Pirates Prospects » This Date in Pirates History http://www.piratesprospects.com Your best source for news on the Pittsburgh Pirates and their minor league system. Fri, 14 Nov 2014 07:20:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 This Date in Pirates History: February 12 http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/02/this-date-in-pirates-history-february-12.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/02/this-date-in-pirates-history-february-12.html#comments Sun, 12 Feb 2012 15:37:33 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=25622 There have been eight former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, among them two very recent ones. Chris Snyder (1981) spent the last two seasons with the Pirates after coming over in the five player deal the Pirates made at the 2010 trading deadline with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Pirates gave up DJ Carrasco, Ryan Church and Bobby Crosby in the deal and along with Snyder, they received Pedro Ciriaco. Snyder played 40 games with Pittsburgh after the trade, hitting just .169 with five homers. In 2011 he played in only 34 games before he was sidelined with a back injury that required surgery. He was hitting .271 with 17 RBIs at the time of his injury. He was let go after the season and has since signed with the Astros for 2012. Argenis Diaz (1987) played for the Pirates in 2010. He came to the Pirates from the Red Sox in the Adam LaRoche deal in 2009. He played 22 games for the Pirates in his only season in Pittsburgh, 15 of those games came as a shortstop. He hit .242 in 36 plate appearances with two RBIs and no runs scored. He was released following the 2010 season and has spent the last three seasons at AAA as a member of the Detroit Tigers organization.

Other players born on this date include:

Stan Fansler (1965) pitcher for the 1986 Pirates. He was a second round draft pick of the Pirates out of high school in the 1983 amateur draft. Stan had a disastrous beginning to his career, going 0-10, 8.05 in 14 starts in the NYPL. Returning to the level a year later, he again made 14 starts, this time with a 5-1 2.01 record. In 1985 the Pirates jumped him over two levels to AA and in 24 starts he posted a 3.01 ERA, earning a late season promotion to AAA. He started the 1986 season in AAA and went 8-9, 3.63 in 156 innings, earning a September call-up. The Pirates put him in the rotation and in five starts he went 0-3, 3.75, walking 15 batters in 24 innings. Fansler put up decent overall numbers in 1987 in AAA but his control was very poor. By 1988 he was pitching down in AA and even though the Pirates kept him around for four more seasons, he never pitched above AA from 1989-92. He pitched briefly in the Rangers farm system before retiring in 1994.

Joe Garagiola (1926) catcher for the Pirates from 1951 until 1953. He had played for the Cardinals since 1946 when the Pirates acquired him on June 15,1951 in a seven player deal that saw star outfielder Wally Westlake and pitcher Cliff Chambers, who had just thrown a no-hitter, both go to the Cardinals. Joe hit .255 with nine homers and 35 RBIs in the last 72 games of the 1951 season. In 1952 he hit .273 with 54 RBIs in 118 games for the last place Pirates. He began the 1953 season with the Pirates but he would be included in the Ralph Kiner trade to the Chicago Cubs in early June. That was a 10 player deal that also saw the Cubs send $150k to the Pirates. Garagiola finished his nine season major league career in 1954 with the Giants. He was a .257 career hitter in 676 games. He is still in baseball to this day, occasionally broadcasting for the Arizona Diamondbacks, a job he originally took up with the Cardinals in 1955.

Woody Main (1922) pitcher for the Pirates in 1948,49 and 1952-53. He had signed to play minor league ball in 1941 but after two seasons he would spend the next three years serving in the military during WWII. The Pirates drafted him out of the Yankees system in December 1947 in the rule 5 draft. He was used infrequently that year, 17 games for a total of 27 innings with an 8.33 ERA. He returned to the minors for 1949 and struggled with a 5.04 ERA but turned it around in 1950, at least in the minors, posting a 1.90 ERA. He had begun the year with the Pirates but after a month they sent him back to AAA, where he also spent all of the 1951 season. He had his best year in 1952 playing for a Pirates team that lost 112 games. His record was poor at 2-12 but he had a career low 4.46 ERA and he threw 153.1 innings. In 1953 he pitched poorly in two early season games before the Pirates sent him to the minors where he would finish his career the following season.

Dutch Dietz (1912) pitcher for the Pirates from 1940 until 1943. He went 9-13, 5.01 in the minors for Syracuse of the International League  in 1940, one season after going 3-17 5.89 for Toledo of the American Association, both high levels of the minor leagues at the time. Despite the poor pitching stats, the Pirates called him up in September and he pitched four games, started two, with a 0-1, 5.87 record in 15.1 innings. Dietz had actually made his major league debut earlier in the season as a pinch runner before he was sent to the minors. He pitched well for the Pirates in 1941, going 7-2, 2.33 in 100.1 innings. He pitched 33 games that year, six as a starter. He got more work and more starts in 1942, pitching 40 games total(13 as a starter) and 134.1 innings. Dutch went 6-9, 3.95, the highest ERA among any Pirates pitcher who made ten starts that season.

He was being used sparingly the first 40 games of the 1943 season, pitching just nine innings total when the Pirates traded him to the Phillies for pitcher Johnny Podgajny. Neither pitcher did well for their new team and Dietz’s major league career was done after that 1943 season. He served two years in the army during WWII and then played another four minor league seasons when he returned before he retired.

Earl Sheely (1893) first baseman for the 1929 Pirates. He was a star player in the Pacific Coast League prior to making his major league debut in 1921. Earl’s first six seasons in the majors he hit at least .296 every year and drove in at least 80 runs each season while playing for the White Sox. He struggled through the 1927 season and decided to return to the PCL where he hit .381 with 21 homers in 1928. The Pirates picked him up in the rule 5 draft and put him at 1B for the 1929 season. In his only season with the Pirates he hit .293 with 75 walks and 88 RBIs.  The Pirates picked up slugger Gus Suhr in the off-season to play 1B and sent Sheely back to the PCL. Suhr went on to play ten seasons with the Pirates and is considered by some to be the best first baseman in team history. Earl hit .403 in the PCL in 1930 with 29 homers. He played one more season in the majors with the Braves in 1931 before finishing his career in the PCL in 1934.

