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12/22: Dewey, Todd, Teke Sign; JHK Deal; Arky Crown; Tiger Roars; New Prez; Feds Fold; HBD Jake, Jaku, Glenn, Skates, Tommy, Matty, Blade & Connie

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  • 1862 – Cornelius “Connie” Mack was born in East Brookfield, Massachusetts. Mack was a reserve catcher for the Pirates from 1891-96, hitting a modest .242. Mack’s last three seasons in the NL were as a player-manager with Pittsburgh from 1894 to 1896, eventually leading to a 50-year gig as the field general of the Philadelphia Athletics (1901–1950), where he won five World Series and became a Hall-of-Fame skipper. 
  • 1915 - The Federal League and the Pittsburgh Rebels came to an end. The FL agreed to drop its antitrust suit and disband after the NL and AL made the following concessions: the reinstatement of all players who had been blacklisted during the bidding wars, the sale of Fed players to the highest bidder rather than a forced return to their old club, $600K to be distributed among the Federal League owners, and the Fed clubs in Chicago and St Louis combining with the existing Cub and Brown teams after being sold to Federal League owners. 
  • 1923 - RHP Bob Hall was born in Swissvale. The local kid only had a three-year career, spending his early 20’s with the Coast Guard during the Second World War instead of honing his game in the minors. After two years with the Braves and two more seasons on the farm, he was part of Pittsburgh’s 1953 staff, going 3-12-1/5.39 in what would be his final MLB campaign. Hall went by two monikers: “The Blade,” because of his slender build, and “Tarzan.” We speculate that one wasn’t due to that physique (though we concede that it may have been a bit of reverse mimicry) but because the comic book Lord of the Jungle was sometimes drawn by a Marvel artist named Bob Hall. 
Bob Hall – 1955 Bowman
  • 1935 – The Pittsburgh Pirates claimed their fourth batting titleist when Arky Vaughan was officially crowned by the league, joining Hans Wagner, Ginger Beaumont and Paul “Big Poison” Waner. It wasn’t much of a race; Vaughan left runner-up Ducky Medwick (.353) in the dust with his .385 BA. Beside the best average in baseball, Arky also led the majors in OBP at .491 and WAR at 9.2 for position players; Boston Red Sox hurler Wes Ferrell posted an 11.0 WAR off the hill for the top mark. 
  • 1938 - CF Matty Alou was born in Bajos de Haina, Dominican Republic. Obtained from the Giants for the 1966 season, he became a slap-hitting machine under Harry “The Hat” Walker’s tutelage. In his time in Pittsburgh, he won a batting title and hit .300+ for four straight years. Mateo was traded to the Cards in 1971 after hitting .327 as a Pirate. Alou is part of the Dominican Republic’s first family of baseball, along with his MLB brothers Felipe (who is Moises dad) and Jesus. 
  • 1950 – Coach Tommy Sandt was born in Brooklyn. Sandt played only 42 games in the majors, but had a 15-year pro career. After he put down the bat, Tommy was a minor league coach, manager, and major league coach. He worked under skipper Jim Leyland with the Pirates from 1987-96 and stayed with Leyland for stints with the Florida Marlins in 1997-98 and the Colorado Rockies in 1999. Sandt returned as a Pirates coach from 2000-02 with Gene Lamont and Lloyd McClendon. Tommy passed away in late 2020 at the age of 69. 
  • 1955 – OF Lonnie “Skates” Smith was born in Chicago. Lonnie spent 15 years in the majors, making a 1993 stop in Pittsburgh, an awkward destination considering he was one of the players granted immunity in the infamous 1986 coke trials. The 37-year-old was signed to a $1M FA deal by the Bucs, hit .286 and then was sent to Baltimore in September for a pair of minor leaguers. He closed out his career there after the 1994 season. Skates played in five World Series, winning three, and hit .278 in 63 post-season games over his lifetime. His nickname – which he despised – came about because he sometimes ran his routes a little circuitously in the outfield and took an occasional tumble while on the basepaths, looking more like he was on skates than spikes. 
Lonnie Smith – 1993 Leaf
  • 1958 - OF Glenn Wilson was born in Baytown, Texas. He came to the Pirates in 1988 from the Mariners for Darnell Coles and a year later was flipped to the Astros for Billy Hatcher, returning to the Pirates as a FA in 1993, his last season. He played 147 games over those three campaigns with a .274 BA as part of a 10-year MLB tour of duty. Wilson’s Bucco claim to fame: he banged two homers off Randy Johnson in a September, 1988, game, the first two long balls ever surrendered by the Big Unit. 
