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1/15 Through the 1950s: Chesnes, Pink Deals; Tiger Hunt; Green Light; Possum Joins; HBD Billy, Ed, Jock & Mike

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  • 1858 - OF Mike Mansell was born in Auburn, New York. He played three seasons (1882-84) for the Alleghenys, posting a .251 BA. His final big league year was 1884 when he played for three teams. Mansell did have a knack for scoring – in 202 games for the Alleghenys, he touched home 164 times. His two brothers also played in the MLB, and the trio even played the outfield together, albeit for minor league Albany. 
  • 1868 - RHP John “Jock” (the Scottish version of Jack) Menefee was born in Rowlesburg, West Virginia. Jock tossed three not very successful campaigns for Pittsburgh (1892, 1894-95), going 5-9/5.75. But he did have a shining MLB moment: Menefee became the first NL pitcher to pull off a successful steal of home while with the Cubs against Brooklyn on July 15th, 1902. 
Jock Menefee – 1903 Breisch Williams
  • 1880 – RHP Ed Kinsella was born in Bloomington, Illinois. He got his first taste of the show in September, 1905, going 0-1/2.65, with the Pirates in three outings (two complete game starts) and made a final MLB stop in 1910 with St. Louis. Kinsella was an early example of a good AAAA player who finished his career with 144 minor league victories – he had four 20> win MiLB campaigns – in 10 seasons. 
  • 1888 - OF Billy Sunday was purchased by the Pittsburgh Alleghenys from the Chicago White Stockings for $2,000. Billy spent his last three years with Pittsburgh, hitting .243, with the final few weeks of his career played as a Philly after a late August trade. But the aptly named Sunday was transitioning from chasing flies to chasing souls; he became a famed tent revivalist in the early 20th century, and in a rarity (for both road-tripping evangelists and old-timey baseball players), one who never had a scent of scandal following him. 
  • 1895 – The Pirates traded P Red Ehret and $3,000 (“a large bundle of dollars” per the Pittsburgh Press) to the St. Louis Browns for P Emerson “Pink” Hawley, the swap becoming official a couple of days later. Hawley spent three years in Pittsburgh as a workhorse, tossing 1,133-2/3 IP with a slash of 71-61-1/3.76 and becoming one of only three Bucs to win 30 games in a single season when he notched 31 victories in 1895. Pink was deservedly well compensated for his era – the Pirates paid him $2,400 a year (he asked for $3,000). Ehret had won 53 games for the Bucs over the previous three years, but in his remaining four seasons could only put up one more double-digit win campaign when he went 18-14 for the 1896 Reds; he would claim just 35 more victories total during the remainder of his MLB career. As for Hawley’s “Pink” moniker, Dale Voiss of SABR wrote “Emerson was born one of two twins, the other being named Elmer. People had trouble telling the twins apart so the nurse who assisted in their birth pinned a blue ribbon to one and a pink one to the other. This resulted in Emerson being given the middle name Pink, and the brothers were known as Pink and Blue.” He was a hit with the local fans, too. “Hawley earned the nickname ‘Duke of Pittsburgh’ because of his stylish dress and good looks. He was known to wear diamonds and other items of high fashion and developed a reputation similar to that of a matinee idol in Pittsburgh. Later a cigar was named Duke of Pittsburgh after Hawley. Boxes of these cigars featured his picture.” 
Pink Hawley – Ars Longa
  • 1898 – The Detroit Tigers (then of the Western League, shortly to become the major league AL in 1901) were short at 1B and the Pirates had an overload at the spot, so owner George Vanderbeck stopped by Pittsburgh for a couple of hours of chat with Prez Bill Watkins to try to pry one of three redundant players – John Ganzel, Harry Davis or Jack Roth – loose for Motown. The Bucs refused to yield, admitting they weren’t going to carry all three but wanting to see them compete in camp. The patient Tigers eventually got their man when they bought Ganzel in late May. As for the other pair, neither made it through the year in the Steel City: Roth was sold to the KC Blues before the season and Davis, who had won the job early on, was sent to Louisville in July as Willie Davis claimed the 1B position. 
  • 1942 - WW2 baseball, per BR Bullpen: “US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt sends his famed ‘Green Light Letter’ to Commissioner Judge Landis, encouraging MLB to continue playing during World War II. President Roosevelt states that he believes playing the sport would be good for Americans and encourages the owners to have more games at night to give war workers an opportunity to attend games. Despite the loss of many star players to military service, all 16 teams will continue to play regular schedules for the duration of the war.” 
  • 1948 – The Bucs paid a steep price to land RHP Bob Chesnes, shipping OF Gene Woodling, C Dixie Howell and minor league pitchers Ken Gables & Manny Perez, along with $100,000, to the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League for Chesnes’ services to complete a deal that began back in September. Chesnes had just finished up with a 22-8/2.32 slash in the PCL and looked like the real deal as a rookie, going 14-6/3.57 with 15 complete games. But the next two campaigns were plagued by arm soreness and he posted a 10-16/5.81 line. In June of 1950, he was assigned to the minors and never tossed another big league game. The Bucs did have a pretty good replacement in the system, though – after Chesnes was sent down, Vern Law was called up. 
Bob Chesnes – 1950 Bowman
  • 1958 - Jim “The Possum” Woods joined Bob Prince in the broadcast booth from NY, replacing Dick Bingham, who was axed. Woods and The Gunner were a team through the 1969 season. In 1970, after battling KDKA over pay, The Possum moved to the second chair in St. Louis supporting Jack Buck. He later manned the mic for Oakland, Boston and the USA Network. Bingham’s three-year run with Prince (the two didn’t have a smooth relationship) ended his radio work that had begun in 1946. He was a realtor during the offseason and gave up announcing to form his own real estate firm.



Source: https://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2022/01/115-through-1950s-chesnes-pink-deals.html



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