Tuesday, December 16, 2014

This Week in Pittsburgh Pirates History - December 14-20

This week in Pittsburgh Pirates history -

December 16

1938      The Braves trade catcher Ray Mueller to the Pirates for Al Todd, who will be dealt to Brooklyn in March, and Johnny Dickshot, who will be shipped to the Giants in April. Mueller will play in only 90 games over two seasons for Pittsburgh.

1978 Topps Chuck Tanner

December 18

1975      Chuck Tanner signs a three-year deal to manage the A's. After compiling an 87-74 (.540) record to finish in second place, Oakland will release the New Castle, PA native from his contract allowing him to manage the Pirates in exchange for catcher Manny Sanguillen and $100,000 from Pittsburgh.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Navy Outlasts Army, 17-10

Army jumped out to an early 7-0 lead over Navy in the 115th edition of the Army-Navy game.  The Black Knights forced Navy to punt on its first drive and Josh Jenkins blocked Pablo Beltran's first kick of the day. Xavier Moss picked up the loose ball and returned it seven yards for the Army touchdown.  Unfortunately, Army wouldn't score again until just 1:51 remained in the game.

Navy was unable to move the ball for most of the first half as they fought to cut into the Army lead. Navy's rushing offense that leads the nation (357.8 yards/game) was held to just 12 yards in the first quarter.

The Mids were unable to sustain many drives in the first half until quarterback Keenan Reynolds found an open Jamir Tillman for 39 yards on Navy's last drive of the half.  Five plays later Reynolds hit Tillman in the end zone and Navy shifted the momentum in their favor.

Navy took the lead on their opening drive of the second half.  After a 41 yard kickoff return from Ryan Williams-Jenkins the Midshipmen were able to move into field goal range.  Austin Grebe hit a 45-yarder, the longest of his career, to give Navy the 10-7 lead.

The Midshipmen extended that lead to 17-7 when Keenan Reynolds found the end zone on a 1-yard scamper.  The touchdown was Reynolds' 62nd rushing touchdown run of his career moving him to within one touchdown of tying Ron Dayne from Wisconsin at number six all-time.

Army made the game exciting when Daniel Grochowski booted a 52-yard field goal to cut Navy's lead to seven with less than two minutes left in the contest.

Thomas Wilson recovered Army's attempted onside kick and the Mids were able to run out the clock giving Navy their 13th consecutive win over Army dating back to 2002.

With the win, Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo became Navy's all-time winningest coach with a 56-35 record passing George Welsh.

Niumatalolo was humble when discussing the record. "I'm blessed; I coach great kids...coach with great coaches."

Navy faces San Diego State on December 23 in the Poinsettia Bowl.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

This Week in Pittsburgh Pirates History - December 7-13

This week in Pittsburgh Pirates history -

December 7

2011      In separate deals with free-agents, the Pirates sign left-handed starter Erik Bedard and outfielder Nate McLouth, who played with the franchise from 2005 to 2009. The Bucs' new southpaw compiled a 5-9 record last season with Seattle and Boston, and the 30-year old Gold Glove flycatcher returns to the Steel City three years after being traded to Atlanta where he hit .229 in 250 games.

December 8

1947      Brooklyn acquires infielder Billy Cox and southpaw Preacher Roe from the Pirates, both will play vital roles in the success of the Dodgers during the next decade. The trade, which also includes utility player Gene Mauch, sends hurlers Vic Lombardi and Al Gregg as well as Dixie Walker, a former batting champ who asked to be traded in the spring because he didn't want to play with Jackie Robinson, to Pittsburgh.

1991 Topps Barry Bonds
1992      Former Pirates outfielder Barry Bonds signs the richest contract in major league history when he agrees to a $43-million, six year deal to play for the Giants. The free agent will not disappoint in San Francisco winning the National League Most Valuable Player award, his third in four years, hitting a career-high .336 batting average to go along with 46 homers and 123 RBIs.

2005      The Pirates send southpaw Dave Williams (10-11, 4.41) to the Reds for Pittsburgh area native Sean Casey. The popular first baseman, who is dubbed ‘The Mayor’ because of his outgoing personality, becomes expendable as Cincinnati seeks pitching to complement its heavy-hitting lineup.

December 9

1965      Eleven days shy of his 84th birthday, former Cardinals, Dodgers, and Pirates executive Wesley Branch Rickey, named by ESPN in 1999 as the most influential sports figure of the twentieth century, suffers a heart attack, falling over the podium while beginning his remarks to an audience during his induction into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. Rickey, who is responsible for breaking the color barrier in 1947 with the signing of Jackie Robinson and implementing the concept of farm systems for the major leagues, will die three weeks later while in intensive care at Boone County Memorial Hospital.

