Born on this date in 1928 was Don Hoak, third baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1959 until 1962. He spent seven seasons in the minors for the Dodgers before he got his first shot at the big leagues in 1954 then ended up spending the next 11 seasons in the majors without another trip back to the minors until he took a manager job for the Pirates after his playing days. Don played for three teams in five seasons before joining the Pirates in a seven played trade with the Reds on January 30,1959 that was just covered here. His best season came in 1957 when he led the NL with 39 doubles, hit .293 with 74 walks and 89 RBI’s and made his only career all-star appearance. He also led all NL third baseman in putouts and fielding percentage. In 1958 he hit .261 with 50 RBI’s but injuries limited him to getting into just seven of the last 42 games of the season.
Don would lead the National League in games played with 155 his first season in Pittsburgh. He hit .294 with 71 walks and drove in 65 runs while also leading NL third baseman in both putouts and assists. Those stats earned him some MVP consideration for the first time in his career, finishing 17th overall but he would top that in 1960. He again played 155 games in 1960 and hit .282 with 16 homers, 79 RBI’s and a career high 97 runs scored. The Pirates went on to win the World Series that year and Hoak hit .217 with three RBI’s during the seven game series against the Yankees. He would finish second in the NL MVP voting to his teammate, Dick Groat. In 1961 Hoak hit a career high .298 and posted a .839 OPS in 145 games. His stats began to decline in 1962 and he played just 121 games although he was still able to lead all NL third baseman in fielding percentage. After the season he was traded to the Phillies for outfielder Ted Savage and infielder Pancho Herrera. Hoak hit .231 for the Phillies in 1963 then was used six times as a pinch hitter in 1964 before retiring as a player. He managed two years in the Pirates farm system, 1968-69 before passing away of a heart attack at age 41 just after the 1969 season ended.
Other players born on this date include:
Javier Martinez (1977) pitcher for the 1998 Pirates. He was a third round draft pick by the Cubs out of Puerto Rico in 1994 who, prior to joining the Pirates, had struggled through in the low minors in 1997, posting a 5.73 ERA in 26 A-ball starts. Despite the numbers and the fact he was still just 20 years old, he was picked by the Oakland A’s in the rule 5 draft then immediately purchased from them by the Pirates. He spent the entire 1998 season in the majors, posting a 4.83 ERA in 37 relief appearances. He had a high walk rate but also struck out 42 batters in 41 innings of work. Javier returned to the minors in 1999 but again struggled with control and also missed a good portion of the season. The Pirates released him in late December of that year and he ended up playing the next six seasons in the minors before retiring. He pitched just one game in AAA during his entire career.
Jack Maguire (1925) outfielder for the 1951 Pirates. He was an outfielder most of his brief major league career but in the minors he mostly played infield and with the Pirates it was the same. He was signed as an amateur by the Giants in 1943, although he was serving in the military for the next two years. He returned in 1946 and spent the next four seasons bouncing around the minors until he had a breakout season in 1949, hitting .348 with 71 RBI’s for the Minneapolis Millers of the American Association. He was with the Giants all of 1950, playing sparingly throughout the year. He played just 29 games and started only six of them, hitting .175 in 45 plate appearances. He was again being used in the reserve outfield role in 1951 when the Giants put him on waivers in late May despite hitting .400 at the time. The Pirates picked him up and used him eight times off the bench in just over a month before they too put him on waivers where he was picked up by the St Louis Browns. He hit .244 in 41 games for the Browns before returning to the minors for one final season in 1952. He went 0-for-5, with a walk and run scored while with the Pirates.
Charlie Hautz (1852) first baseman for the 1884 Pittsburgh Alleghenys. He made his major league debut in 1875, playing in the National Association, the first recognized major league and a league that helped pave the way for the National League in 1876. Hautz played first base for the St Louis Red Stockings, a team that existed for all of 19 games and won just four of those games. He batted .301, etching his name into the baseball record books as the franchises all-time leader in hitting. The next and only other time he played in the majors was late in the season for the 1884 Alleghenys when they were still a member of the American Association. He hit .208 in seven games with three walks and no runs scored. Hautz was an above average player who jumped around the minors his entire career and even turned down multiple offers to play in the National League.