This Date in Pirates History: February 8

Five former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date. Starting with Felix Pie, who played for the 2013 Pirates. Pie was signed to a minor league deal during the off-season and was called up to the Pirates in late August. He played 27 games, so he was used often, though he started only three times. Pie went 4-for-29 at the plate and drove in two runs. After the season, he was dropped from the 40-man roster and he signed to play in Korea. In six seasons in the big leagues, he has a .246/.295/.369 line in 425 games.

Bob Oliver (1943) outfielder for the 1965 Pirates. He was signed as an amateur free agent in 1963 and spent three full seasons working his way up from A ball to get a brief September look with the Pirates in 1965. He played three games, all off the bench, going 0-2 with a run scored. Oliver returned to the minors for two more seasons before the Pirates traded him to the Minnesota Twins for pitcher Ron Kline. He would go on to play seven more seasons in the majors, 847 total games and hit .256 with 94 homers and 419 RBIs. Oliver now runs his own baseball academy in California. He is the father of major league pitcher Darren Oliver, who just retired after 20 seasons.

Monty Basgall (1922) second baseman for the 1948-49,1951 Pirates. He was originally signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1942 and played just one year in the minors before spending the next three seasons serving in the military during WWII. He played two seasons for Fort Worth of the Texas League before the Dodgers traded him to the Pirates for infielders Vic Barnhart and Jimmy Bloodworth. Monty started the first three games of the season at second base for the Pirates in 1948 but was used very little the rest of the way and even made a couple trips back to the minors during the season. He was the regular second baseman for most of 1949, playing 98 games there and hitting .218 with 26 RBIs. He spent the entire 1950 season in the minors before returning to the Pirates in 1951 in what would be his last season in the majors. He was a career .215 hitter in 200 major league games. He was in the Pirates system until 1958, the last three years as a player/manager, then went on to a long career in numerous roles for the Dodgers.

Cookie Cuccurullo (1918) pitcher for the 1943-45 Pirates. He got his chance in the majors during the war era when major league jobs opened up for more minor league players. He capitalized on the weaker play on the field by going 20-8 2.54 in 1943 for the Albany Senators of the Eastern League. The Pirates let him pitch the last game of that season and he took the loss, allowing seven runs in seven innings. Cookie spent the 1944 season in the Pirates bullpen, making just four starts among his 32 appearances. He had a 2-1, 4.06 record in 106.1 innings. He would assume the same role the following season although he pitched much less with poorer results. He again more four starts, this time throwing 29 total games but pitching just 56.2 innings and had a 1-3, 5.24 record. He spent all of 1946 in the minors, then was traded by the Pirates to the Yankees for pitcher Tiny Bonham. It was a one-sided deal for the Pirates as they got three serviceable seasons out of Bonham while Cuccurullo never pitched in the majors again.

Roy Ellam (1886) shortstop for the 1918 Pirates. He spent 17 years playing in the minors, nine of them as a player/manager and another three years as just a manager. In between all that time in the minors, he had two brief stints in the majors, nine years apart. He played ten September games for the 1909 Reds, then didn’t play in the majors again until the Pirates traded infielder Gus Getz to an independent minor league team from Indianapolis in exchange for him. Ellam played 26 games for the Pirates, hitting just .130 but he did draw 17 walks, giving him a .302 OBP. He was never much of a hitter, even in the minors, where he hit .231 over the course of 1885 games. He ended up playing minor league ball until age 44, retiring after the 1930 season.

Enjoy this story? Pirates Prospects will be switching to a subscription site on 4/13, so that we can continue bringing you the best Pirates coverage there is. For a very small monthly price, you can continue getting articles like this, along with coverage from every minor league city. Get more information here, and subscribe today!

Share This Article

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.

This Date in Pirates History: February 7

Next Story »

This Date in Pirates History: February 9

Latest Analysis

  • Arquimedes Caminero

    Breaking Down the Final Pirates Roster Battles After Today’s Cuts

    1 day ago

    With less than a week remaining in camp, the Pittsburgh Pirates made their latest round of cuts this morning, sending three relievers to minor league camp, including ...

    Read More
  • Keller Supak Hinsz

    Even With the New Draft Rules, the Pirates Are Still Loading Up on Projectable Pitchers

    3 days ago

    From 2008-2011, the Pittsburgh Pirates spent a lot of resources on projectable pitchers out of high school. So far, this approach has led to breakout performances from ...

    Read More
  • Josh Bell made the move to first base over the off-season. (Photo credit: David Hague)

    Why Should You Care About Prospects?

    4 days ago

    Yesterday I had a shorter day than usual. The Pirates had cuts at the MLB level, and a road game. The day was shortened at Pirate City, ...

    Read More
  • Gregory Polanco

    Q&A: Trading Prospects For Rentals, Polanco Concerns, Meadows vs Appel

    5 days ago

    I missed the Q&A last week due to a common problem in Spring Training: I forgot what day it was. It was around 6:00 that I was ...

    Read More
  • Nick Kingham f

    Improving His Two-Seam Fastball will Make Nick Kingham a More Effective Pitcher

    6 days ago

    With Jameson Taillon returning from Tommy John surgery, and unlikely to make an impact at the Major League level early in the year, the top prospect to ...

    Read More
  • Arquimedes Caminero 3

    The Roster Situations That Could Impact the Makeup of the Pirates Bullpen

    1 week ago

    There are less than two weeks remaining in Spring Training, and the one area where the Pittsburgh Pirates had actual position battles is heating up. There were ...

    Read More
  • Jordan Luplow

    How the Pirates are Trying to Stay Ahead of the Curve With the New Draft Rules

    1 week ago

    The 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement brought a lot of changes to Major League Baseball. The biggest change for the Pittsburgh Pirates came in the draft. From 2008-2011, ...

    Read More
  • Alen Hanson

    The Key For Alen Hanson to Help the Pirates in the Majors This Year

    1 week ago

    When the Pittsburgh Pirates moved Alen Hanson to second base last year, part of the plan was to get him to the majors faster by putting him at ...

    Read More
  • Tyler Glasnow 2

    What the Stats Don’t Tell You About Tyler Glasnow

    2 weeks ago

    The stat line for Tyler Glasnow’s start at Pirate City yesterday looked great: 3 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. The lone run ...

    Read More
  • JaCoby Jones Josh Bell

    JaCoby Jones Did Fine in the Move to Shortstop, But Needs to Cut Down on Strikeouts

    2 weeks ago

    The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted JaCoby Jones as an outfielder in the third round of the 2013 draft, then surprised everyone the following year when they moved him ...

    Read More
  • Browse More Articles

    More