It is likely under the current system of baseball a player like Sheely would’ve had a long productive, possibly Hall of Fame career but back then players could make a good living in the PCL and some chose to stay there instead of play in the majors away from home. Sheely was a .324 minor league hitter in 1935 games and a .300 hitter in 1234 major league games. He had over 3600 hits between the two levels at he accumulated 670 doubles and over 200 homers. His son Bud Sheely played in the majors from 1951 until 1953 with the Chicago White Sox

Ray Miller (1888) lifelong native of Pittsburgh who played first base for the 1917 Pirates. He played minor league ball for ten seasons before he got his first chance at the majors in 1917. He was acquired early in that season by the Cleveland Indians who used him in 19 games, mostly off the bench in a pinch hitting role. He batted .190 with eight walks in 29 plate appearances. He was picked up by the Pirates who gave him six starts at first base but after hitting .148 they sent him to the minors. He was sent by the Pirates to the Kansas City Blues of the American Association in February 1918 to complete an earlier trade between the two teams that happened in August 1917. Miller never played in the majors again and he played just two seasons of pro ball after the trade, 1920 and 1925.

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This Date in Pirates History. February 11 http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/02/this-date-in-pirates-history-february-11.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/02/this-date-in-pirates-history-february-11.html#comments Sat, 11 Feb 2012 14:14:33 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=25603 On this date in 1928 the Pittsburgh Pirates traded pitcher Vic Aldridge to the New York Giants in exchange for future Hall of Fame pitcher Burleigh Grimes. Aldridge was 34 at the time of the trade and had won 15 games for the Pirates in 1927, helping them to their fourth World Series appearance. There were signs of a drop in his stuff, he posted his highest ERA that season at 4.25 and he got hit hard in his only WS start. Grimes was also 34 years old and had gone 19-8, 3.54 in his only year with the Giants. He was asking to be traded due to his unhappiness over how he was handled late in the season by manager John McGraw. Grimes was a former Pirate, starting his career with the team in 1916.

This trade was a one-sided win for the Pirates. Aldridge continued his downward slide and his major league career was done before the season ended. He went 4-7, 4.83 in 16 starts and six relief appearances. He played the next season in the minors and was out of baseball by 1931. Grimes lead the NL in wins in 1928 with 25, complete games with 28 and innings pitched with 330.2 while posting a 2.99 ERA. He finished third in the MVP voting as well. The following season he went 17-7 3.13 and this time finished fourth in the MVP voting. Prior to the 1930 season Grimes was holding out for more money so the Pirates shipped him to the Boston Braves in return for pitcher Percy Jones. Burleigh had two more good seasons,then bounced around between four teams his final two seasons, finishing his career back in Pittsburgh for a third time.

Players born on this date include:

Trey Beamon (1974) outfielder for the 1996 Pirates. He was a second round draft pick of the Pirates in the 1992 amateur draft. He played 32 games in rookie league ball after signing, hitting .296 in 108 AB’s. In 1993 he moved to full season ball as a 19-year-old and hit .271 in 104 games with 64 runs scored and 19 stolen bases. He jumped over high-A to AA for 1994 and hit .323 with 69 runs scored and 24 stolen bases, establishing himself as a top prospect. He was in AAA by age 21 and hit .334 with 74 runs scored and 18 stolen bases in 118 games but did not get a September call-up. Back in AAA for 1996 he hit .288 with a career high 55 walks. The Pirates called him up in August and in 24 games hit he .216 with six RBIs. Just prior to the 1997 season he was part of a four player deal with the Padres. He played two more seasons in the majors, then another eight years in the minors, retiring as a player in 2006.

Hal Rice (1924) outfielder for the 1953-54 Pirates. He began his major league career in September 1948 with the Cardinals and was with the team as a backup outfielder until St Louis sent him to the Pirates in exchange for longtime infielder Pete Castiglione on June 14,1953. Rice played left field almost everyday for Pittsburgh and hit .311 with 42 RBIs in the last 78 games of the season. He struggled to start the 1954 season, hitting .173 through mid-June and he had played just 28 of the team’s 58 games. The Pirates traded Rice to the Cubs exactly one year after they acquired him from the Cardinals. In return they received outfielder Luis Marquez, who played just 11 games with the Pirates. Hal played with the Cubs through the end of the season then finished his pro career with two more years in the minors. Rice spent three full seasons(1943-45) serving in the military during WWII. He had a .260 major league average with 162 RBIs in 424 total games.

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This Date in Pirates History: February 10 http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/02/this-date-in-pirates-history-february-10.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/02/this-date-in-pirates-history-february-10.html#comments Fri, 10 Feb 2012 15:01:34 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=25557 There are eight former Pittsburgh Pirates who have been born on this date and two current players mentioned at the bottom. I will start with the three most recent ones. Luis Cruz (1984) played shortstop and second base for the 2008-09 Pirates. He came to the  Pirates as a minor league free agent following the 2007 season. Cruz played 22 games in his first season with the Pirates and 27 games the next year, starting a total of 32 games at shortstop. He hit .219 with five RBIs in 137 at-bats for Pittsburgh. After the 2009 season, he was picked up off waivers by the Milwaukee Brewers. He has played five seasons in the majors, batting .234 in 195 games. Cruz split the 2013 season between the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees.

Cesar Izturis (1980) played for the 2007 Pirates and Ruben Mateo (1978) played for the 2004 Pirates. Both of them spent less than half the season with the team. Izturis joined the Pirates in July, coming over from the Cubs and Mateo began the 2004 season with the Pirates but was sold to the Royals on July 1st. Mateo played 19 games for Pittsburgh, getting 33 at-bats in which he hit .242 with three homers and seven runs batted in. He last played in the majors that 2004 season and his last appearance in pro ball was in 2009, playing in the Mexican League. Izturis hit .276 in 45 games for the Pirates, spending most of his time at shortstop. He was granted free agency after the season and this past 2011 season he played with the Orioles. He signed with the Brewers for 2012. Izturis played for the Reds in 2013 and signed with the Astros for the 2014 season.

