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5/27: Vinegar Bend For Javier; Brett Da Bomb; Coop On A Roll; HYPO; Big Bats & Game Tales; HBD Tanner, Jacob, Ross, Terry & George

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  • 1921 – Wilbur Cooper won his eighth straight game, this one by a 5-4 count at Forbes Field against Cincinnati when the Pirates pushed across a ninth inning run. All eight of Cooper’s victories were complete games. Rabbit Maranville’s sac fly brought in Walter Schmidt with the winning tally in the home half of the ninth. Maranville also tripled and scored twice for the Pirates. Between June and July, Cooper would go on an 8-of-10 win streak, and his two hot spells would carry him to a 22-win season for the Pirates. 
  • 1927 – The Pirates overcame a 7-1 deficit by scoring six times in the sixth and seventh innings to defeat the St. Louis Cards in 10 innings at Forbes Field by an 8-7 count. They ran their victory streak to nine games; it reached 11 before being snapped. Kiki Cuyler had three hits to spark the Bucs. Guy Bush pitched three innings of one-hit ball for the win. 
Kiki – 1927 photo via Detroit Public Library
  • 1929 – RHP George O’Donnell was born in Winchester, Illinois. The epitome of a AAAA player, the knuckleballer was signed out of high school by St. Louis in 1948 but only got one MLB shot, for the Pirates in 1954 when he slashed 3-9/4.53. O’Donnell tossed in the minors through 1961 as part of the Browns, Pirates, LA Dodgers and Senators systems. In all, George appeared in 530 MiLB games w/1,948 IP and a career 127-93/3.44 line with two 20 win campaigns. He also played in Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. George retired to farm and then took a job with the state of Illinois. 
  • 1949 – Terry Collins was born in Midland, Michigan. He started as an infielder in the Pirates system from 1971-74, and eventually the former manager of the Houston Astros, Anaheim Angels and New York Mets ended up the skipper of Pittsburgh’s AAA Buffalo squad from 1989-91 (he won 246 games with the Bisons and was inducted into the Buffalo Sports HoF). Collins then replaced Gene Lamont on Jim Leyland’s staff in 1992, serving for two seasons before landing the ‘Stros head job in 1994. 
  • 1955 – LHP Ross Baumgarten was born in Highland Park, Illinois. Ross tossed the last of his five big league campaigns with Pittsburgh in 1982, coming to town as the key piece of the Vance Law deal, and went 0-5/6.75. Ross, who finished fourth in the Rookie-of-the-Year voting in 1979, hurt his arm as a Pirate, though the injury remains a mystery to even him. He told Ed Sherman of Spotlight Stories “I went to see seven of the top doctors in the country, and I got like seven different diagnoses. In those days it was totally different than now. You know, there was no MRIs.” But he landed on his feet, using his U of Florida training to land a job in finance in 1984 and has been building portfolios ever since. 
  • 1956 – On the way home from a Philadelphia rainout, 1B Dale Long took a detour and stopped in NYC as a guest of Ed Sullivan on his show “Toast of the Town” after hitting homers in seven straight games to set the record. Following that appearance, he hurried back to Pittsburgh and banged one in his eighth consecutive contest against Brooklyn, adding to his streak. 
Vinegar Bend – 1961 Manny’s Baseball Land
  • 1960 – Pittsburgh acquired 29-year-old LHP Wilmer “Vinegar Bend” Mizell from the Cardinals, along with LF Dick Gray, for minor leaguers IF Julian Javier and RHP Ed Bauta. Javier started at 2B for the Cards for a dozen years, but he was blocked in Pittsburgh by a guy named Bill Mazeroski. Mizell went 13-5 for the Bucs with a 3.15 ERA, solidifying their staff during their World Championship run. 
  • 1963 – The Pirates and Indians held an interleague exhibition game at Forbes Field to help the Pirates Youth Organization program HYPO – “Help Young Players Organize” – with a special pregame ceremony for the Tribes’ Sam McDowell and Tito Francona, both local guys. The Pirates returned the favor in August, playing in Cleveland to help its youth baseball. The Bucs won the contest 10-9, in what the paper described as a “sandlot game” (seems appropriate, considering) that featured six errors between the clubs. 
