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7/12 Through the 1950’s: Pud to Pgh; 13-In-A-Row; Soap Game; ASG's; HBD Lee, Dave & Johnny

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  • 1885 – The Buffalo Bisons sold P Pud Galvin to the Pittsburgh Alleghenys for $5,000. Galvin won 138 games pitching for the Alleghenys, Burghers and Pirates. From the HOF (he was inducted in 1965): “Jim ‘Pud’ Galvin was baseball’s first 300-game winner. Short and stocky, The Little Steam Engine was a tireless worker with a deceptive pick-off move. Galvin pitched for 14 Major League seasons, earning 20 or more victories 10 times and twice topping the 40-win mark. When he retired in 1892, he was the all-time Major League leader in wins, innings pitched, games started, games completed and shutouts. He was nicknamed Pud because his pitching process supposedly turned opposing batters into pudding.” Galvin also went by “Gentleman Jeems” for his demeanor, and “The Little Steam Engine” because of his build. 
Lee Meadows – 1925 Pittsburgh Press
  • 1894 – Lee Meadows was born in Oxford, NC. The righty spent the last seven seasons (1923-29) of his 15 year career with the Pirates, going 88-52/3.50 for the Pirates. He was hardly used his last two seasons, but in the first five was a workhorse, leading the NL with 20 wins in 1926 and winning 19 games twice. Meadows was part of two World Series teams, the winning 1925 club and the losing 1927 squad. 
  • 1902 – Jack Chesbro pitched a five hit shutout and struck out 11 Giants to beat Christy Mathewson, 4-0 at Exposition Park despite the Buccos losing five straight runners via base running errors. With two outs in the third, Ginger Beaumont was on second base and was tossed out trying to advance to third on a grounder to short. In the fourth, Honus Wagner led off with a triple, but was thrown out at the plate on Kitty Bransfield’s grounder to first; Bransfield was then caught trying to steal second. Claude Ritchey drew a walk and got picked off first. Jimmy Burke led off the fifth with a double and tried to stretch it into a triple, but was tagged out by Matty, covering the bag. 
  • 1919 – OF Johnny Wyrostek was born in Fairmont City, Illinois. The Bucs bought him from the Cards and he spent 1942-43 as a bench player in Pittsburgh, hitting just .140 in 60 games. After a two-year break for the service, he returned to baseball and played another nine campaigns for Philadelphia and Cincinnati, ending his career with a solid .271 BA and two All-Star outings. After he retired, he went home to become a deputy sheriff, tradesman, and long-time mayor of Fairmont City. 
  • 1933 – The Pirates blew an 8-0 lead in the ninth as the Boston Braves rallied to tie the score at Forbes Field, leading to Larry French’s “Soap Game.” Per Bob Fulton’s 1999 Pittsburgh Pirates History: “French figured he could duck out of the bullpen and hit the showers early. Little did he know as he was getting clean that the Braves had rallied to make the score 8-7. When the call came for French to pitch, he didn’t even have time to rinse off. He put on his uniform and hustled out to the mound with soap trickling down his neck.” French tossed 1-2/3 IP perfectly and earned the win as the Bucs came back to take a 9-8 decision. Arky Vaughan helped, too – he doubled, banged two triples and drove in five runs. 
Larry French – Conlon/The Sporting News
  • 1935 – Dave Ricketts was born in Pottstown. He was a two-way star at Duquesne University, playing on a pair of Dukes NIT basketball teams. He spent most of his MLB career as a back-up catcher for St. Louis, joining the Bucs in 1970. Ricketts retired after that season and coached in Pittsburgh from 1971-74 as part of the World Series team. 
  • 1938 – The Pirates won their 13th straight game, 14-6 over the Cubs at Wrigley Field, as C Al Todd homered and drove home five runs. With their 40th victory in their last 54 games‚ the Bucs were in the NL lead for the first time that season. Ed Brandt got the win and Rip Sewell notched a save. That club was in first place by two games on September 25th, then collapsed, losing six of the last seven games to finish two games off the pace. 
  • 1949 – Pittsburgh sent OF Ralph Kiner to Ebbets Field for the All-Star Game, won 11-7 by the AL. Kiner went just 1-for-5, but his hit left the park for a two-run homer. A Kiner out made bigger news; Ted Williams fractured his elbow after a fence crash while grabbing one of Ralph’s screamers. Although he finished the game, the Splendid Splinter was operated on the next day and was out until mid-September. This All-Star Game was the first to have black ballplayers in the line-up. Brooklyn’s Jackie Robinson started at 2B while teammates C Roy Campanella and P Don Newcombe also got in. Cleveland Indians’ OF’er Larry Doby played the final four innings of the game for the AL. 
  • 1955 – OF Frank Thomas was the only Pirate player in the All Star Game at Milwaukee’s County Stadium. He went 0-for-1 in a 6-5 NL overtime win. It was one of the senior circuit’s great rallies as they overcame a 5-0 deficit in the seventh and eighth innings, winning in the 12th frame on Donora’s Stan “The Man” Musial’s first-pitch walk off homer. 
Eloy Face – 1956 Topps
  • 1956 – The Bucs swept a doubleheader at Wrigley Field by 2-1 and 5-4 counts. In the opener, Ronnie Kline kept the Cubbies under control by spinning a six-hitter and was backed by Bill Virdon’s three hits. The nitecap hero was Dale Long, who chased home four runs against Chicago with a bases-loaded triple and a game-winning solo shot in the eighth, his first long ball in over a month. It gave ElRoy Face a well-deserved win. He tossed seven innings of scoreless, five-hit ball in relief of Cholly Naranjo, who was making his first major league start. 
  • 1959 – Roberto Clemente kept ElRoy Face’s win streak alive when he cracked a bases-loaded single off the right field wall in the 10th to rally the Bucs to a 6-5 win over the Cards at Forbes Field. Face had blown the save in the ninth, but settled down and was on the hill for the win. Dick Groat and Danny Kravitz carried the attack with three hits.


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