Other players born on this date include:

Larry McWiliams (1954) lefty pitcher for the Pirates from 1982 until 1986. He was a first round draft pick of the Braves in 1974 and had pitched for them in the majors since 1978 when the Pirates traded for him on June 30,1982, sending Pascual Perez to Atlanta. Larry was a starter his first four seasons in the majors but was moved to the bullpen for 1982 and was struggling with a 6.21 ERA before the Pirates picked him up. He would be moved back to the starting role in Pittsburgh and excel, cutting his ERA in half with a 6-5, 3.11 record to finish the year. In 1983 he had his best major league season, going 15-8, 3.25 in 38 starts and finishing fifth in the NL Cy Young award voting. Hie ERA improved to 2.93 the following season but the Pirates were a sub .500 team and it showed in his record as he went 12-11. That year the Pirates had four pitchers win at least 12 games yet they still finished with a 75-87 record. McWilliams went downhill pretty quickly from there, he was moved to the bullpen late in 1985 and the following year he was went back and forth between the starting and relieving roles. He posted a 4.70 ERA in 1985 and a 5.15 in 1986. He was released by the Pirates following the 1986 season and went on to play for four teams over the next four seasons before retiring as a player.

Billy O’Dell (1933) lefty pitcher for the Pirates during the 1966-67 seasons. He had been a starter early in his career, four times winning at least ten games with a high of 19 in 1962. He was moved to a bullpen role in 1964 and the following year he won ten games with a 2.18 ERA and 18 saves in 62 games. He began the 1966 season with the Atlanta Braves before the Pirates acquired him on June 15 for reliever Don Schwall. O’Dell would pitch 37 games the rest of the year going 3-2, 2.78 in 71.1 innings. In the beginning of the 1967 season he was used as a starter and struggled in the role, posting a 6.18 ERA in 11 games before being moved back to the bullpen. He finished the season with a 5-6, 5.82 record in 86.2 innings. O’Dell retired after the Pirates released him following the 1967 season. He was a two time all-star who never played a single game in the minors.

Cotton Tierney (1894) second baseman for the 1920-23 Pirates. He played minor league ball for seven seasons before the Pirates gave him his first shot at the majors as a September call-up in 1920. Cotton was a regular on the 1921 Pirates, playing about half of the team’s games at second base while getting time in at three other positions. He hit .299 with 52 RBIs, a small sign of the success about to come for him. In 1922 he played 122 games and hit .345, good enough for fifth in the NL and second on the Pirates to outfielder Carson Bigbee. Early in the 1923 season he was traded to the Phillies in a four player deal that got the Pirates pitcher Lee Meadows, who was a key piece to the 1925 Pirates team that won the World Series. Tierney hit .312 in 1923 but by the end of 1925 his major league career was over. He played in the minors until 1930.

Bill Evans (1893) pitcher for the 1916-17 and 1919 Pirates. His contract was purchased by Pittsburgh on August 10, 1916 and just three days later he was making his major league debut. Evans pitched 13 games over the final seven weeks of the season, starting seven of those games and throwing three complete games. He had a 2-5, 3.00 record in 63 innings. In 1917 he went 0-4, 3.338 in eight appearances before joining the military to serve during WWI. He missed the entire 1918 season, returning the following year to go 0-4, 5.65 in seven early season games for the Pirates before returning to the minors. He played minor league baseball until 1928, three times winning at least 16 games in a season but never returned to the majors. He had a 2-13 record with the Pirates despite a 3.85 overall ERA. That winning percentage of .133 leaves him tied with John Van Benschoten(who had a 9.20 ERA) for the worst winning percentage in franchise history among pitchers with at least 15 decisions.

Jim Keenan (1858) Catcher for the first team in franchise history, the 1882 Pittsburgh Alleghenys. Keenan caught the first pitch in franchise history. Prior to joining the Alleghenys, he had seven games of major league experience. He played five games in 1875 for New Haven of the National Association, which was a league that lasted five seasons before giving way to the National League in 1876. Keenan then caught two games for the 1880 Buffalo Bisons of the National League. In 1882 for Pittsburgh, he hit .209 with nine runs scored in 24 games. Keenan caught 22 games. After not playing major league ball in 1883, he finally established himself as a major league regular in 1884, playing one season for Indianapolis of the American Association and the next seven years were spent in Cincinnati. Keenan finished with a .240 average in 527 games. In 1888, he led all  American Association catchers with a .946 fielding percentage.

Finally, two current Pittsburgh Pirates celebrate birthdays today, both relief pitchers. Duke Welker turns 28, while Jeanmar Gomez turns 26. Gomez came to the Pirates in a preseason deal, while Welker was a 2007 draft pick of the Pirates.

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This Date in Pirates History: February 9 http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/02/this-date-in-pirates-history-february-9.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/02/this-date-in-pirates-history-february-9.html#comments Thu, 09 Feb 2012 15:06:17 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=25535 There have been seven former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date, one being a recent player who, as Pirates fans, we don’t need to rehash the career of, so I’ll just mention that Aki Iwamura turns 35 today. As for the other players, starting with the youngest first, we have the following gentlemen.

Eddie Solomon (1951) pitcher for the Pirates from 1980-82. He began his major league career in 1973 and had played for four teams already prior to coming to the Pirates in a March 1980 trade for a minor league pitcher. Prior to the trade Eddie had an 18-27, 4.27 career record in 126 games pitched, 56 as a starter. For the Pirates in 1980 Solomon was used in both the relief role and as a starter for a stretch, going 7-3 2.69 in 100.1 innings. He had a similar role the next year with similar results, a record of 8-6, 3.12 in 127 innings. In 1982 he began the year in the starting rotation and struggled, posting a 6.90 ERA in 10 starts before the Pirates traded him to the White Sox for infielder Jim Morrison. The White Sox released him in July after just six relief appearances. He pitched briefly in the minors in 1983 with the Yankees before retiring as a player. Sadly, he passed away at age 34 due to injuries he suffered in a car accident.

