This Date in Pirates History: June 17

Four former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including one of the best hitters ever. There is also a trade, which involved a player the Pirates had acquired just two days earlier. In his Jolly Roger Rewind, John Fredland covers a doubleheader from the 1960’s against a strong Cubs lineup.

The Trade

On this date in 1892, the Pirates traded second baseman Cub Stricker to the Baltimore Orioles for pitcher Adonis Terry. The Pirates had acquired Stricker just two days earlier for Hall of Fame pitcher Pud Galvin. Cub never actually played for the Pirates. Terry was a 27 year old right-handed pitcher, in his ninth season in the majors. He had a career record of 126-140 at the time of the trade and he had pitched just one game in 1892. Adonis gave up seven runs in his only start that year. He too had just joined the team trading him, signing with the Orioles three days prior. He began the year with Brooklyn, where had spent his first eight seasons in the majors, but he never made a start, getting released on June 10th.

After the trade, Terry pitched well for the Pirates, going 18-7 2.51 in 240 innings. He went 12-8 in 1893 for Pittsburgh, then made one start for them in 1894, giving up five runs in 2/3 of an inning, before being pulled. After being let go by the Pirates, Terry signed with the Chicago Colts, going 41-40 in four seasons. Stricker hit .264 for the Orioles in 75 games. He then signed with the Washington Senators for 1893, hitting .179 in 59 games, in what would be his last season in the majors.

The Players

Bennie Daniels (1932) Pitcher for the Pirates from 1957 until 1960. He was signed by the Pirates as an amateur free agent in 1951, spending two years in the minors, prior to missing two seasons due to military service. Bennie returned in 1955, winning 14 games and pitched 218 innings in the minors. Playing for Lincoln of the Western League in 1956, Daniels went 15-3 with a 4.08 ERA. He played for Hollywood in the Pacific Coast League the following year, going 17-8 2.95 in 31 starts. Bennie had control problems in the minors, walking 356 batters combined during the 1955-57 seasons. The Pirates gave him one late season start in 1957 and he pitched well, giving up two runs in seven innings, but took the loss. He began the 1958 season with Pittsburgh, posting an 0-2 9.95 mark in seven appearances before being sent to the minors. Daniels returned in September to make two strong starts(15 IP/3 ER) but again emerged without a victory. He finally spent a full season in the majors in 1959, making 22 relief appearances and 12 starts for a total of 100.2 innings. Bennie went 7-9 with a 5.45 ERA. He was with the 1960 Pirates through the end of June, going 1-3 7.81 in 40.1 innings before going to the minors. Daniels was traded to the new expansion Washington Senators on December 16, 1960, where he spent the next five seasons, going 37-60 4.14, with at least ten losses in each seasons.

Joe Bowman (1910) Pitcher for the Pirates from 1937 until 1941. He was acquired by the Pirates from the Phillies on April 16,1937 in exchange for OF/1B Earl Browne. Bowman had gone 16-30 in two seasons for Philadelphia, losing 20 games during the 1936 season. He made 19 starts and 11 relief appearances for the Pirates in 1937, going 8-8 4.57 in 128 innings. The next year he pitched out of the bullpen, although during an eight appearance stretch in July/August, he pitched at least four innings in every outing. Joe returned to the rotation for 1939-40, going a combined 19-24 with a 4.47 ERA. He was seldom used in 1941, making eight starts and nine relief appearances through early August, when the Pirates tried to trade him to the minors. The trade was voided and Bowman didn’t pitch the rest of the season. He would spend the next two years in the minors, returning to the big leagues in 1944 with the Red Sox. After two seasons, Joe returned to the minors, where he finished his career four years later. He had a 77-96 4.40 record in 298 major league games. With the Pirates, he went 33-38 4.35 in 134 games, 78 as a starter.

Zeb Terry (1891) Shortstop for the 1919 Pirates. He was a star at Stanford University for four years before making his pro debut in 1916, playing in the Pacific Coast League. Terry was strong defensively, earning a long look with the 1916 White Sox despite batting just .190 with 17 RBI’s in 94 games. Zeb played briefly for the Sox in 1917, then returned to the PCL until the league shutdown early in 1918 due to the war. Terry signed on with the Boston Braves to finish the 1918 season, hitting .305 in 28 games. After the season, he joined the war effort but before his training was over, the war had ended. The Braves and Pirates had both put in claims for him for the 1919 season, with Pittsburgh coming out on top in the dispute. Terry was on the bench to start the year, quickly taking over the starting shortstop spot from Howdy Caton. Zeb played 129 games in 1919, hitting .227 with no homers, 46 runs scored and 27 RBI’s. He led all NL shortstops with his .960 fielding percentage. The following January, the Pirates sold him to the Cubs. Terry played three seasons in Chicago, hitting .280 with 164 RBI’s in 387 games. He retired from baseball after his 1922 season.

