Just one former Pittsburgh Pirates player born on this date, and no major transactions, so we go with two game recaps today. In the first, we go back to 1907 for a no-hitter by one of the better pitchers in Pirates history. Then in his Jolly Roger Rewind, John Fredland covers a big game, for the second day in a row, by Roberto Clemente.
On this date in 1907, Howie Camnitz threw a five-inning no-hitter against the New York Giants during the second game of a doubleheader. Due to the first game that day going into extra innings, the two teams agreed to play a shortened game. Pittsburgh took the first game by a 4-2 score in ten innings, with Sam Leever going the distance for the win. In the second game, Camnitz faced off against former Pirates pitcher, Mike Lynch. Pittsburgh put up a run in the third inning, but they were held to just two hits in the game. An RBI single by Honus Wagner turned out to be the only run.
Depending on what paper you read that day, you got a totally different point of view on the Wagner hit. The local Pittsburgh paper called it “a hard drive towards third”, while the New York Times said that it was a “fluke single” on a “slow and deceptive bounder”. Either way, it was all the Camnitz would need, though he wasn’t totally on his game. Howie walked four batters in his five innings of work, but he kept New York out of the hit column and off the board in his 1-0 victory. The game was played in 70 minutes and after the Giants pinch-hit for Lynch in the fourth inning, they went to Christy Mathewson for the last frame.
Camnitz at the time was in his first full season at the majors. He began the year as a reliever, joining the Pirates rotation in late June. His previous start before his no-hitter was a 7-0 loss against those same Giants, and it just happened to be during the second game of a doubleheader. In a strange sequence of events, his next start would again be against New York three days later. He lost that game 2-0 and as you may have guessed, it came during the second game of a doubleheader. Three straight shutouts, and while he was on the wrong end of two of them, the middle one turned out to be a memorable game for Camnitz and the Pirates.
Guy Bush (1901) Pitcher for the 1935-36 Pirates. He made his pro debut in 1923, playing in the minors for the Greenville Swamp Angels of the Cotton States League and getting into one late season game for the Chicago Cubs that year. Guy split the 1924 season between Chicago and Wichita Falls of the Texas League. For the next 13 seasons, he would have a regular spot in the majors, two of those years spent with the Pirates. Bush had his first good season with the Cubs in 1926, going 13-9, with a 2.86 ERA. The year was his first of ten straight double-digit win seasons. In 1928, he went 15-6, then followed it up with an 18-7 season in 1929, leading the league with 50 games pitched. Over Guy’s last seven seasons in Chicago(1928-34), he went a combined 121-64, winning 18 or more games four times, and never posting a sub-.600 winning percentage. He helped Chicago to two World Series appearances, winning game three in 1929 against the A’s, and starting game one of the 1932 series against the Yankees.
On November 22,1934, the Pirates traded pitcher Larry French and Hall of Fame outfielder Freddie Lindstrom to the Chicago Cubs, in exchange for Bush, pitcher Jim Weaver and outfielder Babe Herman. The 1935 Pirates added Guy(and Weaver) to a strong rotation that already included Cy Blanton, Red Lucas and Bill Swift at the top, and had future Hall of Famer Waite Hoyt, as well as a young Mace Brown in the bullpen. The Pirates got good use out of Guy during his first season, as he made 25 starts and 16 relief appearances, throwing a total of 204.1 innings. Despite the Pirates going 86-67 that year, his record fell to 11-11 with a 4.32 ERA. It was the first time since 1927 that he didn’t have a winning record over the course of the season. By 1936, he was being used strictly out of the bullpen, going 1-3 5.97 in 16 games. On July 20,1936, the Pirates released Bush, who quickly signed with the Boston Bees(Braves). A month prior to his release, he started a run of poor outings, but they followed a brilliant six-inning, one-hit relief performance on June 6th against the Phillies.
Bush went on to play until the end of the 1938 season, spending most of his last year in the minors. After five seasons out of pro ball, Guy returned to the minors in 1944 during the war years, when many players were serving in the military. At age 42, he made nine starts for Chattanooga of the Southern Association. In 1945, he went to Spring Training with the Reds, one of three over-40 pitchers they brought in to compete for a job. Among that group was Hod Lisenbee, who at age 46, had not pitched in the majors in eight years. Bush made the team, but saw very little action, pitching four times through the end of May before being released. He finished his career with a 176-136 3.86 record, with 308 starts among his 542 major league appearances. Bush didn’t make a fielding error after leaving the Cubs, a span of 520 innings pitched over five seasons.
Jolly Roger Rewind: August 23, 1970
Roberto Clemente’s second consecutive five-hit game led the first-place Pirates to an 11-0 rout of Los Angeles in Dodger Stadium.
Back in the lineup thirteen hours after culminating a five-hits-in-seven-at-bats performance by scoring the winning run in the sixteenth inning*, the thirty-six-year-old Clemente set a twentieth-century major-league record for hits in back-to-back games.** Clemente’s two singles and double against Dodgers’ starter Alan Foster and single and solo home run against reliever Charlie Hough led a relentless twenty-three-hit Bucco attack that produced runs in seven of nine innings. He drove in three runs and scored four. Closely following Clemente in the hit parade were Bill Mazeroski (four hits), and Freddie Patek, Matty Alou and Manny Sanguillen (three hits each).
Steve Blass benefited from the offensive eruption, going the distance for his first shutout in almost two years. Taking the mound with over a week’s worth of facial hair growth—The Pittsburgh Press observed that the right-hander was “getting the panhandler look”—Blass limited the Dodgers to four hits and held the home team hitless from the second through the seventh innings. Blass also joined the offensive effort with two bunt singles; tongue in cheek, he credited his use of Clemente’s bat and batting helmet for his hitting success.***
Coupled with the second-place Mets’ doubleheader split with the Reds, the victory increased the Pirates’ lead in the National League East to three games.
Box score and play-by-play
The Pittsburgh Press game story
* Danny Murtaugh informed the Press afterwards that he had hoped to rest Clemente in the day game after a night game, but felt that the Pirates needed their veteran right fielder in the lineup with Willie Stargell out with a leg injury. Added Murtaugh, “Ten hits in two games. Man, when I was playing, it’d take me three or four weeks to get that many.”
** Bill Christine observed in the Press that Clemente “deserves to have his footprints added to the collection at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.”
*** “I was wearing Roberto’s batting helmet and using his bat,” Blass told the Press. “Why shouldn’t I? There was a law passed here this morning that Clemente isn’t allowed to make outs anymore.”