Jim Campanis (1944) catcher for the 1973 Pirates. He was signed by the Dodgers as an amateur free agent out of high school in 1962 and worked his way up through their system, making his major league debut in late 1966. Jim played parts of three seasons with Los Angeles but hit just .149 in 46 total games. The Dodgers sent him to the Royals, where he was the backup catcher for two seasons and there his batting average was even lower, .146 in 61 total games. The Pirates acquired him in a December 2,1970 trade that was covered here.  Campanis spent all of the 1971-72 seasons in the minors, finally earning a call-up with the Pirates after hitting .304 with 18 homers at AAA in 1973. In six late season pinch-hit at-bats he went 1-6 with a single. That would be his last time in the majors, he spent the 1974 season at AAA for the Pirates before retiring as a player. He is the son of Al Campanis, who played for the 1943 Dodgers.

Roy Mahaffey (1904) pitcher for the 1926-27 Pirates. He began his minor league career in 1925 and by the end of next year he impressed the Pirates enough to give him his first taste of the big leagues as a reliever late in the 1926 season. In four games he pitched 4.2 innings allowing four runs, all of them unearned. In 1927 they let him start the third game of the season and while he picked up the win, he allowed five runs and seven walks in 6.1 innings and did not make another start. He pitched just once more for the Pirates, two weeks after his start and allowed three runs in three innings of mop-up work in a blowout loss to the Cubs. He was back in the minors by the beginning of May, next appearing in the majors with the Philadelphia Athletics to start the 1930 season. He went on to pitch seven more seasons in the majors, compiling a 67-49, 5.01 record. He played baseball in the Textile Leagues for five seasons after his minor league career ended in 1936.

Wally Hood (1895) outfielder for the 1920 Pirates. He started his pro career in the minors in 1916 playing in Vancouver. He played in the minors in Canada until he made the Brooklyn Robins roster to start the 1920 season. After seven games in which he hit .143, he joined the Pirates in late May and was used twice as a pinch hitter. He made an out in his first game but walked, stole a base and scored a run in his second. He was sent to the minors after those two games for the rest of the season. Hood rejoined Brooklyn and played 56 games for them in 1921, then was used as a pinch runner twice very early in the 1922 season. He scored runs during both of those games, his last games in the majors. Wally played minor league ball until 1930 and had a .309 average in 1593 games over his 13 minor league seasons. His son Wally Hood Jr pitched for the 1949 Yankees

Hi Ladd (1870) outfielder who played for the 1898 Pirates. Ladd played one game for the Pirates, coming in to pinch-hit on July 12, 1898 during a 4-1 loss to Brooklyn. Six days later he played his second, and last, major league game, this time as a member of the Boston Beaneaters. He collected a single in four trips to the plate and scored a run. Considering the fact he played just two major league games, it may be hard to believe that he had a long productive minor league career. He played 20 seasons in the minors and although his stats are incomplete, the 17 seasons that are available show that he had a .324 average in 1747 games.

Sumner Bowman (1867) lefty pitcher for the 1890 Pittsburgh Alleghenys. A local kid, he went to the University of Pittsburgh and was the first player from that school to play for Pittsburgh. He made his major league debut on June 11, 1890 for the Phillies, allowing seven runs over eight innings in a game that Philadelphia won 8-7 but he received no decision. Twelve days later he was starting for the Alleghenys, a team that was just 12-35 at that point. Bowman made seven starts and two relief appearances for Pittsburgh, making his last start exactly a month after his first one with the team. He was 2-5, 6.62 in 70.2 innings in that time, allowing 100 hits and 50 walks. He finished the season with the Harrisburg Ponies of the Atlantic Association. He played one more season in the majors, for the Philadelphia Athletics of the American Association in 1891. The AA folded after that season and he followed the team to the Eastern League for 1892.

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This Date in Pirates History: February 8 http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/02/this-date-in-pirates-history-february-8.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/02/this-date-in-pirates-history-february-8.html#comments Wed, 08 Feb 2012 14:53:11 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=25515 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.

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This Date in Pirates History: February 7 http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/02/this-date-in-pirates-history-february-7.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/02/this-date-in-pirates-history-february-7.html#comments Tue, 07 Feb 2012 15:20:07 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=25462 On this date in Pittsburgh Pirates history, two teammates from the 2001-02 Pirates celebrate birthdays. Starting off with Adrian Brown (1974) who was a 48th round draft pick by Pittsburgh in the 1992 amateur draft that played for the team from 1997 until 2002. As a low draft pick he worked his way slowly through the minors, not making it to AA until the middle of his fifth season in pro ball. He hit .306 that season with 45 stolen bases then followed in up with a season split between AA/AAA in which he hit .313 in 99 games. The Pirates had called him up for five weeks that year, starting in late May but he struggled and was returned to the minors until September. In 1998 he returned to AAA until August, then hit .283 in 41 games after being recalled, earning a job for 1999. He was on the Opening Day roster but began the year slow hitting .178 through 24 games, then spent a month down in AAA before coming back to finish the year batting .270.

