Results tagged ‘ Pirates ’
The Pirates took their show throughout the tri-state are of Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia this past week. The region that I like to call “my home.” The Youngstown-Pittsburgh-Morgantown area is where I’ve grown up and have many memories throughout.
Neil Walker. Perhaps, the most famed Bucco currently on the roster, Walker is a hot commodity. A majority of the people at the Uniontown Mall were prepared with cards and photos of Walker while wearing his jersey. A notorious stand up guy Walker was everything and more. Complimentary to everyone who came out and honored by my congratulations to him.
While December remains the “most wonderful time of the year,” this week in January isn’t far behind.
If you were anything like me growing up there was always a few days throughout the year that we looked forward to most. Christmas, Birthdays and Opening Day go without saying, but there was always a time, usually in mid-January, when Youngstown, OH would get a little nutty. The world famous Harlem Globetrotters would pay a visit to YSU’s Beeghly for their famous act.
After being picked up by the Pirates with the No. 1 pick in 1996 he ended his career nearly 14 years later with a record of 70-75 and an ERA of 4.42. He had just one 10 win season in his injury laden career.
He left Pittsburgh in 2004 when he was traded to the Mets in exchange for Jose Bautista. Benson faltered even more with another elbow injury in New York and from 2006 on he spent time in Baltimore and Texas but never amounted to even the miniscule success he found in Pittsburgh. It was reported that Benson was toying with the idea of signing with the Arizona Diamondbacks at the end of 2010 but the 36 year old felt it was in his best interest to offcially retire from baseball.
I don’t blame him.
The dissapointing career might not totally be his fault, though. Perhaps the only mistake he made was the fact that he agreed to sign with the Pirates back in ’96. He was just another pawn in the losing chess game otherwise known as the Pirates in the MLB draft.
Let’s start back in 1992, the last winning season for Pittsburgh and look year by year at the first round picks for the Bucs.
1992: Jason Kendall
1993: Charles Peterson
1994: Mark Farris
1995: Chad Hermansen
1996: Kris Benson
1997: J.J. Davis
1998: Clint Johnson
1999: Bobby Bradley
2000: Sean Burnett
2001: John Van Benschoten
2002: Bryan Bullington
2003: Paul Maholm
2004: Neil Walker
2005: Andrew McCutchen
2006: Brad Lincoln
2007: Daniel Moskos
2008: Pedro Alvarez
2009: Tony Sanchez
2010: Jameson Tailon
Four of those players are on the current Pirates roster, four spent ever-so bried stints in Pittsburgh, three look to be major pieces in building the next wave of successful baseball in the Steel City, one had a fruitful major league career, one currently is sweeping the bullpens in Washington and the rest probably haven’t been heard from since draft day.
Even though the Pirates, as well as Benson, have been losers for nearly two decades there is something Kris has that very few others do.
A lingerie model.
photo credits: foxsports.com, si.com
Last spring the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown welcomed me with open arms for a glorious day.
The bustling winds, fluffy white snow and bone chilling temperatures do not scream baseball. However, for my brother, Zach and I, a trip to PNC Park was just what we needed to cure our national pastime blues.
The select few of you readers who have stuck it out during my extended leave of absence know I have five passions in life. Three of them were on display last week at the Winter Meetings.
Hurdle comes to the Steel City after being a part of two of the last three World Series. The batting coach for the Rangers, who happened to have the league’s highest team batting average is notoriously known for his tenure as manager of the Colorado Rockies. He was at the helm of the Rockies from 2002 until the beginning of 2009. In that time span he oversaw the development of young prospects such as Brad Hawpe, Troy Tulowitzki, Clint Barmes, Garett Atkins and Matt Holliday. That litany of potential is rivaled by that of the crop of youngsters the Pirates currently have now and the likes that are rising through the system.
Hurdle exudes confidence.
Even the harshest critics of the Pirates buy into the demeaner of Hurdle.
Ahem, Ron Cook.
Cook said, “He’s better than the franchise deserves.”
Hurdle has already implemented catchphrases that the Pirates marketing team needs to play on.
Describing his team as a “wolfpack,” Hurdle said he plans for everyone involved with the organization to go “all in.”
I’ve been all in 21 years of my life, Clint. I’m ready for more to join me.
Aside from his on the field duties, Hurdle is a family man.
