Three former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date including one of the lesser known Hall of Famers in team history. We also have two quick game recaps. Before we get into those players, current Pirates Duane Underwood and Anthony Alford are both celebrating their 27th birthdays today.
John Lamb, pitcher for the 1970-71 and 1973 Pirates. He was signed by the Pirates out of high school in 1964 as an amateur free agent, shortly before his 18th birthday. Lamb spent his entire 11-year pro career in the Pirates system, getting three calls to the majors along the way. He did not have a start to his minor league career that made him look like a future Major League player. Playing in the Appalachian League for the Salem Rebels, Lamb went 1-9, 5.21 in 76 innings. He had a dramatic turnaround after just one year, posting a 3.00 ERA in 135 innings at single-A, showing much better control than he displayed his rookie season. Lamb struggled in 1966, putting up a 5.29 ERA in 80 innings, while splitting the year between two A-Ball teams. He then came back with another strong season for Clinton of the Midwest League in 1967, throwing 175 innings with a 10-10, 2.52 record. He threw 14 complete games that season and three were shutouts. Despite those marks in his fourth season of pro ball, he still had two more seasons of A-Ball before finally advancing in the system. The Pirates moved him to a relief role in 1968 and he managed to post his career high in wins for a season. Lamb went 12-11, 3.47 in 135 innings over 48 games (three starts). He really took to the bullpen in 1969 when he had a 1.95 ERA in 97 innings over 50 appearances, winning 11 games and picking up 17 saves.
After six seasons in A-ball, Lamb finally made it to Double-A in 1970 and pitched even better than the previous season. He went 5-2, 1.47 in 30 games with 11 saves and he allowed just 36 hits in 69 innings. He earned a promotion to Triple-A, though his stay there was brief. After twenty solid innings, in which he gave up just one earned run, Lamb was called up to the majors for the first time in early August. He pitched 23 games for the Pirates over the last two months, posting a 2.78 ERA with three saves and a 1.11 WHIP. Despite that strong showing, he was back in Triple-A for the entire 1971 minor league season, before getting a September recall to the Pirates. His 1971 season almost didn’t happen due to an ugly incident during early Spring Training. While facing Dave Cash in late February, Lamb was hit in the head by a line drive. In early April, he had to undergo surgery for blood clots. The Pirates were obviously a strong team in 1971, winning their fourth World Series, so it was tough for a rookie to break into that pitching staff. Lamb had a 2.84 ERA in Triple-A that year, with 41 appearances and 57 innings. He pitched just two games in Pittsburgh that season, throwing 4.1 scoreless innings.
Lamb had two strong seasons of Triple-A in a row, with excellent numbers in the majors, but he couldn’t make the Pirates out of Spring Training in 1972 and pitched poorly in the minors. He was the last pitcher cut during Spring Training, yet never played in the majors that season. He went 5-9, 4.96 in 98 innings over 45 appearances for Triple-A Charleston. He returned to form in 1973, going 6-0, 1.42 in 31 appearances at Triple-A, earning an early July call-up. Lamb pitched 22 games for the Pirates that year, throwing 29.2 innings with a 6.07 ERA and two saves. After spending all of 1974 in the minors with Charleston, posting a 4.29 ERA in 42 innings, he retired from baseball, finishing his Major League career with an 0-2, 4.07 record and five saves in 66.1 innings over 47 games. Until surpassed by Pat Clement in 1986, he held the record for most appearances in a Pirates uniform without a win.
Heinie Manush, pinch-hitter for the 1938-39 Pirates. He began playing pro ball in 1920 at 18 years old, seeing a short stint with Portland of the Pacific Coast League. That was an advanced placement for a pro debut, but Manush wasn’t an ordinary player. He got his real first action in 1921 with Class-B Edmonton of the Western Canada League. He hit .321 with 35 extra-base hits in 83 games. In 1922, he moved up to Class-A Omaha of the Western League, where he batted .376 with 44 doubles, 20 triples and 20 homers in 167 games. Manush joined the Detroit Tigers in 1923 and batted .334 in his rookie season, posting an .877 OPS in 109 games. He batted .289 in 1924 with 84 runs scored, putting up an .803 OPS in 120 games. He lost his starting job in the middle of 1925 for a short time, but he still ended up batting .302 in 99 games. Manush would break out the next season. In 1926, he won the American League batting title with a .378 mark and he finished fifth in the MVP voting. He had 95 runs scored, 35 doubles and 14 homers, which would stand as his career high. His .985 OPS was a personal best at the time, but it would be topped. In 1927, Manush saw an 80 point drop to his batting average, though he still hit .298 with 90 RBIs and 101 runs scored. He had perhaps his best season in 1928 after being traded to the St Louis Browns. He hit .378 again, which was good for second in the AL, one point behind Hall of Famer Goose Goslin. Manush led the league with 241 hits and 47 doubles. He scored 104 runs and picked up 108 RBIs. That hit total is the 11th highest for a season in baseball history.
In 1929, Manush batted .355 and led the league with 45 doubles. He had his second 200+ hit season, along with 81 RBIs and 85 runs scored. In the middle of the 1930 season, he was traded to the Washington Senators for the aforementioned Goose Goslin. Manush batted .350 with 94 RBIs and 100 runs scored in 137 games. He set a career high with 49 doubles, though it wasn’t enough to lead the league. In 1931 he batted .307 with 41 doubles, 70 RBIs and 110 runs scored. He followed that up with a .342 average in 1932, while tying his career high with 14 homers. He set career bests with 121 runs scored and 116 RBIs, while adding 41 doubles, 14 triples and 214 hits. That season earned him a third place finish in the MVP voting. He would finish third again in 1933 when he hit .336 with 115 runs scored and 95 RBIs. He led the AL with 221 hits and 17 triples.
