TheBaseballPage.com

There was joy about the country as millions of brave soldiers came back to America to try and pick up their lives, where they had left it off.  The same could be said of the national pastime.  Just about every major star was back and the Pirates welcomed back their heroes, such as Elbie Fletcher, Johnny Lanning, Maurice Van Robays, Fritz Ostermueller and Billy Cox.   Add to the mix war star Bob Elliott and a strapping young rookie from New Mexico who made his way out east to debut for the Pirates in 1946 by the name of Ralph Kiner.

With all the pieces put together on the heels of 3 consecutive first division campaigns, the city of Pittsburgh were licking their chops for a potential run at the National League pennant.

With Fletcher back, the Pirates were able to sell Babe Dahlgren to the St Louis Browns in April as Pittsburgh began its quest of the crown.  Unfortunately for the Pirates, things would quickly go downhill with a series of sub-par seasons   In fact, two of the few positive performances was that of rookie Ralph Kiner who won his first home run title with 23 and shortstop Billy Cox, who finally got his chance to man the starting shortstop spot and responded well with a .290 average although he led the circuit with 39 errors.  Veteran backstop Al Lopez was also off to a wonderful.307 start when he broke a bone in his hand.

Fletcher was ineffective, hitting .256 with only 66 RBI’s, while Van Robays slumped to .212.  Rip Sewell had a poor 8-12 record as he added insult to injury by tossing the infamous eephus pitch to Ted Williams in the all-star game with Williams smacking the ball out of the park for a homer.  With the disappointing performances in hand, the Pirates put the collective nails in their coffins to their season as well as that of manager Frankie Frisch, who was relieved of his job with 3 games left in favor of former catcher Spud Davis who finished up with a 1-2 mark.

One of the key moments in the season had nothing to do with their play on the field as the team was involved in an attempt to form a players union, one of the first attempt in years as all others in the past were met with failure.  Robert Murphy, a Boston Attorney who tried to form a players union called the American Baseball Guild, was interested in getting the following proposals passed, splitting the proceeds of the sale of a player 50-50 between the club and the said player, a $7,500 minimum salary and using the arbitration process in the case of all salary disputes.  Baseball refused to negotiate with Murphy, so he chose a team, the Pirates, in which 23 of the players belonged to the guild, to hopefully throw the first bomb and walk out on a game.

Murphy needed, 3/4 of the team to vote yes in order to walk out of a scheduled game against the Giants on June 8th.  The team voted 20-16 to walk, as Rip Sewell and Jimmy Brown, the only two players not to join, tried to talk the players into going out and perform.  It didn’t have the 3/4 majority so they ended up playing the Giants as they went out and beat New York 10-5.  Some of the Players, who did not walk, credited their respect of owner Bill Benswanger for one of the reasons they chose to play.  A frustrated Murphy protested with the National Labor Relations Board, claiming the team brass was using unfair practices in preventing the team from striking.  The NLRB denied the appeal and the union was a dead deal,……….. for the time being.

As for Sewell and Brown, the two players that did not join the union, Sewell was presented with a wristwatch from commissioner Happy Chandler for siding with management during the altercation a move, which was eventually resented by his teammates.  Brown got it a little worse when he was reportedly beat up by some unknown thugs after a ball game at Forbes Field.

One other memorable moment was the Dreyfuss family finally giving up the team they proudly owned since 1899 as the family sold to a group that included singer Bing Crosby, Fred McKinney, Tom Johnson and John Galbreath for $2.5 million.  The Dreyfuss clan had been in charge through many good and bad times, but it was now time to turn the reigns over.  Crosby, Johnson and Galbreath of course would see better times later on as they dug out of the doldrums of the 40’s and 50’s to win world championships in 1960 and 1971 (and of course the Galbreath family and Johnson were there for the one in 1979).

Unlike the Dreyfuss family, the new regime had other business interests than baseball and hired, what was in essence, the first General Manager the club had in Roy Hamey, the former chief of the American Association, to run the baseball end of the Pirates.