His family of four is a tight-knit groupe for good reasons. His daughter suffers from Prader-Willi
syndrome, a disease with 1 in 25,000 probability. Hurdle said a big reason why he chose the Pittsburgh job was to be close to specialized medical facilites in the city that cater especially to patients with the rare syndrome.
All in all, Hurdle took the job to meet objectives. He wante dto get back into managing and had a chance to take the Mets job. Both New York and Pittsburgh are in rebuilding situations but there is just something lucrative about bringing a forgotten team back to prominence. Hurdle sees that and wants to be the man to right the ship.
He has already began a grassroots campaign in Pittsburgh since it was announced he would be hired. Hurdle was seen Sunday at the Steelers game and Monday at the Penguins games. The Pirates play third fiddle in Pittsburgh so its good that Hurdle is petitioning for some noteriety. In the business thats called good public relations.
The Pirates really haven’t seen that in the last three, make the 18 years.
photo credits:postgazette.com, yahoo.com
No dissrespect to Bobby Thompson, but the Giants won the pennant.
In 1960 Bill Mazeroski led the Pirates to win the World Series.
One minute later the Pittsburgh sports scene would be changed forever.
Mazeroski’s swing of the bat lifted the ball over Yogi Berra’s head sent the crowd into a frenzy.
Seeing Maz fly around the bases, swinging his helmet around in elation is truly a sight to be hold.
A Wheeling, West Virginia native (another reason why I love him so much) Mazeroski came from humble beginnings along the Ohio River. He said he played the game with the same attitude as he did growing up.
How can you not love that attitude?
As he was flying around the bases Mazeroski is quoted as saying he never felt his feet touch the ground. He was mobbed at homeplate by teammates and fans alike in one of the greatest moments in all of sports.
Whats more remarkable is the Pirates and Yankees were in a David vs. Goalith type battle back then. Much like today, New York was favored to take the series with its star studded lineup that included the likes of Berra, Mickey Mantle, Roger Marris and eventual MVP of the series Bobby Richardson.
Mazeroski was never known as a power hitter. He rarely hit double digit home runs in a season. He was known for his glove with eight Gold Glove awards and still owns the highest fielding percentage among second basemen.
Although Pittsburgh is in the midst of 18 straight losing seasons, the Steel City has not forgotten its icons. Across the town Mazeroski’s memory lives on, particularly in the Oakland section of town.
Oakland is home to the University of Pittsburgh, which I despise. The campus does offer one of the most beuatiful sections in all of Western, Pennsylvania, though.
Portions of the outfield wall still stand where Forbes Field was located.
This summer, I toured the old stomping grounds of the Bucs with my good friend Erin, who happens to be a Pitt student. I don’t hate her too much.
She loves the Pirates just as much as I do and we share memories that I have never before been able to extend to others. They just wouldn’t appreciate it.
She showed me the wall and other historic artifacts.
Forbes Field wall
Plaque commemorating that spot at which Mazeroski’s homerun cleared the wall.
Forbes Field home plate in its exact location, well almost. It is in the hallway of a Pitt campus building, moved there from just three feet away. If it was in its rightful spot it would be in the women’s restroom. A tourist spot to some maybe? But, the plate deserves to be seen by all
One of the most famous Pittsburgh photos this captures the celebratory moment when Maz was rounding the bases. Shot from the roof of Pitt’s Cathedral of Learning it provided a stunning view of the field and still today, downtown Pittsburgh.
Walking through the WVU student unio I sat down to eat lunch in front of the TV that shows ESPN. Bob Ley of Outside the Lines interviewed a Yankees historian, Steve Blass and Tim Kurkjian regarding the legacy Mazeroski possessed. Highlights of the game were shown and Mazeroski himself spoke.
The guy sitting next to me eventually moved as I was tearing up.
I wasn’t the only one.
Thousands of fan convene on that spot this day every year to relieve the precious memories Mazeroski left behind for us. They play the radio broadcast of Game 7 and embrace each other with thoughts of yesteryear.
Game 7 drew national a couple weeks ago as the tape was found in who else, but Bing Crosby’s wince cellar. Who woulda thunk it?
This was a game that will forever be etched in the minds of baseball fans everywhere.
It is all thanks to the best man in all of sports, Bill Mazeroski.