Only two former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, but we have a major transaction from over 100 years ago.

The Transaction

On this date in 1916, the Pirates purchased the contract of 21-year-old Carson Bigbee from the Tacoma Tigers of the Northwestern League. At the time of the deal, he was batting ,340 through 111 games in his first season of pro ball. Bigbee debuted a month later with the Pirates and hit .250 in 43 games that season. He would go on to spend his entire 11-year career in the majors with the Pirates, six times playing over 120 games in a season. He was a .287 hitter in 1,147 games in Pittsburgh, with 182 stolen bases and a 344/161 BB/SO ratio. When he retired, he was sixth on the Pirates all-time list of games played. Bigbee’s brother Lyle pitched for the 1921 Pirates.

Enrique Wilson, infielder for the 2000-01 Pirates. He was originally signed by the Twins in 1992 as an amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic. Wilson made his debut five years later as a member of the Cleveland Indians. He spent parts of four seasons there, seeing plenty of time at SS/3B/2B, prior to being traded to the Pirates on the day after his 27th birthday in exchange for Wil Cordero. With Cleveland, Wilson played 190 games, hitting .287 with 49 RBIs and 72 runs scored. For Pittsburgh, he played 40 games in 2000, again seeing time at all three infield spots. He hit .262 with 15 RBIs and a .723 OPS. In 2001, he was seeing most of his time at shortstop and struggling with the bat, hitting just .186 with eight RBIs through 46 games. On June 13, 2001, the Pirates traded Wilson to the New York Yankees in exchange for pitcher Damaso Marte. Wilson played with the Yankees through the end of the 2004 season, then finished his big league career with the 2005 Chicago Cubs, before retiring after playing one last season in the minors. He was highly rated coming through the minors, three times making Baseball America’s  top 100 list, but his career didn’t quite pan out. Wilson was a .244 hitter over 555 major league games. He played in five postseasons, two with Cleveland, three with Yankees, coming up short of a World Series ring each time.

Irish McIlveen, pitcher for the 1906 Pirates. The Pirates signed the left-handed throwing, native of Ireland, directly out of Penn St, where he was a star athlete. After joining Pittsburgh in early July of 1906, he played five games, two as a pitcher and three off the bench. Six days after his Major League debut on July 4th, he made his only start, losing to the Brooklyn Dodgers by a 7-6 score. Irish, whose real name was Henry, and who also went by the name “Lefty” in college, returned to school to coach during the 1907 and 1908 seasons. He also played some pro ball during those two seasons. The first year he played 58 games for a minor league team from Steubenville and the next year he split his time between Newark of the Eastern League and the New York Highlanders (Yankees) in the majors. McIlveen played 48 games for the Highlanders between the 1908-09 seasons, seeing time at all three outfield spots, but he never pitched in New York. He played his last Major League game on May 6, 1909 and never played in the minors after that point either. There have been 49 Major League players who were born in Ireland. Only five began their career after McIlveen, one of them being Paddy O’Connor, the backup catcher for the first Pirates team (1909) to win the World Series.

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