The season was a total bust, for the union as well as all involved.  It was even a poor one for their best player Bob Elliott who moved back to right field and hit only .263 with 68 RBI’s.  It would prompt the club to make one of the worst moves in the franchises history when it sent their 29-year old marquis player the day after the season ended to the Braves for 36-year old Billy Herman who was coming off a .306 season in limited play.  Herman, who told the Bucco brass when he came, that they overpaid for him in giving up Elliott, hit only .213 in 47 at bats in 1947 while taking over the reigns of the club unsuccessfully in 1947 for not even one full season.  Elliott rebounded with his greatest season ever winning the MVP award in ’47 with a 22-113-.317 campaign before leading the club to the National League crown the following year.  It was the beginning of the end for the team, which was about to embark on its darkest period in the history of the team.

By Pirates Encyclopedia
 

More From Around the Web

Sponsored Links

This day in baseball history

July 22

  • 1986

    On July 22, 1986, Ken Griffey of the Atlanta Braves swats th ...

  • 1979

    On July 22, 1979, future Hall of Famer George Brett clubs th ...

  • 1968

    On July 22, 1968, the Atlanta Braves set a major league reco ...

More Baseball History

Player Profile

Adam Dunn

LF, Cincinnati Reds

Read Bio
Hall of Fame

Gaylord Perry

P, Cleveland Indians

Read Bio
Season Profile

1926 Detroit Tigers

The 1920s are consid

Read Bio
Historical Figure

Joe Buck

 

Read Bio
Manager Profile

Joe Kuhel

Washington Senators

Read Bio
Ballpark Profile

Citi Field

This $850 Million Dollar

Read Bio
 
Tagged:
Al Lopez, Babe Dahlgren, Bill Benswanger, Billy Cox, Billy Herman, Bing Crosby, Bob Elliott, Elbie Fletcher, Fritz Ostermueller, Happy Chandler, John Galbreath, Johnny Lanning, Maurice Van Robays, Ralph Kiner, Rip Sewell, Tom Johnson

Comments

  • godisagirl said: Actress Skye McCole Bartusiak,

    Coach Outlet Online

    who played Mel Gibson's youngest daughter in "The Patriot," died Saturday at her home in Houston,

    Coach Outlet

    her mother said Sunday. She was 21. "We lost our girl,"

    Coach Factory Outlet

    Helen McCole Bartusiak told CNN.While investigators have not determined a cause of death, Bartusiak had been suffering from epileptic seizures in recent days,

    Coach Outlet Online

    according to her mother."She was a kind and really beautiful girl,"

    Coach Factory Outlet

    her mother said.Bartusiak's most visible role was as the young daughter of Mel Gibson's Revolutionary War "Patriot" character in the 2000 movie.Her movie acting career began when she was just 6 in 1999 with a role in "The Cider House Rules."

    Coach Outlet Store Online

    She played the daughter of Michael Douglas' character in "Don't Say a Word" in 2001.Her last film role was the lead in "Sick Boy,"

    Coach Outlet Store Online

    a low-budget thriller released in 2012.Bartusiak had been preparing to produce and direct her first feature film in recent months,

    Coach Factory Outlet

    her mother said.Her boyfriend found Bartusiak sitting up in her bed in the garage apartment adjacent to her parents' Houston home, her mother said. "

    Coach Outlet

    We think she had a seizure and choked and nobody was there."Her mother said she started cardiopulmonary resuscitation on her daughter before paramedics arrived. "They were working on her for 45 minutes and could not get a heartbeat," she said.

    Coach Handbags Outlet

    "I've done CPR on that kid more than one time and it just didn't work this time," Bartusiak said.

    Coach Outlet

    She's suffered epileptic seizures since she was a baby, although they disappeared for a few years until returning last week, her mother said.

    Coach Outlet

    Bartusiak's mother spent Sunday morning looking through photos of her actress daughter for the funeral.

    Chanel Handbags

    The images include pictures with Presidents George W.

    Louis Vuitton

    and George H.W. Bush, Mel Gibson, Dennis Hopper and Michael Douglas, she said.

    Louis Vuitton Outlet

    "The girl has lived such an amazing life," she said. 12:20AM 07/21/14
Login or register to post comments

Stay Connected

Share |

Today's Poll

Will Red Sox Repeat in 2014: