Today is a popular day in team history for lefty relievers, three of them were born on this date, including one that pitched for the last team in franchise history to have a winning season and another that pitched for the 1960 Pirates team that won the World Series. We also have a player who took part in the first game in franchise history. In his Jolly Roger Rewind, John Fredland takes a look at a high-scoring game from the 1982 season.
Jerry Don Gleaton (1957) Lefty reliever for the 1992 Pirates. He was a first round draft pick in 1979 by the Rangers that went right to the majors for one game, before making his minor league debut. Despite that quick debut, Gleaton didn’t spend a full season in the majors until 1990 with the Tigers. That season he posted a 2.94 ERA in 57 relief appearances. Prior to that, he had appeared in majors during parts of nine seasons, compiling a 10-18 4.72 record in 180 games. His numbers slipped in 1991, down to a 4.06 ERA and he was let go after the season. Pittsburgh signed him as a free agent just days after Opening Day in 1992 and he ended up pitching five games at AAA and 23 in the majors before being released in July. He went 1-0 4.26 in 31.2 innings. He was signed by the Giants for the rest of the season, then inked with the Marlins in 1993, but his days in Pittsburgh would be his last major league experience.
Frank Carpin (1938) Lefty reliever for the 1965 Pirates. He spent exactly one year with the Pirates and pitched well, but his major league career lasted just ten more games elsewhere. In the November 1964 Minor League draft, the Pirates picked Carpin up from the Yankees. The following November they lost him to the Astros in the Rule V draft. During the 1965 season, he went 3-1 3.18 in 39 games, throwing a total of 39.2 innings. He had some shaky control, walking 24 batters in his limited time, but he was still able to keep the damage to a minimum. With Houston in 1966, he had a 7.50 ERA in 10 games, pitching just six innings. That would be the extent of his major league time and he never pitched in pro ball after the 1966 season. Frank pitched eight seasons in the minors, going 60-57 3.55 in 279 games, 113 as a starter. He was 4-0 2.67 in 1965 while with the Pirates AAA affiliate.
Fred Green (1933) Lefty reliever for the 1959-61 and 1964 Pirates. He was signed by the Pirates as an amateur free agent in 1952, taking seven seasons to make it to the majors for the first time. Green made the Opening Day roster in 1959, though he didn’t last long before being sent down. He ended up pitching 17 games for the Pirates that year, posting a 3.17 ERA in 37.1 innings. The World Series winning 1960 season ended up being his only full season in the majors. He went 8-4 3.21 in 45 appearances, throwing 70 innings. Fred got hit hard in the World Series, allowing ten runs in four innings. He struggled with the Pirates in 1961, getting sent to the minors, then eventually was put on waivers, where the Senators picked him up. Green threw five games for Washington in 1962, spending the rest of his time in the minors prior to his May 1963 release. He resigned a short time later with the Pirates and pitched well in eight early season appearances during the 1964 season, allowing one run and no walks in 7.1 innings, but he was still sent back to the minors in June. Fred ended up pitching in the Pirates system until the end of the 1965 season, his last year in pro ball. He went 98-88 in 12 minor league seasons.
Don Williams (1931) Pitcher for the 1958-59 Pirates. He was signed by the Pirates as an amateur free agent in 1953, but shortly thereafter, he missed two full seasons to military service. When he returned in 1956, he pitched well for Lincoln of the Western League(A-ball), but returned to the level the next season as well. Don went 15-6 2.98 in 1957, pitching 142 innings over his 60 relief appearances. He went to AAA Salt Lake City in 1958 as was even better, earning a September call-up to the Pirates. He pitched twice for Pittsburgh, throwing a total of four innings, allowing three runs. The following season he was recalled in May, getting into six games for the Pirates, allowing nine runs in 12 innings. After spending the rest of the 1959 season, and all of 1960 in the minors, Williams was sold to the White Sox in 1961. The rest of his major league career consisted of three appearances for the 1962 Athletics. He had identical 6.75 ERA’s in each of his two brief trials with the Pirates.
