Posted: Friday, January 3, 2003
Former Bucs players born on this date include Gus Suhr, who was the everyday 1st baseman from 1930-1939. Gus took the everyday part serious, setting at the time what was an NL record, by playing in 822 games straight from Sept 11, 1931 until he missed a game attending his mother-in-laws funeral on June 5th, 1937. The season before joining the Bucs, Suhr had an incredible year in the minors, hitting .381 with 51 HR's and 177 RBI's. He also had a pretty impressive rookie season in 1930 hitting .286 with 107 RBI's, scoring 93 runs in 151 games.
The 1931 season was a tough one for Suhr as he struggled and was eventually benched. He hit .211 for the season, with just 32 RBI's in 87 games. Suhr obviously got the message from the benching as he started his consecutive game streak late that season and for the next 7 1/2 seasons he would not give up his job. Every year from 1932-39, Gus finished in the top 6 in the NL in both triples and walks. Three times he finished in the top 10 in RBI's and doubles and 3 times he lead the league in games played.
Suhr's best season came in 1936 when he hit .312 and set career highs in runs scored (111) and RBI's (118) while making his only All-Star appearance. Gus also had 103 RBI's in 1934, his only other 100+ season. He was also a pretty good fielder in his day, setting a then record for 1st baseman of 70 consecutive errorless games during the 1935 season and finishing with a career .992 fielding % which was high for his era.
Among Pirates, he ranks in the top-10 of 3 all-time categories. He is 7th in walks (679), 8th in RBI's (789, just 12 behind Ralph Kiner) and tied for 10th in doubles with Al Oliver (276).Gus went to the Phillies mid-season 1939 and finished his career with them the next season. In his career he batted .279 over 1435 games. Gus was born on this date in 1906 and he is currently the 4th oldest living ex-major leaguer.
Also born on this date, in 1884, was Kirby White, who pitched for the Bucs in 1910 and 1911. The Pirates acquired him from the Braves on April 28, 1910 for Bud Sharpe and Sam Frock. Kirby would go 10-9 in 21 starts, 30 games total with a 3.46 ERA with the Pirates, who were coming off their first W.S. winning season. The Bucs would finish in 3rd place. After pitching just 2 games in 1911 the Pirates released White and that would be the end of his ML career. He went 17-25 3.24 total over 58 games. He did finish 21 of his 44 career starts, threw 4 shutouts and even got in 2 saves, both with the Bucs in 1910.
Harry Fisher, born in 1926 in Canada, played for the 1951 and 52 Pirates teams. Called up late Sept of 1951, Fisher was used only as a pinch hitter and batted 3 times that season with no hits. The next season he was used as a reliever, starter and even got in some more pinch hitting appearances. As a pitcher he went 1-2 6.87 over 8 games, but he did hit .333 (5-15) with an RBI. That season would be his last in the majors. He wore 3 different numbers during his 18 games with the Pirates, starting with #35, then switching to #39 before finishing with #19.
Dick Colpaert, who pitched 8 games for the 1970 Pirates, was born on this date in 1944. A righty reliever, he went 1-0 5.91 over 10 2/3 innings. He made his debut on July 21 during a Pirates 3-1 loss in Houston. The 1970 Pirates made the playoffs, but Colpaert did not appear in the postseason. That one year would be his only in the majors and Colpaert wore #36 while with the team.
Luis Sojo, who played briefly for the 2000 Pirates was born on this date in 1965. He was signed as a free agent to a 1 year/$450,000 contract on Jan. 19, 2000. During the season he hit .284 with 20 RBI's over 61 games, 50 as a 3rd baseman. He spent time on the DL missing most of July and then was traded Aug. 7th, shortly after he returned, to the Yankees for minor league pitcher Chris Spurling. Luis retired this past off-season, a .261 career hitter, he has a .400 batting average in World Series play.
Finally, Mark Dewey, who pitched for the 1993-94 Pirates turns 38 today. He was signed off waivers by the Bucs from the Mets on May 11,1993. He would go 1-2 in 21 relief appearances, with 7 saves and an ERA of 2.36. He also allowed just 14 hits in 26 2/3 innings. The 1994 season he pitched 45 games out of the bullpen, with a 2-1 3.68 record, he saved 1 game and also got his only career base hit (a single) which was suprising because he played 205 games and all as a National Leaguer. The next season he would go on to play for the Giants where he finished his career in 1996.