This Date in Pirates History: December 23
Born on this date in 1871 was one of the best pitchers in Pittsburgh Pirates history, Sam Leever, who played for the team from 1898 to 1910. On the Pirates all-time list for pitchers he ranks fourth in ERA with a 2.47 mark, tied for second in wins with 194, sixth in both innings pitched with 2660.2 IP and games started with 299. He ranks fourth in complete games with 241 and second in shutouts with 39. He won 20 games four times and three times led the National League in winning percentage. For more information on Leever please check out our bio on him which can be read here and the breakdown of his career numbers which can be read here.
Also born on this date, in 1882, was Sam Frock, a pitcher for the 1909 Pirates, the first team to win a World Series in franchise history. Frock began his pro career in 1905 pitching in the New England League. In three seasons he went a combined 62-28 before signing with the Boston Doves(Braves) in late August 1907. He went 1-2 2.97 in five games, three as a starter. Despite the nice major league debut and three strong seasons in the minors, he returned to the minors for the entire 1908 season. For Providence of the Eastern League that year he went 24-14 in 47 games, pitching 325 total innings.
Frock was a seldom used reserve for the 1909 Pirates making just four starts and four relief appearances all season. He went 2-1 2.48 in 36.1 innings and he did not appear in the postseason, which was won by the Pirates over the Tigers, four games to three. Frock lasted just seven team games into the 1910 before the Pirates traded him and first baseman Bud Sharpe to the Doves for pitcher Kirby White. Boston was a very poor team that year(53-100) and Frock got plenty of time on the mound going 12-19 3.71, pitching 255.1 innings. He was back in the minors for good just a month into the 1911 season. Sam went just 15-23 in his major league career but he was quite an accomplished minor league pitcher, winning 203 games.
Finally, born on this date in 1889 was Albert “Cozy” Dolan, an outfielder/third baseman who played for the Pirates in 1913. He was acquired from the Phillies in late August of 1913 in exchange for Bobby Byrne and Howie Camnitz. The Pirates also received cash in the deal. Dolan was just 23 at the time of the trade and both Camnitz and Byrne were star players on the downside of their careers. In the last 35 games of that 1913 season Dolan hit .203 with 14 stolen bases. Shortly after the season ended, the Pirates traded Dolan in an eight player deal with the Cardinals that was covered here.
Other Pirates birthdays on this date:
Shawn Chacon, 1977
Rick White, 1968
Dave May, 1943