On this date in 1950 the Pittsburgh Pirates selected Dale Long and George Metkovich in the rule V draft. Long was selected from the New York Yankees organization while Metkovich was taken from Oakland in the Pacific Coast League. Long lasted just ten games in 1951 with the Pirates before he was put on waivers, where he was selected by the St Louis Browns. He lasted all of 34 games before the Browns released him, returning him to the Yankees. Long played three years in the minors, returning to the Pirates organization in 1953. He was back in the majors in 1955 with Pittsburgh and hit .291 with a league leading 13 triples to go along with 16 homers and 79 RBI’s. He led the Pirates in RBI’s and even garnered some MVP attention despite playing for a last place team, finishing 19th in the voting.
In 1956 Long set a still standing record by homering in eight straight ballgames from May 19 – May 28. He finished the year with 27 homers and 91 RBI’s which earned him his only all-star appearances of his career. Just seven games into the 1957 season the Pirates traded away the big first baseman to the Chicago Cubs along with Lee Walls for Gene Baker and Dee Fondy. The following season Long caught two games which was noteworthy because he was a lefty and since then only two other lefties have caught in the majors, Mike Squires in 1980 and Benny Distefano, who caught three games for the 1989 Pirates. Long finished his career with a .267 average and 132 homers in 1013 games.
Metkovich differed from Long in that he had already played in the majors at the time of his selection in the rule V draft. The outfielder/first baseman made his major league debut in 1943 for the Boston Red Sox, playing four seasons there before being sold to the Cleveland Indians for the 1947 season. He also played for the Chicago White Sox in 1949 but spent the 1950 season playing for Oakland in the PCL. He also played all of 1948 and part of 1949 with Oakland as well. Metkovich was 30 years old by the time the 1951 season rolled around. He played 120 games for the Pirates that season, hitting a career high .293 with 40 RBI’s. The next season he hit .271 in 125 games and posted a career high OPS of .726 with 41 RBI’s. In 1953 he really struggled, hitting .146 through early June when the Pirates shipped him to the Chicago Cubs as part of the Ralph Kiner trade. Metkovich played with the Milwaukee Braves in 1954, then finished his pro career with three more years in the Pacific Coast League. He had a .261 average in 1055 career games.
Two Pirates players were born on this date, pitcher Mark Corey who played for Pittsburgh from 2003-04 and another pitcher, Tim Wood, who played for the Pirates in 2011. Wood went to spring training with the Washington Nationals but failed to make the team, getting released right before opening day. He immediately signed with the Pirates and went to AAA where he had a 2-0 2.84 record in 40 relief appearances. He pitched in the majors in June and early July, making 13 appearances and giving up five runs in 8 innings of work. He was traded to the Rangers in August but never pitched in the majors for Texas. The Pirates resigned him as a free agent following the season. Wood turns 29 today.
Corey was signed as a free agent in December 2002 and played in AAA until an early August call up to the Pirates. He had a 5.34 ERA in 22 relief appearances in Pittsburgh. He started the 2004 season in AAA as well but was recalled much quicker, getting in 31 appearances with a 4.54 ERA in 35.2 innings. He also played AAA ball for the Pirates in 2005 and 2007 but never played in the majors again. Mark turns 37 today.