  • 1961 - Ex-marine and Bucco third sacker Don Hoak lived up to his “Tiger” nickname on this night. Three young smack-talkers cornered him in town and taunted him regarding the Pirates, leading to words. Allegedly, one member of the group waved a knife as the other pair began to shove Hoak. They picked the wrong guy to bully; the Post-Gazette wrote that “After a short tussle, the trio broke and ran…He (Hoak) tracked two of them down…” and turned them over to the police after making what he termed a “citizen’s arrest.” They were booked on disorderly conduct, as stupidity wasn’t a chargeable offense. 
  • 1969 – 41-year-old Dan Galbreath took over as team president for his father, John, who at 71 had run the club for 23 seasons. Dan would christen Three Rivers Stadium and told the press that his theme would be “Win In the Seventies,” which he did, bracketing the decade with World Series titles in 1971 and ‘79. He remained prez until 1985, fending off relocation offers from other towns before the Pittsburgh Associates bought the ball club and anchored it here. 
  • 1978 – RHP Chris Jakubauskas was born in Upland, California. Chris had a hard start; after college, he missed two seasons with TJ surgery and had to work through the indie leagues to earn his big-league bow with Seattle. From there, he ended up with the Pirates and he was called up by Pittsburgh in late April of 2010, making his Bucco debut the following night at Minute Maid Park. With two outs in the first, a Lance Berkman liner drilled him above the ear in one of the Pirates’ scarier moments. Jaku never lost consciousness and escaped with a concussion & contusion, but it did end his Pirates stay when he was released in the offseason. He made it back with Baltimore in 2011, but then spent AAA time with four organizations, retiring in 2014. 
Jaku’s scary moment – 2010 Bob Levey/Getty photo
  • 1983 - Free agent RHP Kent Tekulve re-signed with the Pirates for three years/$900K per season. In 1983, Teke had 18 saves and a 1.64 ERA for Pittsburgh. The inking was a big deal for the Bucs; Tekulve had been a bullpen fixture since 1975 in Pittsburgh, and the Pirates had to fend off the deep pockets of California Angel owner Gene Autry to seal the deal. Tekulve picked a good year to hit the market; after the Yankees’ Goose Gossage, the sidewinder was the top reliever available. 
  • 1989 – C Jacob Stallings was born in Lawrence, Kansas. Drafted in the seventh round of the 2012 draft out of North Carolina with a rep as a good glove, bad bat catcher, he’s picked it up with the stick, hitting .268 over parts of four seasons and has outlasted Elias Diaz on the roster. His dad Kevin was Pitt’s basketball coach for a short spell. Jake claimed the starting job in 2020, and after a Golden Glove year in 2021, the backstop was traded to Miami in the off season. 
  • 1998 - Third-year man RHP Todd Ritchie, 27, signed as a free agent with the Pirates for $225K. Ritchie won a career-high 15 games in 1999 with a 3.49 ERA in 26 starts and was the Pirates’ Opening Day starter in 2001, but it was downhill after the opening act. In his three Pirate seasons, he went 35-32/4.29 for the Bucs before he was dealt to the White Sox for Kip Wells, Josh Fogg and Sean Lowe after the 2001 campaign. 
  • 2008 - C Ryan Doumit signed a three year/$11.5M extension that bought out his arbitration years, with a team option for 2012/13 worth $15.5M. Doumit hit .271 during his time as a Pirate, but he was often injured and not very strong defensively. The Pirates didn’t pick up the option seasons, and Dewey signed with Minnesota in 2012. 
Dewey – 2009 Upper Deck Goudey
  • 2014 – The Nexen Heroes of the Korean Baseball Organization accepted the Pirates’ posting offer of $5,002,015 in exchange for negotiating rights for SS Jung-Ho Kang, a five-time KBO All-Star and the league’s 2014 MVP after a .356/40/117 slash. The Bucs had a 30-day window to sign him. Asian free-agency was a new market for Pittsburgh; it was the first time the Pirates had ever won a bid for an international player through the posting system. He was officially inked by the Pirates to a deal three weeks later.


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