1992      Carl Barger, former baseball president of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Florida Marlins, dies at age 62.

December 10

1919      The National League, spearheaded by the leadership of Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss, approves the banning of the spitball, allowing just the current spitballers presently throwing the pitch to use it under a "grandfather" clause. A year later the American League will adopt the same rule.

2009      The Pirates sign Bobby Crosby (.231, 22, 64), the 2004 American League Rookie of the Year, to a $1 million, one-year contract. Last season, the 29-year-old versatile infielder played multiple games for the A's at all four infield positions.

1992 Topps Jay Bell
December 11

1952      Fred Haney is named as the Pirates manager replacing Billy Meyer. The Bucs will finish in last place each season, compiling a dismal 163-299 (.353) record during the new skipper's three-year tenure in Pittsburgh.

1965      Jay Bell, infielder for the Pirates, is born.

1975      In a busy day of trading, the Yankees acquire pitchers Dock Ellis and Ken Brett, and second baseman Willie Randolph from the Pirates for hurler Doc Medich. In a separate deal with the Angels, the club trades Bobby Bonds for outfielder Mickey Rivers and pitcher Ed Figueroa.

December 12

1941      The Dodgers obtain Arky Vaughn from the Pirates for right-hander Luke Hamlin, 1B/OF Jimmy Wasdell and catcher Babe Phelps. The future Hall of Fame infielder, who will have his stint in Brooklyn interrupted by WWII, plays four seasons for the club compiling a .291 batting average.

2008      The Pirates sign Ramon Vazquez, the only player with major league experience added to the
1985 Topps Dale Berra
club during the winter meetings, to a two-year deal worth $4 million. The versatile infielder played all four infield positions last season while compiling a career-high .290 batting average with the Rangers.

December 13

1956      Dale Berra, son of Yogi Berra and an infielder for the Pirates and Yankees, is born.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

This Week in Pittsburgh Pirates History - November 30-December 6

This week in Pittsburgh Pirates history -


1891      The Pittsburgh Alleghenies are renamed the Pirates after signing second baseman Louis Bierbauer away from the Philadelphia Athletics. 

1967 Topps Matty Alou
December 1

1965      The Pirates trade catcher Ozzie Virgil and pitcher Joe Gibbon to the Giants for outfielder Matty Alou. The outfielder, who hit just .231 with San Francisco last year, will capture the National League batting crown next season with a .342 batting average.

December 2

1976      Danny Murtaugh, Pirates manager dies at the age 59 from a stroke just two months after his retirement.

1991      The Mets sign Pirates' free-agent Bobby Bonilla to a $29 million, five-year deal. The 28-year old outfielder will hit only .249 during the first year of his contract for an under-achieving New York club.

1910 Tip Top Bread Barney Dreyfuss
December 3

2007      Barney Dreyfuss, owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1900 until his death in 1932, is elected by Veterans Committee to the Hall of Fame. A German immigrant, who built Forbes Field, helped to establish the structure for the first modern World Series in 1903 and played a pivotal role in defusing the animosity which existed between the American and National Leagues.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

This Week in Pittsburgh Pirates History - November 23-29

This week in Pittsburgh Pirates history -

1972 Topps Bill Virdon
November 23

1971      Bill Virdon is named to take over for the retiring Danny Murtaugh as the manager of the world champion Pirates. Murtaugh, however will return to the Pittsburgh dugout during the 1973 season to replace his replacement.

November 24

1967      Al Martin, Pirates outfielder, was born.

2008      As a result of being among the top finishers in an Indian reality TV show called the “Million Dollar Arm”, which drew approximately 30,000 contestants, Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel sign free-agent deals to pitch for the Pirates. The two 20-year-old cricket players, who never had thrown a baseball until earlier this year, are the first two players from India to sign a contracts with a major league organization.

2010      After designating him for assignment last week, the Pirates trade left-hander Zach Duke to the Diamondbacks for a player to be named later who will be right-hander Cesar Valdez. The 27-year old southpaw, who burst onto the scene with an 8-2 record along with a 1.81 ERA, has compiled a 37-68 record since his impressive debut with the Bucs in 2005.
1987 Topps Doug Drabek

November 26

1986      The Yankees trade prospects including Doug Drabek to the Pirates for veterans Rick Rhoden, Cecilio Guante and Pat Clements. Drabek will win the Cy Young Award after posting a 22-6 record for the Bucs in 1990.