This Day in Pirate History - 1/25

Monday, January 25 2010 @ 05:20 am UTC

Contributed by: Staff

By 81omar_moreno

Only 2 former players born on this date so I'm going to do something a little different. One of the players, Buddy Pritchard, played for the 1957 Pirates so I'm going to do a brief look at that team. First though, I'll get to the birthday boys.

Dan Serafini, who played for the 2000 Pirates team, was born on this date in 1974. A left-handed starter with the Bucs, he pitched 11 games going 2-5 4.91 in 62 1/3 innings. Dan was acquired by the Pirates on June 28, 2000 from the Padres for a player to be named later. He started his career as a 1st round draft pick of the Twins in 1992 and made his debut with the Twins in 1996, getting one midseason start. He also played for the Cubs and Padres before joining the Bucs, who are the last ML team he played for. His record stands at 14-13 6.06 in 91 games, 29 as a starter.

Buddy Pritchard, who played for 1957 Pirates was born on this date in 1936. He made his ML debut that year during a doubleheader Vs the Dodgers on April 21st, the 5th day of the season. He played 23 games for the Pirates that year, 10 at shortstop, 3 at second base. He batted just 11 times and had one hit, a single and scored one run, while striking out 4 times. He did not appear in the majors after that season. While with the Bucs he wore #5.

Now on to the 1957 Bucs team. They were coming off a season where they went 66-88 and finished 7th in the NL. Players who played for them in 1956, but not in 1957(that werent traded during the 1956 season) include catchers Jack Shepard and Bill Hall, infielder Dick Cole, 2nd basemen Curt Roberts and Spook Jacobs, outfielder Jerry Lynch and pitchers Geroge Munger, Fred Waters, Cholly Naranjo, Howie Pollet, Lino Donoso and Bob Garber.

New players for the 1957 season include Pritchard, 1B Dee Fondy, INF Gene Baker, OF Paul Smith, Catchers Dick Rand and Hardy Peterson, OF Roman Mejias and Jim Pendelton, SS Ken Hamlin and pitchers Whammy Douglass, Bob Smith, Laurin Pepper, Bennie Daniels, George Witt, Jim Trimble, Chuck Churn and Bob Kuzava.

The top starters at each position for 1957 were C-Hank Foiles (109 games), 1B-Dee Fondy (73)/Frank Thomas (71), 2B Bill Mazeroski (144,) SS Dick Groat (123), 3B Gene Freese (74)/ Gene Baker (60), LF Bob Skinner (93), CF Bill Virdon (141) and Roberto Clemente (97 ), Starting Pitcher- Bob Friend (38) and Relief Pitcher-Roy Face (59).

The team was managed by Bobby Bragan who took over at the start of 1956. Bragan lasted 104 games and had a 36-67 record (includes 1 tie). Former Pirates second baseman Danny Murtaugh who played for the team from 1948-1951 takes over on August 4th and leads the team to a 26-25 record the rest of the way. It was Murtaugh's first ever major league managing job. The teams attendance for the 1957 season was just over 850,000 a drop of almost 100,000 from the previous year.

The Pirates had a 26-51 record on the road, 36-41 at Forbes Field. They had just one month where they posted a winning record and that was September (14-13) and they had a losing record against every team except the New York Giants (13-9) and overall they finished tied for last on the season with the Cubs.

The leading hitter on the team was Dick Groat, who batted .315 his first year over .300 and he finished 5th in the NL. Groat also led the team in on base %, tied for the team lead in doubles with 30, and led the team in sacrifice hits. Bill Virdon led the team in triples with 11 (good for 2nd in the NL), but also led the team in strikeouts with 69. Dee Fondy led the team in stolen bases with 11, and as a team they had just 46 on the season. Then there was Frank Thomas. Frank led the team in slugging %, games, at-bats, runs, doubles( tied), homers, rbi's, extra base hits, times on base and walks. A name you didn't hear among the team leaders, Hank Foiles, was the teams lone All-Star representative.

As for the pitchers that year Vern Law, Bob Friend and Roy Face led the team in every category between them. Fifteen different guys started games for them, with the top starters being Bob Friend (14-18 in 38 starts), Ron Kline (9-16 in 31 starts), Vern Law (10-8 in 25 starts) and Bob Purkey (11-14 in 21 starts, 27 games in relief). Roy Face led the team in appearances with 59 and saves with 10. Luis Arroyo pitched 54 games and was 3-11 with 1 save. Law had the lowest ERA at 2.87, while Bob Friend struck out a team high 143. Other pitchers of note were, Red Swanson 3-3 3.72 in 32 games and Nellie King 2-1 4.50 in 36 games. The team finished 5th in the league in ERA, but last in runs scored.

The 1957 team had 2 future Hall of Famers play for them. Bill Mazeroski was 20 years old that year, and had played just a half of a season in the majors the previous year, his rookie season. In 1957, he hit .283,which would be his single season high. He had 8 homers, drove in 54 runs and scored 59 runs. Roberto Clemente was 22 at the time and in his 3rd season, and unlike Maz, Roberto batted just .253, a career low for him. He also had just 4 HR's and 30 RBI's, both also career lows and this season was by far his worst in the majors. He played in 111 games total.

As far as trades go, besides the managers, on May 1st the Bucs traded Dale Long and Lee Walls for Gene Baker and Dee Fondy. Bob Kuzava finished the season for the Cardinals while Bob Smith joined the Bucs from the Redbirds. Before the calendar year ends the Bucs will also trade Purkey to the Reds for Don Gross and then trade Dee Fondy to the Reds for Ted Kluszewski.

Finally, the Bucs had the distiction of playing the last games at both Ebbetts Field and the Polo Grounds. They lost to the Dodgers on September 24 by the score of 2-0, but they beat the Giants on September 29th, the last game of the season also, by the score of 9-1.


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