There have been seven former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date, including two that played on teams that won World Series titles. In his Jolly Roger Rewind, John Fredland covers a tough loss by the Pirates during the 1988 seasons.
Stan Belinda (1966) Relief pitcher for the Pirates from 1989 until 1993. He was originally drafted by the Pirates in the tenth round of the 1986 draft. He was a relief pitcher from the start of his career. In fact, in 209 minor league games and 585 major league appearances, the only two starts that Belinda made were rehab starts during the 1995-96 seasons. Stan made it to the Pirates in 1989 as a September call-up, posting a 6.10 ERA in eight outings. He began the next year back in AAA, returning to the Pirates in late May and helping the team to the playoffs each of the next three seasons. Over the 1990-92 seasons, he pitched a total of 174 games, with an ERA between 3.15 and 3.55 each year, while compiling 42 saves. Stan pitched eight playoff games over that time, giving up one earned run in 10.1 innings, although he was the last Pirates pitcher to pitch in the playoffs due to an inherited run he allowed to score. He remained with the Pirates until the trading deadline in 1993, getting dealt to the Royals for pitchers, Jon Lieber and Dan Miceli. Belinda pitched until 2000, finishing his 12 year career with the team he helped get to the 1992 World Series. In his 585 games, he went 41-37 4.15, with 79 saves in 685.1 innings.
Steve Nicosia (1955) Catcher for the Pirates from 1978 until 1983. He was drafted by the Pirates in the first round of the 1973 draft. He made it to AAA by 1976, but missed nearly all of the 1977 season, and returned to the level in 1978 for a third year. That season, he made two appearances with the Pirates, the first time for a week during the month of July, then again at the end of the year. He played just three games, but by 1979 he was a backup catcher to Ed Ott, playing a total of 70 games, 55 as a starter. Steve hit .288 in his 215 plate appearances, with 13 RBI’s and 22 runs scored. In the World Series, he started four games, going just 1-16 at the plate, but the Pirates still won their fifth WS title. Nicosia remained a backup with the Pirates through August of 1983, first to Ott, then to a rookie in 1981 named Tony Pena. He asked to be traded in 1983 and on August 19,1983, the Pirates sent him to the Giants in exchange for veteran catcher Milt May. Steve lasted in the majors until 1985, also playing for both teams in Canada. In six years in Pittsburgh, he played 247 games, hitting .242 with 9 homers and 61 RBI’s.
Clem Labine (1926) Pitcher for the 1960-61 Pirates. He was originally signed in 1944 by the Brooklyn Dodgers, playing one season before losing a year of baseball to military service. Labine they spent the next four years working his way to the majors, making the Dodgers Opening Day roster in 1950, though his stay lasted just one game. He went back to the minors for the rest of 1950, then made the Opening Day roster again the following year. He stayed a little longer this time, but was still back in the minors by May. Clem came back in August, and at the end of the month, he began to pitch well as a starter, throwing five complete games, two of them being shutouts. He finished that year with a 5-1 2.20 record with the Dodgers. In 1952 Labine struggled, going back to the minors at one point, but from then on out, he would spend the rest of his time in the majors. He remained with the Dodgers until 1960, being used almost exclusively as a reliever. In 1955, he led the league with 60 games pitched, throwing a career high 144. 1 innings. The next two years he was chosen for the NL All-Star team, recording the most saves(not an official stat at the time) each year.
In June of 1960, the Dodgers traded Labine to the Tigers. After two unsuccessful months there, he was released, then immediately signed by the Pirates. He turned things around with Pittsburgh, going 3-0 1.48 in 15 appearances, covering 30.1 innings, helping the Pirates to the World Series. Clem did not pitch well in the postseason, allowing 11 runs over just four innings. He was with the Pirates in 1961, going 4-1 3.69 in 56 appearances. He was signed by the expansion NY Mets in the off-season, where his short was stay. After three outings, Labine was released, ending his 13 year big league career with a 77-56 3.63 record in 513 games pitched.
Bud Hafey (1912) Outfielder for the 1935-36 Pirates. The Pirates acquired Hafey just two games into his major league career with the Chicago White Sox, both as a pinch runner. On June 9,1935, they sent pitcher Jack Salveson to Chicago in an even up deal for Hafey. Bud played 58 games for the Pirates that year, seeing time at all three outfield spots, hitting .228 with six homers and 16 RBI’s. In 1936, he hit .212 with four homers and 13 RBI’s in 39 games. On October 13, 1937, after Hafey had spent the entire season in the minors, he was dealt to the Cardinals, along with two other players, for outfielder Johnny Rizzo. Bud played just 24 more games in the majors during his career, splitting the 1939 season between the Reds and Phillies. He remained in pro ball until 1941, spending his last two years playing for Memphis of the Southern Association. Bud began his career as a 17 year old in 1930, spending his first five years playing for the Mission Reds of the PCL. His brother was Tom Hafey, who played two years in the majors, and his cousin was Chick Hafey, a Hall of Fame player for the Cardinals and Reds.
