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8/2 The 1950’s Through the 1970’s: Roman Streak; Cover Boys Matty, Pops & Cobra; Game Stories; HBD Tim

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  • 1954 – Roman Mejias, a 23-year-old second-year Cuban outfielder in the Pirates system (Class B Waco), had his 55-game hitting streak snapped. Mejias’ streak was the third-longest in minor league ball; the record is held by Joe Wilhoit, who collected a hit in 69 straight games with Wichita of the Western Association 1919. During the streak, Mejias batted .419 with 19 doubles, five triples and seven home runs while driving home 67 runs and plating 56 times. He hit .358 on the year and was called up the following season, spending six campaigns with the Buccos as a back-up outfielder. His MLB stick never matched his minor league performance; he hit .245 as a Bucco and .254 over his nine-year career.   
Roman Mejias – 1960 Topps
  • 1960 – The Pirates defeated the Dodgers 3-0 at Forbes Field behind Vern Law’s five-hitter. Roberto Clemente’s arm was a game breaker. He threw behind Norm Larker at first to catch him rounding the base too aggressively after a single, and then played Johnny Roseboro’s ball into the RF corner perfectly, holding the Dodgers to a single that was followed by a DP. The Bucco glovework was contagious; earlier in the game, Frank Howard was nailed going to third on a Bill Virdon, Dick Groat, Don Hoak trifecta with the Tiger climbing the ladder on a high relay and coming down with the tag. A close game was broken up in the seventh when Bill Mazeroski rolled a single up the middle to score Joe Christopher. But the gamebreaker came when Dodger hurler Stan Williams mishandled a bunt, leading eventually to a two-out, two-run double by Dick Groat. 
  • 1966 – Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield was born in Melbourne, Florida. The RH spent his first two seasons (1992-93) as a Buc and went 14-12 with a 4.17 ERA. After a fairly terrible year in AAA Buffalo in 1994, he was released and then spent the next 17 years in Boston, winning 187 games and making an All-Star appearance before hangin’ ‘em up after the 2011 season at the age of 44. Tim is now the NESN studio analyst for the Boston Red Sox. 
  • 1968 – Al McBean tossed a six-hitter at Candlestick Park as the Pirates topped the Giants 3-1. The two Willies, Stargell & Mays, exchanged solo homers as San Francisco charity was the difference. Maury Wills scored the first run on a walk, passed ball and two-out error; the second tally came when Milt May’s bloop was misplayed into a triple and a wild pitch sent him home. 
  • 1969 – Matty Alou was featured on the cover of The Sporting News for the story “Pirate Treasure.” He was a treasure in his second All-Star season, leading the league in hits (231), appearances (746) and at-bats (698). 
  • 1970 - Pittsburgh outslugged the Braves 10-7 at Atlanta Stadium behind the hot sticks of Bob Robertson and John Jeter. Robertson went long twice and drove home six runs; the other four runs were chased home by Jeter, who also homered. Dock Ellis got the win, although Dave Giusti made it interesting in the ninth, giving up three runs on back-to-back Bravo home runs. 
  • 1971 – Willie Stargell was the cover boy for Sports Illustrated as part of the feature article “Pittsburgh Overpowers the East.” The Bucs did take the division crown, NL title and World Series and Captain Willie led the way with 48 HR, 125 RBI, .295 BA and a .628 slugging %. 
  • 1974 – The Bucs took advantage of a couple of Redbird miscues to take a 3-2, 14-inning match from St Louis at TRS, snapping a six-game Cardinal winning streak. The Bucs legit run scored on an Al Oliver solo homer. Pittsburgh scored a second run when the Cards muffed a double play. The winner came home after the Cards had already cut down one run at the plate but blew the chance at a second. Richie Hebner singled with two outs and Ed Kirkpatrick at second; Spanky scored uncontested when C Ted Simmons (a future Pirates GM) drifted up the line to track the throw home when he should have stayed at home. 1B Joe Torre slid over to cut the offline peg and spun to relay the ball only to find Simmons nowhere near the dish, but still 10’ up the baseline. Ramon Hernandez got the win, following Larry Demery and Dave Giusti. 
  • 1975 – Dave Parker was featured on the cover of The Sporting News for the story “Lethal Punch.” In his third season, the Cobra put up a .308/25/101 slash for the division-winning Pirates. 
  • 1977 – The Pirates scored twice in the ninth inning to tie the score 3-3 against Houston at the Astrodome before Bill Robinson hit a two-out, game-winning three-run homer off Dan Larson in the top of the 10th to win it. Robinson had tied the game with a single with Dave Parker aboard the frame before; the throw to third to try to get The Cobra went through third baseman Enos Cabell and both Parker & Robinson scored on the misplay. Larson threw a complete game in a losing effort, giving up just six hits, with five coming in the final 1-⅔ innings. Grant Jackson pitched the final three frames for the Pirates and allowed just one hit to earn the win.


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