Baseball History for June 2nd

BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1866 Jack O’Connor

Catcher, later coach and manager. He was the St. Louis Browns manager who had his third baseman play deep so Nap Lajoie could lay down seven bunts in an attempt to take a batting title from Ty Cobb.

1869 Tom Leahy

According to MLB Profiles, he was misplaced as a catcher – given that job because he was rather short and squatty, even though he was actually very mobile and quick. Had a tough life – lost his wife and child at childbirth, but but his life together and went back to playing baseball around 1898.

After his career, he was an athletic trainer at Yale for more than 30 years.

1876 Farmer Burns
1876 Charlie Jones
1891 Oscar Horstmann
1895 Al Baird
1899 Sloppy Thurston
1926 Frank Verdi

Played 1900 games in the minors, but one game as a shortstop for the Yankees in 1953. Was playing for Rochester when the team was playing in Havana, Cuba the night Castro began the revolution – and was struck by a stray bullet (grazed him – very lucky)… (Baseball Players of the 1950s)

1929 Rene Valdes

Cuban righty who got a cup of coffee with the Dodgers in 1957.

1930 Bob Lillis

Baseball lifer – an LA native signed by the Dodgers but lost the job of replacing Pee Wee Reese to Maury Wills. Played with Cards and Colt 45s, later a coach and manager with the Astros and Giants.

1931 Marshall Bridges

Negro League pitcher and first baseman, signed by the Giants, moved around some in the majors as a spot starter and reliever. Had success pitching for the Yankees in early 1960s out of the bullpen.  When the Braves hit four straight homers against the Reds, Jim Maloney (also celebrating today) served up the first two (Mathews, Aaron).  In came Bridges, who gave up two more to Joe Adcock and Frank Thomas.

1931 Larry Jackson

Very good pitcher in the late 1950s and early 1960s, a 24 game winner in Chicago once, too.

Boise guy – went to the University of Idaho, and later served in the Idaho legislature.

1932 Lou Skizas

Outfielder, pretty good hitter in the Yankees chain… Finished second to Luis Aparacio for the rookie of the year award, but his career fell off the map after his rookie year. By 1960 his career was pretty much done, so he finished college, and later became a college baseball coach at the University of Illinois.

He was called “The Nervous Greek” because he had more crazy mannerisms before getting ready to hit than anyone prior to Mike Hargrove – including rubbing dirt on his bat, using only his left hand for the bat waggle (his right was in his back pocket) and other odd motions.

1933 Jerry Lumpe

Pretty good infielder with the Yankees and KC As in the 1950s and 1960s, mostly at second base.

1933 Benny Valenzuela

Minor and Mexican League slugger who got in 10 games with the 1958 Cardinals.

1938 Lee Gregory
1938 Gene Michael

Shortstop who frequently played next to the next guy on this list. Long time baseball coach, manager and executive, too.

1940 Horace Clarke

I’ll let Rory Costello tell the story of this Virgin Island leadoff hitter in his biography written for SABR.

1940 Jim Maloney
1941 Bob Saverine
1946 Roger Freed
1948 Joe Pactwa

Teenaged Yankee prospect who converted from the outfield to the mound and finally made the majors with the Angels in 1975 (briefly).

“This is a superstar of the future,” (Mgr. Bob) Bauer said… “Remember, Joe’s only a baby right now with limited experience, but he has the mark of greatness upon him.” (TSN 1968)

Granted, he was doing this in the minors, but he was hitting like Darrell Evans – 20 homers, 75 – 100 walks. In his career in the minors, he hit .252 but had a .424 OBP and a .450 SLG – hit 25 homers for Manchester (AA) in 1970 and also walked 128 times…

Started pitching in 1972 – a little relief – and then went 12 – 6 as a starter in AA. Got traded to the Angels between the 1974 and 1975 season and finally got a cup of coffee then.

1949 Jack Pierce
1952 Mike Davey
1956 Kelvin Chapman
1958 Jack O’Connor

What are the odds that TWO MLB guys named Jack O’Connor would be born on this date?

1960 Lemmie Miller
1961 Jeff Schulz
1962 Darnell Coles
1963 Bryan Harvey
1967 Mike Stanton
1969 Kurt Abbott
1970 Mike Kelly
1970 Reid Cornelius
1972 Chance Sanford
1972 Raul Ibanez
1973 Neifi Perez
1975 Steve Rain
1978 Wascar Serrano
1981 Jared Burton
1981 Chin-hui Tsao
1982 Tim Stauffer
1983 Josh Geer
1986 Chris Martin
1992 Kaleb Cowart

OBITUARIES:

1915 Dave Orr
1924 Jim Hughes
1934 James Pirie
1941 Lou Gehrig
1946 Malcolm MacDonald
1955 Harry Eccles
1956 Denny Sullivan
1956 Tony Parisse
1962 Art Stokes
1964 Jack Kading
1966 Joe Casey
1973 King Bader
1975 Spoke Emery
1977 Milt Steengrafe
1978 Bob McGraw
1981 Skinny O’Neal
1993 Johnny Mize
1994 Mort Flohr
1996 Gene Snyder
2000 Ellis Clary
2001 Gene Woodling
2013 Preston Ward

YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE!

1950 George Kell, in the second game of a long doubleheader (game two finished 16 – 5) hits for the cycle. Kell went 4 – 7 in the game. Kell homered in the first, tripled in the second, and singled in the third inning. He got that last double in the eighth…

1989 Eric Davis hit for the cycle (4 – 4) with six RBI.

1990 Randy Johnson was wild enough to be effective – mixing in six walks to go with eight strikeouts – en route to a 2 – 0 no hitter over the Tigers. Three of those walks came in the sixth inning, but Johnson struck out Chet Lemon to keep the sheet clean. It was the first no-no in Mariners history.

2004 While with Anaheim, Vlad Guerrero homers twice and drives in nine runs. David Eckstein, who went 5 – 5, drove in the other run in a 10 – 7 win over Boston.

TRANSACTION WIRE:

1906 Cincinnati sends Orvie Overall and cash to the Cubs for Bob Wicker.

1911 Washington buys Tillie Walker from Spartanburg for the tidy sum of $700.

1925 The Senators keep spending – this time $25,000 to purchase Buddy Myer from New Orleans.

1962 Baltimore signs amateur free agent infielder Davey Johnson.

1964 St. Louis trades Lew Burdette to the Cubs for Glen Hobbie.

New York signs one of the first “next Mickey Mantle” guys – Bobby Murcer.

1967 The White Sox send Jerry Adair to the Red Sox for Don McMahon and Rob Snow. Adair got hot and helped the Sox win the AL Pennant.

1987 Ken Griffey, Jr. is the first player taken in the amateur draft. The last guy in the draft who both signed and made it to the big leagues? Jeff Conine was a 58th round pick of the Royals.

2000 In a move that brought tears to a young John-William, the Mets sent Bill Pulsipher to Arizona for Lenny Harris.

2010 23 years after being drafted, Ken Griffey, Jr. called it a career, retiring from the Mariners.

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