Brown was a .285 career hitter in the minors

In 2000 Brown had his best season in the majors, hitting .315 in 104 games with 64 runs scored and 13 stolen bases. He seemed primed to have a big season in 2001 but an injured shoulder cause him to miss all but 8 major league games and 15 rehab games in the minors. He would hit .337 in 51 AAA games in 2002 but just .216 in 91 games with the Pirates, who released him at the end of the season. He played pro ball until 2006, playing another 40 major league games spread out over three seasons with three different teams. Brown spent a total of 15 years in pro ball and played in the minors during each of those seasons, a total of 1141 minor league games and 447 in the majors

His teammate for two years, Humberto Cota (1979) was a catcher for the Pirates from 2001 until 2007. He was originally signed as an amateur free agent by the Braves in 1995 then released by them two years later. The Devil Rays picked him up then eventually traded him to the Pirates on July 23, 1999 in the Joe Oliver/Jose Guillen deal. Cota was a September call-up each of his first two seasons in the majors and in 2003 he played with the team from late July until mid-August. He had a total of 24 games played between his first three seasons in the majors with just 44 plate appearances. He spent the 2004 season as the backup to Jason Kendall, receiving very little playing time throughout the season but it was his first full season in the majors. When Kendall was traded in the off-season Cota took over and had his best year in the majors, playing 93 games, hitting .242 with 7 homers and 43 RBIs. In 2006 rookie Ronny Paulino emerged, hitting .310 in 129 games and taking over the regular catcher spot. Cota played briefly for the Pirates in 2007 before being granted free agency. He has played minor league ball since, catching in the Mexican League until 2012 and he played briefly at AA in 2013 for the Diamondbacks.

Also born on this date was Spike Shannon (1878) an outfielder for the 1908 Pirates. He was a native of Pittsburgh,Pa who spent his first six seasons of pro ball in the minors, starting at age 20. Spike was a September 1903 rule 5 draft by the Cardinals. He became their starting right fielder and hit .280 in 134 games that rookie season while playing outstanding defense, leading all NL outfielders in fielding percentage. In 1906 the Cardinals traded him mid-season to the Giants. Shannon would lead the league in both games played and plate appearances that year. In 1907 he led the league in plate appearances, runs scored with 104 and times on base, so his drop off in 1908 was unexpected. With the Giants he hit .224 in 77 games before being picked up by the Pirates on July 22nd off waivers. In 32 games for Pittsburgh he hit .197 in what would be his last time in the majors. He spent four seasons in the minors, one as a player/manager before becoming an umpire.

Juan Pizarro (1937) Pitcher for the 1967-68 and 1974 Pirates. He played 18 years in the majors, compiling a 131-105, 3.43 record in 488 games, 245 as a starter. In his three seasons with the Pirates, Pizarro went 10-12, 3.55 in 69 games, 11 as a starter. Most of those stats came during the 1967 season, when he pitched 107 innings over 50 games. He was 8-10, 3.95 and picked up a career high nine saves. The Pirates picked Pizarro up as part of the ill-fated Wilbur Wood deal in November of 1966. He was sold to the Red Sox during the 1968 season. In 1974, he was signed as a free agent to help with a pennant push. After signing in late August, he went 1-1, 1.88 in 24 innings and pitched shutout ball in his only playoff appearance. From 1961 until 1964, Pizarro was selected to two All-Star teams and won 61 games for the White Sox, picking up at least 12 wins each season.

Felipe Montemayor (1928) Outfielder for the 1953 and 1955 Pirates. The Pirates purchased him in 1951 for $20,000 from a team in the Sunset League played in Mexico. Montemayor spent parts of two seasons in the majors with the Pirates and five seasons playing for their New Orleans affiliate in the Southern Association. He played a total of 21 seasons in the minors. For Pittsburgh, he started 36 of the 64 games he played, seeing time at all three outfield positions and he pinch-hit often. Montemayor batted .173 with two homers and ten RBIs in 150 at-bats. He actually played much better during his second stint, posting a .689 OPS in 36 games, compared to .391 in 28 games during the 1953 season. Prior to the 1956 season, the Pirates returned him to the Mexican League in a deal with the Mexico City Tigers.

Bill Steinecke (1907) Catcher for the 1931 Pirates. His entire big league career consisted of four mid-September games off the bench for the 1931 Pirates. He came in to catch his first game and pinch-hit in the other three contests, going 0-for-4 at the plate. That 1931 season, he hit .361 with 41 doubles for Binghamton of the New York Penn League.While his big league career was extremely brief, his pro baseball career was not. Steinecke played 23 seasons in the minors, getting into 1886 games total and he fell just short of a .300 career average. He nearly matched his playing days as a manager, spending 22 years at the helm of various minor league teams between 1937 and 1964. His first season as a manager was for Savannah of the South Atlantic League, which was a Pirates affiliate at the time.

Charlie Jackson (1894) Outfielder for the 1917 Pirates. Jackson’s only other big league experience besides his one season with the Pirates, was a pinch-hit at-bat for the 1915 White Sox, which ended in a strikeout. With the Pirates, he played 41 games, splitting his time between left field and right field. Jackson hit .240 in 41 games and managed to collect just one RBI in 134 plate appearances. The 1917 Pirates were a bad group, going 51-103 and they scored only 464 runs. Jackson got on base 41 times, yet he scored just seven times. He played eight seasons in the minors, hitting .268 in 2601 at-bats. Prior to joining the Pirates in early August of 1917, Jackson hit .313 in 297 at-bats during the first four months of the season for Spokane of the Northwestern League.

John Fox (1859) Pitcher for the 1884 Pittsburgh Alleghenys of the American Association. Fox came to the majors in 1881, playing pitcher, first base and outfield for the Boston Red Stockings of the National League. He went 6-8, 3.33 in 124.1 innings and hit .178 in 30 games total. He had 21 singles and no walks, giving him an identical .178 mark in slugging and on base as well. After not playing in the majors in 1882, Fox played for the Baltimore Orioles of the American Association the following year. He went 6-13, 4.03 and hit .152 in 23 games. He joined the Alleghenys in 1884 and was the Opening Day starter. His time with the team didn’t last long. Fox started seven of the first 28 games and went 1-6, 5.64 in 59 innings. After playing in the minor leagues in 1885, he finished his big league career with one start for the 1886 Washington Nationals.

