Posted: Monday, January 6, 2003
Former Buc players born on this date include Dick Schofield. Ducky as he was known, was born in 1935 and played shortstop for the Pirates from 1958-1965. Dick joined the Bucs midseason 1958 from the Cardinals and played sparingly his first year with the team getting 27 at-bats in 26 games with just 4 hits and 2 RBI's. The next season he would be the backup second baseman, playing sparingly at short and outfield, getting into 81 games total while batting .234 with 9 RBI's.
During the World Series winning 1960 season, Schofield batted .333 over 65 games and was a valuable replacement for MVP SS Dick Groat when Groat got injured in September of that year. In the World Series, Schofield played in 3 games, batting 3 times with 1 hit as the Pirates won the series in 7 games. Ducky would be the backup for 2 more seasons before finally getting his first starting job in 1963, his 11th season, after Dick Groat was traded. He would play in a career high 138 games,and set career highs in at-bats, hits and runs. He batted .246 with 32 RBI's.
Dick's last full season with the team, 1964, he again batted .246, this time playing 121 games and he had a career high 36 RBI's. The next year he lasted till just May 22nd before being traded to the Giants for Jose Pagan who played 7+ seasons for the Bucs. Schofield's son, Dick played 14 seasons in the majors from 1983-96.
Kitty Bransfield, born in 1875, was the Pirates starting first baseman from 1901-1904. During that stretch the Bucs won 3 straight titles (01'-03') and played in the first W.S. in 1903. As a rookie in 1901, Kitty batted .295 with 91 RBI's in 139 games. The next season he batted a career high .305 and stole 23 bases for the second straight season and the Bucs went 103-36 that year. He dropped to a .265 avg the next season with 57 RBI's in 127 games, but the Bucs beat out the Giants by 6.5 games and went on to play the Red Sox in the first modern day World Series. Bransfield hit just .207 with an RBI in the 8 game series(It was a best of 9 series that year).
In 1904, Kitty dropped to just a .223 avg. while driving in 60 runs in 139 games played. The Pirates would trade Bransfield, along with Otto Krueger and Moose McCormick for 1st baseman Del Howard, who would replace Bransfield the next year (For more on this trade check the Dec. 20th column). Kitty was known as a good fielder in his day and after leaving the Bucs he won a fielding title with the Phillies.
Ted Beard, who played 5 years for the Pirates from his rookie season in 1948 till 1952 was born on this date in 1921. He was a backup outfielder all 5 seasons never playing more than 61 games in any year. Not much of a hitter, he never batted more than .232 in any season and over his 7 year career he hit just .198. While with the Bucs, he played 137 games total and started games at all 3 outfield positions. Ted wore 3 different numbers with the Bucs, 17, 13 and 21. He turns 82 today.
Cliff Knox, born on this date in 1902, played 6 games for the 1924 Bucs, all as a catcher. He made his ML debut on July 1st during a 5-2 loss vs the Cardinals. He was a switch hitter and batted .222 (4-18) with 2 RBI's, but on the bright side he didn't strikeout once and walked twice. He scored 1 run and all of his 4 hits were singles. In the field he didn't do so well, making 3 errors. It would be his only appearance in the majors.
Al Todd who played 3 years for the Bucs from 1936-38 as a catcher, like Knox, was also born on this date in 1902. He was acquired from the Phillies for Claude Passeau and Earl Grace. His first season with the Bucs he platooned with Tom Padden who was in his 5th season with the team. In 1937, Todd became the everyday catcher and had a career year hitting .307 with 86 RBI's in 133 games. He also set an NL record by catching 128 games without a passed ball. The next year he would also play 133 games while hitting .265 and driving in 75 runs in what would be his last season with the Bucs.
Leo Murphy, who played as a backup catcher for the Pirates in 1915 was born on this date in 1889. He made his ML debut May 2nd of that year and played in 31 games total, 20 behind the plate. He batted just .098 with 12 strikeouts in 41 at-bats. He scored 4 runs and drove in 4. He was a 3rd string catcher that year behind George Gibson, who is the Bucs all-time leader in games caught and Bobby Schang, who was in his 2nd year and who would be traded midseason to the Giants.
In 1914-15, there were 2 major leagues at the time, the one that exists today and the Federal League (FL), which opened up many major league jobs for players who wouldn't normally make the majors. This was probably the explanation in Leo Murphy's case as the FL had many big time players that would have normally been in the majors during this time.
Finally, Jim Pendleton who played for the 1957 and 58 Pirates teams, was born on this date in 1924. He had played parts of 4 years with the Braves before joining the Bucs. In 46 games in 1957, he batted .305 (18-59), with 9 runs scored and 9 RBI's. He played all 3 outfield positions, ss and 3b that year. The next year he would play 3 games with the Bucs, all as a pinch hitter with one hit. He finished his 8 year career in 1962 with the expansion Colt 45's (now the Astros). He hit .255 career over 444 games.
Pendleton was traded to the Reds in 1959 before the season started along with Johnny Powers, Frank Thomas, Whammy Douglass and cash for Harvey Haddix, Smoky Burgess and Don Hoak. Before making it to the majors, Pendleton was one of the top shortstops in the Negro Leagues and originally signed with the Dodgers, but never played for them because of being blocked by HOF'er Pee Wee Reese.