Bud Sharpe (1881) First baseman for the 1910 Pirates. During Spring Training of 1910, the Pirates had a competition for the open first base job between Sharpe and John Flynn. Both players made the Opening Day roster, but the job was soon given to Flynn, who was the much better hitter, while Sharpe was strong on defense, but not much of a batter. Bud ended up playing just four games for the Pirates, hitting .188, while handling all forty chances in the field flawlessly. On April 28,1910, he was traded to the Boston Doves, along with pitcher Sam Frock, for pitcher Kirby White. Sharpe played with Boston until the end of 1910, finishing with a .239 average and no homers in 115 games. Before the 1911 season, he was sold to the minors, ending his major league career. Before joining the Pirates in 1910, Bud had played part of one season in the majors, that was as a member of the 1905 Boston Doves. That year he hit .182 in 46 games, in what was his first year in pro ball. He then played four full seasons in the minors(1906-09) and then two more years after his 1910 season, finishing his career with the Oakland Oaks of the Pacific Coast League in 1912 as a player/manager, a year in which he hit .300 in 101 games, his highest minor league average.
Brownie Foreman (1875) Lefty pitcher for the 1895-96 Pirates. As a 19 year old in 1895, the 5″8 150lb Foreman began his pro career with the Petersburg Farmers of the Virginia State League, where he went 14-8 2.28 in 205.1 innings. The Pirates signed him in July and he made 16 starts and three relief appearances, going 8-6 3.22 with the lowest hits per nine rate in the majors and he didn’t allow a single home run. Foreman remained with the Pirates through the beginning of the next season, going 3-3 6.57 before Pittsburgh gave up on him. He finished the year with the Reds, where he made the last four starts of his major league career(1-3 11.35), done by the age of twenty-one. He lasted five more years in the minors before retiring. His brother Frank pitched 11 years in the majors, winning 96 games.
Jim McDonald (1860) Utility player for the 1884 Pittsburgh Alleghenys. He played just 45 games in the majors over the 1884-85 seasons, yet managed to play in three different major leagues, the Union Association, which only existed in 1884, the American Association and the National League. McDonald spent the first six years of his pro career playing in his hometown of San Francisco, seeing time with five different teams. After playing two games for Washington of the UA(made his debut June 20), Jim moved on to the Alleghenys to finish the season. He played 38 games, seeing time at 3B/2B and all three outfield spots. McDonald hit just .159 with 11 runs scored with Pittsburgh. The next year he went 0-for-14 in four games at the end of the season for the Buffalo Bisons(NL), his last major league action. Jim played pro ball until 1894, finishing his career back in California. In 1895, Jim became an NL umpire, sticking around until 1899 in that role.
Jolly Roger Rewind: August 6, 1988
The first-place Mets parlayed three balks by Pirates’ closer Jim Gott into a game-deciding, three-run, eighth-inning rally, giving them a 5-3 victory over the second-place Bucs at Three Rivers Stadium.
Trailing New York by five games in the National League East race, the Pirates delighted the Saturday night crowd of 48,272 by erasing a 1-0 Mets’ advantage with a three-run sixth inning, highlighted by Barry Bonds’ two-run homer off Dwight Gooden. The Mets had narrowed the Bucco lead to 3-2 when Jim Leyland summoned Gott for the top of the eighth inning, seeking a six-out save.
But Gott, whose most recent attempt to protect a lead against New York in Three Rivers had resulted in a game-tying Howard Johnson home run and eventual extra-innings loss, walked Tim Teufel on a 3-2 pitch to lead off the inning. Rule 8.01 of the MLB Rulebook—“The pitcher, following his stretch, must . . . come to a complete stop”—then assumed the spotlight.
First, Gott, who had balked only twice in 44 previous appearances that season, failed to reach a complete stop with Dave Magadan batting, allowing Teufel to reach second. Magadan’s ground out advanced Teufel to third, and Teufel then scored the tying run by beating Jose Lind’s throw home on Darryl Strawberry’s grounder.
Kevin McReynolds followed by doubling Strawberry to third. With Gary Carter batting, home plate umpire John McSherry ruled that Gott again failed to reach a complete stop and waved Strawberry home with the go-ahead run. An out later, second base umpire Greg Bonin called Gott for a record-tying third balk in the inning, allowing McReynolds to cross the plate for the two-run margin that became the final score.*
The loss dropped the Pirates six games behind the Mets for the first time since July 7.
Box score and play-by-play
* As expected, Gott’s balks were the topic of much postgame discussion. Mets manager Davey Johnson asserted that the balks “were obvious, they were very flagrant. And I should know what a balk looks like as many times as our pitchers got called for them in the first 2 ½ months.” Leyland opined that “it’s frustrating to a manager at time when a pitcher throws four pitches and gets called for a balk on the fifth. That’s what I don’t understand.” McSherry explained that “[w]hen he balked the first time with a runner on third, he didn’t come close to stopping. The other pitches, sometimes he’d stop and the others he’d go straight through them.”