We have two former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date, both young pitchers for playoff teams, the first and last playoff teams in franchise history. We also have a major trade to talk about, as well as a Jolly Roger Rewind from John Fredland, dealing with the tight pennant race from the 1966 season.
On this date in 1985, the Pirates traded outfielder George Hendrick and pitchers John Candelaria and Al Holland to the California Angels for outfielder Mike Brown and pitchers Bob Kipper and Pat Clements. Brown was 25 years old, in his third season with the Angels, his first full season in the majors. He was hitting .268 with four homers in 60 games prior to the deal. Kipper had just turned 21, with only two games of major league experience, both coming that April. He was in the minors at the time, and reported to AAA for the Pirates. Clements was a 23 year old lefty rookie, with a 5-0 3.34 record in 41 games, with 62 innings pitched. Candelaria was in his 11th big league season, all spent with the Pirates, where he went 124-84. He had a high of 20 wins in 1977, but at the time of the trade, he was pitching out of the bullpen all year. The 32 year old Holland had been acquired earlier in the season for Kent Tekulve. He was a closer for the Phillies in 1983-84. The Pirates used him 38 times, with three saves and a 1-3 3.38 record to his credit. Hendrick, the veteran outfielder, did not play well in his only season in Pittsburgh, and was not well-liked, earning the nickname “Jogging George” throughout his career for a lack of effort at times.
After the deal, Holland pitched great for the Phillies, posting a 1.48 ERA in his 15 appearances. Hendrick played even worse in California, hitting .122, with five hits, though he did have six RBI’s, in 16 games. Candelaria moved back to a starting role for the Angels and went 7-3 in 13 starts. The next season he was even better, going 10-2, despite missing nearly half the season. For the Pirates, Mike Brown hit .332 in the last 57 games of 1985, looking like a future piece for the team for years to come. That success didn’t last into 1986 however, as he hit .218 with four homers in 87 games. He played just 18 more games after that season, all with the 1988 Angels. Clement had a 3.12 ERA in 92 relief appearances over the 1985-86 seasons for the Pirates before being included in the deal that brought Doug Drabek to the Pirates from the Yankees. Kipper was a player to be named later in the deal, not joining the Pirates organization for another two weeks. He stayed around Pittsburgh for seven seasons, compiling a 24-33 4.22 record in 244 games, 44 as a starter.
Tim Wakefield (1966) Pitcher for the 1992-93 Pirates. He was originally an eighth round draft pick of the Pirates in 1988, taken as a hitter. It was quickly decided that Tim had a better chance to make it as a pitcher and early in 1989, he made the switch. In his second full season of pitching, Wakefield went 15-8 2.90 in 183 innings at AA. Up to AAA the next year, he went 10-3 3.06 for Buffalo in twenty starts, before being called up to the Pirates right before his 26th birthday. Wakefield, with his dancing knuckleball, pitched great for the Pirates down the stretch, as they looked for their third straight NL East pennant. He went 8-1 2.15 in 13 starts, pitching 92 innings. He was just as good in the NLCS against the Braves, throwing two complete game wins. As good as the 1992 season was for Tim, the following year was a disaster. His record dropped to 6-11 5.61 and he spent part of the year at AAA. He did so bad in 1994 in the minors, that the Pirates released him by the following April. The move did not work out well for Pittsburgh, but it turned around Wakefield’s career. He ended up spending 17 seasons in Boston(retiring after last year), where he went 186-168 4.43 in 590 games, 430 as a starter. He pitched over 3000 innings in his career and finished with exactly 200 wins. Tim did not pitch well in the playoffs after leaving Pittsburgh, posting an 8.00 ERA in 54 innings, but he picked up two World Series rings.
Bucky Veil (1881) Pitcher for the 1903-04 Pirates. His real named was Fred, but the baseball world knew him as Bucky, a nickname he got because he attended Bucknell University. He had played briefly in the low-level of the minors in 1900-01, but after graduating college, Veil joined a strong Pirates team that had won two straight NL pennants. He made six starts and six relief appearances during that 1903 season, as the Pirates easily won their third straight title with a 91-49 record. Veil went 5-3 3.82 in 70.2 innings. In the first modern day World Series, he came in to relieve after Sam Leever gave up two first inning runs in the second game. The Pirates lost, but Bucky threw the last seven innings of the game, allowing just one run. Bucky pitched just one game for the 1904 Pirates, giving up three runs in 4.2 innings. It was said that he was sick that day, but begged into the start, and after pitching well for two innings, he weakened and lost his control. It ended up being his last major league game. Veil didn’t pitch at all the rest of the 1904 season. In the minors in 1905, he won 21 games for Columbus of the American Association, but despite pitching well at a high level, he remained in the minors, pitching until 1908 before retiring.
Jolly Roger Rewind: August 2, 1966
Manny Mota’s eighth-inning double off Ron Perranoski drove in Bill Mazeroski with the go-ahead run as the Pirates made a tight National League race even tighter with a 6-5 victory over the Dodgers at Forbes Field.
With the score tied 5-5, Mazeroski led off the bottom of the eighth with a single to center off Perranoski. Pinch-hitter Jim Pagliaroni, nursing a foot injury, bunted him to second, and Dodgers’ manager Walter Alston elected to intentionally walk pinch-hitter Andre Rogers. Mota followed with his RBI double off the screen in right field.
Entrusted with the lead, Al McBean allowed Los Angeles to put two runners on base with two outs in the ninth before retiring pinch-hitter Jim Barbieri to save the game for fellow reliever Pete Mikkelsen, who had held the visitors scoreless in the seventh and eighth innings.
The first five innings of the game had resembled a home-run derby. The Dodgers battered rookie Bucco starter Woody Fryman for long homer to left field by Lou Johnson, Jim Lefebvre and John Kennedy; Kennedy also drove Pirates’ center fielder Matty Alou to the flagpole for a 440-foot out in the second inning. The Bucs countered with home runs to right field off Don Drysdale by Donn Clendenon and Gene Alley, allowing the game to be turned over to the bullpens with the score tied.
Before the night’s action, the Dodgers had held an .003 lead in the NL standings over second-place San Francisco and an .011 lead over the third-place Pirates. The Bucco victory—and the Giants’ 5-4 win over the Mets—reshuffled the teams even closer together: San Francisco now had a .589 winning percentage, the Pirates stood second at .583, and Los Angeles third at .581.*
Box score and play-by-play
The Pittsburgh Press game story
* The Pittsburgh Press’ game coverage included a feature story on the Pirates’ “Black Maxers” clubhouse group. Inspired by the recent World War I movie “The Blue Max” and initiated by pitcher Steve Blass, the Bucco “Black Maxers” were, in the words of Roy McHugh of the Press, “representative of the Pirates’ flakiness.” Continued McHugh: “When the Pirates don’t win, they’re as melancholy as any other team. When they do win, they hurry into the clubhouse and put on their Black Maxer hats. There’s a World War I aviator’s helmet, complete with goggles, for Jim Pagliaroni. Blass and Roy Face have Western-style black Stetsons with skull and crossbones taped to the brims and Mikkelsen wears a nightclub comic’s Crazy Googenheim number, also with skull and crossbones. . . . ‘The Pirates may not win the pennant,’ wrote Leonard Koppett in the New York Times the other day, ‘but whatever stops them, it won’t be the weight of solemnity.'”