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.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.