’79 Champs Witness Bucs Rise to 5th Place

I was supposed to be in the audience tonight. But a business trip looms tomorrow. Thusly, I witnessed the game courtesy of Fox Sports Ohio. 22 members of the 1979 World Series champs were honored before the game and they got to watch Zach Duke, Ryan Doumit and Garrett Jones pitch and pound the Reds into submission. And into the cellar.

The Pirates took over 5th place with their fifth straight win. Duke allowed two runs on eight hits and no walks in seven innings. The Pirates got on Justin Lehr in the first inning with three runs. Doumit was in the middle of it. With the Pirates already up 1-0, one gone in the first and Jones on third, Doumit hit a high bouncer back to Lehr. The Reds hurler wanted to get two and end the inning, but Doumit hustled down the line and was credited with a fielder’s choice RBI. He then swiped second based and scored on a single from Lastings Milledge.

Doumit hit a two run homer high into the seats in right in the fifth to make it 6-1. Jones added a two run double in next frame and the route was on. The Pirates added four more in the 7th. Steve Pearce had a two run single. Had it not been for an acrobatic stop by Brandon Phillips off the bat of Delwyn Young that Phillips helped turn into a double play, it could’ve been worse.

Lehr allowed six runs on 8 hits in five innings.

The Good

Five straight wins.

Fifth place.

Doumit had three hits, scored three times and drove in three.

Jones also had three hits and three runs knocked home.

Duke picks up win #10.

The Bad

Nothing at all, other than me not being in the Steel City tonight.

The Rest

The 19 players from the 1979 team on hand were:

Matt Alexander, Dale Berra, Bert Blyleven, John Candelaria, Mike Easler, Phil Garner, Grant Jackson, Bruce Kison, Lee Lacy, Bill Madlock, Omar Moreno, Steve Nicosia, Ed Ott, Dave Parker, Don Robinson, Jim Rooker, Manny Sanguillen, Rennie Stennett and Kent Tekulve. Chuck Tanner and coach Al Monchak were there along with trainer Tony Bartirome. Willie Stargell’s wife was also there.

Among the deceased in addition to Stargell are Bill Robinson, John Milner, Dave Roberts and Dock Ellis (not on post-season roster). Living players who did not come back were Jim Bibby, Doe Boyland (not on post-season roster), Joe Coleman (not on post-season roster), Tim Foli, Gary Hargis (not on post-season roster), Alberto Lois (not on post-season roster), Rick Rhoden (disabled most of the season), Enrique Romo, Frank Taveras (traded early on for Foli), Ed Whitson (traded for Madlock in June)

This was Doumit’s fifth career game with three runs scored. It was the third time he reached three RBI and three runs scored in one contest.

Jones has six RBI in the last two games.

Duke reached double figures in wins for the second time in his career.

Each of the starting 8 had a hit and scored a run.

Last five game winning streak was May 15 to 20th against Colorado and Washington. Each of the starters were the winning pitcher during the current winning streak.The bullpen picked up three wins during the earlier winning streak.

Luis Cruz got his third start of the year in place of Ronny Cedeno who has a fractured finger.

Welcome back Phil Dumatrait who pitched a scoreless inning, his first game since July 7, 2008.

 

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Former Pirate Player, Coach Dave Ricketts Dies

Dave Ricketts has died of renal failure.
He is mostly remembered as a longtime Cardinal coach and catching instructor. He spent his last season as a player – 1970 – as a Pirate. His first gig as a coach was also with the Bucs, starting immediately after his playing career ended. Ricketts joined the Pirates after the 1969 season as part of the trade that saw Dave Giusti come to the steel city in exchange for Carl Taylor.
Ricketts played college basketball at Duquesne. In the 1974 book (written about the 1973 season) Out of Leftfield, Willie Stargell describes Ricketts as being the hardest working coach and a counselor to the young Pirate players on the team. During his stint as Pirates coach, Ricketts lost his 12 year old son to cancer.
After leaving the Pirates, he spent a good chunk of the next 20 years as a Major League coach for St. Louis.

