First Pitch: Sunday Notes and Upcoming Articles

The Pirates will be announcing their new president tomorrow, and with Bob Nutting set to speak publicly (for the first time since Spring Training, I believe), there will hopefully be some light shed on the Pirates’ plans going forward.

I’ll have an article reacting to tomorrow’s news, and we’ll have any follow-up articles needed throughout the week.

John Dreker and Wilbur Miller will be finishing up some minor league recaps this week, looking at the Breakout and Comeback Players of the Year in the minors, along with a breakdown of potential breakout pitchers and hitters going forward.

I’ll also have my normal offseason primer at the end of the World Series, plus I’ll be continuing my recaps of the MLB positions, with the next position up being second base.

Feel free to use the comments below for any discussion, or to ask any questions.




By John Dreker

A total of seven Pittsburgh Pirates have been born on this date, including one of the greatest sluggers in baseball history. There’s also a major trade of note.

Ralph Kiner, outfielder for the 1946-53 Pirates. Kiner hit 369 homers during his big league career, which doesn’t even rank him in the top 80 all-time anymore, but no one during his era was feared more at the plate. Kiner led the NL in homers for seven straight seasons with the Pirates, setting the franchise record with 54 homers in 1949. He broke his own record he set two years earlier when he put up the only other 50 home run season in club history. Kiner’s 301 homers with the Pirates ranks second all-time. The Pirates sent him to the Chicago Cubs in a ten-player/cash deal during the 1953 season. A bad back limited him to ten seasons in the majors.

Charlie Kuhns, third baseman for the Pirates on June 7, 1897. He went 0-for-3 with a walk and two errors in his lone game with the Pirates. He actually started for the Pirates on June 4, 1897, but that game was declared a forfeit in the fourth inning due to an argument from Pirates manager Patsy Donovan and the stats didn’t count. His only other big league time was nine games for Brooklyn in 1899.

Ed Albosta, pitcher for the 1946 Pirates. He went 0-6, 6.13 in six starts and 11 relief appearances with the Pirates. His only other big league experience was two starts for the 1941 Brooklyn Dodgers. He missed the 1943-45 seasons due to WWII.

UL Washington, infielder for the 1986-87 Pirates. He hit .207 over 82 games, with most of that time coming in 1986. Washington hit .251 with 132 steals in 907 games over 11 seasons in the majors.

Mike Dunne, pitcher for the 1987-89 Pirates. The Tony Pena trade brought over long-term pieces in Andy Van Slyke and Mike Lavalliere, but Dunne looked like a strong third piece in the deal when it happened. He finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting in 1987, going 13-6, 3.03 in 163.1 innings. He dropped down to 7-11, 3.92 in 170 innings in 1988, then lasted just three starts in 1989 before he was traded to the Seattle Mariners.

Jason Johnson, pitcher for the 1997 Pirates. Gave up four runs over six innings in his only three games with the Pirates. He was lost in the November 1997 expansion draft to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Johnson would pitched 11 years in the majors, posting a 56-100, 4.99 record, seeing time with eight different teams.

Jon Niese, pitcher for the 2016 Pirates. He had an 8-6, 4.91 record in 18 starts and five relief appearances before being traded late in the season back to the New York Mets, where he spent the first eight years of his career.

On this date in 1924, the Pirates and Chicago Cubs completed a six player trade with three players from each team involved. The Pirates received pitcher Vic Aldridge, infielder George Grantham and first baseman Al Niehaus in exchange for pitcher Wilbur Cooper, shortstop Rabbit Maranville and first baseman Charlie Grimm. The Pirates gave up the three most well-known players in this deal, but they ended up with the better end of the deal, which helped them go on to win the 1925 World Series and 1927 NL pennant. Grantham in particular is one of the most under-appreciated players in team history. He posted a .901 OPS in seven seasons with the Pirates, which is the fifth best OPS in franchise history. In fact, the only player with at least 3,500 plate appearances and a better OPS for the Pirates is the aforementioned Ralph Kiner.