Posted: Sunday, November 17, 2002
On this date in Pirates history in 1998, they pulled off one of the biggest free agent signings in their history when they signed Mike Benjamin away from the Red Sox. Benji signed a 2-year contract and stayed with the team till this season (I hope I'm not going out on a limb saying he's done with the team).
In 1993, on this date the Pirates traded for Brian Hunter from the Braves for the ever popular player to be named later. Brian would play just 76 games for the Bucs, mostly at first base, before going to the Reds for the most traded person in baseball, a player to be named later (that player would be Micah Franklin). He would bat .227 with 11 HR and 47 RBI as a Buc.
60 years earlier the Bucs made another trade on this date, sending longtime outfielder Adam Comorosky and infielder Tony Piet to the Reds for pitcher Red Lucas. Red was coming off 7 straight double-digit win seasons and as a Buc he would post a 47-32 record over 5 seasons, including a 15-4 record in 1936. He also finished 5th in ERA that season, posting a 3.18, his best overall with the Pirates. Lucas would win 157 games during his 16 year career.
Former Pirates born on this date include numerous players who spent just one season and for some their whole career with the team. It also includes one who hasn't even made his debut with the team yet, RH reliever Jimmy Mann, who was claimed off waivers from the Astros just after the season ended. He turns 28 today.
Starting from the oldest to the youngest, Jack Kading who was born on 1884, played for the Bucs in 1910. He made his debut Sept 12th and started 8 games at 1st base hitting .304 with 4 rbi's. He would play in the minors till briefly making an appearance with the Cubs in 1914.
Don Flinn, who was born in 1892, played for the Pirates during the 1917 season, coming up as a late season callup. He would play all 3 outfield positions ,playing in 14 games, he would bat .297 over 37 at-bats. The 1917 Pirates would finish last with a 51-103 record despite having 4 future hall of famers and their all time leader in wins on the club.
Born on Nov. 17th, in 1913, was Stu Martin who actually played 2 seasons for the Bucs. Stu, who came up as a Cardinal, joined the Bucs in 1941 and hit .305 for the season. Martin played all 4 infield positions over his career, spending most of his time at 2nd base. He would play part of the season for the Bucs in 42' struggling as he hit .225 and would join the Merchant Marines before the season was over. Stu would play one more season as a member of the Cubs before retiring.
Orlando Pena, born in 1933, played just one year of his 14 year career with the Bucs. One of 8 teams he played with during his career, he made his Bucs debut in 1970. He was signed away from the Royals who were using him as a batting practice pitcher. He couldn't make any other team after having a bad year at AAA in 1969. As a reliever, he would go 2-1, with a 4.78 era over 23 games in his only season. He would go on to the Orioles the next season, a team that would lose the W.S. to the Bucs that year. Orlando would pitch in the majors till the age of 41, posting a career record of 56-77 over 427 games.
Finally, Tom Dettore, born in 1947, would make his major league debut for the Pirates during the 1973 season. Coming up mid year, Tom would pitch 12 games for the Bucs, starting one and would finish with a 0-1, 5.96 record. Like Stu Martin, he would move on to the Cubs where he would finish his career. Dettore can single handedly be held responsible for the Bucs not finishing with a .500 record in 1973 because of his loss (ok, maybe not, but if he won that one game they would have been 81-81 that year!)