Posted: Tuesday, December 24, 2002
Before I start the column, I'd like to say Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone! I'll try and keep it short today.
Former Pirates players born on Christmas include Hall of Famer James "Pud" Galvin, who was one of the best pitchers from the 1800s and retired as the all-time wins leader. He was a member of the Pittsburgh team from the American Association before they joined the NL in 1887. Galvin had played 9 seasons already by the time the Pirates team started in the NL and he had already won 247 games, including winning 46 games twice with Buffalo in 1883-1884.
In 1887, Galvin went 28-21 3.29, leading the team in wins and he finished an incredible 47 of 48 starts. The next season, despite a 2.63 ERA, Pud finished with a 23-25 record and again he finished an incredible 49 of 50 starts .To show you how different the times are today, Galvin's 49 complete games that year alone would rank him 10th among active pitchers in career complete games.
Galvin went 23-16 the next season before jumping to the Pittsburgh club of the start up Players League. That league lasted just one year and Pud returned to the Pirates in 1891 (The first year they were actually referred to as the Pirates). Galvins career was basically over by then being 34 and having over 630 career starts already. James would go 14-14 2.88 in 1891 and then go 5-6 2.62 before being released midseason 1892. He would finish his career that season as a member of St Louis Browns (now the Cardinals). Pud finished with 361 career wins, tied for 6th most all-time. He is second to only Cy Young in complete games and innings. He was born in 1856 and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1965.
Former Bucs manager Gene Lamont was born on this date in 1946. He managed the team from 1997, after taking over for Jim Leyland, till 2000 when he was replaced by current skipper Lloyd McClendon. Lamont's best finish was 2nd place in 1997 when the Bucs finished with a 79-83 record. The team had 295-352 record during his 4 year stint.
Earl "Pinches" Kunz played one season in the majors as a member of the 1923 Pirates. He went 1-2 5.52 in 21 appearances, 2 as a starter and he had 1 save. Earl suffered from control problems, as he gave up 24 walks in 45 innings, while striking out just 12. He also had 4 errors in just 13 total chances. Earl was born in 1899.
Alex Jones Pitched 1 game for the 1889 Pirates as a 19 year old. He threw a complete game, giving up just 3 runs, while striking out 10 and picking up the win. He also had an RBI double in that game, going 1-5 and scoring a run. Alex was a small left-hander standing just 5"6 and weighing all of 135 lbs. Despite the impressive start, he wouldn't pitch again till 1892 when he went 5-14 for 2 teams. He pitched just 3 games after that season, 1 in 1894 and 2 in 1903 for the Tigers.
Rich Renteria made his ML debut for the 1986 Pirates playing his first game on Sept. 14th of that year. He played in 10 games, going 3-12 with an RBI. He played just one unmemorable game in the field making 2 errors at 3rd base. He would go on to the Mariners the next season, for whom he played parts of 2 seasons for before getting a chance to play everyday for the expansion Marlins in 1993. He was born in 1961 and wore lucky #13 while with the Bucs.
Scott Bullet, born in 1968, was a switch hitting center fielder who played for the Bucs in 1991 and 1993. He was a Sept. callup in 1991 and got into 11 games, batting just 4 times with no hits and 3 strikeouts. He was used mainly as a pinch runner and stole 1 base while scoring 2 runs. In 1993, he got into 23 games, batting .200 (11-55) with 4 RBI's and 3 steals. He had just 2 extra base hits, both triples and scored just 2 runs. Bullet spent the next 2 seasons as a backup outfielder for the Cubs and got into over 100 games each year. He wore #47 while with the Bucs.
Finally, Al Jackson, who pitched for the Pirates in 1959 and 1961, was born on this date in 1935. He was called up midseason 1959 and made his major league debut on June 1st of that year. Al would appear in 8 games, starting 3 and had a record of 0-0 6.50. The next season, he would pitch just 3 games in the big leagues, going 1-0 3.42 with 1 complete game before moving on to the expansion Mets the next season. He finished with a 67-99 3.98 record over 10 seasons