This Day in Pirate History - 12/23

Wednesday, December 23 2009 @ 05:26 am UTC

Contributed by: Staff

Posted: Monday, December 23, 2002

By 81omar_moreno

Born on this date in Pirates history in one of the best pitchers in team history, Sam Leever. Sam was born in 1871 and made his major league debut for the Pirates on May 26th, 1898. He pitched only 5 games that year going 1-0 2.45. The next year Leever established himself as a great pitcher for over the next 10 seasons. He would win a minimum of 14 games, 4 times winning over 20 games.

During his 13 year career, spent only with the Pirates, Leever would never post an ERA over 3.18 and in 1907 he would post a career low of 1.66. He also led the NL in 1903 with an ERA of 2.06. He finished with an ERA of 2.47 which ties him for 37th place all-time with longtime teammate Lefty Leifield.

Sam's career win total of 194 ranks him tied for 2nd on the Pirates all-time list with Babe Adams and just 8 behind the leader, Wilbur Cooper. His career winning % of .660 (194-100) ranks him 18th all-time in baseball history and from 1900-1909 his record was an incredible 166-72. Leever also had 39 shutouts which ranks him 2nd in team history.

During the 1903 W.S., Leever went 0-2, losing game 2 in which he gave up 2 runs in the first before being replaced in the 2nd. He pitched a complete game in game 6, but lost 6-3. He would go 8-1 2.83 in 1909, but not take part in the World Series.

Rick White who pitched for the Pirates from 1994-95 turns 34 today. White made his ML debut April 6, 1994 as a member of the Bucs and would pitch 43 games as a rookie that year,starting 5 and finishing 4-5 3.82.The next year he would start 9 games, pitch 15 total, and go 2-3 4.75. He also spent a month of the 1995 season on the disabled list. He spent the majority of the 1996 season on the disabled list, making just a brief appearance in the minors for 2 different teams. He was signed as a free agent by the Devil Rays before the 1997 season.

Cozy Dolan played for the Pirates briefly in 1913 after coming over from the Phillies midseason. He would hit .203 with 9 RBI's in 35 games, replacing Bobby Byrne who was the Pirates starting 3rd baseman the previous 4 seasons and went to the Phillies as part of the Dolan trade. Cozy would be part of an 8 player trade between the Bucs and Cardinals (for more on this trade see the Dec. 12th article). Dolan played for 6 team in his 7 year career and finished with a .252 avg. Despite playing all of his games as a Pirate at 3b, he played a majority of his games in the outfield, though he did play every position except catcher and pitcher at one point in his career.

Sam Frock, who was a member of the first Pirates team to win the World Series and a teammate of Sam Leever, was born on this date in 1882. He went 2-1 2.48 with 1 save over 8 games for the 1909 team, but did not appear in the W.S. In 1910, he pitched 1 game for the Bucs before being traded to the Braves along with Bud Sharpe for pitcher Kirby White. He would finish 3rd in NL that season in strikeouts but have a record of just 12-19. He would pitch just 4 games the next season and end his 4 year career 15-23 3.23.

Finally, Dave May was born on this date in 1943. He played for the Pirates at the end of 1978 and was used in just 5 games as a pinch hitter going 0-4 with a walk and a stolen base. This would be his last appearance in the majors and he ended his 12 year career hitting .251 over 1252 games. He wore #49 while with the Bucs.