Baseball History for June 19th

BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1871 Dummy Leitner
1876 John Hinton
1881 Harry Betts
1884 Eddie Cicotte
1887 Dan Adams
1892 Harry Daubert
1903 Lou Gehrig
1906 Buck Stanton
1908 Bill Swift
1909 Casper Asbjornson
1912 Red Anderson
1912 Don Gutteridge
1922 George Burpo
1923 Luis Aloma
1924 Jim Blackburn
1929 Don Ferrarese
1931 Hank Mason
1935 Chet Boak
1937 Larry Miller
1938 Bob Aspromonte
1946 Ozzie Osborn
1949 Jerry Reuss
1950 Jim Slaton
1950 Duane Kuiper

Now a broadcaster, reminds Steve Stone whenever they get together that Stone gave up Kuiper’s lone career homer.

1950 Fernando Gonzalez
1950 Rudy Arroyo
1954 Johnnie LeMaster
1957 Bob Gibson
1958 Butch Davis
1961 Steve Stanicek
1962 Craig Smajstrla

Not related to Jeff Samardzija, that we can tell.

Had a 22-game hitting streak with Tuscon in 1988 trying to get to the majors for the first time – this was in 1988 when with the Astros chain. Smajstrla had grown up in the Houston area.

(“Around the Minors”, TSN, 5 September 1988, Page 39.)

Earned a non-roster invite to spring training in 1989.

(Astros Notes, TSN, 6 February 1989, Page 31.)

Was involved in a minor league incident – getting beaned, and leading to a brawl, that cost Iowa manager Jim Essian a fine and three game suspension. Essian charged the mound and beat up the pitcher. In a second brawl, an Iowa cubs outfielder, Russ McGinnis, got handcuffed to the outfield fence for accidentally hitting a police officer. McGinnis was trying to get to another player.

“Basebrawl”, TSN, 13 May 1991, Page 40.

Went 0 – 3 in his eight games with the Astros, but scored two runs as a pinch runner, including the game winning run on 8 September 1988 as a pinch runner for Buddy Bell.

Pronounces his last name SMAS-tra-la….

Now is a scouting director for major league baseball in Southern Texas and has been in scouting for more than twenty years.

“When I graduated from high school I was 5-foot-7 and 140 pounds. Scouts usually don’t look at somebody that small. I went as far as I could (as a player) let’s put it that way.”

(Wick, Jeff. “Major League Scout Checks Out Talent of ULB, Golden League”, San Angelo Standard-Times, 16 July 2008.

Wide receiver and shortstop for Pearland HS near Houston, originally signed by the White Sox after being drafted in the fourth round. Turned down a scholarship to the University of Texas.

Rothschild, Scott. “Smajstrla in Rookie League Play”, Galveston Daily News, 25 July 1981, Page B-1.

1973 Yasuhiko Yabuta
1974 Doug Mientkiewicz
1975 Willis Roberts
1976 Dustan Mohr
1976 Alex Prieto
1977 Bruce Chen
1978 Claudio Vargas
1981 Val Majewski
1982 Dusty Brown
1985 Blake Parker
1987 Collin McHugh
1988 Devin Mesoraco
1988 Jacob deGrom
1990 Logan Verrett
1992 Oscar Taveras

My son saw that Cardinal players had etched his initials and number onto hats and gloves after Taveras (and his girlfriend) died in a car accident. So, he did it too.

OBITUARIES:

1904 Marshall Quinton
1913 Eddie Quick
1916 John Dodge
1920 Ed Barry
1923 Tom Jones
1928 Jake Weimer
1930 Lew McCarty
1932 Charles “Pretzels” Getzien
1932 Alonzo Breitenstein
1940 Ed Pabst
1943 Art Goodwin
1945 Bob Gandy
1951 Wally Gerber
1952 Dick Crutcher
1956 John Monroe
1971 Bert Graham
1971 Jack White
1974 Hap Morse
1976 Prince Oana
1991 Pete Rambo
1993 Alex Hooks
2006 Walt Kellner
2013 Gene Freese
2013 Danny Kravitz
2015 Len Matarazzo

After serving in the Navy, Matarazzo signed with the White Sox. The A’s got him, he had a couple of nice years in the minors and got a chance with the As in 1952, working one scoreless inning.

According to Baseball Players of the 1950s, Matarazzo would struggle the next two spring trainings – the last one because he injured his knee in an automobile accident. He retired, then spent some 25 years as an engineer and engineer foreman with the Long Island Railroad. (Page 242)

YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE!

1942 Paul Waner cracks his 3000th hit.

1952 Carl Erskine tosses a no hitter, topping the Cubs, 5 – 0, in Brooklyn. Erskine let his defense do the job – one walk, one strikeout. The lone walk? Erskine walked relief pitcher Willie Ramsdell in the third inning.

1974 Steve Busby blanks Milwaukee, 2 – 0. Busby walked Boomer Scott to open the second inning and then set the remaining 24 batters down in a row for the first no hitter at Royals Stadium in team history. For Busby, it was his second no hit gem.

1999 Todd Helton hits for the cycle against the Marlins. Larry Walker drove in five, though, to key the 10 – 2 victory.

2001 San Diego beats San Francisco, 4 – 3, in extra innings. Both pitching staffs strikeout 20 batters.

TRANSACTION WIRE:

1894 Cincinnati signs amateur pitcher Jesse Tannehill.

1902 Rube Waddell breaks away from the Los Angeles Loo Loos to sign with the Philadelphia As. This was the second attempt – requiring help from a hotel bell hop and two Pinkerton agents.

1953 Detroit signs Bonus Baby Al Kaline.

1954 Washington signs Bonus Baby Harmon Killebrew.

1962 Baltimore signs amateur free agent Mark Belanger.

1964 Chicago signs amateur free agent Don Kessinger. (One of my earliest heroes…)

1979 Boston acquires Bob Watson from Houston for Pete Ladd, cash and a player to be named later (Bobby Sprowl).

1987 Happy Birthday – California signs Jerry Reuss…

1994, 1995 Darryl Strawberry inks free agent deals. In 1994, it was with the Giants. In 1995, it was with the Yankees.

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