This Date in Pirates History: January 5

No big transactions or big name players born on this date on this date in Pittsburgh Pirates history but plenty of players to get to and even a manager thrown in there.

Mark Redman (1974) The Pirates acquired Redman, along with Arthur Rhodes in November 2004 from the Oakland A’s in exchange for Jason Kendall. He went 11-12, 4.71 for the A’s in 2004 after winning 14 games for the World Series winning Florida Marlins in 2003. Redman started off strong for the Pirates, going 4-4, 2.80 in his first 14 starts but he went downhill quick after that, finish with a 5-15 record and the Pirates won just one of his last 16 starts. Following the season he was traded to the Royals in exchange for Johan Bayliss and a minor leaguer. Redman retired following the 2008 season with a 68-85 record in ten seasons.

Danny Jackson (1962) Pitcher for the 1992 NL East winning Pirates team. Jackson had gone 23-8 for the 1988 Reds team the won the World Series, finishing 2nd in the NL Cy Young voting that year. When the Pirates acquired him from the Cubs on July 11, 1992 for third baseman Steve Buechele, he had won a total of only 17 games since that 1988 season. He went 4-4, 3.36 in 15 starts for the Pirates to finish out the 1992 season. He started game two of the NLCS against the Braves but was chased from the game in the second inning, giving up four earned runs and taking the loss. Following the season he was taken by the Florida Marlins in the 1992 expansion draft. He pitched in the majors until 1997 finishing with a 112-131 record.

John Russell (1961) Manager of the Pirates from 2008-2010. Russell was a catcher in the majors for 10 seasons prior to becoming a manager/coach. He managed in the Twins minor league system from 1995 to 2002 before becoming the Pirates third base coach and catching instructor from 2003 to 2005. After two seasons of managing in the Phillies farm system the Pirates hired him as their manager for the 2008 season. In three years at the helm he went 186-299 with a high of 67 wins in 2008. He has been a coach for the Orioles for the last three seasons.

Roger Samuels (1961) Pitched five games for the 1989 Pirates. He was originally drafted by the Astros in 1983, who released him prior to the 1987 season. He signed with the Giants and made his major league debut with them in 1988 making 15 relief appearances with a 3.47 ERA. He began the 1989 season in the minors and was still there when the Pirates acquired him in a deal for Ken Oberkfell in early May. Samuels was called up briefly at the end of May, struggling in five relief appearances(9.82 ERA in 3.2 IP) before the Pirates returned him to the minors. He pitched until 1990, finishing his career in the Mets organization.

Bill Laxton (1948) Never played in the majors with the Pirates but was signed by them as a 7th round draft pick in 1966, then a year later he was involved in a big name trade. He pitched for the Pirates rookie league team in Salem in 1966 then for their A-ball team in Clinton, Iowa in 1967 going a combined 5-15, 3.71 in 30 games. In December of 1967 he was one of four players traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for future Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning. Laxton pitched parts of five seasons in the majors going 3-10, 4.73 in 121 games. His son Brett Laxton pitched for the 1999 Oakland A’s and 2000 Kansas City Royals.

Oldis was a career .237 hitter

Bob Oldis (1928) Catcher for the 1960 World Series winning Pirates team. Oldis had previously played only 24 major league games over three seasons(1953-55 with the Senators) when the Pirates took him in the 1959 rule V draft from the Yankees. He was used very little throughout the season, making three starts all year and playing a total of just 22 games while going 4 for 20 at the plate. He was used twice off the bench in the WS without getting an at bat. He started the following season on the Pirates roster but spent most of the year in the minors. He went 0-for-5 in four games for the 1961 Pirates. Shortly after the season ended the Pirates sold him to the Phillies where he played 85 games over the next two seasons before retiring as a player.

Jack Salverson (1914) Pitched briefly for the 1935 Pirates. They acquired him in December of 1934 for pitcher Leon Chagnon, who had been with the Pirates since 1929. Salverson was just shy of his 21st birthday and had already pitched parts of two seasons in the majors at the time of the trade. He had pitched just five games for the Pirates with a 9.00 ERA in seven relief innings when they decided to trade him to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for a young outfielder named Bud Hafey, a cousin of Hall of Fame outfielder Chick Hafey. Salverson finished the 1935 season with the White Sox, then returned to the minors for seven seasons before he played in the majors again in 1943, then again in 1945. He won just nine major league games over five seasons but was able to pick up 224 minor league wins before he retired in 1953.

Gene Madden (1890) Pinch-hitter for the Pirates on April 20,1916. Madden played one game in his major league career and he was lucky to get that game in. Madden made the 1916 Opening Day roster, but didn’t get into action through seven games. The Pirates were planning on releasing him to Syracuse of the New York State League after play on April 20th and he wasn’t in the starting lineup. When the starting pitcher Al Mamaux got knocked around early, Madden was sent in to hit for him in the second inning. He grounded out to second base. After the game, he was assigned to Syracuse and ended up never being recalled. Madden had a long career in the minors and also served in the military during WWI. He began playing in 1908 and retired from pro ball after the 1921 season. The local press said that they expected Madden to rejoin the team in the Fall, but he batted .232 in both 1916 and 1917 with Syracuse, then went to war, so he never got his chance with the team again. He played both infield and outfield regularly during his career.

Newt Hunter (1880) First baseman for the 1911 Pirates, his only season in the majors. He had been playing minor league ball since 1903 when the Pirates traded three players for him on August 20,1910. The trade was made with the minor league team he was playing for at the time, the Kansas City Blues of the American Association. He played 65 games total for the Pirates, 61 at first base with the majority of the team’s other games at the position being played by two future Hall of Famers, Honus Wagner and Bill McKechnie. Newt hit .254 with 35 runs scored and 24 RBIs. He then returned to the minors where he played regularly until 1918, briefly making another appearance on the field in 1924 for six games. After his playing career ended he coached and scouted for many years.

Author: John Dreker

John was born in Kearny, NJ, hometown of the 2B for the Pirates 1909 World Championship team, Dots Miller. In fact they have some of the same relatives in common, so it was only natural for him to become a lifelong Pirates fan. Before joining Pirates Prospects in July 2010, John had written numerous articles on the history of baseball while also releasing his own book and co-authoring another on the history of the game. He writes a weekly article on Pirates history for the site, has already interviewed many of the current minor leaguers with many more on the way and follows the foreign minor league teams very closely for the site. John also provides in person game reports of the West Virginia Power and Altoona Curve.

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