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6/10: Kline-Gibbon, JMR Claimed; Darwin POTW, Satch HoF; Chuck Gem, Dewey Day, Mo-jo Workin', B-2-B-2-B, Game Tales; Larcenists, Expo's 1st; RIP Gunner; HBD Carlos, Pokey, Hank, Specs, Danny, Vic & Jap

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  • 1882 – IF William “Jap” Barbeau was born in New York City. Barbeau spent four years in the show, and only one of those seasons was he a full-time guy. That was for the Pirates in 1909, but after he hit .220, he was sent to St. Louis late in the season as part of the Bobby Byrne deal. He played MLB ball for part of 1910 and was done, although he did carve out a 14-year pro career. He got his nickname because he was short – 5’5” – and per Alfred Spink in his 1910 book The National Game, “owing to his swarthy appearance,” leading a Columbus writer to pin the “Jap” tag on Barbeau as a minor-league rookie in 1905. 
  • 1890 – OF Jocko Fields of the Pittsburgh Burghers hit the first home run at Exposition Park (the third incarnation of the yard) in a 10-4 win over the aptly named Chicago Pirates. Fred Carroll banged out four hits and Ed “Cannonball” Morris went the distance for the win. The Burghers were part of the Players League, and were manned primarily by guys who had previously played for the Alleghenys and jumped leagues, such as Fields, Carroll and Morris. 
  • 1905 – Vic Harris was born in Pensacola, Florida. His family moved to Pittsburgh in 1914, and Vic spent 23 years playing the outfield for the Homestead Grays, hitting .299. He was also a player-manager for the Grays, winners of nine consecutive Negro National League pennants from 1937-1945 (he was off during the war years of 1943-44 when Candy Jim Taylor ran the squad). 
  • 1905 – RHP “Deacon Danny” MacFayden was born in Truro, Massachusetts. He spent 17 years in the majors, mostly with the Boston Red Sox and Bees, and his last full campaign was in 1940 with the Pirates when he went 5-4/3.55 and then was released at the age of 35. After his pitching days, Danny became the baseball coach at Bowdoin College from 1946 to 1970. Per Wikipedia, Danny’s serious demeanor won him the nickname “Deacon Danny” while New York World-Telegram sports writer Dan Daniel, a critic of his play, called him “Dismal Danny.” 
Bobby Byrne – 1913 Voskamp
  • 1911 – The Bucs ran Brooklyn in circles at Forbes Field. Bobby Byrne stole 2B, 3B, and home in the sixth inning, swiping third base while the Superbas argued the original call at second. The Pirates also pulled off a pair of double steals and an uncredited triple steal that was instead ruled an error on the throw. When the dust settled, Pittsburgh had a 9-0 win over Brooklyn. But it was an all-around fine game by the Pirates. Beat man Ralph Davis of the Pittsburgh Press wrote “The Pirates played like real champions…they fielded like fiends, ran wild on the bases and hit when hits meant runs.” Fred Clarke and Newt Hunter each had three hits while pitcher Babe Adams added a pair of knocks while posting 10 whiffs. 
  • 1920 – RHP Johnny “Specs” Podgajny was born in Chester, Pennsylvania. Podgajny put five years in the big leagues, and was a regular from 1941-43, mostly with Philadelphia (he was a teammate of Danny Murtaugh) who served with the Pirates in ‘43. He went 0-4/4.57 in 15 games with five starts and then was out of MLB except for a brief 1946 stint with the Indians. He ended his 12-year pro career after the 1950 campaign. “Specs,” of course, wore glasses. 
  • 1929 – C Hank Foiles was born in Richmond, Virginia. He played for the Pirates from 1956-59, starting two seasons. Foiles was an All-Star in 1957, hitting .270 and throwing out 38% of the base stealers trying his arm, but his bat didn’t hold up over time, as his four-year Bucco BA was just .230. Hank put together an 11-year big league career, playing for six clubs. He was a touted multi-sport guy as a preppie and in college – he was an All-Southern Conference gridder – and is enshrined in the Virginia, Hampton Roads and Granby HS Sports Hall of Fames. Foiles passed away on May 21, 2024, less than three weeks before his 95th birthday. 
  • 1935 – Paul Waner, Arky Vaughan and Pep Young hit back-to-back-to-back HRs in the eighth inning off Benny Frey during the Pirates 14-1 win against the Reds at Forbes Field, the middle win of a five-game victory run. Gus Suhr also went yard and Bill Swift earned a complete game victory. Every Bucco had a hit and either scored or drove in a run; six did both, including Swift. The batfest wasn’t witnessed by many rooters; only 1,186 fans showed for the contest. 
Joe Gibbon – photo via Mississippi Sports HoF
  • 1969 – The Bucs traded RHP Ron Kline, 37, to the Giants in return for LHP Joe Gibbon, who was 34. Kline had spent his first six years in Pittsburgh (1952, two years military, 1955-59) and returned for 1968-69, slashing 66-91-14/3.77 as a multi-role twirler for the Buccos. Gibbon had a similar resume; his first six seasons (1960-65) were spent as a Pirate followed by a second stint in 1969-70; his local line was 44-46-18/3.61. 
