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Thursday, March 23 2023 @ 11:54 pm UTC
This Day in Pirate History - 2/6   
By 81omar_moreno

Born on this date in Pirates History is the player who had the uneviable task of replacing Roberto Clemente in right field in 1973. Richie Zisk, who was born in 1949, had seen limited time with the Pirates the previous 2 seasons, but in 1973, Zisk and Manny Sanguillen played the majority of the games in right field. Richie batted .324 in 103 games with 54 RBI's and he finished in the NL top-10 in triples for the only time in his 13 year career. In 1974, Zisk had the everyday RF job and in 149 games he hit .313 with 100 RBI's and 75 runs scored. The Bucs made the postseason and Zisk batted .300 in a losing effort to the Dodgers.

The next season, Dave Parker became the everyday right fielder and Zisk moved over to left. The Bucs had a starting OF of Zisk, Parker and Al Oliver that year with Bill Robinson backing up all 3 positions. The also had another former Pirate great make his debut that season in the OF, a man named Omar Moreno. In 147 games Zisk hit .290 with 20 HR's and 75 RBI's and the Pirates again made the playoffs. The Bucs got swept in 3 games by the Reds, but it was no fault of Zisk as he hit .500.

In 1976 Zisk had another real good year, batting .289 with 89 RBI's and a career high 91 runs scored, but he felt unappreciated in Pittsburgh and manager Danny Murtaugh didn't get along well with him. Zisk would be traded to the White Sox on Dec 10,1976 for Goose Gossage and Terry Forster. Richie would make 2 All-Star teams and hit .287 with 207 HR's and 792 RBI's in his 13 year career. Dale Long, who was born in 1926, played less than 300 games for the Pirates, but he had one of the more memorable individual accomplishments while with the Bucs. He made his debut early in 1951, but the first baseman was sent to the Browns before he could even get comfortable in Pittsburgh. After spending the next 3 seasons in the minors, Dale returned in 1955 to the Pirates and in 131 games he hit .291 with 16 HR's and 79 RBI's.

In 1956 Dale Long put himself in the record books. Starting with a 9th inning home run on May 19th vs the Cubs, Dale would hit home runs in 8 consecutive games to set a ML record which has since been equaled. Long would also make his only All-Star team that year and he finished hitting 27 HR's and 91 RBI's. The next year after a slow start the Bucs would trade Long and Lee Walls to the Cubs for Dee Fondy and Gene Baker. Dale played 1065 career games and he hit .267 with 132 HR's. He also caught 2 games and is one of only a few left handed players to catch since 1900.

Smoky Burgess, who was born in 1927, came over to the Bucs from the Reds along with Harvey Haddix and Don Hoak in exchange for Frank Thomas, Jim Pendelton, Whammy Douglass and Johnny Powers on Jan 30, 1959 (see Jan 30th article for more on the trade / Feb 5th for more on Don Hoak). Smoky made 3 straight All-Star appearances his first 3 years with the Bucs. His first 4 years he hit .297,.294,.303 and .328 in that order. During the 1960 World Series, Burgess hit .333 in the Pirates 7 game series win. Smoky lasted till 1964 with the Pirates when he was sold midseason to the White Sox.

Smoky was often used in his career as a pinch hitter and he set the ML record with 507 pinch hit at-bats. He also had 145 hits which at the time was a ML record. Total in his 18 year career Burgess played in 1691 games and hit .295 overall and he was named to 6 All-Star teams including 1964 when he spent most of the year with the Pirates. Burgess was the catcher during Harvey Haddix's famous 12 inning perfect game that he lost in the 13th.

Bill Koski, born in 1932, played for the Pirates as a teenager in 1951. A big lanky right-handed pitcher he was known by the nickname T-Bone. He made his ML debut on April 28, 1951 and he would pitch 12 more games after that finishing with a 0-1 6.67 record in 27 innings. He is also the owner of one of the worst walks to strikeout ratios in baseball history as he walked 28 batters while whiffing just 6. Bill wore #26 while with the Bucs in 1951, his only major league season.

Finally, Glenn Wright, who played for the Bucs from 1924-1928, was born on this date in 1901. In 1924, before the Rookie of the Year award existed, Wright had a great rookie campaign hitting .287 with 80 runs scored and 111 RBI's. He finished 3rd in the NL in RBI's, 3rd in triples and first in at-bats with 616. The next season he improved in every category, hitting .308 with 121 RBI's and 97 runs scored. It was his defense that got him know that year though. On May 9th in a 10-9 game vs the Cardinals in the 9th innings with 2 Redbirds on base, future Hall of Famer Jim Bottomley hit a live drive to Wright. Glenn stepped on second base for the second out and then tagged another future Hall of Famer, Rogers Hornsby who was coming down from first base, to make the 3rd out completing an unassisted triple play.

Wright finished 4th in the NL MVP voting, and the Pirates made the World Series for the 3rd time in franchise history. The Bucs beat the Senators in 7 games, but Glenn hit just .185 in 27 at-bats.After hitting .308 in 119 games in 1926, Wright would have his 3rd 100 RBI season in 1927 and the Bucs would again make the W.S. In a 4 game sweep loss to the Yankees, Wright hit just .154 and that would be his last postseason appearance. He ended with a .175 W.S. average in 40 at-bats.

After hitting .310 in 1928 in 108 games, the Pirates traded Wright to the Dodgers for pitcher Jesse Petty (Dec 11th article). He missed most of the next year with injuries, but came back to hit .321 with 126 RBI's and 22 HR's in 1930. He would play 4 more unspectacular years, ending with a .294 average over 1119 games

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