Four former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, all were born in the 19th century. In his Jolly Roger Rewind, John Fredland recaps a dramatic extra innings win from the 1991 season. Before I get to the former players, there is one current Pirates player to mention, although he is currently in AAA right now. Jose Tabata turns 24 today. He is in his third season with the Pirates after coming over in the July 2008 deal with the Yankees, that saw Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte go to New York, while Tabata, Jeff Karstens, Daniel McCutchen and Ross Ohlendorf as came back to Pittsburgh. Tabata has hit .270 in his 265 major league games, with 43 stolen bases and 146 runs scored. In his rookie season, he fell just short of batting .300, losing that milestone on the last day of the year, with an 0-4 performance, in a meaningless game in the standings. His last AB of the year was the one that pushed his average to .299 on the season.
Paul Carpenter (1894) Pitcher for the 1916 Pirates. He was signed by the Pirates in mid-July of 1916 after his minor league team, the Chillicothe Babes, disbanded. For Pittsburgh, he was a seldom used reliever, pitching five times the rest of the season, all in relief, for a total of 7.2 innings. He pitched well in one of his last games, going 3.2 innings without an earned run on August 28th, in the second game of a doubleheader. His last appearance days later, was again in a mop-up role during the second game of a doubleheader. Even at that point, over two months into his time with the team, he was referred to as the “Ohio State League busher” for his lack of significant pro experience before joining the Pirates and lack of playing time he was seeing with Pittsburgh. In his five outings, he allowed just one earned run, leaving him with a 1.17 ERA in what turned out to be his only major league experience. His minor league records are spotty, but he played at least two more years of pro ball after the 1916 season. Paul’s nephew, Woody English, was an All-Star infielder during his 12 year career with the Cubs and Dodgers.
Wyatt Lee (1879) Pitcher for the 1904 Pirates. He was purchased by the Pirates from the Washington Senators on March 30,1904, two weeks before the start of the season. Lee was not only a good pitcher, he could hit and play outfield well enough, that in 1902 he played 96 games between the three outfield spots. He won 16 games as a rookie in 1901, but his rookie season should’ve been two years sooner, and should’ve started with the Pirates. Before he played a pro game, he was all set to sign with Pittsburgh, when the Reds made him a higher offer, which started a bidding war between the two clubs that ended with Wyatt pricing himself out of both club’s price range. Finally with the Pirates in 1904, he was brought in to replace Ed Doheny in the rotation. Over the off-season, Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss promised to bring in a star pitcher, and while it took nearly the entire off-season, Lee was thought to be that man.
In 1903 for the Senators, Wyatt went 8-12 with a 3.08 ERA and played 47 games in the outfield. As it turned out though for the Pirates, Lee lasted just two months with the team before he was released. He made three starts, including his last one on May 26th, which was a 9-1 loss to the Reds. The Pirates had a strong rotation, then added a college star named Mike Lynch to the group in June, marking the end for Lee. He went 1-2 8.74 in 22.2 innings and never played outfield for the Pirates, although he did pinch hit. Wyatt went to the minors, finishing the 1904 season with Toledo of the American Association, where he played outfield the rest of the year. He didn’t resume pitching until 1906, but would go on to win 127 minor league games over a ten year(1906-15) stretch.
Andy Dunning (1871) Pitcher for the 1889 Pittsburgh Alleghenys. Early in the 1889 season, the Alleghenys were without two of their better pitchers, Pud Galvin and Ed Morris. They signed three young pitchers to fill their spots, hoping that at least one of them would work out. Between Andy Dunning, Al Krumm and Alex Beam, they got five starts over a two week period and won one game. Dunning was just 17 at the time, in his third year of pro ball. His major league debut was with Pittsburgh on May 23,1889, during a 6-1 loss to the Washington Nationals. Dunning threw a complete game, allowing eight hits and seven walks. He was said to be very erratic and hard for the catcher to handle. In his second appearance a week later, Andy was even more wild, walking nine batters, allowing 12 hits and losing 13-6 to the Phillies. That would be his last appearance for the Pirates, as Morris and Galvin would soon return to the rotation. Dunning started one game for the Giants two years later and only lasted until the second inning before being pulled. He pitched in the minors until 1893, his baseball career over at the ripe old age of twenty-two.