Manush made his only All-Star appearance in 1934, though the game didn’t exist during his first ten seasons in the majors. He hit .349 that season, with 42 doubles, 11 triples, 11 homers, 89 RBIs and 88 runs scored. That All-Star game was made famous by Carl Hubbell striking out five of the game’s all-time greats in a row. That streak by Hubbell started after issuing a walk to Manush. In 1935, he started the downside of his career, though he had one strong season left. He hit .273 in 119 games in 1935, his last year with the Senators. In 1936, Manush was traded to the Boston Red Sox, who released him at the end of the season after he hit .291 in 82 games, with 45 RBIs and 43 runs scored. He signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers and in his first year in the National League, he batted .333 in 132 games, with 73 RBIs and 57 runs scored.
Manush was in his 16th season in the majors in 1938, when the Pirates signed him on August 30th. He began the year with the Dodgers, but after a month he was sent to Toronto of the International League after hitting .235 in 17 games. It was the first time since 1922 that Manush had played in the minors. The Pirates signed him to serve as a pinch-hitter and emergency outfielder over the last month of the season, as they tried to make a run at the National League pennant. He pinch-hit 15 times that year, collecting four hits, two walks and four RBIs. Heinie (first name was Henry) served a similar role at the beginning of the 1939, though he had no success, going 0-for-12 with a walk. On June 7, 1939, the Pirates decided to get rid of Manush when they had a chance to sign Chuck Klein. The move was unique in that they were getting rid of one future Hall of Famer to pick up another. In was the end of the Major League career for Manush, though he wasn’t done in baseball. He finished the 1939 season in the minors back with Toronto, then managed for the next six seasons down on the farm, playing at least one game all six years. During his 17-year career in the big leagues, Manush hit .330 with 110 homers, 1,183 RBIs and 1,287 runs scored. He had over 2,500 hits, nearly 500 doubles and 160 triples. Only 16 players in Major League history have played as many seasons as Manush and hit for a higher average. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1964 by the Veteran’s Committee. His older brother Frank Manush played for the 1908 Philadelphia Athletics, making his MLB debut 15 years before the younger Manush.
Harry Cassady, right fielder for the 1904 Pirates. He attended Illinois Wesleyan University and was the first player from that school to make the majors. It would be 22 years before the next would make it. Only 11 Major Leaguers have attended that school, and none of them have played since 1977. Cassady began his pro career in 1902, playing three years for Class-B Bloomington of the Three-I League before joining the Pirates in August of 1904 for his Major League debut. Bloomington was in the same town as his college and Cassady was from nearby Bellflower, IL., so his baseball career didn’t take him far from home until he joined the Pirates. He saw limited time during his first minor league season, hitting .314 in 24 games. The next year he batted .277 in 95 games (available stats are limited). Before joining the Pirates, he had a .289 average. His purchase from Bloomington for $800 was orchestrated by Pirates scout Frank Haller on August 5, 1904, after an owner from an opposing team in the Three-I League recommended him to the Pirates. In a sign of the times, the Pirates also went under the recommendation of their own pitcher, Charlie Case, who faced Cassady in the minors.
In his first game on August 8th, Cassady (called Cassidy by the papers) batted lead-off and played right field, going 2-for-5 with two runs scored in a 15-5 loss to the Phillies. His arrival couldn’t have come at a better time, as the Pirates had the rear axle break off of their coach on the way to the park and two players were injured, leaving them with 12 healthy players for the game. The next day the Pirates acquired outfielder Moose McCormick from the Giants, and he would soon move to right field in place of Cassady, while utility player Otto Krueger played left field. At the time, Hall of Fame outfielder and team manager Fred Clarke was out injured. Cassady played each of his first six days with the team, then sat out a few games. The scouting reports on his arm and speed both were favorable, and Clarke was working hard with him on his defense. He played another six games between August 19th and 25th. The Pirates seemed high on him according to the local papers, but days later the Pirates began playing a rookie out of college named Lew “Bull” Smith. On September 1st, after not playing for a week, the Pirates loaned Cassady to a team from Youngstown, OH and he never returned to Pittsburgh. He played 12 games for the Pirates, all in right field, hitting .205 with three RBIs and eight runs scored.
The Pirates planned to keep Cassady for 1905 according to reports, but he was supposedly tricked into signing a deal in early March with the rival American League by Washington Senators manager Jake Stahl, who saw him play over the off-season. It was reported that Stahl told him the Pirates had no claim over his services and he was free to sign a better deal. When word got back to Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss, he immediately released Cassady, saying that he had been trying to give him away all winter, so he was free to go elsewhere. He played regularly for the Senators at the very beginning of the 1905 season, though he ended up playing just ten games over the first two months before they let him go under his own request. After that, he spent the rest of his 13-year pro career in the minors. Cassady spent his last six seasons of pro ball (1907-12) playing for the Denver Grizzlies of the Western League. He went out on a high note, batting .303 in 154 games during his final season at 33 years old.
On this date in 2002, Adam Hyzdu hit two homers and drove in seven runs in a 15-6 win over the St Louis Cardinals. Coming into the game, Hyzdu had two homers and seven RBIs for the Pirates in 2002, so he doubled both stats in one day. Here’s the boxscore and play-by-play for the game.
On this date in 1959, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Kansas City A’s played the annual Hall of Fame game in Cooperstown, NY. The game ended in a 5-5 tie in the sixth inning, while the A’s were batting with the bases loaded. Bill Mazeroski homered twice in the game. Here is our Game Rewind article.
We also posted a Game Rewind from July 20, 1901 in which the Pirates piled on runs, partially due to an unlikely source, whose time in Pittsburgh was about to run out.