This Date in Pirates History: January 22
Five former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, so starting with the most recent first we have lefty pitcher Jimmy Anderson (1976) who played for the Pirates from 1999 until 2002. He was a ninth round draft pick of the Pirates in 1994 and had a strong debut in the rookie league straight out of high school, going 5-1 1.60 in 56.1 innings with 66 strikeouts. He made 14 low-A starts in 1995 and posted a 1.53 ERA, earning a mid-season promotion to high-A. In 1996 he had a 13-6 2.77 record in 162.1 innings, spending more than half the season in AA at the age of 20. Despite that early success at a young age, he stalled out the following two seasons posting a combined ERA near 5.00 in 60 games. He pitched better in 1999 early a brief call-up in July followed by a permanent one in early August. He would go 2-1 3.99 in 13 games, four as a starter, that rookie season with the Pirates.
In 2000 Anderson was in the Pirates starting rotation where he went 5-11 5.25 in 144 innings. The following year he made a career high 34 starts and went 9-17 5.10 in 206.1 innings. He was fourth in the NL in games started and finished second in losses. In 2002 his numbers and amount of starts dropped as he went 8-13 5.44 in 140.2 innings with more walks(63) than strikeouts(47). Following the season the Pirates released him. Between 2003 and 2006 he pitched a total of 20 more major league games and was a member of an astonishingly high, eight different organizations in that four year period. He last pitched in the majors in July 2004 and played through the 2006 season in the minors.
Fred Cambria (1948) was a pitcher for the 1970 Pirates. He was a third round draft pick of the Pirates in 1969 who didn’t take long to make it to the majors, getting there just 14 months after being drafted. He went right to AA after signing and had a 9-2 2.16 record in 14 starts. Beginning the next season in AAA he had a 12-7 4.17 record in 26 starts before getting called up to the majors. He made his debut on August 26, 1970 and was the tough luck loser in a 2-1 game. He started again four days later and this time got a no decision in a 2-1 Pirates loss. He would get his first major league win six days later, going 7.1 innings while allowing four runs to the Phillies in a 6-4 game. Little did he know at that time that it would be his only major league win. He started two more games, taking one loss and another no decision before finishing his major league career with a two inning shutout performance in relief. He would develop arm problems the following season and never quite recover, pitching just 73 minor league innings over the 1971-72 seasons. He pitched another seven games in AA for the Yankees in 1973 before retiring. One interesting note about him, Cambria was born in Cambria Heights, NY.
Diomedes Olivo (1919) was a pitcher for the 1960 and 1962 Pirates. He is supposedly the second oldest rookie ever to Satchel Paige but just like Paige, questions surround his actual age and he may have been much older than the 41 years he claimed in 1960 when he made his major league debut with the Pirates that year. He was originally property of the Reds dating back to 1955 but never played in the majors for them. He was a top pitcher in the Dominican Republic during his day, who never wanted to play in the majors until the Pirates came calling. Olivo had a 2.88 ERA in 150 innings at AAA in 1960, earning a late season call-up and four relief appearances for the Pirates.
He spent the entire 1961 season in AAA and posted a 2.01 ERA in 130 innings, earning a spot on the Pirates 1962 opening day roster. He would pitch 62 times for Pittsburgh that year, throwing a total of 84.1 innings and finishing with a 5-1 record, seven saves and a 2.70 ERA. Following the season, the Pirates would trade him, along with Dick Groat to the Cardinals for Julio Gotay and Don Cardwell in a trade that was covered here. He would go 0-5 5.40 in 19 games and be out of the majors by mid-June. His brother Chi-Chi and his son Gil Rondon also played in the majors.
Eugene “Huck” Geary (1917) was a shortstop for the 1942-43 Pirates. He began his career in the minors at age 18 in 1935 and it took him 7 1/2 seasons to make it to the majors for the first time. The Pirates acquired him on June 17,1942 from the Minneapolis Millers of the American Association. He played just nine games that rookie season, going 5-22(.227) at the plate. In 1943 he played 46 games at shortstop for the Pirates, hitting a paltry .151 although he did walk 18 times with just six strikeouts and his defense was approximately league average for his position. He played his last major league game on July 16, 1943 and he would play just ten more minor league games after that, all coming in 1947. In between he served in the military during WWII.
Warren McLaughlin (1876) was a pitcher for the 1902 Pirates. He began his pro career in 1897 for a team from Pennsylvania called the Williamsport Demorest Bicycle Boys. His next known pro experience would come for the Philadelphia Phillies, pitching one game in 1900. It was a six inning relief outing, in which he allowed four runs and six walks in six innings, getting a no decision during a 10-6 loss against the Cardinals. He then pitched for two teams in the minors in 1901, one of them being a team from New London that he would play for during the entire 1902 minor league season. The Pirates brought him to the majors in early September that year and gave him three starts, one against his former team and the other two against the Cardinals. He won all three games and got great support from the Pirates bats, as they scored at least seven runs in each game. That 1902 Pirates team has the best winning percentage in franchise history at .741, which is 17 points higher than the 1909 team that won the franchise’s first World Series title. Prior to the 1903 season, the Pirates sold McLaughlin to the Phillies, where he went 0-3 in three games, his last major league experience. He pitched in the minors until 1907 before retiring as a player.