Downfall of the Fam-A-Lee – Part 16

The Buccos were in it in 1982. They didn’t win it, but they played meaningful games in September – something that the club has failed to do in recent times. And as Willie Stargell once said, “I love September, especially when we are in it.” Pops retired following 1982. With a strong offense (2nd in the NL in runs scored) and a decent pitching staff in place (John Candelaria, Larry McWilliams and Rick Rhoden were slated for the rotation), what were the Bucs looking for heading into 1983?
After the jump you have more than 4,000 words including over 1,000 on Lee Mazzilli.
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Fun with Baseball-Reference – Pirate comparable players

October is a boring time for a Pirate fan. Even the revamping of the team’s front office and management has come to a virtual standstill, at least publicly. The World Series started last night, but the coverage here, here and at many other places is far superior to anything I can provide. Desperate for anything interesting and Pirate-related, Cory’s comment on Tuesday gave me an idea. He mentioned that Warren Morris was listed by Baseball-Reference as one of Jose Castillo’s top comparables. I decided I would try to find as many players with Pirate ties that were connected to each other through the comparable player lists. Basically, I just plugged in a random Pirate’s name and began playing my own stupid version of Six Degrees of Separation. Now, as a reward for visiting this site, you get to view my findings.
I started with Cory’s example of Jose Castillo. Warren Morris has had the seventh most comparable career to Castillo. At the age of 26, Morris’ most comparable player was another former Pirate second baseman, Carlos Garcia (Randy also noted this in the comments section of my last post). Garcia’s tenth most comparable player was Nelson Liriano. Liriano’s tenth most comparable player was Luis Sojo, who had 176 at-bats with the Pirates in 2000. Sojo’s most comparable player when he was 33 was Einar Diaz, who spent 2007 in Indianapolis with the Bucs’ Triple-A affiliate. In addition, Sojo’s most comparable player at the ages of 27 and 31 was Hal Smith. No, this is not the Hal Smith who hit one of the biggest home runs in Pirate history (though not many seem to remember it for obvious reasons). But this Hal Smith did have three at-bats for the Pirates in 1965.
The next name I tried was Al Martin. His sixth most comparable player was former Pirate outfielder Bob Skinner. Number three on Skinner’s list was Orlando Merced. Martin’s most similar player through the age of 26 was Moises Alou, who was a prospect in the Pirates’ system before being dealt in the Zane Smith trade in 1990. Alou’s sixth most comparable player through the age of 40 is Pirate great Willie Stargell. Martin’s eighth most comparable player was the infamous Pirate Derek Bell. On Bell’s list, I found Jose Guillen (fourth) and Matt Lawton (fifth). Also, his most comparable player was Gary Ward, father of former Pirate first baseman Daryle Ward.
Things got interesting (is any of this actually interesting?) when I checked out Nate McLouth. His fifth most comparable player was Ruben Mateo, who provided 33 at-bats for the team in 2004. Mateo’s most comparable player at 26 years old was Midre Cummings, whose eighth most comparable player was former Pirate manager Chuck Tanner. Mateo’s most comparable player through the age of 29 was Mike Kingery, and fifth on his list was R.J. Reynolds. Through the age of 32, Mateo’s most similar player was Turner Ward, who became a local legend when he stormed through the right field wall at Three Rivers Stadium. Ward’s sixth most comparable player was Jacob Brumfield. The most similar player to Brumfield was Luis Matos, who spent some time in Indianapolis this season.
Next up was Raul Mondesi, which led me to Reggie Sanders (2003 with the Bucs) and Kirk Gibson (56 at-bats with the team in 1992). Number four on Sanders’ list was Jeromy Burnitz, and Craig Wilson showed up as Burnitz’s top comparable at age 26.
There were a few other notables. Chris Duffy brought up Adrian Brown at sixth at the age of 26. Jermaine Allensworth was Brown’s ninth most similar player. Evidently those centerfielders were as similar as we suspected. A search for Jack Wilson brought up Pat Meares, Wilson’s ninth most comparable player.
This was about the point where I got tired and quit. If you made it this far, congratulations. That was quite a bit of nonsense. I am sorry to report however, there there is no exciting conclusion or point to this exercise. It has simply been an excuse for me to discuss former Pirate players.

