First Pitch: Best of 2019 Pittsburgh Pirates Photos

Thought I’d share some of my favorite photos from our site photographer David Hague over the 2019 season. He would have been getting some action shots of local HS talent Austin Hendrick at this point of the year (that was the plan), but his work has basically come to a halt, especially since he did a lot more than take Pittsburgh Pirates pictures for our site. Here are 12 of my favorite shots while scrolling through our media library.

We start with the best shot from Steve Blass Day

Here’s a great shot of Francisco Liriano and his pitch grip

Francisco Liriano (47) September 25, 2019 Photo By David Hague/PiratesProspects

One of Jose Osuna sliding into home plate

Jose Osuna (36) scores September 25, 2019 Photo By David Hague/PiratesProspects

I particularly like this one of Bryan Reynolds going to the wall to make a catch, with the Steve Blass symbol right behind him also jumping. You don’t get too many great outfield action shots like this one.

Bryan Reynolds (10) September 24, 2019 Photo By David Hague/PiratesProspects

Here’s another outfield action shot for good measure, though this ball was not caught. Check out the shadows from the different lights

Starling Marte (6) September 7, 2019 Photo By David Hague/PiratesProspects

This one of Kevin Newman is interesting, especially when you add in Adam Wainwright running the bases in throwback colors.

Kevin Newman (27) September 7, 2019 Photo By David Hague/PiratesProspects

Cole Tucker deep in thought

Cole Tucker (3) September 7, 2019 Photo By David Hague/PiratesProspects

One of Corey Dickerson shortly before he was traded for an unknown return

Corey Dickerson (12) July 23, 2019 — David Hague/Pirates Prospects

Here’s one I’ve used multiple times as a cover photo. Chris Archer celebrating a play made behind him to get out of an inning with two men on base.

Chris Archer (24) July 23, 2019 — David Hague/Pirates Prospects

This one is Starling Marte celebrating a victory in those great throwback uniforms. Honestly, I could have just posted ten pictures from this day.

Starling Marte (6) July 20, 2019 — David Hague/Pirates Prospects

Here’s  Joe Musgrove sliding into the plate, dirtying up that great uniform.

Joe Musgrove (59) July 20, 2019 — David Hague/Pirates Prospects

Finally, here’s Steven Brault really enjoying what Colin Moran has to say, while Josh Bell listens in.

Josh Bell (55) June 18, 2019 — David Hague/Pirates Prospects

You can check out some more of David Hague’s work on his pages linked below:





Sometimes I post songs that I really like, sometimes it just songs that are stuck in my head for a good reason. This song was on a TV show I watched Wednesday night and it has been stuck since. I’m just trying to pass it on to someone else by posting it here



By John Dreker

Five former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including one who spent nine seasons in a Pirates uniform.

Walter Schmidt, catcher for the 1916-24 Pirates. It took him eight seasons of minor league ball before he made his big league debut with the Pirates in 1916 at 29 years old. He had spent the 1911-15 seasons playing for San Francisco of the Pacific Coast League. Schmidt hit just .190 his first season with two homers in 184 at-bats. Both home runs had significance. The first came off the great Christy Mathewson, while the second one would be his last home run until late in the 1924 season, two weeks away from the end of his Pirates career. Following his rookie year, his hitting improved to the point he never hit less than .238 in any season.

He was a strong defensive catcher with a good arm. He threw out 51% of runners attempting to steal during his career and would lead NL catchers in games caught twice, assists twice, caught stealing percentage twice, fielding percentage once and putouts once. During Spring Training in 1922, he held out from signing his contract, looking for a two-year deal. Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss wouldn’t budge on the contract he sent Schmidt to sign, so he ended up missing the first 99 games of the season before finally rejoining the team. In 729 games with the Pirates, he hit .257 with 225 RBIs. Walter finished his Major League career as a backup for the 1925 Cardinals, unfortunate timing on his part twice as the Pirates won the 1925 World Series and the Cardinals won it all in 1926. He played in the minors for four more seasons before retiring. His brother Charles “Boss” Schmidt, played six seasons in the majors with the Tigers and was the opposing catcher to the Pirates during the 1909 World Series

Blas Minor, pitcher for the 1992-94 Pirates. He was drafted four times, twice by the Phillies, before he finally signed with the Pirates in 1988. He was a closer his first year in rookie ball, then jumped to the Carolina League for his first full season in 1989, pitching 86.2 innings with a 3.63 ERA. Blas spent the 1990 at Double-A, where he had 38 appearances (six as a starter), with a 3.06 ERA and five saves in 94 innings. He struggled his first time at Triple-A, but in 1992 he put it all together, posting a 2.45 ERA in 45 games (seven starts), with 18 saves in 96.1 innings.

During the middle of that 1992 season, he made his Major League debut, pitching two innings on July 28th. It would be his only big league appearance that year, but the following season he made the Pirates Opening Day roster out of Spring Training. In 65 games as a reliever, Minor went 8-6 4.10 with two saves and 94.1 innings pitched. He had a strong BB/K ratio, striking out 84 while walking just 26 batters. In 1994, he pitched extremely poor, lasting only nine games before being sent back to Triple-A. He was recalled in mid-June, but was demoted again after just one month, and then never returned to the Pirates. Blas was put on waivers that November, where he was picked up by the Mets. He pitched in 74 games from 1995-97 for three different teams before returning to the minors for good, where he finished his career in 2000.

Rick Langford, pitcher for the 1976 Pirates. He was drafted by the Cardinals in 1971 and Indians in 1972 but did not sign with either club. The Pirates signed Langford as an amateur free agent in June 1973 and he pitched just ten innings that year in the Gulf Coast League. He moved up to A-ball in 1974 and had a record of 11-7, 2.69 ERA in 174 innings. Rick split 1975 between Double-A and Triple-A, winning 12 games against just four losses. He began 1976 at Triple-A, winning nine of 16 starts, with a 3.20 ERA. Langford was called-up in June to make his debut, pitching ten games before he was returned to the minors. He returned in September for two more appearances. During Spring Training 1977, the Pirates traded him, along with five other players, to the Oakland A’s in exchange for Phil Garner and two players. Langford would go on to play ten seasons in Oakland, posting a 73-105 record in 248 games.

Tom Stankard, infielder for the 1904 Pirates. His big league career consisted of just two games, both of them off of the bench. He went 0-for-2 at the plate and saw some innings at third base and shortstop, handling his only two chances in the field without issue. Stankard played his only two games 24 days apart in July, 1904. He finished 1904 in the minors and would go on to play another ten years in pro ball. He was a two-sport star at Holy Cross prior to joining the Pirates. In football, he was an All-American in 1903, playing fullback and defensive end.

Pete McShannic, third baseman for the 1888 Alleghenys. He began his pro career in the minors in 1885. By age 23 in 1887 he was a player/manager for a team from Johnstown, PA. that played out of the Pennsylvania State Association. He had the same job the following season, playing for the Zanesville Kickapoos of the Tri-State League. At the end of the season, he latched on with the Alleghenys, playing his first big league game on September 15, 1888. He played 26 games for Pittsburgh, hitting .194 with five RBIs in 98 at-bats. McShannic played all 26 of his games at third base and he was an above average fielder. He played two more seasons in the minors before retiring from baseball. Despite spending just one month with the Alleghenys in 1888, when the franchise opened up Forbes Field 21 years later, the Pirates invited McShannic (and a handful of other former players) to witness the opening of the new stadium.

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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.

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