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Friday, August 12 2022 @ 05:48 pm UTC
This Day in Pirate History - 1/23   
By 81omar_moreno

On this date in Pirates history in 1975, Ralph Kiner was elected to the Hall of Fame, receiving 75% of the votes. Kiner, who played for the Pirates from 1946-1953, gained election by just one vote. He was the only player elected by the Baseball Writers of America that year, but he was joined by Earl Averill, Bucky Harris and another former Buc, Billy Herman who were elected by the veterans committee. Judy Johnson, the great Negro Leagues player, was also selected for the Hall of Fame. Kiner is second on the Pirates all-time home run list with 301.

Former players born on this date include Kurt Bevacqua, who played for the Bucs in 1974,1980-81. Kurt, who turns 56 today, played 18 games for the Pirates in 1974, but hit just .114 with no RBI's. He played 8 games at 3rd base and 1 in the outfield while with the Bucs before being returned to the Royals for Cal Meier and cash. Kurt was originally acquired from the Royals on Dec. 4th, 1973 along with Ed Kirkpatrick and Winston Cole for Nelson Briles and Fernando Gonzalez.

Bevacqua was reacquired by the Pirates from San Diego on August 5th, 1980 along with Mark Lee in exchange for Rick Lancelotti and Luis Salazar. With the Bucs he hit .163 over the last 22 games. In 1981 he lasted 29 games with the Bucs and was used mainly as a pinch hitter, hitting .259 with 4 RBI's. Kurt played 15 seasons and hit .236 over 970 games, but he's best known for hitting .412 with 2 homers during the 1984 World Series while with the Padres vs the Tigers.

Jack Saltzgaver, who was born on this date in 1903, played one year for the Bucs in 1945. He had played 5 years for the Yankees previously, but had not been in the majors since 1937. He was given a second opportunity in the majors because of the amount of players involved in the war. As a Pirate he played 2nd base and over 52 games he hit .325 with 10 RBI's. He finished his career hitting .260 over 278 games. In 1935 and 1936 he was the only person besides Lou Gehrig to play 1st base for the Yankees, and in 34' and 37', he was the only guy to play more than one game there besides Gehrig.

Alfonso Pulido, who pitched one game for the Pirates in 1983 and one game again in 1984, was born on this date in 1957. He made his ML debut as a starter for the Bucs on September 15th during a doubleheader vs the Cardinals, but he left after allowing 2 runs in just 2 innings and getting no decision. In 1984 in his one game as a reliever, he again gave up 2 runs in 2 innings. He finished his career pitching 10 games for the Yankees in 1986 after being traded to them along with Jay Buhner and Dale Berra in exchange for Tim Foli, Steve Kemp and cash on Dec. 20, 1984.

Bill Regan who played for the 1931 Pirates was born in 1899 and was a lifelong resident of Pittsburgh, Pa. Bill had been the Red Sox everyday second baseman since his rookie season in 1926 before coming to the Bucs. He had averaged .270 with 56 RBI's over his 5 seasons, but with the Bucs he hit just .202 over 28 games in what would be his last ML appearance. He also struggled in the field with the Bucs too making 9 errors in his limited time, but before coming to Pitt. He was known as a good fielder with real good range.

Victor Cole who played for the 1992 Pirates turns 35 today. A right handed pitcher, he was born in Russia and came to the Bucs from the Royals on May 4,1991 in a trade for Carmelo Martinez. Victor made his ML debut on June 6,1992 and all together he would appear in 8 games for the Bucs, 4 as a starter. He finished with a 0-2 5.48 record in his only season in the majors. He wore #61 with the Bucs.

Ed Barney, born in 1890, played for the 1915-1916 Bucs. He came over from the Yankees just weeks after making his ML debut. While with the Yanks he hit .194 in 11 games. He finished the season hitting .273 over the last 32 games for the Pirates while spending most of his time in center field. The next year he split his time between left and center, but struggled at the plate hitting just .197 in 45 games. That would be his last year in the majors. He was a good fielder and a fast runner who stole 17 bases in his short time.

Finally, Benny Distefano who played for the Bucs from 1984-1989 turns 41 today. He is best known as the last left handed throwing catcher in the majors in 1989 and he was the first lefty to play catcher since Mike Squires caught 2 games for the White Sox in 1980. He becomes the first NL player since pitcher Chris Short caught one game for the Phillies in 1961. (It should be noted that I caught one game in little league around 1987, I'm a lefty and no one ever talks about that). Benny played just 4 years in the majors during those 6 seasons, spending all of 1985 and 1987 in the minors. A career .228 hitter overall, he hit .227 with the Bucs (68-300) in 188 games. He was used as a 1b/rf/lf and pinch hitter while with the Bucs when he wasn't catching those 3 games. He finished his career with the 1992 Astros.

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