Dan Lally (1867) Right fielder for the 1891 Pirates. He had a 19 year minor league career that stretched from 1887 until 1905, playing with teams from coast to coast and nearly every stop in between. His major league career however, consisted of 41 games for the 1891 Pirates and 88 games for the 1897 St Louis Browns. He didn’t make his debut until August 19th of that 1891 season, but over the last two months of the season, he saw plenty of playing time in right field and a few games in center. Lally hit .224 with 17 RBI’s and 24 runs scored. His fielding wasn’t strong, with nine errors, very little range and only two assists. Even when he played in 1897, he had trouble fielding, committing 24 errors. Dan hit one homer for the Pirates, but it came off a pretty good pitcher named Cy Young. In an odd coincidence, he hit two homers with the Browns, both coming off the same pitcher(Ted Lewis) but they occurred over three months apart from each other. Lally replaced Fred Carroll on the Pirates, a player who originally joined the team in October of 1884 and in 1889, he had the highest OPS(.970) in the NL. Carroll wasn’t hitting well at the time and the release ended his major league career. In 1897 for the Browns, Dan hit .284 with 42 RBI’s and 57 runs scored.
Jolly Roger Rewind: August 12, 1991
Barry Bonds’ two-run, eleventh-inning homer off St. Louis closer Lee Smith rallied the first-place Pirates to a 4-3 victory over the Cardinals at Three Rivers Stadium.
After Geronimo Pena’s solo home run off Bob Patterson in the top of the eleventh gave St. Louis a 3-2 lead, manager Joe Torre summoned Smith to face Andy Van Slyke, Bobby Bonilla and Bonds in the bottom of the frame. Torre’s reasoning appeared sound: as The Pittsburgh Press noted, Smith entered the game with 28 saves in 32 opportunities and had limited Van Slyke, Bonilla and Bonds to a combined three hits in 34 lifetime at-bats.
Smith induced Van Slyke to pop up, but Bonilla, playing third base as part of the Bucs’ nearly season-long effort to replace the injured Jeff King, singled to bring up Bonds. Four innings earlier, with Three Rivers besieged by gnats, Bonds had followed a Bonilla single with a two-run homer off St. Louis starter Jose DeLeon, giving the Pirates a 2-1 lead.* But the Cardinals had answered with Gerald Perry’s eighth-inning RBI single off Bucco starter Zane Smith for a deadlock that lasted until Pena’s home run.
Facing nothing but fastballs, Bonds battled Smith to a 3-2 count. The next pitch was a slider out of the strike zone, low and in.** Bonds swung, connected and raised his arms in triumph. The ball sailed into the right-field seats and the crowd of 26,328 celebrated.
“To me, that’s what baseball is all about,” opined Jim Leyland in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “That’s a great confrontation. A tremendous closer like Lee Smith and a tremendous player like Barry Bonds. Lee Smith is going to win a lot of those. Barry won this one.”
With the victory, the Pirates increased their lead over the second-place Cardinals to seven games, equaling their previous high-water mark of the season.
Box score and play-by-play
The Pittsburgh Press game story
* “Soon as I looked at it (the homer), a bug flew in my eye,” Bonds told the Press afterwards. “They were all over me as I ran around the bases. One went up my nose. Then just before I got to third one stuck in my eye. I almost missed the base.”
** Smith had decided to take his chances with walking Bonds and facing Lloyd McClendon with two runners on base. “I don’t make any excuses,” he said. “The pitch wasn’t even a strike. They’re hitting my waste pitches now. It was a low slider. I’m thinking I don’t care if I walk him.”