9/12 Through the 1940s: UA; Fido; Game Stories; HBD George & Frank
- 1877 – RHP Frank Moore was born in Dover, Ohio. Frank got three innings to his credit in the show for the Pirates in 1905, and he earned the outing, beginning in the minors in 1902 and hangin’ in there through the 1912 campaign. In fact, his last two seasons at ages 33 & 34 were his best as he won 23 and 21 games for Portsmouth in the Ohio State League. He managed in the lower minors for a couple of seasons afterward before hangin’ up his mitt.
- 1883 – The Union Association, a short lived baseball league, was formed in Pittsburgh. It had a bit of local flavor, as one of the original clubs was the Altoona Mountain City, which folded after 25 games, and later the Pittsburgh Stogies, a club that formed after the Chicago Browns franchise relocated to the Steel City.
|Fido – 1888 Yum Yum|
- 1891 – The Pirates and hometown pitcher Mark “Fido” Baldwin had a contentious relationship during his three year (1890-92) Buc career. At one point, the team fined him $50, leading him to request his release. Instead, manager Ned Hanlon decided to work Fido like a dog; he started and won a pair of complete game victories on this date against the Brooklyn Bridegrooms at Eastern Park (Per the Pittsburgh Press:“The Pittsburg club covered itself in glory and bathed the Bridegrooms in humiliation and gloom…”) while earning 26 victories during the campaign. The Penn State grad retired the following season, came back for a game, and the Bucs released him. He finished the season with the NY Giants and then retired from MLB for real, became a doctor working out of Passavant Hospital (then a North Side institution), and lived out his days in Homestead. He’s buried at Allegheny Cemetery.
- 1926 – 3B George Freese was born in Wheeling, West Virginia and attended both WVU and Pitt where he was a football & baseball star. George spent parts of three seasons in the show, with his most active campaign being in 1951 with the Bucs when he hit .257 and started 49 games at the hot corner. George played 17 years in the minors for six different organizations with a .301 lifetime BA. After his playing days ended, Freese coached for the Cubs and managed for a dozen years in the minor leagues. The older brother of 3B Gene Freese (who actually started ahead of him for the ‘55 Pirates), George made his home in Portland after playing four years of minor league baseball for the Portland Beavers. In 2008 he was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame.
- 1933 – Pitching is the name of the game, and the Bucs had plenty against the Brooklyn Dodgers, sweeping a twin bill by 1-0 and 2-0 tallies at Forbes Field. Heinie Meine’s five-hitter topped Sloppy Thurston in the opener, with Meine scoring the game’s only run in the ninth, driven in by Pie Traynor. Lloyd Waner went 4-for-5 at the top of the order. Waite Hoyt tossed a four-hitter in the nitecap to best Dutch Leonard as Traynor and Tommy Thevenow drove in seventh and eighth inning scores for the sweep.
- 1943 – Bob Elliott’s eighth-inning double was the Pirates only hit as the Reds Elmer Riddle outdueled Rip Sewell 1-0. The bats woke up in the second game at Crosley Field to split the DH with a 7-0 win, powered by Jim Russell’s three-run homer and Xavier Rescigno’s four-hit shutout.
|Ralph Kiner – 1947 Tip Top|
- 1947 – Ralph Kiner hit two homers against Boston Braves’ pitcher Red Barrett in a 4-3 win at Forbes Field to set a record of eight home runs in four games. (Tony Lazzeri had hit seven round-trippers in four games in 1936.) Kiner had three of the four Bucco RBI while Rip Sewell went the distance for the win. The day before, Kiner had tied the MLB record for homers in a doubleheader with four, a record that’s since been eclipsed. Big Ralph had three long balls the day before, making it the second time in the campaign that he had five homers in back-to-back games.
- 1948 – The Pirates whipped the Cubs 7-3 at Wrigley Field as Rip Sewell won his 11th game and the Chicago staff generously donated 14 walks to the Bucco cause. Pittsburgh was within sniffing distance of first, sitting just 2-1/2 games behind league leading Boston. But that was as close as they were to get, fading badly down the stretch to lose out to the “Spahn, Sain, and pray for rain” Braves. They finished fourth with 83 wins and 8-1/2 games out.
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