First Pitch: Day Off

I’ve got nothing today, except for a weather related headache that has lasted a few days. I’ll be back with something tomorrow. John Dreker will have some international articles later today, including the DSL top 10.

Feel free to use the comments below for open discussion. And if you have any questions for me to answer later, fire away and I’ll check back in later.




By John Dreker

On this date in 1909 the Pirates won their first World Series Championship, defeating the Detroit Tigers at Bennett Park by a score of 8-0 in game seven of the series. Babe Adams started the game and won for the third time in the series. The Pirates were led by Honus Wagner who batted .333 in the series with six stolen bases. He outhit Ty Cobb in the much anticipated match-up between the two star hitters. Cobb batted .231 in the series.

Too many former Pirates players have been born on this date, but I wrote them all up below anyway. It doesn’t even include current reliever Edgar Santana, who turns 28 today. Starting with the most recent first:

Matt Ruebel, pitcher for the 1996-97 Pirates. He had a 5.49 ERA in 121.1 innings over 63 relief appearances and seven starts in his two years in Pittsburgh. His only other big league time consisted of 8.2 innings for the 1998 Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Josias Manzanillo, pitcher for the 2000-02 Pirates. He had a 3.75 ERA in 151.1 innings over 127 relief appearances with the Pirates. Played a total of 11 seasons in the majors, seeing time with eight big league clubs.

Billy Taylor, pitcher for 2001 Pirates. He didn’t make the majors until he was 32 years old, then ended up playing seven years in the big leagues. He only appearance with the Pirates was his last big league game, when he gave up one run over two innings on April 8, 2001.

Brian Harper, catcher for the 1982-84 Pirates. As the backup to Tony Pena, he hit .243 with 11 homers in 127 games. He was a .295 hitter over 1,001 games during a 16-year career.

Len Yochim, pitcher for the 1951 and 1954 Pirates. He had a 7.62 ERA over 28.1 innings during his two seasons in Pittsburgh, which was his only big league time. He played ten seasons in the minors and won exactly 100 games.

Walter “Boom-Boom” Beck, pitcher for the 1945 Pirates. He finished his 12-year career in the majors in Pittsburgh, going 6-1, 2.14 in 63 innings. During the rest of his career, he had a 32-68 record. On the bright side, he won 199 minor league games over 17 seasons. He played pro ball for 26 years total.

Bill Skiff, catcher for the 1921 Pirates. As a rookie in 1921, he hit .289 in 16 games for the Pirates. His only other big league experience was six games for the 1926 New York Yankees.

Jake Kafora, catcher for the 1913-14 Pirates. He has one of the latest in the year pro debuts in baseball history, playing his first game on October 5, 1913. He went 0-for-1 with a HBP and run scored in his only game in 1913, then went 3-for-23 in 21 games during the 1914 season. That was his only big league experience.

Fred Lake, first baseman for the 1898 Pirates. Lake played five years in the majors between 1891 and 1910. His stay in Pittsburgh was short. He went 1-for-13 in five games. Three of his seasons in the majors were spent with Boston (NL) though none were consecutive years.

George Strief, second baseman for the 1882 Alleghenys. He batted just .199 in 79 games during his one year in Pittsburgh, but he is forever written in team history. Leading off the top of the third inning on May 3, 1882, Strief hit the first home run in franchise history. He played five years in the majors and hit a total of five home runs.