “parking lot sex” and other such antics with wife Anna were sports page fodder throughout his career, culminating in a 2013 divorce. On the other side of the pillow, he and Anna also fronted many charitable causes and raised an estimated $750K in alms during his big league days. 
  • 1983 - Dave Parker, Jim Bibby, Kent Tekulve, Richie Hebner, Miguel Dilone and Dave Tomlin became free agents and entered the convoluted compensation draft; only Teke (three years + option/$1M per year) and Tomlin (who spent two years at AAA Hawaii) returned to the Pirates. Parker went to Cincinnati, Bibby to Texas, Hebner to the Cubs and Dilone to Montreal. 
  • 1997 - The Pirates reached agreement with RHP Francisco Cordova on a three-year/$4.1M contract with an option year. Cordova went 11-8/3.63 with a nine-inning no-hitter during the season. He went 27-32 over the three guaranteed seasons of the deal, but his ERA zoomed each year, from 3.31 to 4.43 to 5.21 as arm troubles limited his effectiveness. After his MLB days, the lefty tossed in his native Mexico from 2002 through 2011. 
  • 2005 - Owner Kevin McClatchy denied rumors that the Pirates had been sold to Dallas Maverick owner/Mt. Lebanon native Mark Cuban. McClatchy told Paul Meyer of the Post Gazette bluntly that “..the team was not for sale.” But the deck was being shuffled: by January 2007, Bob Nutting had taken over as the principal owner of the club. 
Eli Spring 2015 (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)
  • 2008 - Rene Gayo signed 18-year-old C Elias Diaz out of Venezuela. Eli developed slowly but steadily, outpunching first-round prospects Tony Sanchez and Reese McGuire. Baseball America named him the best defensive catcher in the minors in 2014. After being injury-bitten and sputtering in his early MLB calls, Diaz broke out in 2018 and became Fran Cervelli’s heir apparent, shaking his earlier backup rep.

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