Saturday, January 12, 2019

1/12 Through the 1970’s: Ballin' & Bikin'; Mo & Larry Drafted; HBD Big Ed, Rich, Ed S. & Tom

  • 1859 - C/1B Ed Swartwood was born in Rockford, Illinois. Swartwood played for the Alleghenys from 1882-84 and then spent his last big league season as a Pirate in 1892. He put up some good numbers, including a career .322 BA in Pittsburgh. In 1882 he led the American Association with 86 runs, 18 doubles, and 159 total bases, then went on to become the league batting champion in 1883 (the first Pittsburgh player to take the crown) with a .357 average. Swartwood married a Pittsburgh gal in 1883 while with the Alleghenys and became an Allegheny County sheriff when he was done with baseball (he also umped for a spell after his playing career). He was buried in North Side’s Union Dale cemetery after he passed on in 1924. 
Ed Swartwood 1885 (photo via Union Dale Cemetery)
  • 1866 - C Tom Kinslow was born in Washington, DC. Tom spent 10 years in the show, squeezing in 19 games with the 1895 Pirates and batting .226 after being traded by the Brooklyn Bridegrooms for Ad Gumbert. The hard-drinking Kinslow (who owned a Washington bar) was released in May for overindulgence, expressing shock - in Brooklyn, they punished his binges with fines. He was by all accounts a friendly galoot, but the drinking led to discipline and conditioning (his weight would yo-yo) issues, and he only played 380 games during his decade in MLB. Tom died young, at 35, from “consumption” (tuberculosis). 
  • 1893 - Several National League owners, led by Pirates manager Al Buckenberger and Washington owner J. Earl Wagner, formed the National Cycling Association, hoping to build bicycle tracks in the baseball stadiums to help increase both their exposure and profit; bike racing was a big-time sport at the turn of the 20th century. But not all of the teams were interested in the venture, and many big-name cyclists opted to stay with their current organizations, scuttling the idea. 
  • 1925 - 1B Big Ed Stevens (actually, a modest 6’1”, 190 lbs, but that was king-sized in the forties) was born in Galveston, Texas. The Pirates got him from Brooklyn when he was bumped off the bag by a rookie named Jackie Robinson. He replaced Hank Greenberg at first for a season in Pittsburgh, then spent his final two campaigns (1948-50; .253 Pirates BA) on the bench. Big Ed didn’t hit it big in the MLB, but was da bomb in the minors. In 16 farm seasons spanning 1941-61, Stevens belted 257 home runs and drove in 1,013 runs on his way to being named to the International League Hall of Fame. After his retirement, he scouted for the Minnesota Twins, Seattle Mariners and Oakland A’s. 
Big Ed 1949 Bowman
  • 1972 - RH reliever Rich Loiselle was born in Neenah, Wisconsin. He tossed his entire career of six seasons (1996-2001) for the Bucs, and went 9-18-49/4.38 during that span. Loiselle was the Bucco closer in 1997-98 when he picked up 48 of his 49 career saves. He struggled after that, having both control and elbow problems. 
  • 1972 - The Pirates picked up two keepers in the January draft. First they drafted 3B Jim Morrison, who didn’t sign and instead went in the 1974 regular June draft to Philadelphia. But Pittsburgh kept track and finally landed him in 1982 in a deal with the White Sox. Mo spent six seasons with the Pirates, playing 92 or more games in five of them and batting .274. In the secondary phase, the Buccos selected RHP Larry Demery, who made his debut in 1974 and over four Pirates campaigns went 29-23-7/3.72 before an arm injury effectively ruined his career.
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