Finally, we get to Mike Jordan (1863) who played for the worst team in franchise history, the 1890 Alleghenys. The team went 23-113 on the season and late in the year they were desperate for anyone who knew how to play ball just so they could finish out the season. Jordan definitely fell into that class, he had played minor league ball since 1884 but never made the majors before signing with the Alleghenys in late August 1890. They threw him into left field(occasionally he played center field) for the last 37 games of the season and while he played strong defense, his offense set a franchise futility record. He came to the plate 143 times and no other position player in Pirates history had more plate appearances with a lower average, in fact no other position player came to the plate more than 53 times with a worse average.  He hit .096, collecting 11 singles and a double and the Alleghenys record during his time with the team was just 4-35. That was the only major league experience for Jordan, who played in the minors until 1893.

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This Date in Pirates History: February 6 http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/02/this-date-in-pirates-history-february-6.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/02/this-date-in-pirates-history-february-6.html#comments Mon, 06 Feb 2012 15:08:11 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=23617 Plenty of star power among former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date but we start with the current player celebrating a birthday today. Pedro Alvarez turns 27 today. He was the first round draft pick of the Pirates in 2008, second overall. Pedro split his first season between high-A and AA, hitting .288 with 27 homers and 95 RBIs. He moved to AAA for 2010 and in 66 games hit .277 with 13 homers and 53 RBIs. Alvarez made his major league debut on June 16,2010 and in 95 games he hit .256 with 16 homers and 64 RBIs, giving him 117 total runs batted in on the season. He struggled badly during the 2011 season, spent 50 days on the DL and was even optioned to the minors for part of the year. In 2012, Alvarez hit .244 with 30 homers and 85 RBIs. He also struck out 180 times, setting a franchise single-season record. In 2013, he won the NL home run crown with 36, which is the most for the Pirates since Brian Giles hit 38 in 2002. Alvarez drove in 100 runs, won his first Silver Slugger award and made his first All-Star team. He also struck out 186 times(breaking his own team record) and for the second straight year, he led all of baseball with 27 errors.

Pedro Alvarez

Other players born on this date include:

Richie Zisk (1949) outfielder for the Pirates from 1971 until 1976. He was a third round draft pick of the Pirates out of high school in the 1967 amateur draft. Zisk spent six seasons in the minors, hitting .300 with 129 homers before earning an opening day job in the majors. He played 24 games with the Pirates between the 1971-72 seasons. In 1973 he was the everyday right fielder for the last two months of the season. He played 103 games that year, hitting .324 with 54 RBIs and finishing 9th in the Rookie of the Year voting. The 1974 season would see him finish 9th in the MVP voting  as he drove in 100 runs with a .313 batting average, the sixth highest total in the NL. He hit .290 with 20 homers and 75 RBIs in 1975, helping the Pirates to the playoffs for the second straight year. They would lose both years in the NLCS but Zisk hit a combined .400 in what would end up being the only playoffs of his 13 year career.

In 1976 Richie scored a career high 91 runs and hit 35 doubles, also a career high. He hit 21 homers, his high while with the Pirates and drove in 89 runs. With one season left before he hit free agency and a need for pitching help, plus the emergence of Omar Moreno left the outfield crowded, the Pirates traded Zisk to the White Sox for Goose Gossage and Terry Forster on December 10,1976. That trade was covered here. Zisk went on to hit 30 homers and drive in 101 runs in his only year in Chicago, making the all-star team for the first time. He signed a five year deal with the Texas Rangers, playing three seasons of that deal before he was traded to the Mariners, where he finished his career in 1983. He was a career .287 hitter with 792 RBIs in 1453 games.

Bill Koski (1932) pitcher for the 1951 Pirates. He was rushed to the majors as a 19-year-old after just ten minor league games in 1950 at the low levels. He opened the 1951 season on the Pirates opening day roster and started his career with a three inning appearance in relief in which he did not allow a hit. That earned him a start a week later as he picked up his only career decision in a loss to the Giants. He was with the Pirates through early June before returning to the minors. He came back up in September and had two more relief outings in what would be his only season in the majors. He struggled with his control, walking 28 batters in 27 innings with just six strikeouts. Koski spent 1952 in the minors, then served in the Korean War before returning to minor league baseball for four more seasons.

Smoky Burgess (1927) catcher/pinch hitter for the Pirates from 1959 until 1964. He came to the Pirates in January 1959 from the Reds as part of the Harvey Haddix/Don Hoak trade that was covered here. Burgess had batted .283 in each of the previous two seasons, both as a part-time player. Prior to that he was an all-star in both the 1954 and 1955 seasons. Smoky hit .297 with 59 RBIs in 377 at-bats in 1959 for the Pirates. He had an OPS of .834 thanks to 44 extra base hits in his limited at-bats.  He also made the all-star team for the first of three consecutive seasons. He hit .294 in 1960, helping the Pirates to the World Series where he hit .333(6-for-18) and Pittsburgh won their third World Series title. Burgess hit .303 with 52 RBIs in 323 at-bats in 1961 and topped his 1959 OPS with an .851 mark but he would be even better the following season.

In 1962 Smoky had 360 at-bats and batted .328 with 13 homers and 61 RBIs, his high in all three triple crown categories while with the Pirates. His playing time decreased in 1963 as his average dropped to .280 and by early September the following season he was put on waivers by the Pirates, finishing the year with the White Sox. In 18 major league seasons he hit .295 with 126 homers and 673 RBIs in 1691 games. He pinch hit 551 times in his career, hitting .278 with 138 RBIs in that role.

Dale Long (1926) first baseman for the Pirates in 1951 and then again in 1955-57. He was in the minors for seven seasons before he got his first chance at the majors for the Pirates in 1951. He was taken in the December 1950 rule V draft, making the Pirates his fifth organization. He played just ten games before he was put on waivers where he was picked up by the St Louis Browns. There he lasted 34 games before being released. Long would spend the next three seasons in the minors, resigning with the Pirates in 1953. In 1955 they gave him his second chance with the team and he excelled. He hit .291 with 79 RBIs and led the NL in triples with 13, playing a total of 131 games. He made his only all-star appearance in 1956 when he slugged 27 homers and drove in 91 runs. That season from May 19- May 28 he homered in eight straight games setting a still standing(since tied) record for consecutive games with a home run.

