Baseball History for September 2nd

BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS:

1848 George Bechtel

National Association pitcher, among the first players kicked out of baseball for offering a bribe to a player to throw a game.

1850 Al Spalding

Successful championship pitcher (Greg Maddux type, with less movement), successful owner (Chicago White Stockings), successful sporting goods owner, briefly president of the NL, and once ran for the US Senate in California (a rare loss).

I need to find a good bio of him – I know he wrote his memoirs in about 1911.

1863 John Henry

Interestingly, I worked with a John Henry back in 2000 and 2001, and his birthday is today, too.

MLB Profiles says that Henry’s best game was his first, a 1 – 0 win over Detroit. He was a bit of a nomad, switched to the outfield, and eventually became a saloon owner. He got tired of police raids, the story goes, so he joined the Hartford police department instead.

1865 Harrison Peppers

Named after the short-termed president, he briefly played for Louisville in 1894. It was so brief, that he is not mentioned in MLB Profiles…

1868 Al Sauter

Philadelphia native who played for the Athletics in the American Association for about a month, getting just four hits.

1878 Bill Yohe

Another one year visitor – a 31 year old rookie who spent a few weeks with the Senators in 1909.

1879 Rube DeGroff

NEARLY a one year wonder – except after playing in a few games in 1905, the Cardinals kept him for a game in 1906 before sending him back to the NY State League…

1880 Fred Payne

Backup catcher for Detroit and Chicago in the early days of the AL. Had he hit more, he might have played more…

1884 Joe Ward

Will have to do some digging one day – Ward hit .295 for the Phillies in 1906 and still got sent back. Maybe he was an awful fielder… Anyway, he didn’t appear in the majors again until 1909 and when he didn’t hit in 1910, his days in the majors were over. In the minors he was pretty good, too. Played in various leagues until 1920.

1888 Chief Chouneau

Stew Thornley tells the tale of William “Nitchie” Cadreau, an Ojibwe Indian who pitched one game for the White Sox in 1910. Spent a few years in the minors after that.

1896 Paul Johnson

Athletics outfielder in 1921. He was shipped to Milwaukee so Connie Mack could give a tryout to super prospect Joe Hauser.

He could play, though – spending a decade in mostly high minors teams and hitting around.300 most seasons.

1896 Harry Shriver

Brooklyn pitcher in 1922 and 1923, won four of ten decisions. Had three good years at Saginaw in the minors, which got him his shot. Career ended pretty much in 1923 – will do digging to see why.

1900 Joe Heving

Bill Nowlin tells the tale of the Kentucky native who turned into one of the better relievers of the 1930s and kept pitching into his mid-forties.

1901 Marty Griffin

San Fran native who played for the Seals successfully, but failed in his tryout with the Red Sox in 1928. From what I gather, his arm wasn’t the same after a 16 – 4 season in 1925, so he spent much of his later years in lower level minor league cities.

Nowlin tackled this bio, as well.

1905 Bernie James

Quick infielder who didn’t stick with the 1929 Braves despite hitting.307, or the 1933 Giants because he didn’t hit at all.

1907 Ben Sankey

Auburn grad who got a few tries with the Pirates between 1929 and 1931. He could field, though, and played a number of years in the PCL and International League.

1908 Monte Pearson

Two time all-star, pitched for the Indians, Yankees, and Reds from 1932 to 1941. Won 100 of his 161 decisions, though it helped to pitch on the late 1930s Yankees… An Oakland native, he threw the first no hitter in Yankee Stadium.

1918 Len Rice

South Dakota native, played for the Reds and Cubs during the war years. When the others came back, he played for San Diego in the PCL.

1933 Marv Throneberry

“I still don’t know why they asked me to do this commercial…”

JW knows more about players of all levels who played in the 1950s and 1960s, so I won’t try to tell any stories about Marvelous Marv. I will say, however, that for years I carried a copy of Marv’s 1963 Topps Card with me wherever I went. That practice ended in about 1989, when I went back to collecting baseball cards in earnest. At that point, my luck changed – my jump shot started to work, I met my future wife, and I got my first broadcasting job.

Maybe it was the Uecker card I carried with me everywhere I went.

1935 Don Williams

Tennessee grad, pitched for Pittsburgh and Kansas City, but not necessarily very well, in his 11 appearances as a reliever. Made 340 appearances as a reliever in the minors and wasn’t half bad, though – going 66 – 45 over his nine seasons.

1935 Gordon Massa

Cincinnati kid who got 21 games, mostly as a pinch hitter though he was a catcher by trade, in 1957 and 1958. In 1957, he had seven hits in fifteen at bats and walked four other times.

Big kid – 6-3 and 210. Cubs liked his arm and tried to make a pitcher out of him, but – like it did for Wimpy Quinn, that idea failed miserably.

1941 Jerry Crider

South Dakota native who briefly made it to the bigs with the Twins and White Sox.

1943 Luke Walker

Pirates and Tigers pitcher – his best year was with the NL East Champs when he went 15 – 6. Swing man, usually – spot starter, long reliever, sometimes a closer (nine saves) because the Texas lefty had a big arm (though a little wild).

