This Day in Pirate History - 2/26

Friday, February 26 2010 @ 05:23 am UTC

Contributed by: Staff

By 81omar_moreno

Preacher Roe, who was born in 1915, was a member of the Pirates for 4 seasons before gaining fame as a Dodger. He made his debut in 1938 with the Cardinals, pitching one game and then didn't appear in the majors again till 1944 with the Bucs. He would go 13-11 3.11 for a Pirates team that would finish in 2nd place. The next season Preacher had his best year in Pittsburgh, going 14-13 2.87 while leading the NL in strikeouts with 148. He also made his 1st of 5 career all-star appearances.

The lefty Roe then had 2 off years going a combined 7-23 with an ERA over 5.00, but it was due mainly to a fractured skull he suffered in 1946 during an off field fight. On December 8, 1947 the Bucs traded Roe, along with Gene Mauch and Billy Cox to the Dodgers for Hal Gregg, Dixie Walker and Vic Lombardi. For the Dodgers he would go an incredible 90-33 over the next 6 seasons, helping Brooklyn to 3 World Series appearances. The Dodgers would lose all 3 series, all to the Yankees, but Roe went 2-1 2.54 in 5 games. He retired after going 3-4 5.00 in 1954 and he had a 127-84 3.43 record overall.

Jack Hammond, who was born in 1915, finished his short career as a member of the 1922 Pirates team. The 2nd baseman made his debut for the Indians in 1915 and hit .214 with 4 RBI's in 35 games. He would not appear in the majors again till 1922 and he started the season with the Indians, but joined the Bucs after just one game (he went 1-4 with 2 errors in that game). He played 9 games in Pittsburgh, getting 11 at-bats with 3 hits and 3 runs scored. He played 4 games at 2nd base for the Bucs with no errors. In 99 career at-bats he hit .222 with just 3 extra base hits and only 2 walks.

Sam Laroque, who was born in 1864 in Canada, was a member of the worst Pirates team ever. In 1890, the Pirates went just 23-113 mostly because they lost players to the upstart Players League, and Laroque got his only full season in the majors for that team. As the starting second baseman, occasionally switching to shortstop, he hit .242 with 40 RBI's and 27 stolen bases while scoring 59 runs in 111 games. Just 3 players on the team appeared in 100 games that year ,and Laroque finished 2nd in RBI's and 3rd on the team in runs. In 1891, he played one game at 3rdbase going 0-4 before moving on to Louisville of the American Association to finish his career. His only other ML experience was 2 games for the 1888 Detroit Wolverines.

Vic Janowicz played 2 years for the Bucs during the bad years in the early 50's. Both teams he played for, the 1953-54 Pirates lost over 100 games. Born in 1930 Vic was a catcher his rookie season, making his ML debut on May 31st. He played in 42 games, hitting, 252 with 8 RBI's, but his defense was below average, making 8 errors in 35 games behind the plate. The next season he moved to 3rd base, but he wasn't any better defensively there and he struggled at-bat hitting just .151 while striking out 23 times in 73 at-bats. He didn't appear in the majors after 1954, ending with a .214 average and striking out 54 times in less than 200 at-bats, a high ratio for a guy who hit just 2 HR's.

Finally, George Kopacz who played 10 games for the 1970 Pirates, was born on this date in 1941. A 1st baseman, his only other appearance in the big leagues was 6 games for the 1966 Braves in which he went 0-9. With the Bucs he played 3 games at first, and was used as a PH the rest of the time. He went 3-16 (.188) ending his career as a .120 hitter with 0 RBI's. He also had a problem with strikeouts, whiffing 10 times in those 25 at-bats. George wore both #6 and #10 while with the Bucs.


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