In early 1957 he was traded to the Chicago Cubs in a four player deal that did not work out well for the Pirates. Long was productive through the 1962 season while the two returning players, Dee Fondy and Gene Baker only had value through the end of the 1957 season. The Pirates also sent Lee Walls in the deal and he too outmatched the returning players on his own. Long finished his career in 1963 with a .267 average and 132 homers in 1013 games.

Glenn Wright (1901) shortstop for the Pirates from 1924 until 1928. He had played three seasons of minor league ball before the Pirates purchased his contract from the Kansas City Blues of the American Association. Wright had an outstanding rookie season in 1924, finishing third in the NL in RBIs with 111, third in triples with 18 and he led the league in at-bats with 616. He also set a record for assists by a shortstop with 601, a total that has been topped only once since, by Ozzie Smith in 1980 and he had a longer schedule to help him. Glenn would finish 11th in the NL MVP voting that season. His second season was even better than his first. He hit .308 and drove in 121 runs while scoring a career high 97 runs. He collected 60 extra base hits, led NL shortstops again in assists and this time finished fourth in the NL MVP voting. The Pirates went to the World Series that year and Wright struggled in the series, hitting .185 but the Pirates still took the series in seven games.

In 1926 Glenn played just 119 games, missing some time in August after suffering an injury during a clubhouse scuffle. Prior to the injury he was hitting .324 but upon returning after three weeks, his average dropped down below .300, only coming back to .308 by going 6-for-8 in the last two games of the season. Healthy for the 1927 season, he hit .281, a low mark in his five years with the Pirates but he drove in 105 runs, topping the century mark for a third time in four years. He led all NL shortstops in games played, putouts and also errors. The Pirates again made the World Series and again Wright had his postseason troubles, hitting .154 as the Pirates lost in four games. He played just 108 games in 1928, missing some time with off-field problems and he was now in the managers doghouse. After the season the Pirates traded him to the Brooklyn Dodgers in exchange for pitcher Jesse Petty and a backup infielder named Harry Riconda. Wright would be injured almost all of 1929, come back in 1930 to hit .321 with 22 homers and 126 RBIs before injuring his leg, an injury that would effectively end his days as a star shortstop. He was a career .294 hitter with 723 RBIs in 1119 games.

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This Date in Pirates History: February 5 http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/02/this-date-in-pirates-history-february-5.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/02/this-date-in-pirates-history-february-5.html#comments Sun, 05 Feb 2012 14:59:21 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=23580 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 RBIs 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 RBIs but injuries limited him to getting into just seven of the last 42 games of the season.

Hoak was a .265 career hitter

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 RBIs 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 RBIs 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.

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This Date in Pirates History: February 4 http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/02/this-date-in-pirates-history-february-4.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/02/this-date-in-pirates-history-february-4.html#comments Sat, 04 Feb 2012 14:03:15 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=23573 On this date in Pittsburgh Pirates history six former players have been born. Starting with one of the newest former player first, relief pitcher Dan Plesac was born on this date in 1962. He was a lefty reliever with nine years experience already when the Pirates signed him as a free agent on November 9, 1994. He went 2-3, 4.61 in 54 games for the Cubs in 1994 and had been a closer with the Brewers for five seasons earlier in his career. Plesac went 4-4, 3.58 in 58 games for the Pirates in 1995, striking out 57 batters in 60.1 innings. In 1996, he led all Pirates pitchers in games pitched with 73 and had a 6-5, 4.09 record with 11 saves. Almost two years to the date they signed him as a free agent, the Pirates traded Plesac to the Blue Jays in a nine player deal that was mentioned here. He played another seven seasons in the majors, finishing with 1064 games pitched and 158 saves.

Other players born on this date include:

Dennis Konuszewski (1971) relief pitcher who threw his only career game with the 1995 Pirates. He was a 7th round draft pick of the Pirates in 1992 and spent his entire minor league career in their farm system, throwing 207 games from 1992 until 1997. Konuszewski actually played just four games above AA ball ever, three AAA games in 1996 and his one major league game on August 4,1995. He came into the game to start the 7th inning against the Astros with the Pirates down 3-2. He walked the first batter he faced, gave up a single, the a sacrifice bunt, then two more singles and two runs before being pulled from the game leaving him with a career 54.00 ERA and the only one out he recorded was given to him on the sac bunt. Koneszewski didn’t have much success in AAA either, allowing 13 hits, 11 runs and five walks in only 3.1 innings. He was also mentioned in an article here about one game wonders in Pirates history.

Whitted was a career .269 hitter

Steve Brye (1949) outfielder for the 1978 Pirates. He was originally a first round draft pick of the Twins in 1967 and had played eight seasons in the majors already when the Pirates signed him as a free agent on April 4,1978. Brye played his first seven seasons with Minnesota and then one year with the Brewers in 1977 when he hit .249 in 94 games and played errorless ball in 83 games in the outfield. For the Pirates in 1978, he played 66 games, mostly off the bench and he split his time between all three outfield positions. He hit .235 with nine RBIs in 130 plate appearances. Brye was released shortly after the season ended and would go on to play one more season in AAA for the Padres before retiring as a player. He was a career .258 hitter in 697 major league games.

