Only two former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date and one minor transaction so this article will be short today. I’ll start off with the only transaction that occurred between the Pirates and another team on this date. On March 22,1987 the Pirates purchased catcher Dann Bilardello from the Montreal Expos. Dann had spent four seasons in the majors with the Reds and Expos, hitting .211 in 298 games with 16 homers and 74 RBI’s. He went to AAA for the Pirates in 1987 and would be sold to the Royals that June. After spending all of 1987-88 in the minors, he signed with the Pirates as a free agent prior to the 1989 season. He would hit .171 in 52 games with the Pirates between the 1989-90 seasons before leaving via free agency.
Former Pirates players born on this date include:
Jason Phillips (1974) Pitcher for the 1999 Pirates. Phillips was drafted out of high school by the Pirates in the 14th round of the 1992 amateur draft. It took seven seasons for the 6’6″ righty to work his way to the majors. He was a starter in the minors, at one point striking out 162 batters in a season. He made the Opening Day roster in 1999 as a reliever and got hit hard in his six appearances, allowing nine runs on 11 hits and six walks in seven innings. After being sent down at the beginning of May, he made just one AAA appearance before missing the rest of the season and most of 2000. Phillips made it back to the majors in 2002-03 with the Indians, posting a 5.40 ERA in six starts and five relief appearances. He pitched until 2005 in the minors and spent parts of two seasons in Japan.
Ramon Martinez (1968) Pitcher for the 2001 Pirates. He was originally signed by the Dodgers 17 years before he came to the Pirates. Ramon is the brother of the great Pedro Martinez and the cousin of former Pirates pitcher Denny Bautista. Eight times in his career prior to joining the Pirates, Ramon won at least ten games in a season, with a high of 20 wins in 1990 for the Dodgers. In 2000 he posted a 10-8 record for the Red Sox in 27 starts but his ERA was 6.13 and he averaged less than five innings per start. The Pirates signed him as a free agent on April 11,2001, two weeks after the Dodgers released him from the free agent contract they signed him to in January. For the Pirates he stepped into the rotation just three days after signing and made four starts. He never got past the fifth inning in any start and Pittsburgh lost all four games. After his start on May 1st, Ramon decided to retire, finishing his career with a 135-88 3.67 record in 301 games, 297 as a starter.
(Editor’s Note: When this article was published in 2012, Jimmy Sebring had a listed birthday of March 22,1882. That has since been updated to March 25,1882 due to recent research)
Jimmy Sebring (1882) Outfielder for the Pirates from 1902 until 1904. He played just 363 career games over five seasons, but Sebring was a big part of the 1903 Pirates team that went to the first World Series and he was later involved in a trade for one of the best hitters of the day. Jimmy had hit .327 in 103 games for Worcester of the Eastern League when the Pirates decided to sign him to his first big league contract in September of 1902. He stepped right into the right field job and hit .325 over the last 19 games of the season. Sebring was the starting right fielder for all of 1903, hitting .277 with 13 triples, 20 stolen bases, 64 RBI’s and 71 runs scored. In the World Series, he would hit .333 in 30 AB’s, collecting ten hits, including the first home run in modern WS history. In 1904 he was hitting .269 through 80 games when the Pirates pulled off a three team trade involving the Reds and Giants. Sebring went to the Reds, while the Pirates got Moose McCormick and the Giants got Mike Donlin, a 26 year old outfielder with a .356 average at the time and he was coming off a 1903 season in which he hit .351, trailing only Honus Wagner and Fred Clarke for the league lead.
Sebring struggled with his new team, although he did end up leading the league with 27 outfield assists during the 1904 season. He played just 58 games for the Reds in 1905 before leaving the team to go to the side of his wife who was ill. He began to play ball for a local team and was eventually blacklisted from the majors when he failed to return to the Reds or accept a trade to the Cubs later that season. He was eventually reinstated in 1909 and signed with the Brooklyn Superbas(Dodgers). Sebring would play just 25 games for Brooklyn, hitting .099 in 81 AB’s. He was released in June and signed with the Washington Senators but got into just one game off the bench before he left the team. He had planned to play in 1910, claiming he would be ready for Spring Training but in December of 1909 he fell ill and passed away before the end of the year at just 27 years old.