This Date in Pirates History: June 19- Part Three

Part three of Pittsburgh Pirates history on this busy day. Part one was the bio of star pitcher Bill Swift, who spent eight years in Pittsburgh during the 1930′s. Part two was dedicated to six more former Pirates players born on this date. Finally, in part three, we have three more players born on this date, including another star pitcher, making it an even ten Pirates players covered today. In his Jolly Roger Rewind, John Fredland covers a strong pitching performance from the 1970′s by one of our birthday boys, a game that included an odd baserunning play as well.

The Players

Jerry Reuss(1949) Pitcher for the Pirates from 1974 until 1978, then again in 1990. He was originally signed as a second round draft pick of the Cardinals in 1967. That first year in pro ball, the Cardinals gave the 6″5 lefty 65 innings in the low minors, calling the 18 year old up to AAA at one point, where he allowed six runs in his only inning of work. In 1968, he was in AA, going 7-8 2.17 in 112 innings. He made his return to AAA in 1969, winning 13 games, with a 4.06 ERA in 186 innings of work. Reuss made his major league debut at the end of that 1969 season, pitching seven shutout innings in his only start. He was back in AAA to begin 1970, getting recalled in June for twenty starts, posting a 7-8 4.10 record and throwing two shutouts. Jerry made 35 starts in 1971 for the Cardinals, going 14-14 with a 4.78 ERA, well above the team average, pitching on a staff with Bob Gibson and Steve Carlton. He would be traded to the Astros in the off-season, in a deal that netted the Cardinals two pitchers who threw a total of 17 games in St Louis.

Reuss on his 1975 Topps card

Reuss had a 9-13 record his first year in Houston, but he posted an impressive 8.2 SO/9 ratio, easily the best season of his career in that category. He was a workhorse pitcher for the Astros in 1973, making 40 starts, tops in the NL. He went 16-13, throwing a career high 279.1 innings. On October 31,1973, the Pirates traded catcher Milt May to the Astros to acquire Reuss. The trade was a steal for the Pirates. Reuss stepped into the Pirates rotation and went 16-11 in 35 starts that first year, pitching a total of 260 innings. He was even better the next year, winning a career high 18 games, with a 2.54 ERA, which was nearly a run lower than anything he had posted in years prior. In 1975, Jerry was selected to his first All-Star team. His ERA and win total placed him fourth in the NL in each category and he threw six shutouts that season. Despite the 34 wins over two seasons, Reuss had trouble in the playoffs, losing all three of his starts as the Pirates couldn’t make it past the NLCS either year.

Jerry had another strong season in 1976, with a 14-9 3.53 record, then slipped down to a 10-13 4.11 record in 1977, his only losing season in Pittsburgh and his highest ERA since joining the team. The 1978 season turned out to be even worse for him, as shoulder problems limited his use and effectiveness. He pitched 82.2 innings with a 4.90 ERA, making just twelve starts. It broke a string of five straight 200 IP seasons and seven straight years in which he made at least thirty starts. Reuss wasn’t happy about his role for the upcoming 1979 season and asked to be traded. The Pirates dealt him on April 7,1979 to the Dodgers for pitcher Rick Rhoden.

Both teams made out well in the deal. For Reuss personally, the deal worked out even better, despite missing out on the 1979 World Series with the Pirates. He was used in a bigger role for Los Angeles, making 21 starts in 1979, then had perhaps his best season in 1980. He went 18-6, with a 2.51 ERA and six shutouts, matching his win and shutout totals from the 1975 season with Pittsburgh. He finished second in the Cy Young voting that year and made his second(and only other besides 1975) All-Star appearance. In 1981, Jerry picked up his World Series ring, as the Dodgers beat the Yankees and he was the winner in game five of the series. He would win 18 games in 1982, matching his career high from both 1975 and 1980.

Reuss lasted in Los Angeles until 1987, then began jumping around the majors, finally landing back in Pittsburgh in 1990 to end his career. He was in the minors, pitching for the Astros until early July, when the Pirates were able to sign him as a free agent. Jerry pitched 14 games in AAA, nine as a starter, before joining the Pirates in September as pitching depth and experience for the pennant run. Reuss pitched four games, including a start on the last day of the season, in what turned out to be the last game of his career.

Jerry finished his career with 220 wins, 61 of them coming while he was with the Pirates. He pitched 3669.2 innings, which ranks 57th all-time. His 39 career shutouts ranks 51st on the all-time list and his 547 career starts ranks him 31st.

