Posted: Sunday, January 5, 2003
Former Bucs players born on this date include 6 guys who played briefly for the team. Starting with Newt Hunter, born on this date in 1880. Hunter played with the Bucs way back in 1911 and was a platoon 1st baseman in his only season in the big leagues. A right handed hitter and thrower, he made his debut opening day during a Pirates 14-0 win over the Reds.
Hunter played 65 games total, 61 at first base where he had a .989 fielding percentage on the season which was 4 points higher than the league average. Hunter hit .254 with 24 RBI's in 209 at-bats.
During that season, the Bucs also used Bill McKechnie, a future Hall of Fame manager who managed the World Series winning 1925 Pirates team, at first base for 57 games. Along with McKechnie and Hunter, Honus Wagner also played 28 games at first base that year. Although Wagner is best known as a great shortstop, he played 248 career games at first, 209 at third base, 372 games in the outfield split between all 3 positions with the most coming in right. Honus also played 57 games at 2nd base and even pitched 2 games, throwing 8 1/3 scoreless innings.
Bob Steele, born on this date in 1894 in Canada, pitched briefly for the 1917-18 Pirates teams. He came over to the Bucs midseason from the Cardinals in 1917 after going 1-3 3.21 in 12 games. He finished that year going just 5-11 in the 27 games he spent in the Bucs uniform. Despite the bad record, he posted an ERA of just 2.76, but he was hindered by the Bucs finishing in last place with a record of just 51-103. The next year the Pirates finished over .500, but Steele went just 2-3 3.31 in 10 games before moving on to the Giants where he finished the season, and his career in 1919. Bob was a lefthanded throwing, switch hitter, who batted .225 in his career.
Roger Samuels who pitched 5 games for the 1989 Pirates team turns 42 today. A big left-handed pitcher, he pitched 15 games the previous season as a rookie with the Giants. He went 1-2 3.47 with 22 strikeouts in 23+ innings with the Giants in 88. The next year with the Bucs he struggled, posting a 9.82 ERA with no record. He allowed 13 base runners in 3 2/3 innings. That year would be his last in the majors.
Bob Oldis who was a member of the 1960 W.S. winning Bucs team was born on this date in 1928. Bob had played parts of 3 seasons with the Senators from 1953-55, but had not appeared in the majors since until he made it back with the 1960 Pirates. The 3rd string catcher, he played all 22 of his games at catcher that year, but batted just 20 times. He had 4 hits with 1 RBI and he scored 1 run all season. During the W.S., he got into 2 games with no at-bats. The next season, his last with the team, he played 4 games, all at catcher and went 0-5 at bat. He did not make an error in his 26 games behind the plate. He would go on to the Phillies for the next 2 seasons where he would continue his backup catching duties to finish his 7 year career.
Jack Salveson, who pitched 5 games for the 1935 Pirates, was born on this date in 1914. He went 0-1 9.00 in 7 innings, all in relief. He had played 2 years for the Giants where he went 3-3 in 20 games before coming to the Bucs. He pitched later in 1935 for the White Sox and then didn't appear in the majors again till 1943 and 1945 when he was able to come back because of the war. The Indians were short pitchers and he actually went 5-3 3.35 in 23 games in '43. Jack won over 200 games in the minors and can be seen in the movie "Pride of the Yankees" as the pitcher who hits Gary Cooper with a pitch.
Finally, Danny Jackson who played for the 1992 pennant winning Pirates team, was born on this date in 1962. He was acquired by the Pirates from the Cubs on July 10, 1992 in exchange for Steve Buechele. He went 4-4 3.36 in 15 starts for the Bucs during their pennant run, but he lost game 2 of the playoffs giving up 4 runs in 1 2/3 innings. In the offseason, he wasn't protected in the expansion draft and the Marlins took him then traded him to the Phillies. Jackson was a 2 time All-Star, who won 112 career games and was a member of 2 W.S. winning teams.