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11/28 Through the 1950s: Kiki Dump; Forbes Field To Pitt OK'ed; HBD Sixto, Dave, Max, Heinie & Leo

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  • 1870 - C Heinie Peitz was born in St. Louis. Heinie was versatile – he played every infield position at some point in his career, a little outfield and even pitched four times – and spent the final two (not counting a three-game final bow in 1913 with the Cards) of his 16 big league seasons with the Pirates in 1905-06 after Pittsburgh sent C Ed Phelps to the Reds for his services. He had a rep as a great game manager from behind the dish, but hit just .228 as a Bucco and could barely run after all his years spent in a crouch. He played for Louisville, then a minor league club, for four years before embarking on an umpiring/coaching/scouting career. 
  • 1876 - C Leo Fohl was born in Lowell, Ohio, but learned to play baseball in Pittsburgh where he was raised. Leo was one of those guys who barely appeared in the majors – he played five games with 17 MLB at-bats, going 0-for-3 with the Pirates in 1902, and toiled for 11 seasons in the minors – but had big league squads entrusted to his care. After his playing days, he spent 11 years as a field manager for the Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Browns, and Boston Red Sox with three second-place finishes to his credit. He finished his career with three campaigns of minor league skippering before retiring to Cleveland, where he passed away at age 88 in 1965. 
  • 1916 - 1B Max West was born in Dexter, Missouri. He closed the book on his seven-year MLB career in Pittsburgh in 1948 as a 32-year-old, batting .178 in 87 games after hitting .306 for San Diego of the Pacific Coast League the year before. Max then spent the final six years of his pro career in the PCL with San Diego and Los Angeles. West had been an All Star in 1940 with the Braves and even swatted a three-run homer in the ASG, but gave up 1943-45 to the Army Air Corp. He operated a sporting goods firm with Ralph Kiner in California after retiring from baseball, and passed away at the age of 87 in Sierra Madre. 
Kiki Cuyler — 1973 Fleer Wildest Days
  • 1927 - Hall of Famer OF Kiki Cuyler was traded to the Chicago Cubs for journeymen IF Sparky Adams and OF/1B Pete Scott. He had bumped heads with manager Donie Bush, even being benched during the World Series, and owner Barney Dreyfuss was looking to dump salary with the Waner brothers on the payroll, so it was bye-bye Kiki. Cuyler competed for 12 more seasons, hitting .300+ in six of them. Adams batted .272 in two Bucco campaigns before being sold to the Cards and played through 1934. Scott, 30, bowed out with a final year in the show and hit .311 as a backup OF. 
  • 1949 - OF Dave Augustine was born in Follansbee, West Virginia. His MLB career lasted from 1973-74, getting 29 at bats with the Bucs and hitting .207. He’s best known for the “ball on the wall” against the Mets. In the heat of a late September pennant race in 1973, he hit a ball at Shea in the 13th inning that appeared ticketed for the seats. Instead, it landed on the top of the wall and bounced back into play. Richie Zisk was thrown out at home, the Pirates lost the contest, and the Mets eventually took the NL crown by 2-½ games over the Bucs. That was the closest Augustine came to a major league dinger. 
  • 1953 – OF Sixto Lezcano was born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. The 12-year vet finished out his big league days in Pittsburgh in 1985, hitting .207 off the bench. His contract was one of a handful of bad deals brokered by the Bucs that created dead money woes in the late 80s – Sixto had signed a two-year FA agreement, and the Bucs ate the second season’s salary of $500K when they released him. 
Sixto Lezcanto – 1986 Topps
  • 1958 - The sale of Forbes Field to University of Pittsburgh was approved; the Pirates were allowed to stay on for five years, until the new Northside stadium was built. The Bucs had discussed replacing Forbes Field as far back as 1948 because of both its deteriorating condition (it was built in 1909) and smallish seating capacity of 35,000. In reality, the Pirates stayed on not for five but for 12 years, until TRS opened in 1970. The stadium was a political hot potato for a decade as politicians wrangled over location, costs, and design until ground was finally broken in 1968. The Bucs lost a prefered open center field view of town from TRS when the Steelers vetoed that design in search of more seats; the Pirates made up for that lost scenery when PNC Park was built.


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