Rum Bunter Rumblings: debating Pittsburgh Pirates history


It was a busy week for us here at Rum Bunter.  As spring training draws closer and closer, fans of the hometown Pittsburgh Pirates were both hopeful and edgy.  Hopeful for another great year of Pirate baseball, and edgy in their angst over a few topics.  Some healthy debate raged here, along with some very interesting features.  Here now is the best of this week:

Jacob Misener and The Big Tuna had differing views on Neil Walker‘s future.  Fresh off of Walker losing in arbitration, the debate about The Kid’s long term future at PNC Park caught fire yet again.

In his piece, Jacob feels that not only does Walker deserve an extension, he SHOULD get an extension sooner rather than later:

"Now is the time for Huntington and the Pittsburgh front office to sit down with Walker and his camp and hammer out a deal. Another quality season of 20+ home runs and decent overall numbers at the dish could be enough to spell the end of his time in Pittsburgh."

However, The Big Tuna quickly dashes all hopes of such a deal in his article:

"In layman’s terms:  He (Neal Huntington) will never enter into a contract with Neil Walker that is going to pay him $10 to 15 million in 2020 when his production on the field at that point is worth half that amount (or less).  And the bottom line is, unfortunately for all of us, some other team will."

Right now the only thing that is certain with Neil Walker is that this topic will NOT go away anytime soon.  One other thing that’s certain not to go away is history.  But that doesn’t mean it can’t be rewritten.  One of the reasons we love baseball so much is its rich history.  With the dawn of the internet, we can now sift through that rich tapestry like those in previous generations could not.  Every once in awhile, at the intersection of technology and history, true gems can be found, like the one that FanSided MLB Editorial Director David Hill found in his latest piece.  In it, David let us know that the humble beginnings of the Knuckleball may in fact have ties to the Pittsburgh Pirates.  He explains:

"For the most part, the first knuckleball pitchers were considered to be one of the trio of Eddie Cicotte, who is typically considered the inventor of the knuckler, Lew Moran or Nap Rucker. Yet, the first knuckleball pitcher may not have been any of those three. If photographic evidence is correct, then the first knuckleball pitcher may have been a virtually forgotten Pittsburgh Pirate named Chick Brandom.How is it that the unknown Brandom has entered this conversation? Well, a 6×8 news photograph dating from 1908 was uncovered recently, featuring an in-action shot of the young pitcher. While this normally would not be interesting from more than an academic standpoint, or for someone who collected turn of the century baseball photographs, there is something unique about this picture. In it, Brandom has a knuckleball grip, making Brandom the first documented knuckleball pitcher."

Very awesome to know that a Pirate may have invented the gimmicky-yet-effective pitch, years before a Pirate perfected it (Tim Wakefield of course).

Here are some other highlights from this past week:

In a collaborative effort, the staff at Rum Bunter and The Best Damn Sports Blog Readers in the World (that’s you guys) came up with Bold Predictions for the 2015 Pittsburgh Pirates.  Much fun was had with that one.

The name ‘Ray Searage‘ is one that is quickly becoming equated with ‘Quality Pitching’ in many baseball circles, not just in Pittsburgh.  David asks:  “Is Ray Searage the new Dave Duncan?

By all accounts, Jameson Taillon is right on track in his recovery from Tommy John surgery.  Jacob recapped JT’s recent conversation with

All of us here at Rum Bunter would like to thank all of our readers for their continued support!  Please connect with us on social media and subscribe to our newsletter to get the best of Pittsburgh Pirates news on the FanSided network right in your inbox!