Possum Whitted (1890) utility fielder for the 1919-21 Pirates. Whitted(first name was George) was in his eighth season in the majors when the Pirates traded an outfielder named Casey Stengel of the Phillies for him on August 9,1919. Both players were 29 years old at the time and Stengel was also in his 8th major league season. Possum was hitting .249 in 78 games with Philadelphia prior to the trade and had never batted higher than .281 in a season, but in the last 35 games of the year for the Pirates he had 51 hits and a .389 batting average. He took over the Pirates third base job in 1920 and hit .261 with 74 RBIs in 134 games and he had as many triples(12) as doubles and homers combined. In 1921 he moved back to the outfield and hit .283 with 63 RBIs in 104 games. Despite the strong stats, the Pirates sold Whitted to Brooklyn prior to the 1922 season. They must have known his major league career was nearing the end because he lasted one pinch hit appearance before going back to the minors, where he played until age 41 in 1931.

Lefty Davis (1875) outfielder for the 1901-02 Pirates. He began his minor league career in 1896 and wasn’t signed by a major league club until 1901 but in a three month span from late March of that year until the end of June he was a member of three different organizations. Davis signed with the Philadelphia Athletics early in 1901 as they prepared to play their first season in American League history(the league existed prior to 1901 but was not considered a major league). Before he ever played a game for the Athletics he jumped to the National League to play for the Brooklyn Superbas. After hitting .209 in 25 games he was released and quickly signed with the Pirates. He started in right field and hit .313 in 87 games with 87 runs scored and 22 stolen bases. The Pirates won their first NL title that season. Davis returned for 1902 and hit .280 with 52 runs scored and 19 stolen bases in 59 games as the Pirates not only won their second straight NL crown but they also posted their best record ever going 103-36. Prior to the start of 1903, Davis jumped to the New York Highlanders of the American League. He lasted just two more season in the majors and ended up playing another eight years in the minors while also managing for four seasons.

Finally, Doug Slaten, a relief pitcher who has pitched six seasons in the majors, four with Arizona and the last two with the Nationals, turns 34 today. He signed with the Pirates on January 11,2012 after going 0-2, 4.41 in 31 relief appearances during the 2011 season. He had a career record of 7-8, 3.60 in 137.2 innings over 206 appearances going into the 2012 season. For the Pirates, Slaten pitched ten games, going 0-0, 2.71 in 13 innings, with nine hits allowed, eight walks and he recorded six strikeouts. Slaten was let go via free agency following the season. He did not play in 2013.

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This Date in Pirates History: February 3 http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/02/this-date-in-pirates-history-february-3.html http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/02/this-date-in-pirates-history-february-3.html#comments Fri, 03 Feb 2012 14:14:59 +0000 http://www.piratesprospects.com/?p=23554 On this date in 1975 former Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Billy Herman was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veteran’s Committee. He is joined that year by manager Bucky Harris, Cleveland Indians star Earl Averill, Negro Leaguer Judy Johnson and also Pirates outfielder Ralph Kiner, who was elected earlier by the baseball writers. Billy was the Pirates manager in 1947, staying with the team until the last day of the season when he was replaced by Bill Burwell, who managed his only career game that day. He actually didn’t play much, getting into 15 games throughout the entire season. Herman was a career .304 hitter over 15 seasons and he was elected to ten straight all-star games from 1934-43. He becomes the third member of the 1947 Pirates to be elected to the Hall of Fame. Along with Kiner, the other one was Hank Greenberg who had been elected 19 years earlier and just like Herman, Greenberg played with the Pirates for just the 1947 season.

Coleman won 23 games in 1973 for the Tigers

Only two former Pirates players born on this date starting with a member of the last World Series team in franchise history, pitcher Joe Coleman, who was born in 1947. He was in his 15th year in the majors, yet just 32 years old, when the Pirates picked him up as a free agent on May 8,1979. He started that season with the Giants but was released after throwing five scoreless appearances out of the bullpen. Joe had a career record of  142-135 in 474 games(340 as a starter) prior to joining the Pirates but had not won in double figures since 1975. While with the Pirates he initially went to the minors for the first time since 1967, then was called up in late July and pitched ten games in relief, posting a 6.10 ERA.

That 1979 season would be the end of his major league career but he pitched three more seasons in the minors before retiring. He managed one season in the minors(1983) and has worked various baseball jobs in the majors and minors since. He was the third overall draft pick in the first ever major league amateur draft in 1965. Coleman is the son of Joe Coleman who pitched for ten seasons in the majors between 1942 and 1955. He is the father of current Cubs pitcher Casey Coleman, who has spent parts of the last two seasons in the majors, making them one of the few three generation families in major league history and the only one to include only pitchers.

The other player born on this date was Freddie Toliver (1961) who pitched for the 1993 Pirates. He pitched in the majors for four different teams between 1984 and 1989. That last season he pitched very poorly, posting an ERA over 7.00 with both the Twins and Padres. Toliver would then spend each of the next three seasons in the minors, being sent as low as High-A ball to work his way back to the majors.  The Pirates purchased his contract from an independent minor league team on July 23,1992 and sent him to AA where he worked out of the bullpen for the rest of the season. He began the 1993 season in the minors but in late May, he was called up to the Pirates for a five week stretch that saw him mostly work mop-up duties in long relief. He had a 3.74 ERA in 21.2 innings before being sent back down. He retired following that season but briefly made a comeback in 1998 pitching in Independent ball. He had a career record of 10-16, 4.73 in 78 major league games, 37 of them as a starter.

We also have a player from the Pittsburgh Alleghenys of the American Association, who were the Pirates three years before they moved to the National League and seven years before the Pirates nickname came around. George “Live Oak” Taylor played center field for the 1884 Alleghenys. He had played previous in the majors with Brooklyn in 1877 and Troy two years later, both National League teams. In 1884, there were three major leagues, the NL, AA and the Union Association. The American Association also expanded to 12 teams from eight, so there were a lot of extra major league jobs and watered down talent. It allowed Taylor to return to the majors, where he hit .211 in 41 games and scored 22 runs. He was a left fielder originally, but struggled in center field with Pittsburgh, making 19 errors, giving him a fielding percentage well below league average. Taylor played some minor league ball after his big league career was done, but he didn’t live long after his playing days, passing away from Consumption in 1888 and the age of thirty-seven. He was a .218 career hitter in 67 major league games.

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