Fun with Baseball-Reference – Pirate comparable players

October is a boring time for a Pirate fan. Even the revamping of the team’s front office and management has come to a virtual standstill, at least publicly. The World Series started last night, but the coverage here, here and at many other places is far superior to anything I can provide. Desperate for anything interesting and Pirate-related, Cory’s comment on Tuesday gave me an idea. He mentioned that Warren Morris was listed by Baseball-Reference as one of Jose Castillo’s top comparables. I decided I would try to find as many players with Pirate ties that were connected to each other through the comparable player lists. Basically, I just plugged in a random Pirate’s name and began playing my own stupid version of Six Degrees of Separation. Now, as a reward for visiting this site, you get to view my findings.
I started with Cory’s example of Jose Castillo. Warren Morris has had the seventh most comparable career to Castillo. At the age of 26, Morris’ most comparable player was another former Pirate second baseman, Carlos Garcia (Randy also noted this in the comments section of my last post). Garcia’s tenth most comparable player was Nelson Liriano. Liriano’s tenth most comparable player was Luis Sojo, who had 176 at-bats with the Pirates in 2000. Sojo’s most comparable player when he was 33 was Einar Diaz, who spent 2007 in Indianapolis with the Bucs’ Triple-A affiliate. In addition, Sojo’s most comparable player at the ages of 27 and 31 was Hal Smith. No, this is not the Hal Smith who hit one of the biggest home runs in Pirate history (though not many seem to remember it for obvious reasons). But this Hal Smith did have three at-bats for the Pirates in 1965.
The next name I tried was Al Martin. His sixth most comparable player was former Pirate outfielder Bob Skinner. Number three on Skinner’s list was Orlando Merced. Martin’s most similar player through the age of 26 was Moises Alou, who was a prospect in the Pirates’ system before being dealt in the Zane Smith trade in 1990. Alou’s sixth most comparable player through the age of 40 is Pirate great Willie Stargell. Martin’s eighth most comparable player was the infamous Pirate Derek Bell. On Bell’s list, I found Jose Guillen (fourth) and Matt Lawton (fifth). Also, his most comparable player was Gary Ward, father of former Pirate first baseman Daryle Ward.
Things got interesting (is any of this actually interesting?) when I checked out Nate McLouth. His fifth most comparable player was Ruben Mateo, who provided 33 at-bats for the team in 2004. Mateo’s most comparable player at 26 years old was Midre Cummings, whose eighth most comparable player was former Pirate manager Chuck Tanner. Mateo’s most comparable player through the age of 29 was Mike Kingery, and fifth on his list was R.J. Reynolds. Through the age of 32, Mateo’s most similar player was Turner Ward, who became a local legend when he stormed through the right field wall at Three Rivers Stadium. Ward’s sixth most comparable player was Jacob Brumfield. The most similar player to Brumfield was Luis Matos, who spent some time in Indianapolis this season.
Next up was Raul Mondesi, which led me to Reggie Sanders (2003 with the Bucs) and Kirk Gibson (56 at-bats with the team in 1992). Number four on Sanders’ list was Jeromy Burnitz, and Craig Wilson showed up as Burnitz’s top comparable at age 26.
There were a few other notables. Chris Duffy brought up Adrian Brown at sixth at the age of 26. Jermaine Allensworth was Brown’s ninth most similar player. Evidently those centerfielders were as similar as we suspected. A search for Jack Wilson brought up Pat Meares, Wilson’s ninth most comparable player.
This was about the point where I got tired and quit. If you made it this far, congratulations. That was quite a bit of nonsense. I am sorry to report however, there there is no exciting conclusion or point to this exercise. It has simply been an excuse for me to discuss former Pirate players.