Jake Goodman (1853) First baseman for the 1882 Pittsburgh Alleghenys and the fifth place hitter in the first game in franchise history. Goodman started his pro career by playing for the first minor league team in baseball history, the Pittsburgh Allegheny(no S at the end like the major league team five years later). He played two seasons in the majors, the first coming in 1878 with the Milwaukee Grays. That year he hit .246 with 27 RBI’s and 28 runs scored in 60 games, making 42 errors at first base, the most in the league at that position. He was the everyday first baseman, playing all but one game that season for a team that finished 15-45(the team played 61 games, one was a make-up for a tie). Jake played in the minors in 1879, then next appeared in pro ball as the Alleghenys’ Opening Day first baseman, batting fifth in the order. He did well in his limited time with the team, hitting .317 in ten games, but he was soon replaced by Chappy Lane, an outstanding fielder, who could barely hit. Goodman never appeared in another major league game, finishing his career off in the minors in 1886, playing his third season in a row in his hometown of Lancaster, Pa.
Jolly Roger Rewind: September 14, 1982
The Pirates parlayed a major-league record-tying power display into a 15-5 rout of the Cubs at Three Rivers Stadium.
With rookie starter Lee Tunnell struggling in the sequel to his dazzling major-league debut, the Bucs spotted the Cubs a 4-0 lead in the top of the third. One out into the bottom of the third, however, the Pirates commenced a three-inning-long race to the bat rack against Chicago starter Dickie Noles and relievers Mike Proly, Ken Kravec and Randy Stein. Of the twenty-three Bucco batters between Dale Berra’s third-inning-opening strikeout and Lee Lacy’s fifth-inning-ending strikeout, twelve hit safely, three more drew walks, and fifteen crossed home plate.
The most memorable moments in the hit parade came from Richie Hebner and Bill Madlock. In the bottom of the third, the Pirates had cut the deficit to 4-1 when Hebner, playing right field in place of an injured Dave Parker, stepped to the plate against Noles with two out. He hit a 1-0 fastball over the right field fence for a grand slam, giving the Pirates a 5-4 advantage.
An inning later, Bucs again occupied all three bases with two out, and Madlock batted against Proly. The Bucco third baseman drove Proly’s pitch over the left-field fence for the team’s second grand slam in as many innings and a 9-4 lead.* The Pirates had become the thirty-first team in major-league history to hit two grand slams in a game; Arky Vaughan and Earl Grace had previously turned the trick for the 1933 Bucs.
Randy Niemann, a periodic member of the Bucco bullpen that season, took over when Tunnell faltered, started the offensive eruption with a single off Noles, and earned his first victory since 1979 by recording five outs over the third and fourth innings. Larry McWilliams, regularly a starter, then came out of the bullpen to earn an unusual five-inning save.
The victory left the fourth-place Pirates a mere three and a half games behind the first-place Cardinals, with eighteen games remaining in the season.**
Box score and play-by-play
The Pittsburgh Press game story
* Madlock sandwiched third-inning and fifth-inning sacrifice flies around the grand slam. He finished the night with an unusual box-score line of “2 1 1 6.”
** Despite the Bucs’ persistence in the pennant race, a mere 4,822 fans witnessed the game, following the audience of 2,859 at the previous night’s 7-3 Chicago victory. In comments to The Pittsburgh Press, Chuck Tanner cited the area’s struggling economy as limiting crowds at Three Rivers: “The fans who come out are really good fans. We’re in a depressed area with all of the unemployment. I get a lot of mail from fans who say they used to come out but now they can’t afford it. They listen to all the games, though, and we have a big radio audience.” Hebner offered similar sentiments: “A game like this would have drawn 50,000 in Detroit, but I’m not going to knock people for not coming because they are out of work.”+ posts
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.