Posted: Friday, November 15, 2002
On this date in 1978, Dave Parker would be named MVP of the NL. Parker led the league in AVG batting .334, slugging % .585 and total bases 340. He would finish 2nd in RBI's (117) and Triples (12), 3rd in runs (102) and homers (30) and 4th in hits (194). He would also win his 2nd straight Gold Glove, but amazingly didn't make the all-star team.
Dave received 21 of 24 first place votes with the other 3 going to Larry Bowa who finished 2nd. He would become the first Bucs player since Roberto Clemente, in 1966, to win the MVP and just the 4th overall at the time, with Dick Groat (1961) and Paul Waner (1927) being the others.
Born on this date in 1928 was Gus Bell, who got his major league start with the Bucs as a right fielder at the age of 21 in 1950. As a rookie he would finish 2nd in triples with 11 and hit .282 over 111 games.
In 1951, Gus would hit .278, 16 HR, with 89 RBI leading the league in triples with 12 and compile 600 at-bats over 149 games, 145 as a right fielder. In his final season, he would struggle as his avg and rbi numbers would drop off. He would also strikeout a career high 72 times before being sent to the minors.
After an offseason dispute with the Pirates, they traded Gus to the Reds where he would become an all-star centerfielder, 4 times driving in over 100 runs. Born David Bell, he got the nickname from former catcher Gus Mancuso who was a favorite of his parents.
He is the father of former all-star 3rd baseman Buddy Bell and grandfather of the Giants David Bell and of Mike Bell who played for the Reds in 2000.
Also born on this date, back in 1914, was Maurice Van Robays, who spent his entire career with the Bucs. He played mostly left field for them, from 1939 till 1943, before leaving for 2 year for military service. He would come back for one season in 1946 and struggle before retiring.
Over his 6 seasons, he would play in 529 games, hitting .267 with 20 HR's and 303 RBI's including a career high/team high 116 in 1940.
In 1943 Maurice moved to right field to make room for rookie Jim Russell, who was a faster runner with a stronger arm. During the 2 seasons Van Robays was in the military, the Bucs had 10 different guys start at least one game right field in place of him. The players included Hall of Famer Lloyd Waner, who was 39 and past his prime and Al Gionfriddo, who was famous for a running catch he made off Joe Dimaggio in game 6 of the 1947 World Series. It would be his last major league game at age 25.