Don Gutteridge (1912) Pinch-hitter for the 1948 Pirates. He spent the first nine years of his major league career playing in St Louis, five years for the Cardinals, followed by four years with the Browns. During that time, Don played a total of 1071 games, hitting .259 with 380 RBI’s and 558 runs scored. He was sent to the minors for the entire 1941 season after his five years with the Cardinals. He returned to the majors in 1942, playing well enough at second base for the Browns to finish in the top 20 in MVP votes during each of his first three seasons. Gutteridge began the 1946 season in the minors, before the Red Sox purchased him from the Browns in early July. Don spent two seasons in Boston, hitting .185 in 76 games. During Spring Training in 1948, the Pirates purchased his contract and he made the Opening Day roster. He was used twice as a pinch-runner and twice as a pinch-hitter, striking out in both AB’s, before being sen back to the minors a month into the season. Don played in the Pirates farm system for three more seasons before retiring after the 1950 season. Gutteridge managed the Pirates AAA team in 1951, then moved on to other coaching and managing jobs, including two years at the helm of the Chicago White Sox. He remained in baseball until 1992 as a scout. He was the cousin of Pirates catcher Ray Mueller.

Harry Daubert (1892) Pinch-hitter for the Pirates on September 4,1915. He was a light-hitting shortstop in the minors, who got just one pinch-hit at-bat during his major league career. On September 6,1915, the Pirates were down 5-2 in the ninth inning of the first game of a doubleheader at Forbes Field. With pitcher Herb Kelly due up, manager Fred Clarke went to his third pinch-hitter of the game, calling on Daubert to make his major league debut. Facing Hippo Vaughn that day, winner of 21 games in 1914 and an eventual winner of 20 games during the 1915 season, Harry went back to the bench with his first career strikeout, ending the game. That would end up being his entire major league career. Daubert spent the 1915 season in the minors, splitting the season between Charleston of the Ohio State League and Rocky Mount of the Virginia League, hitting a combined .240 in 103 games. The Pirates purchased his contract on August 7,1915 and he reported to the team after his minor league season ended, just in time for his first and only game. He played minor league ball until 1917 before retiring, ending a seven year pro career.

Jolly Roger Rewind: June 19, 1974

Jerry Reuss celebrated his twenty-fifth birthday by pitching a complete game and doubling and scoring an insurance run, leading the Pirates to a 7-3 victory over the Dodgers at Three Rivers Stadium.

For about half of the night, Reuss’s birthday seemed to be headed in an unhappy direction. Behind starter Doug Rau, who had no-hit the Bucs for seven and one third innings two weeks earlier, Los Angeles held a 3-1 lead entering the bottom of the fifth. The Dodgers had built their advantage through conventional means (a Ron Cey home run and a Jim Wynn RBI double) and unconventional means (a bases-loaded walk where Lee Lacy, the runner on third, was fooled by home-plate umpire Satch Davidson’s unclear ball-or-strike call on a full-count pitch with two outs and left the playing field, only to “score from the dugout” amidst great chaos once everyone realized that Davidson had called the pitch ball four).*

The Bucs, however, turned the game around in the bottom of the fifth. Two singles and a hit batsman loaded the bases for Manny Sanguillen with one out, and prompted Dodgers manager Walter Alston to replace Rau with ironman reliever Mike Marshall.** Marshall induced Sanguillen to tap the ball in front of the plate, but Rennie Stennett hustled home head of Marshall’s underhanded flip to cut the deficit to one. Richie Hebner followed by driving in the tying run on a force out, and Ed Kirkpatrick and Mario Mendoza put the Pirates ahead 5-3 with back-to-back RBI singles.

Now pitching with the lead, Reuss hit his stride, allowing only one hit and two walks over the final four innings. He even initiated a two-run insurance surge in the eighth inning by doubling off knuckleballer Charlie Hough and coming around to score on Stennett’s single.

The victory gave the Pirates a three-game sweep of the National League West-leading Dodgers and a season-high six-game winning streak.***

* Lacy’s adventures on Three Rivers Stadium’s basepaths would not end when he traded Dodger blue for Pirate black and gold in 1979. Eight years after this game, he would turn a game-winning grand slam into a (likewise game-winning) three-run single by passing Omar Moreno between first and second.

** Marshall would set a major league record with 106 relief appearances that season and receive the National League Cy Young Award.

*** Reuss enjoyed another stellar birthday a year later, with a six-hit complete-game shutout of the Cardinals at Three Rivers Stadium.

Box score and play-by-play

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette game story

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About John Dreker

John was born in Kearny, NJ, hometown of the 2B for the Pirates 1909 World Championship team, Dots Miller. In fact they have some of the same relatives in common, so it was only natural for him to become a lifelong Pirates fan. Before joining Pirates Prospects in July 2010, John had written numerous articles on the history of baseball while also releasing his own book and co-authoring another on the history of the game. He writes a weekly article on Pirates history for the site, has already interviewed many of the current minor leaguers with many more on the way and follows the foreign minor league teams very closely for the site. John also provides in person game reports of the West Virginia Power and Altoona Curve.
  • http://twitter.com/jlease717 John Lease

    Reuss and Tanner didn’t get along at all in 1978, but Jerry did a good job stepping in and starting down the stretch when they needed him. I think his record that year was 3-2, almost all of his decisions coming when he finally went back into the rotation. Rhoden’s bone chips took care of 1979 for him, but he did pitch one game that year, and probably got at least part of a world series share. Don’t know if they gave him a ring though. I know Berra did, even though he didn’t make the post season roster, and I think Joe Coleman might have as well.