  • 1971 – The Baseball Hall of Fame’s new Special Committee on the Negro Leagues formally selected Satchel Paige for induction on August 9th. Paige made stops with the Homestead Grays and Pittsburgh Crawfords during his storied career that carried him through the Negro Leagues, the Dominican League, countless barnstorming nines and finally MLB. 
  • 1973 – IF Calvin “Pokey” Reese was born in Columbia, SC. A first round pick of the Reds in 1991 out of high school, he played second for the Bucs in 2003-04, hitting .254 but losing most of the second season to injury. His nickname didn’t have anything to do with his pace (he stole 144 bases in his career), but there are two nana tales: Reese was born with a hernia that caused his navel to poke out, so his grandma called young Calvin “Pokey.” The second story has it that Reese got his moniker because he was a chubby baby and his grandmother called him Porky, which came out “Pokey” with her southern drawl. 
  • 1977 – It took 11 innings, but the Bucs defeated the San Diego Padres, 10-7, at TRS. Willie Stargell hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the 11th inning – Pops timed his only hit of the night well – to score Dave Parker and Al Oliver for the walk-off win. Bill Robinson had three knocks and three RBI while Rich “Goose” Gossage got the win. He came on during the eighth inning and pitched four scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out four. 
Carlos Rivera – 2003 Leaf Rookie
  • 1978 – 1B Carlos Rivera was born in Fajardo, Puerto Rico. Rivera was drafted in the 10th round by the Bucs in 1996 out of high school. He got the call to Pittsburgh and saw action in the 2003-04 seasons, hitting .218 off the bench. After his last season with the Bucs, Rivera took his game south, playing in Mexico and Puerto Rico through 2015 with a couple of AAA stops. 
  • 1985 – The Gunner, Bob Prince, died of pneumonia and cancer at the age of 68. The long time Pirate broadcaster last called a game May 20th, when a rain delay sent him to the hospital and he never recovered. He served a 28-year stint as the voice of the Pirates on KDKA, famed for his “Gunnerisms” and hometown boosterism. Prince was posthumously awarded the Ford C. Frick Award by the Baseball Hall of Fame for broadcasters in 1986. 
  • 1992 – RHP Jeff Robinson was selected off waivers by the Bucs from the Rangers. He was the second Jeff Robinson to join the Leyland-era Pirates; the original came from the Giants and tossed from 1987-89 with the middle name of Daniel; today’s pickup went by Jeffrey Mark. He replaced Dennis Lamp in the bullpen, but only lasted until July 25th, when he was released after posting a line of 3-1/4.46. It was the 30-year-old’s last major league stop. 
  • 1996 – RHP Danny Darwin was named the National League Pitcher of the Week. In two winning outings for the Bucs, he tossed 16 scoreless innings, giving up just 10 hits with no walks and six whiffs. Before catching fire, Darwin hadn’t won a game since April 22nd and was 2-6. 
  • 2000 – The Kansas City Royals edged the Pirates, 2-1, in 12 innings. But don’t blame 2B Warren Morris; he went 5-for-6 during the match, and had four more raps the next day. The Bucs banged out 13 hits, but they were all singles and they stranded 13 runners. Pittsburgh didn’t get on the scoreboard until there were two outs in the ninth inning to prolong the drama at Kauffman Stadium. 
Brian Giles – 2001 Topps E-Topps
  • 2001 – The Bucs were 3-of-21 on the road and looked like they were going to take another one on the chin when they entered the eighth down, 8-4, (it was an 8-1 deficit after three innings) to the Twins at Hubert Humphrey Metrodome. They showed some fight, loading the bases to start the frame, but only cashed in once after Pat Meares’ bullet to third became the second out instead of the game-tying shot. But they kept comin’ – three hits, sandwiched between a pair of walks, gave Pittsburgh an 11-8 edge, keyed by Brian Giles two-out, two-run triple. Mike Williams tossed a zero in the Twinkies half and struck out the side in the ninth as the Pirates finally took home a road win. They worked hard for the victory; Jason Schmidt didn’t make it through the second inning and left the game behind by seven runs, but Dave Williams, Scott Sauerbeck and the soon-to-be-traded Williams (the trio gave up no runs on five hits in 7-1/3 IP with eight whiffs) kept Minnesota at bay. It was the second time in three weeks that the team rallied from a seven-run hole but didn’t help in the long run; the club still lost 100 games. 
  • 2008 – Ryan Doumit had a big day, going 4-for-4 with two homers and two doubles, but Washington came out on top by playing late long ball at TRS to claim an 8-7 win. Paul Maholm gave up four Nat homers (three in the seventh inning alone) and Matt Capps blew his first save when he served up a two-out, two-run, first-pitch homer to Lastings Milledge in the ninth. It was a brutal defeat; the Bucs had just put up a pair in the eighth to regain the lead before Milledge’s dagger. 
  • 2015 – The Bucs shut out the Brewers at PNC Park by a 2-0 score. The runs resulted from a Starling Marte knock and Pedro Alvarez blast that traveled 438’ and cleared the right field stands. But the story of the night was Charlie Morton, who went 7-1/3 IP, giving up three hits, three walks and K’ing six. Charlie set a couple of personal bests during the night. He won five in a row for the first time in his career and started a season off 4-0 for the first time.


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