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Monday, January 30 2023 @ 08:42 am UTC
This Day in Pirate History - 2/21   
By 81omar_moreno

Only 2 former Pirates players born on this date, and each played just one year so I'll give a brief history of the team one of them played on. First, born in 1936 was Ted Savage, who was an outfielder for the 1963 Pirates. He made he ML debut the previous season with the Phillies and hit .266 with 39 RBI's and 16 stolen bases in 127 games. The next season Savage joined the Bucs and struggled as the Pirates 4th outfielder. In 85 games, he hit .195 with 14 RBI's while spending most of his playing time in left field, but also appeared in right and center. Ted played 7 more seasons for 6 teams and finished with a .233 average over 642 games.

The 1963 Pirates were coming off a 93-68 record the previous season, but it was good for just 4th place. The manager was Danny Murtaugh who was in his 7th season. The leaders in games played at each position were C: Jim Pagliaroni (85) Smoky Burgess (72) 1B: Donn Clendenon(151) 2B: Bill Mazeroski (138) SS: Dick Schofield (117) 3B: Bob Bailey (153) LF/CF/RF: Jerry Lynch (63) Bill Virdon (142) Roberto Clemente (143) SP:Bob Friend (38) Don Cardwell (32) RP: Elroy Face (56) Tommy Sisk (57) Al McBean (55).

The stats of the future Hall of Famers that year, starting with Roberto Clemente, who hit .320 17 HR's 76 RBI's (team leader in all 3 categories) in 152 games. He was named an all-star along with winning the NL Gold Glove. Bill Mazeroski also was an all-star and a gold glover, and he hit .245 with 8 HR's and 52 RBI's. Willie Stargell was 23 at the time and in his 1st full season, and in 108 games he hit .243 with 11 HR's and 47 RBI's while playing 1stbase and all 3 outfield positions.

Bob Friend was the team leader in wins (17) innings (268 2/3) strikeouts (144) and ERA with 2.34 although reliever Bob Veale had a 1.04 ERA in 34 games, but just 77 innings. Don Cardwell and Al McBean finished 2nd in wins with 13 each. Roy Face led the team in saves with 16 followed by McBean with 11.Other pitchers of note from that team were Vern Law who went 4-5 4.93 and Harvey Haddix who went 3-4 3.34 in 49 games.

Other batters of note include Donn Clendenon who hit .275 with 15 HR's and 57 RBI's and led the team in doubles and stolen bases. Smoky Burgess hit .280 and Bill Virdon hit .269 with 53 RBI's. Batters of note who weren't mentioned yet include Gene Alley who made his ML debut in 1963, Bob Skinner who hit .270 in 34 games and Manny Mota who was in his first full season with the team and he also hit .270

The Pirates finished 74-88 on the season and in 8th place. The attendance was just over 783,000, but down over 200,000 from the previous year when they broke a million. The team hit .250 on the year, good for 5th in the NL, but scored just 567 runs (8th most) while giving up 595 runs. The had the 4th lowest ERA in the NL with 3.10, but they commited the 2nd most errors. Donn Clendenon finished with the most strikeouts with 136, while Dick Schofield had the 5th highest walk total with 69. Clemente's .320 average ranked him 2nd in the NL, Friends ERA also ranked 2nd while Face tied for 3rd in saves and Sisk tied for 4th in games.

The Bucs started off 11-5 in April, but were .500 by the middle of May. They had winning months in July and August, including a season long 5 game win streak from July 11-15th. The worst month was September when they went just 7-22 to finish the season. They were above .500 as late as Sept. 2nd but lost 6 straight (the longest losing streak on the season). The most runs scored by the Bucs in a game and the most runs given up were both 13. The Bucs threw 16 shutouts and they were blanked 14 times. The favorite teams of the Bucs were the two 2nd year teams. They went 14-4 vs the Mets and 12-6 vs the Colt 45's(Astros). The Pirates had a 5-13 record vs 4 different teams, the Phillies, Giants, Cardinals and Dodgers.

The Pirates acquired Manny Mota on April 2nd for Howie Goss. On May 8th Willie Stargell hit his first ML HR off Bob Buhl. On May 23rd the Bucs trade Skinner for Jerry Lynch from the Reds. On May 28th Clemente got thrown out of a game for bumping an umpire and received a 5 game suspension. On August 21st Jerry Lynch hit his ML record 15th pinch hit homerun. After the season the Bucs traded Harvey Haddix to the Orioles for Dick Yencha. On the season the Bucs faced 6 different future hall of fame pitchers, Drysdale, Koufax, Perry,Gibson, Spahn and Marichal and went 5-18 in games that they started.

The other player born on this date was Jouett Meekin who pitched for the 1900 Pirates. Born in 1867 he went just 0-2 in 2 starts giving up 10 runs in 13 innings in what would be his final appearance of his 10 year career. He went 153-133 4.07 over 324 games career. He started 308 games and completed 270 of them. His best season was 1894 for the Giants when he went 33-9 and threw 409 innings. He also had 26 wins in 1896 and 20 the next year, also for the Giants. A good hitter for a pitcher, he batted .243 career with 15 HR's and 131 RBI's and batted .299 in consecutive seasons( 1896-97).

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