Monday, September 19, 2016

Yarr.. Shiver Me Timbers

Ahoy me maties!  Well, today be one o' th' internet's most favorite holidays - International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Fire the cannons, and a bottle of rum! In order t' properly celebrate this momentous occasion, I dug up (usin' me secret Corsair's booty map, o' course) some cards featurin' notable baseball players who plied their talents fer th' Pittsburgh Pirates and th' Chicago Cubs.

Seein' as both o' these storied franchises have been aroun' since th' late 1800's, there's bound t' be quite a bit o' overlap when it comes t' deckhands that they have both laid claim.  To introduce these scabby sea basses, I've gathered some o' these most swashbucklin', rum-swiggin', booty-buryin' rough n' tumble scoundrels o' th' sea t' do th' duty.

This isn't a comprehensive list - were I to claim it be, ye could send me to Davy Jones' locker - rather, 'tis just a groupin' o' cards that I could locate within me collection. So, who both swabbed th' deck and roamed the forests of the New World?  Let's see what we can discover:

Blackbeard says...

Mike Bielecki were bein' drafted by th' Pirates, in th' first round, way back in 1979. After pitchin' four mediocre years as a swingman fer th' Buccos, he were bein' traded t' th' Cubs comin' out o' Sprin' Trainin' in 1988 in a minor deal, I'll warrant ye. Lo and behold, somethin' clicked fer Mike and he suddenly became a top o' th' rotation arm in Chicago, postin' an 18-7 record with a sparklin' 3.14 ERA fer th' NL East Champion Cubs in 1989, and a bucket o' chum.

Unfortunately fer Mike, he were bein' unable t' sustain that success and sunk back into mediocrity, leadin' t' his trade t' th' Atlanta Braves (with Damon Berryhill) fer Turk Wendell and Yorkis Perez. From there, the land lubber managed t' hang aroun' he league through th' 1997 season.

Capt. Jack Sparrow says...

Mr. Burgess may have been born as Forrest, but he be better known in 'round there here parts fer his nickname "Smoky." Whatever ye'd like t' call that scurvey dog, Mr. Burgess stuck aroun' in Major League Baseball fer a long time, debutin' in 1949 with th' Cubs (who discovered that blaggard playin' American Legion ball) and not hangin' up his cleats until aft 1967 with th' White Sox.  But ya have heard of 'im.

In th' midst o' that time, Smoky also played fer th' Pirates from 1959-64, nettin' three All-Star nominations in that time. Also o' note t' Cubs fans, th' gritty veteran were bein' th' lubber behind th' dish when a young Ron Santo took his first at-bat in 1960.

Sir Francis Drake says...

Gene Clines spent th' first five years o' his baseball career with th' Pirates as a regular in outfield, and a bottle of rum! This tenure included a breakout 1972 campaign whar he batted a robust .334 in 107 games, which were bein' enough t' earn that scurvey dog some MVP votes, despite his complete lack o' power, by Blackbeard's sword. 

After a couple o' brief stopovers in New York (Mets) and Texas, Gene found himself traded t' th' Windy City fer Darold Knowles, whar he were bein' a member o' th' infamous 1977 Cubs. Yo-ho-ho! That team were bein' in first place by 8.5 games in th' NL in East in June only t' crash and burn and finish 5th. Gene stuck aroun' through 1979 before callin' it a career. 

Eventually, he found his way back t' th' Second City, servin' as th' first base coach under Dusty Baker - this time, his Cubs team made it into th' playoffs before they completely collapsed, like a mast after a cannonball strike.

Captain Feathersword says...

Joe Coleman were bein' a journeyman pitcher who managed t' hang aroun' th' Big Leagues fer 15 seasons. In that time, he spent just a partial year each with Chicago and Pittsburgh, th' latter o' which he closed his long career out with in 1979, aft a brief 10-game stint.  

