If you missed the news from this weekend, I announced the future launch of Pittsburgh Baseball Network on Friday, and further explained the new expansion yesterday.

I’ve been working on PBN behind the scenes in some form or another over the last year, well before I even knew it was going to be PBN. Tomorrow we’ll have an announcement about the first site that will be created for the network, which is the Pirates blog.

We’ll also have another surprise announcement tomorrow afternoon to celebrate Cyber Monday.

If you’re doing any Christmas shopping this weekend, and you don’t want to leave the house, we’ve got gift subscriptions available for Pirates Prospects and PBN. Gift subscriptions are currently only in Pirates Prospects form, but all Pirates Prospects subscribers will have their subscriptions transferred over to PBN at launch time, so you’re essentially buying a gift subscription to PBN.

By the time Christmas rolls around, PBN will have three sites in operation, and your gift subscription will be for all three sites, and any future sites on the new network.

To purchase a gift subscription for the holidays, go to the subscription page, choose an Annual or Top Prospect Plan, and on the cart page be sure to check the box saying “Purchase This Subscription as a Gift”. Enter the recipient’s email address, finish checking out, and your gift will be emailed.

We will also have custom PBN gift cards later in the month if you’d like to pair that with a gift subscription.

Between the Pirates adding a new front office, the farm system likely going under a rebuild, a top ten draft prospect for 2020 in the Pittsburgh prep ranks, our expanded Pittsburgh baseball history, and our new college baseball coverage, there will be plenty to read on PBN in the next year. That makes this gift a must-buy for any baseball fan in your life.

Check back tomorrow for the updates on PBN’s first site launch.


No one sings like you anymore.



By John Dreker

Seven former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date, but we start with two transactions of note.

On this date in 1966 the Pittsburgh Pirates traded 3B/LF Bob Bailey and shortstop Gene Micheal to the Los Angeles Dodgers for all-star shortstop Maury Wills. Bailey and Michaels performed poorly for the Dodgers following the deal, while Wills played two seasons for the Pirates, hitting .302 in 1967 with 92 runs and 29 stolen bases in 149 games. He would steal 52 bases in 1968, the second highest total in the NL. He hit .278 and scored 76 runs in 153 games. He was drafted by the Montreal Expos in the expansion draft in October 1968.

Exactly one year before the Wills trade, the Pirates traded pitcher Joe Gibbon and 3B/C Ozzie Virgil to the Giants for outfielder Matty Alou. Prior to the deal, Alou was a .260 hitter over six season, but he turned his career around with the Pirates, hitting .342 his first year, winning the batting title and finishing ninth in the MVP voting. He would hit over .330 each season from 1967-69 twice making the All-Star team. In 1969 he led the NL with 231 hits and 41 doubles. He dropped down to .297 in 1970 but still scored 97 runs and had 201 hits. Following that season he was traded to the Cardinals in exchange for Nelson Briles and Vic Davalillo.

Reggie Sanders, outfielder for the 2003 Pirates. He signed with Pittsburgh in March of 2003 after hitting .250 with 23 homers and 85 RBI’s for the Giants in 2002. Sanders hit .285 with 31 homers, 15 stolen bases and 87 RBI’s in 130 games for the Pirates. He left the team as a free agent following the season and signed with the Cardinals. He played 17 seasons in the majors, scored 1037 runs, drove in 983 and is a member of the 300 stolen base/ 300 home run club.

Cal McLish, pitcher for the Pirates in 1947-48. The Pirates acquired him in May of 1947, and he pitched just one game that season, giving up two runs in one inning. He spent most of 1948 in the minors, posting a 12-9 4.13 record in AAA. For the Pirates in 1948, he pitched one inning in April then made one start in late September, allowing five runs in four innings. Following the 1948 season he was traded to the Cubs. He had a career record of 92-92 4.01 in 15 seasons. McLish has likely the most interesting name in baseball history. His full name is Calvin Coolidge Julius Caeser Tuskahoma McLish.

Cookie Lavagetto, outfielder for the 1934-36 Pirates. He played second base his rookie season in 1934, hitting .220 with 46 RBI’s and 41 runs scored in 87 games. He played both 2B/3B in 1935, hitting .290 in 78 games. Lavagetto hit .244 in 60 games in 1936. Following the season, the Pirates traded him to the Brooklyn Dodgers for pitcher Ed Brandt. Cookie broke out with the Dodgers, making four straight all-star teams before leaving to serve in WWII. He missed four full seasons, returning for two more years with the Dodgers before finishing his career in the minors.

Mike Cvengros, pitcher for the 1927 Pirates. Cvengros was a small lefty, standing just 5’8″, 159 pounds. He was a Rule 5 draft pick by the Pirates in 1926 and they traded him away after the 1927 season. With the Pirates, he went 2-1, 3.35 in 19 relief appearances and four starts. He pitched twice during the World Series, giving up one run over 2.1 innings. That one run came on a home run by Babe Ruth. Cvengros pitched a total of six years in the majors, going 25-40, 4.59 in 144 games. He won 159 games in the minors.

Eppie Barnes, first baseman for the 1923-24 Pirates. Barnes came to the Pirates right out of Colgate University and played two games in September of 1923, going 0-for-2 with a strikeout. He went to the minors early in the 1924 season, hitting .261 with no homers in 110 games. He played one game with the Pirates in early May and then another in September, going 0-for-5 at the plate. That was the end of his pro career. Barnes was born the same day as Cvengros.

Jake Miller, right fielder for the 1922 Pirates. His big league career lasted three days, July 15-17, 1922. Miller went 1-for-11 with a stolen base and two walks. His only big league hit was a single in his first major league at-bat. In the field, he made one error in nine chances. His off and on minor league career lasted from 1919 until 1930, but he never made the majors again. Miller was a .303 career hitting in the minors and batted over .300 in five of his eight seasons.

George Fox, 1B/C for the 1899 Pirates. Fox had an eight-year stretch between his two short stints in the majors. He made his MLB debut in July of 1891 for the Louisville Colonels of the American Association. Fox played six games at third base and went 2-for-19, with a triple and two RBI’s. He then spent the next nine seasons playing all over minor league teams in Pennsylvania, making his pro debut in 1889 with a team from Lebanon, then eventually played in Hazelton, Lancaster, Reading, Danville, Allentown, Shamokin, Pottsville and Philadelphia. Fox joined the Pirates late in 1899 and played nine games at first base, three games at catcher. He hit .244 in 13 games, with a homer and three RBIs. He returned to the minors in 1900 for one last season of pro ball.

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