Wednesday, January 9, 2019

1/9: Dreyfuss' Folly; Casey & Jeanmar Deals; Carlos, Curtis & Jeromy Inked; RIP Dirt; HBP Lady

  • 1868 - LHP Harley “Lady” Payne was born in Windsor, Ohio. He closed out his fourth MLB campaign in 1899 as a Pirate, going 1-3/3.76. Harley had been a workhorse for Brooklyn from 1896-97 (he was their Opening Day pitcher in ‘87), making 74 appearances (66 starts) and going 522 IP but only tossed six games the next two seasons before leaving baseball to work his farm. 
Forbes Field 1909 Singer Company postcard
  • 1910 - Dreyfuss’ Folly, Forbes Field, drew some raves from the local press after a busy debut season. The Pittsburgh Press noted that “...from its opening to the end of football season, Forbes Field drew nearly one million fans...nothing even approaching this record was ever made at any other athletic venue.” Half the crowd was attracted by baseball; the remainder filled the seats for football, track meets, hippodrome events, police drills, and even a Communion service as the Oakland ballyard quickly become Pittsburgh’s big-event host. 
  • 1918 - The Pirates traded RHP Burleigh Grimes to the Brooklyn Robins along with RHP Al Mamaux & SS Chuck Ward for 2B George Cutshaw & OF Casey Stengel, who was making his second stop at Pittsburgh. Hall of Famer Grimes went on to win 158 games in nine seasons with Brooklyn. The Bucs top prize was Cutshaw, who manned second for Pittsburgh for four years, hitting .275 and providing solid up-the-middle defense. Stengel battled owner Barney Dreyfuss over salary, joined the Navy for a short stint and then was traded to Philadelphia in August of 1919 after playing 128 games in his return tour with the Buccos. 
  • 1987 - 2B Carlos Garcia, 19-years-old, was signed out of Venezuela as an international free agent. He spent the majority of his 10-year MLB career with Pittsburgh after debuting in 1990 for the Bucs as a September call up. Garcia was traded to Toronto after the 1996 season, batting .278 in his seven Bucco campaigns and earning one All-Star nod. After he retired, Carlos coached first base for a season for the Pirates and managed in the Buc system for four more years. 
  • 1991 - The Pirates signed backup IF Curtis Wilkerson to a one-year/$400K deal w/incentives to replace Wally Backman, who inked a contract with the Phillies a day later (two years/$1.3M). Proving you generally get what you pay for, Wilkerson hit .188 in 85 games and moved on to Kansas City following the season. 
Jeromy Burnitz 2006 Upper Deck
  • 2006 - 37-year-old OF Jeromy Burnitz was officially signed to the Pirates richest free agent contract to date, a $6M deal with a 2007 mutual option also worth $6M w/$700K buyout. He hit .230 for Pittsburgh during 2006 and the Pirates didn’t renew his contract. Burnitz then announced his retirement after 14 seasons during which he logged 315 HR and 981 RBI while playing for seven teams. 
  • 2013 - The Indians traded RHP Jeanmar Gomez to Pittsburgh for OF Quincy Latimore. Gomez was effective in a long role for a couple of seasons (5-2-1/3.28 in 78 appearances) before signing with the Phillies in 2015. He signed with the White Sox in 2018 and is a free agent now, while Quincy has bounced around the minors and Latin leagues. 
  • 2014 - Steve “Dirt” DiNardo, who had been the head groundskeeper at Three Rivers Stadium after starting as a part-timer at Forbes Field in 1961 (he retired in 1994), passed away at the age of 82. Dirt was legendary for his tricks, once alleged to have lowered the bullpen mounds of heated rivals, the Cincinnati Reds, when they were in town along with similar feats of homerism on behalf of the Steelers.
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