1908 – C Tom Padden was born in Manchester, New Hampshire. A part-time catcher for Pittsburgh, he appeared in 399 games from 1932-37 and compiled a .272 BA. He might be best known for coin rather than horsehide flinging. On February 26th, 1936, surrounded by a large crowd, he tossed a silver dollar about 475 feet over the Merrimack River and into a snow pile. He pulled the stunt to copy pitcher Walter “Big Train” Johnson, who did it a few days earlier across the Rappahannock to emulate the reported feat of George Washington. He retired to Manchester, where he coached local baseball and basketball teams.
Tom Padden (photo Janice Brown via New Hampshire History)
1912 – Owen “Chief” Wilson hit his 36th triple of the season, establishing a MLB record. Wilson tried to stretch the triple into an inside-the-park home run, but was thrown out the plate in a 16-6 Pirate win against Cincinnati at Redland Field. He wasn’t a gap guy; as noted by SABR’s bio of Wilson “Spacious Forbes Field may have been the best park ever for triples, and the Pirates led the NL in that category 30 of the 62 seasons they played there. Wilson did hit 24 of his 36 triples at home, but it is likely that many of these triples would have been home runs at other parks.” The Sporting Life pointed out that “Few of the smashes have struck in front of fielders. They have all been over the heads or between the fields, all juicy jams.”
1929 – In the season finale, second place Pittsburgh beat league-leading Chicago 8-3 at Wrigley Field. The Bucs collected 12 hits, led by Lloyd Waner’s 3-for-3 day, and Larry French earned the victory. The Pirates, with 88 wins, still finished 10-½ games behind the Cubs, but set the MLB record by banging out double-digit hits in 102 games during the season.
1946 – OF Gene Clines was born in San Pablo, California. A speedy center fielder with a good glove, he was a platoon outfielder for the Bucs from 1970-74, putting up a .287 BA. He played for the 1971 World Series champs and also the division winning teams of 1972 and 1974. Clines had a long career coaching and is a front office exec in the Dodger organization.
Gene Clines 1974 Topps
1991 – In the last game of the year, John Smiley tossed a five hit shutout with help from the pen to beat the Expos 7-0 at TRS. It was Smiley’s 20th win of the year for the pennant winning Pirates. He was backed by three RBI from Jose Lind and another pair from Barry Bonds, who also scored twice.