On this date in Pirates History in 1933, the Bucs sign veteran pitcher and now Hall of Famer Waite Hoyt. Waite had 195 wins in 15 seasons at the time of the signing. He had also gone 6-4 1.83 in 12 World Series games over 7 seasons, 6 times with the Yankees and once with the A's. While with the Bucs, Hoyt would be mainly used as a reliever and he went 5-7 2.92 his first year. His second season with the team was his best year as he went 15-6 2.93 in 48 games. He played 4 1/2 seasons for the Pirates going 35-30 total in 156 games. He finished with 237 career wins and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1969.
Former players born on this date include Danny O'Connell who played for the Bucs in 1950 and 1953. Born in 1927, he finished 3rd in the rookie of the year voting his first season when he hit .292 witth 8 HR's and 32 RBI's. He would miss the next 2 seasons while in the military, but he came back in 1953 and picked up right where he left off. In 149 games, he hit a career high .294, scored 88 runs and drove in 55, both also career highs. His first year with the Bucs he played most of his games at shortstop, but was switched to 3rd base when he came back in '53. He also played 47 games at 2nd base that year.
After the 1953 season, O'Connell was traded to the Braves for 6 players and $100,000 cash. Despite seeming one-sided, it was not a popular trade among Bucs fans, who O'Connell was a favorite of. In return the Bucs got veteran Sid Gordon, Sam Jethroe (who beat out Danny in the 1950 ROY voting), Max Surkont and 3 minor leaguers. More on this trade can be found in the December 28th article.
Jimmy Zinn, born in 1895, played three years for the Bucs from 1920-22. He had played just one season before joining the Bucs and he struggled for the A's in 1919 posting a 6.31 ERA. His first year with the Pirates, he pitched 6 games, 3 as a starter and he finished 2 games. He had a 1-1 3.48 record that season. The next year was his best in the majors, going 7-6 3.68 in 32 games. He also saved 4 games and set career highs in strikeouts and innings. He lasted just 5 games his last season with the Bucs despite posting a 1.86 ERA, but he had no decisions. Zinn played just one more year in the majors as a member of the 1929 Indians, but he played 22 years total in the minors winning 295 games. He also batted .301 career in the minors and played outfield on occasion.
Fern Bell, who was born in 1913, played outfield for the Bucs in 1939 and played briefly for them the next season as a pinch hitter / pinch runner. During his rookie season in 1939, Fern appeared in 83 games for the Bucs, playing all 3 outfield positions with most of his time spent in center. He hit .286 with 34 RBI's that year, but was stuck behind 3 future Hall of Famers by the end of the season, as the Bucs had LF Chuck Klein, RF Paul Waner and CF Lloyd Waner starting. Another future HOF'er also played outfield for the Bucs that year, Heinie Manush. The next season Bell played just 6 games and went 0-3 with a walk, in what would be his last ML experience.
Jeff McCurry, who pitched for the Bucs in 1995 and then again in 1998, turns 33 today. His rookie season in 55 games he went 1-4 5.02 with 1 save. After playing for Detroit in 1996 and the Rockies in 1997, Jeff returned to the Bucs and went 1-3 6.52 in 16 games. A 6"7 righty, Jeff last played for the 1999 Astros, and he has a 3-12 5.89 record in 111 games.
Finally, current Bucs All-Star left fielder Brian Giles turns 32 today. Brian joined the Bucs on Nov. 18th, 1998 in a trade with the Indians for pitcher Ricardo Rincon. He has had 4 straight 30 home runs seasons, and has batted at least .298 with at least 95 RBI's every year with the Bucs. He has also made the All-Star team twice, in 2000 and 2001. Happy birthday Brian!