This Date in Pirates History: June 21

Just one former Pittsburgh Pirates player born on this date and no major transactions, so it will be a light day for Pirates history. Before I get into the former player, there is one current player that was born on this date. Outfielder/first baseman, Garrett Jones turns 31 today. He signed with the Pirates as a free agent in December of 2008. Jones had played ten seasons of pro ball already at that point, but he had just 31 games of major league experience, all coming with the 2007 Twins. In 2008, playing for AAA Rochester, he hit .279 with 23 homers and 92 RBI’s. After coming to the Pirates, he began the year in AAA, batting .307 with 12 homers and 50 RBI’s in 72 games before getting called up to the majors on July 1st. Garrett went on a home run tear the rest of the way, connecting for a team-leading 21 homers in just 82 games. In 2010, he led the team with 21 homers and 86 RBI’s, playing in 158 games, 106 of them as the starting first baseman. He has since hit 23 homers and driven in 80 runs in 202 games, through last night’s game.

Spencer Adams (1898) Middle infielder for the 1923 Pirates. He began his pro career in 1921, playing for Tremonton of the Northern Utah League. It was a Class-D league(lowest level) that lasted just one season before folding. Adams dominated at the plate, hitting .432 with 28 extra base hits in 40 games. The next year, he moved to Seattle of the Pacific Coast League, where his numbers fell back to Earth. He batted .256 with 26 extra base hits in 123 games, playing most of his time at second base. The Pirates would acquire Adams in December of 1922 from Seattle, in exchange for outfielder Ray Rohwer and pitcher Sheriff Blake. Spencer saw very little time for the Pirates at the start of 1923, getting just two starts and a total of ten AB’s over the first two months. In July, he got five starts in a row at second base, collecting a hit in each game. He later got five starts at shortstop in late August and early September. Spencer batted .250 for the Pirates in 25 games, scoring 11 runs and collecting six RBI’s.

On December 12,1923, the Pirates traded Spencer, along with pitchers Earl Kunz and George Boehler, to the Oakland Oaks of the Pacific Coast League, in exchange for pitcher Ray Kremer. There was also cash sent to the Oaks in the deal, one that netted the Pirates 143 wins from Kremer. In 1925, Adams reappeared in the majors, playing for the Washington Senators. He hit .273 in 39 games, going to the World Series, where he met his former team. Pittsburgh took the series in seven games, as Adams got into two of them, going 0-1 at the plate. The next year he was purchased by the New York Yankees and returned to the World Series, again on the losing side. He hit .120 that season, getting 28 plate appearances in 28 games played. Adams moved on to the St Louis Browns for 1927, having what would not only be his best season in the majors, it would also be his last. He hit .266 with 29 RBI’s and 32 runs scored in 88 games, splitting his time between second base and third base. After the season, he was traded to a minor league team. Adams played another four seasons of pro ball before retiring. In his major league career, which spanned 180 games and 451 plate appearances, he failed to hit a home run.

Jolly Roger Rewind: June 21, 2003

Abraham Nunez scored on Dan Miceli’s wild pitch to lift the Pirates to their second fifteen-inning victory over the Indians in as many nights, a 7-6 triumph at PNC Park.

Little more than twenty-four hours after Randall Simon’s walkoff home run off Danys Baez closed out a 5-4 win, Nunez started the fifteenth frame of this game with a line-drive triple down the rightfield line. Following an intentional walk to Kenny Lofton, Nunez came home on Miceli’s wild pitch to end the 4:58 marathon.

The exciting ending seemed far-fetched at the outset. Bucco starter Kris Benson continued his struggles*, surrendering three runs in the first inning and two more in the fifth, as the Pirates fell behind 5-1. Lloyd McClendon then turned the game over to the bullpen, which gave the Bucs the chance to rally by limiting Cleveland to one run over the next ten innings.**

Single runs in four consecutive frames drew the Buccos even, with Reggie Sanders’ home run off David Riske knotting the contest 4-4 in the bottom of the eighth. After Mike Williams allowed the bullpen’s only blemish on a two-out RBI single in the top of the ninth, the one-run-per-inning juggernaut resurfaced with an improbable tally in the bottom of the ninth: Aramis Ramirez doubled with two outs, and scored the tying run when Cleveland shortstop John McDonald and Indians third baseman Casey Blake committed fielding errors on back-to-back ground balls.

Serving, like Salomon Torres a night earlier***, as the extra-innings-long-relief-man, Julian Tavarez proved to be the Bucs’ bullpen star by grinding out five innings of work. Scott Sauerbeck, the sixth Bucco pitcher of the night, pitched a scoreless fifteenth to record the victory.

Box score and play-by-play

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette game story

* This outing gave Benson a 10.13 ERA in his last four starts. He would pitch four more starts before getting shut down for the season with tendonitis in his right shoulder.

** The Bucco bullpen had allowed only one run in eight innings the night before.

*** Torres earned the victory in the prior fifteen-inning game with four innings of relief.

  • I swear, every time Greg Brown says ‘G I Jones’, my eye twitches. I’d love to run Brown up the flagpole once and tell him he isn’t coming down until he starts acting like a pro.