This Date in Pirates History: May 11

We have five Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including teammates from the 1990 squad that were born on the exact same day. Earlier this morning, we had a special feature on Rip Sewell, one of the best pitchers in team history, which can be read here. The other four players are below, as well as a memorable game from the 1977 season courtesy of John Fredland.

Mike Garcia (1968) Pitcher for the 1999-2000 Pirates. He was originally signed after being drafted by the Tigers in the 55th round of the amateur draft. Three years earlier, while coming out of high school, the Red Sox drafted him in the seventh round. With the Tigers, he made it to AA before being released in 1993. He then signed with the expansion Colorado Rockies, but was cut by the end of Spring Training. From 1994 until 1998, Garcia played in Mexico and Taiwan. In December of 1998, he returned to the states, signing with the Pirates. Mike had a 3.95 ERA in 23 AAA outings in 1999, earning a September call-up. He allowed a run in his major league debut, then followed that with six scoreless appearances. In 2000, Garcia was a late cut during Spring Training but made it back to the majors shortly after the season started. His results were opposite of the previous season with Pittsburgh, he struck out the side during his only inning during his first game back, then struggled the rest of the way. In 11.1 innings over 13 outings, Mike allowed 21 hits, seven walks and 15 runs, before being sent back to AAA and eventually released before the season ended. Pittsburgh resigned him in January 2001, and he spent the season in AA, where he dominated the younger competition. He bounced around the minors and foreign ball until retiring after the 2007 season.

Mark Huismann (1958) Pitcher for the 1990-91 Pirates. He was originally drafted by the Cubs in 1979 but did not sign. The next year he went undrafted and signed with the Royals. By 1983. Mark was in the majors with Kansas City although he only spent one full season(1986) in the majors during his career. The Pirates signed him in March of 1990 as a free agent after he was released by the Orioles. The previous season, he had a 6.35 ERA in eight games(11.1 IP) with Baltimore. For the Pirates in 1990, Huismann made just two appearances in June, giving up five runs in one inning, then throwing two shutout innings the other game. In 1991, he was called up early in the season when the Pirates sent down Tom Prince and expanded the bullpen to six pitchers. Mark pitched five games, allowing runs in three of them, and in another game, he gave up a hit to the only batter he faced. He was sent back to AAA in May, then Pittsburgh released him in June. Huismann signed quickly with the Royals, although he pitched in AAA until the end of 1992 without making it back to the majors. He is one of just four players from Colorado State University to make the majors. Mark made one start in his nine year major league career, 1986 for the Mariners.

Walt Terrell (1958) Pitcher for the 1990 Pirates. He was drafted and signed by the Texas Rangers in 1980. Just before Opening Day in 1982, the Mets acquired him, along with Ron Darling, in exchange for Lee Mazzilli. Terrell won eleven games for the Mets in 1984, then was dealt to the Tigers in exchange for Howard Johnson. In Detroit, he would win at least 15 games over the next three seasons, going a combined 47-32 in 102 starts. His record fell to just 7-16 in 1988 but he had a better ERA than each of his two previous seasons. Walt was then traded to the Padres, where he pitched briefly, until being dealt to the Yankees in July of 1989. After a 5.20 ERA in 13 starts for New York, he left via free agency, signing with the Pirates just 16 days later. He had a few decent starts in Pittsburgh but for the most part, he was a bust, far from his best days in Detroit. After 16 starts, Walt was released, finishing 2-7 with a 5.88 ERA. He resigned with the Tigers, pitching there through the end of the 1992 season. He finished his career with a 111-124 record, with a 4.22 ERA in 294 starts and 27 relief appearances.

Gene Hermanski (1920) Outfielder for the 1953 Pirates. He was originally signed by the Philadelphia A’s in 1939 but made his major league debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1943. Shortly after his debut, he began serving in the military which caused him to miss all of 1944 and 1945. Gene returned to the Dodgers in 1946 and remained there until a June 1951 trade sent him to the Chicago Cubs. He hit .255 with 34 RBI’s in 99 games during his first full season with the Cubs(1952) and he was batting .150 through 18 games played in the 1953 season, when the Cubs sent him and five other players(plus cash) to the Pirates in the Ralph Kiner deal. For Pittsburgh, Hermanski played 41 games, mostly off the bench. He hit .177 with four RBI’s in what would turn out to be his last season in the majors. He spent the entire 1954 season playing in the Pacific Coast League before retiring. Gene had a career average of .272, with 533 hits in 739 games.

Jolly Roger Rewind: May 11, 1977

After a doubleheader defeat one night earlier in Three Rivers Stadium extended the Braves’ losing streak to sixteen games, Atlanta owner Ted Turner resorted to a bold move to reverse his team’s fortunes: giving regular manager Dave Bristol a ten-day “leave of absence” and taking over the dugout helm himself. Unfortunately for the man whom a local columnist described as “indeed the handsome, charming, charisma-charged firebrand that his press clippings have made him out to be,” John Candelaria outdueled Phil Niekro for a 2-1 Bucco victory and the Braves’ seventeenth straight loss.

Turner turned most of the in-game duties over to coaches Vern Benson and Chris Cannizzaro, and the three of them took a relatively laissez-faire approach to game management. Niekro, who fell to 0-7 on the year, was the sole Atlanta pitcher to take the mound. The Braves did send in two pinch-hitters and a pinch-runner in an attempted ninth-inning rally; one of the pinch-hitters, Darrell Chaney, nearly tied the game by driving a pitch into the left-center gap with pinch-runner Pat Rockett on first and two out, but the ball bounced over the fence for a book-rule double. At that point, Pirates manager Chuck Tanner replaced Candelaria with Rich Gossage, who ended the game—which was also the first-place Bucs’ eleventh consecutive victory—by striking out pinch-hitter Rowland Office.

Turner’s managerial career lasted just one game; NL President Charles Feeney telephoned him the next morning and informed him that he was not to be in the dugout for that afternoon’s game, on the grounds that anyone who owned stock in a team could not manage it..* The Braves wound up stopping the losing streak—and the Pirates’ winning streak—with a 6-1 victory.

* Notwithstanding his 0-1 mark as field manager and the Braves’ 61-101 overall record that year, Turner’s sporting 1977 was not completely joyless. Less than two months later, he would be chosen to lead America’s Cup defense as skipper of the yacht Courageous. In September, Turner successfully defended America’s Cup, defeating Australia 4-0.

Box score and play-by-play

News-Dispatch game story

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Randy Linville

Walt Terrell was awful, a huge let down to the teenage version of me.

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