Pirates History

Ten Oldest Living Former Pittsburgh Pirates

Ten Oldest Living Former Pittsburgh Pirates

Being a big fan of the history of the game I think it is always fun to look for links to the past. With that in mind, I thought I would list the ten oldest living former Pittsburgh Pirates players with a brief note about each player. Starting with the oldest player first with their birth dates in parenthesis:

Mike Sandlock (10/17/1915)  Catcher for the 1953 Pirates. At the age of 37 he returned to the majors for the first time since 1946 to play one more season in 1953. He is the third oldest living MLB player

Steve Nagy (5/28/1919) Pitched six games for the 1947 Pirates as a 28 year old rookie. He played one other season in the majors playing for the 1950 Senators.

Wally Westlake (11/8/1920) Star outfielder for the 1947-51 Pirates. For more info on Westlake check the article about him from November 8th. As you will note in the article, it lists him as the 4th oldest living Pirates player but Nick Strincevich passed away on November 11,2011.

Marv Rackley (7/25/1921) outfielder for the 1949 Pirates. He hit .314 in 11 games for the Pirates before the trade that sent him to Pittsburgh from the Dodgers was voided and he was returned back to Brooklyn. The Pirates complained that Rackley was injured(arm) prior to the trade

Tom Saffell (7/26/1921) outfielder for the Pirates from 1949-51 and 1955. Saffell managed for four seasons in the minors for the Pirates after retiring. He is one day younger than Rackley. Tom was the president of the Gulf Coast League for 30 seasons, retiring in 2009 and starting the following season, the league named their championship trophy after him.

Johnny Hetki (5/12/1922) relief pitcher for the 1953-54 Pirates. He pitched 112 games over those two seasons, his last two in the majors. Prior to that in six seasons he pitched a total of 102 games with the Reds and St Louis Browns. He had a 117-81 minor league record and was a .260 hitter down on the farm.

Vic Barnhart (9/1/1922) shortstop for the Pirates from 1944-46. He is the son of Clyde Barnhart who spent his entire nine year playing career in a Pirates uniform from 1920-28. Vic played ten seasons in the minors and originally signed with the Pirates as a 17 year old in 1940. He played with the earliest team(1944 Pirates) among any living former Pirates player.

Ralph Kiner (10/27/1922) Hall of Fame outfielder for the Pirates from 1946-53. His 301 homers in a Pirates uniform are second only to Willie Stargell. He won seven straight HR titles to start his career. For more on Kiner, check out the article from October 27.

Eddie Basinski (11/4/1922) second baseman for the 1947 Pirates. Hit .199 in 56 games during his only season in Pittsburgh. Played two other seasons in the majors, 1944-45 for the Dodgers. He played nearly 2000 games during a 15 year minor league career.

Bob Kuzava (5/28/1923) pitched four games for the 1957 Pirates. Spent ten season in the majors playing for eight different teams. Two years after signing his first pro contract he began a three year tour of duty during WWII but was still able to play 17 years in pro ball.

Pirates History

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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