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11/14 Through the 1970s: Cobra MVP; ''60s Youth Movement; Rojak Deal; HBD X-Man; Paul, Weeping Willie, Jim, Otto & Fred

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  • 1864 - 1B/OF Otto Schomberg (Shambrick) was born in Milwaukee. Otto played three big league seasons, beginning with the Allegheny in 1886, hitting .272 in 72 games. After the campaign, the Alleghenys traded Schomberg with $400 to the St. Louis Maroons for Alex McKinnon. Schomberg was a one-trick pony; his fielding was subpar and he slumped in 1888 for Indianapolis. Added to the mix was an injury and a mild bout with malaria. After that, he was delegated to minor-league and semi pro clubs, even umpiring, but did pretty well for himself after baseball. He was a successful lumberman and parlayed profits from that business into other investments. Otto prospered and was a delegate to the Republican convention. 
  • 1881 – C/1B Fred Carisch was born in Fountain City, Wisconsin. Playing between 1903-06, the reserve hit .229 for the Pirates. Fred became the center of a storm in 1923, when as a Tigers’ coach, he was forced to catch when his team’s final receiver was ejected. A protest was filed, but the Cleveland Indians rallied to win in the 10th, making the point moot. 
  • 1881 – OF Jim Wallace was born in Boston. He played seven MLB games for the Pirates in 1905 as a right fielder and batted .207 in his brief career, going 6-for-29. Jim never got another shot; he spent seven seasons in the minors after his Bucco stint and batted .250+ once. 
Weeping Willie Willoughby – 1931 photo via Baseball Birthdays
  • 1898 - RHP Claude “Weeping Willie” Willoughby was born in Buffalo, Kansas. Willie closed out his seven year career in Pittsburgh, going 0-2/6.31, in nine outings. We assume the Weeping Willie moniker came about because of his performance – he had an ERA of 4.99 or higher in his final six campaigns, though he did have winning records (6-5, 15-14) in 1928-29. He was also known as “Flunky” for reasons we couldn’t uncover. 
  • 1947 - The Bucs bought SS Stan Rojek, 29, from the Dodgers with plans to make him the starter in Pittsburgh; he was blocked by Pee Wee Reese in Brooklyn. He played 156 games and hit .290 in 1948, but faded after that season, became a backup in 1950 and was traded to the Cards in 1951. They also purchased 1B Big Ed Stevens from Brooklyn, who played from 1948-50 and hit .253 as a Pirate. 
  • 1967 – RHP Paul Wagner was born in Milwaukee. A 12th round draft pick in 1989, he pitched for the Pirates for six campaigns from 1992-97, mainly as a starter, and went 26-40/4.58 during that span. Wagner came close to capturing a little magic – in 1995, he had a no-hitter broken up against the Colorado Rockies with two out in the ninth on an Andrés Galarraga single. He pitched through the 2003 season and now runs a training camp in Wisconsin, Paul Wagner Power Pitching. 
  • 1968 - The Pirates were in the midst of a youth movement that would set their core for years, allowing Donn Clendenon, Manny Mota, Maury Wills and Al McBean (all 30-years-old or more) to go in the expansion draft. Manager Larry Shepard, in a Pittsburgh Press chat with sports’ editor Les Biederman, had rave reviews about youngsters Richie Hebner (20), Bob Robertson (21) & Manny Sanguillen (24), while withholding judgment on 21-year-old Al Oliver. He was equally excited about the young starting pitchers – Steve Blass (26), Dock Ellis (23) and Bob Moose (20). Add to the mix Jerry May (24), Dave Cash (20) and Freddie Patek (23), and you had a crew who by 1971 took a World Championship and would fuel a strong competitive run throughout the 70’s as the “Lumber Company.” 
The skipper liked the kids in the pipeline – 1968 Topps
  • 1978 – RF Dave “The Cobra” Parker won the NL MVP, topping runner-up Steve Garvey of the LA Dodgers 320-194 in the vote parade. Parker had 30 HR with 117 RBI and led the league with a .334 batting average, a .585 slugging percentage, and 340 total bases. That was despite the fact that he missed two weeks after breaking his jaw in a home plate collision with the Mets’ John Stearns and returned wearing a hockey, later switched to football-style, facemask, thought to be the first time such a contraption was worn in an MLB game. 
  • 1978 – OF Xavier Nady was born in Salinas, California. Nady played for the Bucs from 2006-08, hitting .301 as a Pirate. He had been on Pittsburgh’s radar for awhile – GM Dave Littlefield tried to pry him from the Padres in 2003, and settled on Jason Bay instead when SD wouldn’t deal Nady. The Friars were equally high on him – Nady went straight to the majors without playing minor league ball in 2000 while with San Diego, though the stay didn’t last long, as he was sent to the farm after one game. The Bucs finally landed him in 2006 from the Mets for Ollie Perez and Roberto Hernandez. He’s been known as “X” or the “X-Man” since his days with NY.


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Total 1 comment
  • ToddDown0

    I thought there was a cure for Weeping Willie.

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