9/11 Through the 1940’s: Pie Purchase; Ralph Rampage; Game Stories; HBD Jackie, Dave, Steve, Glenn & Cool
- 1868 – OF Steve Brodie was born in Warrenton, Virginia. He had speed, a great glove and good bat, playing 13 years in the show. He was traded to Pittsburgh against his wishes (he enjoyed playing in Baltimore) and stayed from 1897-98, hitting .283 before being dealt back to the Orioles in mid-season. When he retired, he went on to a career as a college coach, served during WW1, and then returned to run Baltimore’s brand new Memorial Stadium.
|Steve Brodie - photo 1899 Baltimore Sun|
- 1901 – IF Elbert “Cool” Turner was born in New York. He was a multi-sport star at what is now West Virginia State University and played Negro League ball from 1921-32, with a stop in Homestead in 1929 where he was the Grays’ third baseman. He only hit .159 and moved on, playing for four more teams before he retired. Turner coached high school football in the off-season, and after his retirement became head baseball coach of the North Carolina Central University Eagles. He also umpired for seven years in the second Negro National League. By that time, his nickname had, not too surprisingly, evolved into “Pops.”
- 1905 – RHP Glenn Spencer was born in Corning, NY. He was a Bucco in 1928, spent 1929 in the minors, then returned from 1930-32 for Pittsburgh, going 23-29-8 with a 4.48 ERA, mostly from the pen. Control was his Achilles Heel; he walked 201 batters and only K’ed 162 in his five-year pro career which ended with the Giants during the 1933 campaign. He retired to become a salesman and served during WW2.
- 1906 – The Pirates and Red played a 15-inning scoreless draw at Forbes Field, the longest game to date at the venue. Deacon Phillippe started the game and Vic Willis finished, giving up 10 hits while Long Bob Ewing of the Reds scattered eight knocks.The Reds golden opportunity was in the 13th inning when they loaded the bases with nobody out, but a pair of forces at home and a fly squelched that rally. The Bucs big chance was squandered earlier when Tommy Sheehan bunted through an attempted squeeze play, leaving Dutch Meier hung out to dry. Meier was the only Pirate with more than a hit, collecting three knocks before ump Bill Klem called the game due to darkness.
- 1920 – The Pirates bought Pie Traynor from Portsmouth for $10,000. The Boston Braves had stashed the infielder there on the assumption that they would have first dibs on him, but even an appeal to AL President Ban Johnson didn’t help in lieu of a written agreement, and the Portsmouth owner was more than willing to let him go to the highest bidder. So instead of playing for his hometown Boston club – he came from Framingham, Massachusetts – Traynor spent his 17 year MLB career in Pittsburgh, eventually earning a spot in the Hall of Fame.
|Jackie Hernandez – 1973 Topps|
- 1940 – Jacinto “Jackie” Hernández was born in Central Tinguaro, Cuba. He had to slip into the USA; Cuba had cut its robust baseball program to the bone when Fidel Castro took over and Jackie made it stateside via Mexico to keep playing. He was ready to come home again when his mom told him to stay right where he was at and chase his dream. The good glove, terrible hitting (.205 as a Pirate) SS played three seasons (1971-73) for Pittsburgh, and when the Bucs traded for him in 1970, manager Earl Weaver of the Baltimore Orioles said that “The Pirates will never win a pennant with Jackie Hernandez at shortstop.” Not only did they win the flag, but Jackie was the regular shortstop from late August forward in 1971 as Gene Alley, the starter, had a bad shoulder. As fate would decree, he put the final nail in the Oriole coffin during the Series; the last out of the Bucs seventh game victory was recorded 6-3, Hernandez to Bob Robertson. Jackie’s nine-year MLB run ended with Pittsburgh after the 1973 season and he’s coached & played at different levels and leagues since. At last check, he was still helping the Bucs as an instructor at Pirate City.
- 1944 – LHP Dave Roberts was born in Gallipolis, Ohio. In June, 1979 he was part of a big deal with the Giants, traded with Len Randle and Bill Madlock to the Pirates for Al Holland, Fred Breining, and Ed Whitson. He went 5-2-1, 3.26 out of the pen for that club and after a cup of coffee with the team in 1980 was traded to Seattle. He was near the end; he worked briefly in 1981 before retiring after 13 years. He passed away in 2009 at age 64 from lung cancer. It’s thought that he suffered asbestos exposure during his younger years when he had to work in a boiler room to make ends meet while developing as a pro player.
- 1947 – Ralph Kiner blasted three successive homers and knocked home six runs in a 10-8 win over the Braves at Forbes Field in the nitecap of a DH. He also homered in game one, a 4-3 win that was decided in the 13th when pitcher Kirby Higbe took Johnny Sain long to complete the first step of a Pittsburgh sweep of Boston. Kiner’s four homers in one day established a team record that wouldn’t be matched until 1984 by Jason Thompson. It also set a NL record of 10 multi-homer games in a season which stood until Sammy Sosa had 11 in 1998.
- 1948 – Out of the lineup because of a virus‚ Ralph Kiner came off the pine to whack an eighth-inning, pinch-hit grand slam to give the Pirates a 13-12 win over Chicago at Wrigley Field. Max West also homered and had three RBI. Mel Queen won with a save by Elmer Riddle.
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