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5/14 Through the 1960’s: Iron Clads; Jake & Hopp's Sixers; Rain, Rain...; Arriba/Maz Show; HBD Joey, Horace, Lefty & Willie

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  • 1853 – Horace Phillips, manager of the Pittsburgh Alleghenys from 1884-89, was born in Salem, Ohio. He coached the club to a 294-316 record with a couple of winning campaigns in his six seasons, but in the end lost his battle with mental illness (he spent seven years in an institution) and died young at the age of 42 in 1896. 
Pete Conway; suspended w/o pay for a bum wing – photo 1891 Wikiwand
  • 1889 – Wonder why players want contracts that are guaranteed? Because in the founding days, pennies counted and contracts often weren’t worth the paper they were printed on as GM’s looked to save every nickel they could. The Pittsburgh Alleghenys suspended Ed Morris and Pete Conway on this date to dodge paying the salaries of the sore-armed pitchers. Conway had won 30 games and Morris 29 in 1888 and then were bumped off the payroll the next season. The salary dumps were FO hardball, but did serve its purpose: Morris returned in three weeks although he was never again effective while Conway never pitched again. 
  • 1896 – Jake Stenzel collected six singles and added a stolen base in a 20-4 pounding of the Boston Beaneaters at Expo Park. The Bucs collected 27 hits during the day. Jake hit three doubles a day later and the Pittsburgh Press noted that “Good pitchers do not frighten Jakey Stenzel. The pitchers will soon take to giving Stenzel a chance to walk.” 
  • 1901 – LHP Drew “Lefty” Rader was born in Elmira, New York. His MLB career consisted of two innings of two-hit, no-run ball for the Pirates in 1921. Rader went to Reading the following year and his trail went cold after that. 
  • 1912 – Umpire Johnny aka Willie (his middle name was William) Stevens was born in Duquesne. After learning the ropes in the Eastern League, Stevens umpired in the AL from 1948 to 1971, working in four World Series, five All-Star Games, and behind the plate for a pair of no-hitters. In all, he was part of the blue crew for 3,345 games and became an evaluator at umpire school after he retired. Stevens also officiated college basketball, calling both NIT and NCAA tourney games. 
  • 1932 – It was monsoon season, or so it seemed, in Pittsburgh. The Pirates were rained out of their fifth straight game at Forbes Field. John McGraw, Giants manager who was victim of three of the washouts (they were rescheduled as twin bills) said “Our pitchers have about 10 days rest each…these confounded postponements have us at sea. And that’s no pun.” 
  • 1950 – All-Star OF Johnny Hopp went 6-for-6 with a pair of homers, three runs, and three RBI in a 16-9 win over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in the second game of a DH with Woody Main credited with the victory. It took another decade before a Buc batter matched Hopp’s line when Dick Groat went 6-for-6 in 1960 against the Braves. The Pirates scored two in the ninth of the opener to win 6-5 and earned Bob Chesnes a W for his four inning, two-hit shutout relief stint. 
Joey Cora – 2017 photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates
  • 1965 – Coach Jose “Joey” Cora was born in Caguas, Puerto Rico. A 1985 first-round draft pick, he had an 11-year big league career as an infielder. When his ball-playing days ended, Joey coached in the Mets system, then became a member of the White Sox and Marlins major league staff, where he served as third base/bench coach and had some brief stints as an interim skipper. In 2016, he joined the Pirates organization as Altoona’s manager and the following year got the call to Pittsburgh as the third base coach, replacing Rick Sofield. Joey is still on board, now under Derek Shelton. 
  • 1967 – Henry Aaron hit his 450th homer, but the work of a pair of Bucco Hall-of-Famers, Roberto Clemente and Bill Mazeroski carried the day in a 5-2 Pirates win over the Atlanta Braves at Forbes Field before 26,071 fans. Clemente had three hits, falling a homer shy of a cycle, and was driven home twice by Maz. Roberto later plated the insurance RBI to back the work of Dennis Ribant, Pete Mikkelson and ElRoy Face.


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