  • 1965 – OF Jacob Brumfield was born in Bogalusa, Louisiana. Jacob spent the middle part of his seven year career as a Pirate from 1995-96, traded here for Danny Clyburn. He hit .268 in Pittsburgh before being dealt to Toronto for a minor league player. He’s best remembered for his head-on collision with fellow outfielder Dave Clark. The two met full speed ahead and Clark broke his collarbone while Brumfield had 15 stitches worth of cuts on his face. 1999 was his final MLB year, followed by a season in the minors and one more season playing indie ball before he hung ‘em up for good. 
  • 1974 – It was a big day for Ken Brett in a DH sweep against the San Diego Padres at TRS. In the opener, he carried a perfect game into the ninth, settling for a two-hit, 6-0 win in a game that wasn’t decided until the Bucs put up a five spot in the eighth. With that, it took all of 1:38 to play. In the nitecap, his two-run pinch hit triple primed a five-run seventh that keyed the Bucs 8-7 victory (the match was eventually won in the ninth on a two-run, two-out homer by Richie Hebner). Brett ended the day going 2-for-4 with a triple, two runs scored and three RBI to go along with his two-hitter in one of the Bucs’ top “do it all” performances. 
Ken Brett – 1974 photo Focus On Sports/Getty
  • 1993 – RHP Tanner Anderson was born in Boynton Beach, Florida. The Bucs drafted him in the 20th round of the 2015 draft as a senior from Harvard. Tanner worked his way through the system as both a starter and reliever; from the pen, he was 1-1-1/2.86 for AAA Indianapolis and got a call to the big club in late June of 2018. He was rocked in his first outing against the LA Dodgers, and sent down. He won his first MLB game against the Brewers after being recalled in July. Tanner was sent to Oakland in an off-season minor-league deal (the Pirates got 19-year-old RHP Wilkin Ramos), and is still with that organization.
  • 2006 – The Pirates won an 8-7, 18-inning match at PNC Park against the Astros when Jason Bay flattened Astros’ catcher Eric Munson to score on Jose Bautista’s shallow sac fly. The game time of five hours, 49 minutes tied it as the longest contest ever played in Pittsburgh. Bay also hit a homer in his fifth consecutive game, the first Pirate player to do so in 50 years. While not quite in Dale Long territory, he became the first player in club history to hit nine home runs in nine games for the team. 
  • 2015 – The Pirates scored five times in the seventh against the Miami Marlins after the bases were empty with two outs to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 5-2 win at PNC Park for their sixth victory in a row. Chris Stewart, Jose Tabata and Josh Harrison singled, scoring a run. Pedro Alvarez dribbled one through the SS hole against the shift to bring home the tying tally, then Andrew McCutchen walked to load the bases. Starling Marte took a 3-2 pitch down and away for a run-producing free pass and the lead. Jung-Ho Kang drilled a final two-run insurance single, and that was the ballgame. Gerrit Cole got his seventh win while Mark Melancon earned his 12th save. 
  • 2016 - The Pirates banged out four homers from Starling Marte, Jung Ho Kang, Gregory Polanco and Andrew McCutchen, to defeat the Texas Rangers easily at Globe Life Park 9-1. Jon Niese went six innings for the win, with help from Wilfredo Boscan and Rob Scahill. They defeated former NL nemesis Cole Hamels, who had a 19-start streak without Texas losing (he personally went 12-0 during that span) snapped by the Buccos. 
Cutch – 2017 Topps Silver Pack
  • 2017 - The Pirates saved the best for last, scoring in the ninth to send the game into extra innings and winning in the 10th with a two-out, two-strike, walk-off knock. The victim in front of 31,658 fans at PNC Park was the New York Mets. The Metropolitans scored four runs in five innings off Gerrit Cole but missed golden opportunities galore, leaving runners on second and third four times in that span. Andrew McCutchen kept the Bucs in it with a two-run blast and doubled home another in the sixth. Pinch hitter John Jaso tied the game with an RBI knock in the ninth and delivered the game-winner an inning later, fouling off four 3-2 pitches before dropping a bases-loaded single into right. The Pirates bullpen worked five innings of two-hit ball, retiring 12 in-a-row at one point, to earn Tony Watson a true team win.


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