On this date in 1947, Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher, Gene Garber was born. He was drafted by the Pirates in the 20th round of the 1965 amateur draft and he played for Pittsburgh from 1969-70,1972. Garber played a total of just 20 games in the majors with the Pirates before being traded to the Kansas City Royals for pitcher Jim Rooker following the 1972 season. He made 137 starts in the minors for the Pirates but during his major league career, which spanned 931 games over 19 seasons, he started just nine games total. For the Pirates Garber went 0-3 5.61 in 33.2 innings with most of his work coming in 1970, when he pitched 14 games after making the team out of spring training, before being sent back to the minors. In the minors in 1967 and 1968 he posted back to back seasons with ERA’s of 1.89 and 1.88, pitching a total of 315 innings during those years. Between 1974-1987, Garber pitched a total of 61 games against the Pirates while with the Phillies and Braves. He posted a 3.96 ERA against Pittsburgh, 62 points over his career ERA.
Also born on this date in in 1915 was Pirates pitcher Ted Wilks, who came to the team in a seven player trade with the Cardinals in 1951. He had 51-20 3.25 record in 282 games for the St Louis Cardinals over eight seasons before they sent him and four other players, including Joe Garagiola, to the Pirates for Cliff Chambers and Wally Westlake. He was used often in relief by the Pirates, pitching 48 games after joining the team in mid-June. He went 3-5 2.83 with 12 saves in 82.2 innings. In 1952 he pitched 44 games in relief, going 5-5 3.61 before being traded to the Cleveland Indians in August to help with their playoff run. After pitching poorly in early 1953, he was sent to the minors where he stayed until he finished his career in 1956.
Born on this date in 1914 was pitcher Jack Hallett, who pitched for the Pirates for three seasons in the 1940′s. He spent six seasons in the minors before making his major league debut for the 1940 Chicago White Sox. He pitched parts of two seasons in Chicago but struggled, going just 6-6 6.09 in 24 games. He went 11-16 2.88 in the minors for Toronto in 1942 before he made his debut with the Pirates on September 12, 1942. He went 11 innings in his debut, a game that ended in an 11 inning tie. He made two more starts before the season ended. In 1943 he started off well posting a 1.70 ERA in 47.2 innings before he put his career on hold to serve in WW2. He missed the entire 1944-45 seasons, returning to the Pirates for 1946 when he went 5-7 3.29 in 115 innings. Despite the good season, he spent almost all of 1947-49 in AAA, briefly making a two game return with the New York Giants before ending his major league career.
Another pitcher born on this date in 1894 was Ray Steineder, who played for the Pirates in 1923-24. He was originally signed by the Pirates earlier in his career but he jumped the team to play Independent baseball when he found out he would be a bench player. He was suspended from baseball for his actions but was reinstated for the 1923 season when he resigned with the Pirates. He came back in July of 1923 and went 2-0 4.75 in 55 innings. In his limited AB’s he went 7-15 at the plate for a .467 average. In 1924 he was used out of the bullpen and struggled badly, having three appearances in which he didn’t retire a single batter. After posting a 13.50 ERA in just 2.2 innings with 11 baserunners allowed, the Pirates sold him to the Philadelphia Phillies, where he pitched nine more games. He did not pitch in pro ball before or after his brief 29 game major league career.
Finally, rounding out the five man pitching rotation from today’s birthdays is pitcher Pete Meegan, who was born on this date in 1862 and who played for the 1885 Pittsburgh Alleghenys. Meegan started his major league career with the Richmond Virginians in 1884 and he is the all-time win leader for the short lived franchise. He started his pro career in the minors in 1881 playing in California, where he spent most of his baseball playing days from 1881-1892. The 1885 Alleghenys team was his last major league team and he went 7-8 3.39 that year. Ed “Cannonball” Morris made 63 of the team’s 111 starts that year and he won 39 games. They also had future Hall of Famer James “Pud” Galvin, who won just three of his 11 starts, leaving Meegan as the Alleghenys second best starter that year.