However, th' most notable thin' about Mr. Coleman be his bloodline. ye see, his grandfather Joe were bein' also a Major League moundsman in th' 40's and 50's; meanwhile, his son Casey also twirled his way t' th' Big Leagues (mostly fer th' Cubs) afore in this decade. Thus, th' Coleman's became one o' just four families t' have three generations make it t' th' highest level o' pro baseball, a rare feat in any sport. Don't that be just ticklin' yar family-friendly bones?

Captain Morgan says...

Th' Cubs and Pirates have made some lopsided deals betwixt themselves in th' long histories o' their franchises, but th' Kiki Cuyler trade might just take th' cake. In 1927, th' Pirates wanted rid themselves o' th' blossomin' young star because they felt he were bein' a lazy headcase that would ne'er make it in th' league; so, they traded that deckhand t' Chicago fer Sparky Adams and Pete Scott (otherwise known as "who?"). And swab the deck, we'll keel-haul ye! 

All that tall drink did aft that were bein' post a .325 battin' average across eight years fer th' Cubs and thrice led th' league in stolen bases, pavin' his way t' th' Hall o' Fame in 1968, and dinna spare the whip, we'll keel-haul ye! I guess th' Pirates weren't able t' recognize th' booty that they had!


Red Beard says...

Durin' th' dark years o' th' Pittsburgh franchise, players like Jason Bay, Brian Giles and Jason Kendall were th' only reason t' come watch a team that didn't finish o'er .500 from 1993 through 2012. th' three time All-Star were bein' th' rare catcher with speed and a keen battin' eye, often stealin' bags in th' double digits and usually good fer a battin' average above .300. 

When th' Cubs were barrelin' towards th' playoffs in 2007, they decided that rare mix were bein' exactly what they needed t' put them o'er th' edge; so, they acquired that scurvey dog at th' trade deadline t' fill their catchin' vacuum. The ornery cuss weren't great - .270/.362/.356 - and began losin' playin' time t' September call-up Geovany Soto, who ended up startin' all o' their playoff games. Shiver me timbers.

Captain Hook says...

Here's a lubber much more known fer his time in th' Steel City than he be fer th' City o' Wind. Ralph Kiner were bein' a bonafide Hall o' Famer fer th' Pirates, leadin' th' league in homers fer seven (!!!) straight seasons, beginnin' in his rookie year o' 1946. Unfortunately, injuries led t' a rapid decline fer th' slugger and he found himself traded t' th' Cubs in th' middle o' th' 1953 season, ye blowfish. 

Kiner had enough wind left in his sails fer a couple more above average years, but he were bein' unable t' continue playin' th' game by th' end o' th' 1955 season. You might be sayin' that he could hear the tickin' of the clock! Nevertheless, in his prime, there were bein' nary a more fearsome sight at th' plate fer a National League pitcher.

Black Bart says...

Lieber were bein' a much ballyhooed pitchin' prospect in th' Pirates system; but, upon reachin' th' Big Leagues in 1994, were bein' ne'er really able t' find much consistent success. It weren't until aft he were bein' swapped t' th' Cubs fer th' infamous Brant Brown (he dropped th' ball!) that Lieber found his groove and became a surprise top o' th' rotation piece o' a pitchin' rotation. 

In 2001, Lieber posted a 20-6 record and, until Jake Arrieta last year, were bein' th' most recent Cubs hurler t' win 20 games, avast. Unfortunately, injuries derailed that salty swab aft that breakout campaign - however, he were bein' able t' stick aroun' as a swingman fer th' Yankees, Phillies and th' Cubs (again) through 2008.

Billy Bones says...

Dale Long were bein' a Major League journeyman who's biggest claim t' fame in baseball history came flyin' th' Jolly Roger.  In 1956, th' first baseman smacked eight home runs in eight consecutive games - that kind o' power be usually reserved fer me cannon blasts! Walk the plank, by Blackbeard's sword!  This prodigious performance attracted th' interest o' th' Cubs and he found himself traded off Treasure Island t' Chicago come 1957. 

