This Date in Pirates History: December 19
Born on this date in 1964 was relief pitcher Mike Fetters, who pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2001-02. Fetters was in his 13th season in the majors when the Pirates acquired him from the Dodgers along with Adrian Burnside in exchange for Terry Mulholland on July 31, 2001. Mike finished the year going 1-1 4.58 in 17.2 innings over 20 games with the Pirates, recording eight saves. In 2002 Fetters went 1-0 3.26 in 32 games before the Pirates traded him to the Diamondbacks in early July for reliever Duaner Sanchez. Fetters pitched 620 games over 16 major league seasons, saving exactly 100 games in his career.
Also born on this date, in 1918, was outfielder Tommy O’Brien who played for the Pirates from 1943-45. He had spent three seasons in the minors when the Pirates got him just prior to the start of the 1943 season. He played 89 games that rookie season, hitting .310 with 26 RBI’s. The following year O’Brien got into 85 games but received just 178 plate appearances, in which he hit .250 with 21 walks. In 1945, he hit .335 in 58 games but missed most of both June and July. He spent the entire 1946 season in the minors, being sold to the St Louis Cardinals following the season. He next played in the majors in 1949 for the Red Sox, getting into 61 games between the 1949-50 seasons before finishing his career in the minors in 1955.
Born on this date in 1925 was Lou Koupal, a pitcher for the World Series winning 1925 Pirates team. The Pirates paid $40,000 for Koupal, a large sum for the day, after he went 22-10 for Omaha of the Western League. He was used sparingly the first two months of his major league career, getting into six games, all in relief. He pitched a total of nine innings, giving up 14 hits, seven walks and he failed to record a strikeout. He finished the 1925 season in the minors, then began the 1926 season there as well. After going 13-5 for Buffalo of the International League, the Pirates brought him back to the majors in September of that year. He went 0-2, 3.20 in six games, in what would be his last year with the Pirates. He had a career record of 10-21, 5.58 in six major league seasons. He won 175 minor league games, playing until the age of 42.
Finally, born on this date in 1887 was Art Butler, an infielder who played for the 1912-13 Pirates. The Pirates acquired him in August 1912 in a trade for infielder Bill McKechnie, the future Hall of Fame manager who had spent parts of four seasons in a Pittsburgh uniform. Prior to the trade Butler’s major league experience consisted of just 26 games with the Boston Rustlers(Braves) in 1911. He was the Pirates everyday second baseman after the trade, playing 43 games in which he hit .273 with 17 RBI’s. For the 1913 season, Art backed up at both 2B and SS, getting into 82 games, hitting .280 with 40 runs scored. Following the season, he was part of an eight player trade with the St Louis Cardinals that also included Dots Miller and Chief Wilson. That trade was covered here.