Posted: Wednesday, December 18, 2002
Born on this date in Pirates history was former outfielder Gino Cimoli,who was a member of the 1960 World Championship team. Gino, born in 1929, was acquired prior to the 1960 season from the Cardinals along with pitcher Tom Chaney in exchange for pitcher Ron Kline.
Gino was a valuable backup for the Bucs in 1960, he played all three outfield positions, with the majority of his time in center field backing up Bill Virdon. Cimoli got into 101 games, hitting .267 with 28 RBI's in 307 at-bats. During the World Series, with Bob Skinner injured, Gino got into every game and hit .250 scoring 4 runs. He got a key hit to help the Pirates rally to win game 7.
The next season, Gino lasted till just June 15th with the Bucs before being traded to the Braves for shortstop Johnny Logan. He hit .299 in 21 games before the trade. Gino who started his ML career in 1956, was an all-star his first season as a regular and led the AL in triples in 1962 while with the Royals. He finished a .265 career hitter over 10 seasons.
Johnny Barrett, an outfielder with the Bucs from 1942-46, was born on this date in 1915. He was best known as fleet footed base stealer, who led the NL in stolen bases in 1944 with 28 while also leading the league in triples with 19. He also scored 99 runs and hit a career high .269 that season. The next season he finished 2nd in the NL in stolen bases with 25,just one behind Hall of Famer, Red Schoendienst. He also scored 97 runs and hit a career high 15 homers.
Johnny made his debut April 14, 1942 and tied for the team lead in stolen bases with Vince DiMaggio that year while batting .247 over 111 games. His career was cut short by severe knee problems in 1946 after he was traded to the Braves for whom he only played parts of 24 games. Johnny hit .251 career over 588 games,all but those last 24 as a Pirate.
Joe Randa, who played for the 1997 team, turns 33 today. Acquired in a 6 player deal with the Royals on December 13, 1996 (see the Dec 13th article for more about this trade) that sent Jeff King and Jay Bell to Kansas City, Randa had a pretty good season in his only year with the Pirates. He batted .302 as the everyday third baseman while driving in 60 runs.
Between Nov. 17th, 1997 and Dec 10, 1998 Joe was a member of the Bucs, Diamondbacks, Tigers, Mets and finally the Royals (although he only played for 3 of the teams). He is currently a member of the Royals. Joe wore number 16 while with the Bucs, which has been worn since by current Buc Aramis Ramirez.
Finally, on a slow day, I have to mention another birthday important in baseball history. The man never played for the Bucs,but helped them win their first World Series by struggling. Ty Cobb, born on this date in 1886, won the AL triple crown during the 1909 season, but in the World Series vs the Bucs that year he hit just .231
Coming into the W.S. there was a big hype over the first meeting of Cobb and Honus Wagner who had each won the last 3 batting titles in their respective leagues. Wagner came through big, hitting .333, while driving in 6 and stealing 6 bases in helping the Bucs win in 7 games.
Wagner also had something to prove as his last W.S. appearance he hit just .222 when the Bucs lost to the Red Sox in 8 games in 1903 (it was a best of 9 series that year). For Cobb, it was his 3rd straight W.S. appearance and 3rd straight loss. He would never make it to the series again, despite playing 19 more seasons. He finished with a .262 average in the postseason, 105 points below his career average.