Pete Browning (1861) Outfielder for the 1891 Pirates. One of the best hitters to ever play for the Pirates, wasn’t exactly at his best while with the team. He played 50 games for the 1891 Pirates, hitting .291 with 28 RBI’s. The numbers don’t sound bad, but for Browning, it was well off his standards. The official word from the Pirates was that he was released due to indifferent play in the field and at the plate. He had played all but one game on the year, and in his last game he collected two hits and scored two runs. Pete was scheduled to return to Louisville to play, but he went on the play for the Reds in the second half of that 1891 season, batting .343 in 55 games. The year before joining the Pirates, he won the only batting title in Player’s League history with his .373 mark. He began his career playing for the Louisville Colonels in 1882 and over eight seasons with the team in the American Association, he batted over .335 six times. Pete won two batting titles with Louisville, plus he batted over .400 in another season, finishing second in hitting that year. Disease and alcoholism wreaked havoc with his body, forcing him out of the majors by 1894 at 33 years old. Browning batted .341 in his career over 1183 games, collecting 1646 hits and scoring 954 runs. Pete was the original Louisville Slugger for whom the current day bat company is named.

Jolly Roger Rewind: June 17, 1969

Rookie Richie Hebner drove in the only run of the opener of a doubleheader with Chicago with a seventh-inning RBI single, and then won the nightcap with a walk-off ninth-inning single, as the Pirates cooled off the first-place Cubs with 1-0 and 4-3 victories at Forbes Field.

Upon their arrival in Pittsburgh the day before, Leo Durocher’s squad had all appearances of a runway winner of the first National League East title: twenty-two games over .500, a nine-game lead over the closest divisional foe, three winning streaks of five games or more, eight games scoring ten runs or more, and fourteen shutouts. But the third-place Pirates, who trailed Chicago by eleven games going into the four-game series, had outslugged the Cubs 9-8 in the series opener, setting the stage for the twi-night doubleheader.

The early game had little in common with the previous night’s encounter, as Bob Veale and Cubs ace Ferguson Jenkins scattered baserunners and matched scoreless frames through the seventh-inning stretch. When Jenkins retired Fred Patek and Veale to start the bottom of the seventh, the scoreboard appeared headed for yet another zero, but Matty Alou, who started the night with a league-leading .364 batting average, reached base with a hustling double. Hebner followed by lining a single to right to score Alou and break the deadlock.

Protecting the slim advantage an inning later, Veale ran into trouble against the section of the Cubs’ lineup featuring three consecutive future Hall of Famers: Billy Williams, Ron Santo and Ernie Banks. After the Bucco starter allowed a one-out walk to Williams and single to Santo, Larry Shepard called on Bruce Dal Canton to face Banks. The move paid off as Dal Canton struck out the 38-year-old “Mr. Cub” and retired Randy Hundley to quash the rally. Dal Canton then set down Chicago in the ninth to earn the save.

With Bob Moose away on a two-week stint with the Marines, the Pirates turned to Gene Garber, making his major league debut, to start the nightcap.* The 21-year-old Garber breezed through three innings with a 1-0 lead, but surrendered an inside-the-park home run to Don Kessinger and outside-the-park home runs to Williams and Willie Smith in the fourth to put the Cubs ahead 3-1.

Dick Selma, returning to the Forbes Field mound a day after failing to make it through the first inning, kept the Bucs at bay until the bottom of the eighth. Alou opened the eighth by bunting for a single, initiating a streak of four consecutive singles against Selma and reliever Hank Aguirre. The fifth batter of the inning, Al Oliver, snapped the string by grounding into a bases-loaded double play, but it scored Hebner to tie the game 3-3.

The Cubs responded by getting Santo to second against rookie lefthanded reliever Lou Marone with one out in the top of the ninth. Wanting to counter with a righthander, Shepard summoned Steve Blass in relief for the second consecutive day after being knocked out of a start by the Braves in the second inning.** Blass got out of the inning by retiring Banks and Hundley on 400-foot drives to the leftfield wall.***

In the bottom of the inning, Blass batted for himself against submarine pitcher Ted Abernathy, and came through with a one-out single. Abernathy then threw Jose Martinez’s sacrifice bunt into right field to send Blass to third. Durocher ordered an intentional walk to Alou, and Hebner lined a 2-1 pitch over the drawn-in outfield to score Blass, pictured in the Pittsburgh Press jumping on home plate, with the winning run.

* In the context of Garber’s nineteen-year career, this represented a rare role: of his 931 major league appearances, only nine would be as a starter.

** Blass had not expected to pitch in the doubleheader, reported Bill Christine in the Pittsburgh Press. (The article’s lede detailed Blass’s between-games attack on the clubhouse’s food spread.)

*** Christine observed that Banks and Hundley’s respective blasts would have been “home runs in any other parks except Forbes Field and Yellowstone.” Christine also quoted Blass on his good fortune: “What’s this I hear about a new stadium? I like this one just fine. I might arrange to have the new park flooded, just to keep us at Forbes Field.”

First game box score and play-by-play

Second game box score and play-by-play

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette game story

  • Next year they’ll be bringing the Indians a championship, then 2012 they’ll get one with the buccos! Okay, maybe not, but it sure would make an awesome story.