Posted in Chris Duffy, Jack Wilson, Jose Castillo, Nate McLouth, Willie Stargell, Zane Smith. Comments Off on Fun with Baseball-Reference – Pirate comparable players

Game #152 at San Diego

Petco Park | 10:05 | Snell vs. Chris Young | Box
Matt Capps has been pretty reliable this season. Not so much tonight. Nursing a one run lead, Capps was brought in with two down in the 8th and the tying run on third in the person for former Bucco farmhand Craig Stansberry. Capps whiffed Morgan Ensberg to end the inning. But he ran into trouble in the 9th. Adrian Gonzalez doubled with one gone. One out later, Kevin Kouzmanoff walked on a full count. Scott Hairston delivered a walk-off three run bomb.
It looked dicey early on. The Bucs actually got to (kind of) Chris Young. Nyjer Morgan led off the game with a triple and scored on a sac fly from Nate McLouth. Ian Snell allowed a lead off double to Brian Giles. One out later Giles moved up on a passed ball and Mike Cameron walked and stole second. Gonzalez singled in both of them.
The Pirates took back the lead on an RBI double by McLouth and a SF from Freddy Sanchez. And that was it. The Bucs had runners on second and third with one out in the fifth, but Young retired Sanchez and Adam LaRoche without any damage.
Snell went seven innings and allowed just one earned run. He struck out five, walked two and allowed four hits. Young had a similar line. Five walks and two K’s but in six innings of work with three earnies.
The Bucs have dropped five in a row. Does it matter? No, not really.
Speaking of Stansberry, here’s a nice piece on him from OregonLive.com. Note that the Beavers manager is former Pirate first round pick Rich Renteria. Only now he goes by Rick Renteria.
Recaps
AP recap at Yahoo! Sports
Padres Official Site
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Pirates making home run history

It is widely known that the Pirates set a team record with 45 home runs in the month of August. It was a fun time to watch Pirate baseball, as the team seemingly scored at will. However, even with that eruption of power, the Bucs are currently tied for 20th in Major League Baseball with 135 home runs. Overall, it does not seem like a historically significant season. But take a look at the team’s individual leaders in home runs:

  • Adam LaRoche – 21
  • Jason Bay – 20
  • Xavier Nady – 17
  • Jose Bautista – 14
  • Nate McLouth – 12
  • Freddy Sanchez – 11
  • Ronny Paulino – 10
  • Jack Wilson – 9
  • Ryan Doumit – 9

What is noteworthy about these numbers? This is only the third team in the history of the franchise that has boasted seven players with ten or more home runs. If Wilson can hit one more in the final few weeks, it will be the first to have eight. The other two occasions in which seven players achieved the feat were in 1973 (Willie Stargell-44, Richie Hebner-25, Al Oliver-20, Bob Robertson-14, Manny Sanguillen-12, Rennie Stennett-10, Richie Zisk-10) and 1964 (Willie Stargell-21, Jerry Lynch-16, Roberto Clemente-12, Donn Clendenon-12, Bob Bailey-11, Bill Mazeroski-10, Jim Pagliaroni-10).
Keep in mind that these numbers do not indicate that the Pirates are developing into a powerful lineup. The fact that this has occurred only three times in the team’s history simply highlights the Pirates’ consistently feeble offense during Major League Baseball’s power explosion over the past 20 years. In fact, having seven or more players reach double digits in home runs is fairly common among the rest of the league. Taking a quick look around the league, I counted ten other teams that have accomplished the feat in 2007 alone. The New York Yankees have achieved the mark every year since 1996.
So let us enjoy watching this edition of the Pittsburgh Pirates make franchise history. However, as we are conditioned to do as Pirate fans, we must keep the feat in perspective. We are still taking baby steps when compared with the rest of the league.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference Play Index