Long contributed yet another oddity t' th' baseball lexicon while callin' Wrigley Field his home, with a chest full of booty. In 1958, durin' a couple o' doubleheaders (one o' which were bein' against th' Buccos), he became th' first left-handed-throwin' catcher since Jiggs Donahue in 1902. Dale were bein' certainly an interestin' player.


Captain Kidd says...

Bill Madlock have be th' next great Cubs third baseman, followin' in Ron Santo's footsteps. Instead, owin' to th' scoundrel P.K. Wrigley's underlyin' racism 'n cheapness, Madlock found himself becomin' a battin' title machine fer th' "We be Family" band 'o Pirates. All Chicago got in return was an aged 'n overpaid Bobby Murcer. 

Fer obvious reasons, 'tis be regarded as one 'o th' worst trades in Cubs' history - right up thar wit' Brock fer Broglio.  You might be sayin' this buried treasure was actually found, just by the wrong team!

The Dread Pirate Roberts says...

Lloyd McClendon was ye prototypical Quad-A player - y'be knowin', th' type that destroys AAA pitchin' but can't hit a lick in th' Big Leagues. That be, 'til he broke out in a big way wit' th' "Boys 'o Zimmer" Cubs in th' unlikely 1989 season. th' rapscallion smacked 12 homers in 92 games (almost twice as much as he'd ever hit again) to help steampower th' club to th' NL East crown. 

Lloyd never came close to matchin' that performance again, however. He was traded to th' band 'o Pirates (as you wish) in a minor deal 'n spent th' rest 'o his career as a moderately useful bench piece. Eventually, he went on to manage th' Buccos fer five seasons, as well.

Black Sam Bellamy says...

We'll end this ship's manifesto with th' mother o' all lopsided Cubs trades in me lifetime. Aramis Ramirez were bein' an inconsistent, terrible-fieldin' third baseman with pop who could just ne'er take thin's t' th' next level in Pittsburgh, to be sure. As th' club grew tired o' waitin' and their budget grew tighter, Neil Huntington and Co. decided t' finally give up on A-Ram in 2003 and traded that scurvey dog fer a booty o' prospects t' Chicago (with Kenny Lofton). Those prospects - Bobby Hill and Matt Bruback - turned out t' be fool's gold. 

All Ramirez did were bein' spend th' next nine seasons as an MVP candidate and middle o' th' order threat, good fer at least 30 big flies and a battin' average aroun' .300.  The scalawag even figured out his glove and became a borderline Gold Glove fielder as his Cubs tenure progressed.  Meanwhile, Bobby Hill were bein' gone by 2005 and Matt Bruback ne'er even reached th' Majors, we'll keel-haul ye, I'll warrant ye!

 Sorry Pittsburgh - this was a real pirate's raid!

With that, we've reached th' end o' our voyage and 'tis time t' dock in a safe harbor. I hope ye enjoyed this long trek through Pirates and Cubs history and be sure t' thank yer buccaneer narrators as ye walk th' plank off th' SS Wrigley Roster Jenga. Shiver me timbers, ye scurvey dog! Now, go out and spread th' Pirate word, honor the Pirate's Code and annoy all o' yer shipmates fer th' rest o' th' afternoon with colorful, witty Corsair banter.

Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum, this sure was fun!


  1. Bravo, my friend. Great post. Impressive that you could dig up so many Cubbie Pirates and keep up the pirate talk to the end.

  2. I actually forgot that Kendall was a Cub. He balanced around a lot after he left Oakland.

    Great post my friend.

  3. That could not have been easy to do a post that long in Pirate speak! Well done!

  4. Interesting look at Pirates and Cubs.

  5. Jean LaFoote, the Barefoot Pirate says...

    That be a fine post, ye salty dog! Me parrot wishes I'd thought of it first.

    I'll wager yer not old enough to know Jean LaFoote, ye pasty-faced landlubber, so here be a link!

  6. Wow, I'm amazed you were able to keep up the pirate talk for that whole post. Interesting theme, and a lot of good info here. I hadn't even heard of some of these guys - and forgot about a few others. Great post!