1947 Mel Behney

Got a cup of coffee with the 1970 Reds, lost two decisions and returned to the minors. Now he sells real estate.

1950 Lamar Johnson

A pretty good hitter with the White Sox in the 1970s (took over for Carlos May in the lineup), spent a year with Texas in 1982. First baseman, though a bit lumberous. Now a long time hitting instructor.

1951 Dave Criscione

Catcher who spent seven games with the Orioles in 1977. He got only three hits, but one was a game winning homer…

Coached at SUNY Fredonia near Buffalo after his playing days were over.

1952 Nate Snell

Tennessee State grad, spent a while in the minors before the Orioles brought him up. Tall (6-4) and skinny (125 pounds – just kidding) he was remarkably successful in the majors but pitched just 104 games. Spent three decades after baseball driving trucks for UPS.

1953 Danny Goodwin

#1 overall pick in 1971 out of high school by the White Sox and passed to go to Southern University. Then, drafted #1 overall in 1975 by the Angels – the only player with two #1 overall selections.

His career as a DH, first baseman and outfielder was less outstanding and he was out of major league baseball in 1982.

He was, however, the first player from a historically African American university to be inducted in the College Baseball Hall of Fame…

1954 John Flinn

Orioles draft pick in 1973, made the majors with the Brewers and Orioles between 1978 and 1982. Won five of seven decisions and was moderately successful despite not having much of a strikeout pitch.

1954 Rick Manning

Long time outfielder now broadcaster for the Indians. His affair with Dennis Eckersley’s wife may have led to Eck being traded to the Red Sox.

1956 Fred Howard

Maine grad turned White Sox pitcher – was the pitcher on Disco Demolition Night in 1979. He only pitched in the majors that one season. After his minor league days were over, he went to Mizzou to get a degree in medicine and became a surgeon.

1959 Drungo Hazewood

Big strong guy – got a full scholarship to USC to play tailback, was a first round pick of the Orioles in 1977 and chose to do that instead. Great athlete – not a great baseball player (though he could throw hard and hit the ball a country mile). Got five at bats without a hit for the Orioles in 1980.

The inability to hit curveballs hastened his exit from baseball – he became a truck driver until diagnosed with fatal ampullary cancer.

1960 Rex Hudler

Nicknamed Wonderdog – hustling, tough guy who pretended to be a baseball player for fifteen years. Kind of funny dude, got into broadcasting and has been with the Angels and Royals since his playing days ended.

1961 Jeff Russell

Rangers closer of the late 1980s, though he was a bit of a baseball nomad (Cincinnati, Texas, Oakland, Boston, Cleveland, and back to Texas…). His son, James, pitched for the Cubs briefly.

1962 Johnny Paredes

Venezuelan infielder – got a few chances with Montreal and Detroit, but never could hit as cleanly as he could field. Always hit at AA/AAA, though.

1965 Jose Melendez

Beanpole Puerto Rican pitcher for three teams in the early 1990s. Had two very fine seasons for the Padres and was traded to Boston for Phil Plantier – which ended both guys careers…

After he gave up his MLB dreams, he pitched in Mexico for a couple of seasons.

1966 Terry Jorgensen

Second round pick by the Twins out of Wisconsin-Oshkosh – briefly played in parts of three seasons for Minnesota. Went back home to coach his high school’s baseball team.

1967 Jamie McAndrew

Dad, Jim McAndrew, also played in the bigs…

This one, though, was drafted out of Florida in the first round by the Dodgers. He was a replacement player for the Brewers in 1995 and blacklisted by the Players Association.

Now he’s sales professional for Pulte Homes.

1969 Mike Thomas

Mets draft pick sent to the Expos in the Darling for Burke trade. Was a minor league signing for two clubs before getting a brief shot with the 1995 Brewers. Pitched once – gave up two hits and a walk in 1.1 innings, but nary a run.

And then his career was over.

1970 Sean Lawrence

Oak Park, IL kid – got a brief shot with the 1998 Pirates. Originally drafted by the Mets out of high school, he went to college and was a #6 selection by the Pirates in 1992. Spent a career in the minors for the Pirates chain before getting his shot – then ambled around the minors for four teams before calling it a career in 2001.

1971 Rich Aurilia

Fine infielder and hitter for the Giants. The St. Johns grad was drafted by Texas but traded to the Giants in the John Burkett deal.

Had several good seasons with the Giants, including a 2001 season where he hit 37 homers and drove in 97 runs – and collected 206 hits. Lasted with the Giants until 2003, then became a bit of a nomad – Seattle, San Diego, Cincinnati, and the back to the Giants until 2009. Finished with 1576 hits, 186 homers, and a gig in broadcasting…

1972 Pat Watkins

East Carolina kid who played the outfield for the Reds and Rockies from 1997 to 1999. Multi-tool player in the Reds chain for a few years, but took a while to get past AA. Once hit 27 homers with 31 steals in the minors but that seemed to go away and he drifted through different systems until 2001.

