Sunday, August 18, 2019

8/18 Through the 1930’s: Game Stories; HBD Arriba, Carl, Burleigh, Roger, Spooks & Bernie

  • 1891 - IF Wally “Spooks” Gerber was born in Columbus, Ohio. Gerber started his 15-year career with Pittsburgh in 1914-15 as a utilityman (he was another in a long line of Hans Wagner replacements at short), batting .207. Following his playing career, Gerber was an umpire in the Mid Atlantic League and also worked as a supervisor for the Columbus Recreation Department. Wally got his nickname because of his gaunt built. 
  • 1893 - RHP Burleigh Grimes was born in Emerald, Wisconsin. The Hall of Famer spent five years with the Bucs (1916-17, 1928-29, 1934), beginning and ending his career in Pittsburgh with a couple years in the middle. He was a modest 48-42/3.26 as a Pirate, but in a 19 year career with seven different clubs, Old Stubblebeard (he didn’t shave on game days, claiming the emery he used on ball irritated his face) won 269 decisions. He was also the last player that was allowed to legally throw a spitball. 
Burleigh Grimes - 1928 photo Conlon/TSN/Detroit Public Library
  • 1893 - RHP Bernie Duffy was born in Vinson, Oklahoma. He joined the Pirates briefly in 1913 as a highly touted arm, but in three outings (two starts), the 19-year-old lasted just 11-⅓ IP and gave up 18 hits while putting up a 5.56 ERA. He spent the next several years going from farm club to farm club, and after the 1917 season did what any self-respecting Oklahoman would do: he hung up the spikes and earned his daily bread as a wildcatter in the oil fields. 
  • 1897 - LHP Roger Bowman was born in Amsterdam, New York. He closed out his five-year MLB career with two stops in Pittsburgh in 1953 and 1955, slashing 0-7/5.66. Bowman did have a long career in the minors, working from 1946-61 and once tossing a seven-inning perfecto, and also tossed in the Cuban and Venezuelan Leagues. He was a well-rounded fellow, playing sax for area big bands in the Adirondacks, turning an art degree into an upholstery business after his ball-playing days and earning a pilot's license. 
  • 1914 - Babe Adams bested NY Giants Rube Marquard to take a 3-1 decision at Forbes Field. Ralph Davis of the Pittsburgh Press wrote that “Adams was more than their (the Giants) master and forced them to bow to defeat.” The Babe helped his own cause by banging an inside the park homer, set up when frustrated center fielder Bob Bescher didn’t chase the ball after it got past him and allowed it to roll almost to the wall. 
  • 1930 - Carl Barger was born in Lewistown, Pennsylvania. A corporate lawyer with Eckert, Seamans, Cherin & Mellott, he helped form and lead the Pittsburgh Associates to keep the Pirates in Pittsburgh after they were put up for sale by John Galbreath's family in 1985. He was president of the Pirates from 1987 to 1991 when he resigned to help his friend, Wayne Huinzenga, put together the Florida Marlins franchise. He died of a ruptured aorta while attending the winter meetings in 1992, before the Marlins had even played their first game. The Fish retired number 5 in his honor (though a long-time Pirates fan from his youth, Joe DiMaggio was his favorite player) then controversially unretired it for Logan Morrison in 2012, leaving a couple of practice fields named after him. 
  • 1931 - Paul Waner went 5-for-6 to lead Pittsburgh to a 14-5 win over the Phils at the Baker Bowl. Pie Traynor added three hits, three runs and two RBI and Eddie Phillips drove in four runs to help back Glenn Spencer’s pitching. 
The Great One - Bill Winstein 8-18-1972 Pgh. Press
  • 1934 - The Great One, Roberto Clemente, was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico. The Hall of Famer and humanitarian compiled a lifetime .317 BA, hitting over .300 in 13 of his last 14 seasons, and collected 3,000 hits in eighteen years as a Pirate. He was a two-time World Series champ, 15-time All-Star, won 12 Golden Gloves, was an NL & WS MVP, had his number retired and since 2002 has been honored annually by a MLB special day in September.

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