Coaches high school ball in NC.

1977 Yamid Haad

Got one at bat with the Pirates in 1999 – minor league catcher for nearly fifteen years.

1982 Jason Hammel

Baseball nomad who had his greatest success as a member of the Cubs rotation…

Drafted by the Devil Rays, moved to Colorado where he won ten games twice and wasn’t a bad pitcher… Had a rough 2011, though and was traded to Baltimore (along with Matt Lindstrom) for Jeremy Guthrie.

The Cubs signed him, but his stay was short as he was sent with Jeff Samardzija to Oakland. However, the Cubs signed him as a free agent again and now he is thriving – 32 – 19 with a sub 3.50 ERA in Chicago.

1982 Wes Littleton

Rangers pitcher from 2006 to 2008 and not a bad one. California native most famous for pitching the last three innings of that 30 – 3 game – and earning the save.

1982 Rommie Lewis

Briefly pitched in the Orioles and Blue Jays chain – Toronto gave him the call in April, 2010 but sent him back to AAA pretty fast. Pitched some independent ball and now is out of baseball.

Wikipedia says his dad, for whom Lewis was named, was named Rommie after WWII German General Erwin Rommel.

1983 Gaby Sanchez

University of Miami guy who landed with the Marlins and for a couple of years looked like a promising first baseman. It didn’t last – he was bounced down to the minors and then bounced to Pittsburgh. Spent a year in Japan before giving it one more try with the Mariners but it didn’t work out.

1984 Dusty Ryan

Merced College grad, made it to the Tigers briefly in 2008 and 2009.

1986 Evan Crawford

Auburn pitcher who got a few games with the Blue Jays in 2012. Gave up baseball after 2014 and joined a real estate firm.

1991 Christian Bethancourt

Panamanian Padres catcher – came to San Diego after three seasons as a backup in Atlanta.

1992 Ronald Torreyes

Yankees utility infielder – and not a bad one.

OBITUARIES:

1911 Lew Simmons
1914 Alfred Metcalfe
1916 Chick Evans
1926 Ed McDonough
1929 Bert Blue
1940 Johnny Welch
1942 Frank Martin
1942 Henry Thielman
1954 Fred Osborn
1957 Don Hanski
1960 Billy Maloney
1965 Joe Hoover
1966 Bill McCabe
1967 Jack Ryan
1968 Lee Meyer
1970 Herbert Hill
1972 Jim Brillheart
1976 Bud Heine
1977 Chucho Ramos
1986 Jim Wilson
1987 Cam Carreon
1988 Jim Bagby
1990 Mark Mauldin
1996 Wes Livengood
2006 Victor Bernal
2006 Jerry Dahlke
2008 Todd Cruz

YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE!!!

1918 Not one of Eddie Cicotte’s best games – he allows 21 hits to the Tigers in the second game of a doubleheader. Cicotte went the distance and allowed only seven runs.

1925 Irish Meusel drives in nine on a big day for the Giants – a 24 – 9 win in game two of a doubleheader against the Phillies. All nine starters had at least two hits, and four players had four hits. In relief, Jack Knight came in, faced fifteen batters and gave up ten hits.

1929 Washington’s Joe Cronin goes five for five – and completes the cycle – in a 10 – 7 win over the Red Sox. (Cronin is one of a handful of players to have two cycles in his career.)

1944 Dixie Walker completes the cycle and drives in four in an 8 4 win over the Giants.

1956 Frank Torre scores six runs in a 23 – 10 Braves win over the Cubs. Like the 1925 game (above), nine players get at least two hits – though starter Lew Burdette wasn’t one of them. His reliever, Ernie Johnson, came in to finish the third inning, stayed, and got two hits in four trips.

1960 Ted Williams homers off of Don Lee of the Senators. 21 years earlier, Williams homered off of Lee’s father – Thornton Lee. (Thornton Lee wrote Our Town, right? No? Sorry – Thornton Wilder…)

1972 Chicago’s Milt Pappas goes ballistic when Bruce Froemming doesn’t give him the corner on a two-strike slider to Larry Stahl, costing Pappas a perfect game. Garry Jestadt popped up to Carmen Fanzone to complete the no-hitter.

1990 Dave Steib, who had three previous no-hitters broken up with two outs in the ninth, gets the job done by holding Cleveland hitless in a 3 – 0 win. Two of the four batters Steib walked were nailed trying to steal by Pat Borders.

1996 Red Sox outfielder Mike Greenwell’s nine RBIs is just enough to beat the Mariners in extra innings, 9 – 8.

2006 The Devil Rays complete a triple play – the only one (so far) to occur without a ball being batted… It was a strike ’em out, throw ’em out, throw another guy out sort of play (2 – 6 – 2).

TRANSACTION WIRE:

1958 Baltimore signs amateur free agent Jerry Adair.

1960 New York signs amateur free agent Jim Hegan.

Most of the September 2 transactions, since it’s after the trade deadline, are completing deals (players to be named later) or releasing players.

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