On this date in Pirates History in 1890 George Bostic Whitted was born. If you look in the record books you wont find a George Whitted because he was known as "Possum" to everyone in baseball. He started his career as a Sept. call up in 1912 and was a third baseman for the Cardinals, but by the next year Possum would be an everyday player without a position. He started games at all 3 outfield position and all 4 infield positions too. In 123 games, he batted just .220 with 38 RBI's. Twenty games into the next season he was dealt to the Braves, a team now known as the Miracle Braves for their amazing World Series title that year out of nowhere. Possum batted .261 on the season and .214 in the 4 game W.S.
He was traded in the offseason, and again to a team that would go on to the World Series, the 1915 Phillies. After 3 full seasons where he batted at least .280 (but no higher than .281, that's consistentacy) Possum would play just 24 games in 1918. He also secured just one position for the first time, playing only left field. After starting slow and hitting just .249 in 78 games by August 8th, the Phillies traded Possum to the Pirates for future Hall of Famer Casey Stengel. As the everyday 1st baseman for the Pirates for the last 35 games of the season, Whitted hit .389 with 21 RBI's.
The next season with the emergence of young Charlie Grimm (who went on to have a great 20 year career) the Pirates moved Possum to 3rd base and he led the 4th place Bucs in RBI's with 74. In 1921, just one year before Pie Traynor became a fixture at 3rd base, Possum was again moved, this time to right field. In what would be his last season with the team, and last full season overall (he pinch hit once for the Dodgers in 1922) Possum hit .283 with 60 RBI's. That Pirates team had 4 future Hall of Famers on it, Traynor, Kiki Cuyler, Max Carey and Rabbit Maranville. Possum finished a .269 hitter with 451 RBI's over 1,025 games.
Dan Plesac, the lefty reliever who has now played in over 1000 games, turns 41 today. A member of the 1995-96 Pirates teams, he was signed as a free agent on November 9, 1994. The previous season for the Cubs he had gone 2-3 4.61 in 54 games. In his first year with the Bucs he would appear in 58 games and drop his ERA to 3.58 with a 4-4 record and 3 saves to go along with it. He also had a single that year in 4 at-bats, which to this day is still his only career hit. In 1996 Dan had his 1st of 3 straight 70 appearance seasons. He led the Pirates pitchers, with 73 games and went 6-5 4.09 with 11 saves on the year. Plesac would be traded in the offseason to the Blue Jays along with Orlando Merced and Carlos Garcia for 6 players, including Jose Silva and current Bucs, Abraham Nunez and Craig Wilson.
Lefty Davis born in 1875, is significant in Pirates History as he is the player to take over for Honus Wagner in right field when Wagner was moved to shortstop. I'm sure if you asked Davis while he was alive he would've said Wagner was moved to shortstop because he was acquired(actually I'm not sure of that, but it would make a good story for him) from the Dodgers midseason (his rookie season). He batted .313 with 33 RBI's and 22 steals in 87 games. The Pirates thought they had their right fielder of the future, but 59 games into 1902 on July 11th, Lefty broke his leg on a steal of second base. He was batting .280 with 19 steals already, but he would miss the rest of the year.
The next season the Bucs played in the first W.S., but Davis wasn't part of the team, he had signed with the Highlanders (Yankees now) when Jimmy Sebring was brought in to replace him in right. Lefty played just one more year as a member of the 1907 Reds and never regained his form from his Pirates days.
Steve Brye who turns 54 today finished his 9 year career as a member of the 1978 Pirates. A member of the Twins for 7 of his previous 8 years Brye played for the Brewers in 1977 and hit .249 in 94 games with 28 RBI's. Throughout his career he played all 3 outfield positions,and while with the Pirates it was no different. Signed by the Bucs on April 4 after being cut by the Brewers days earlier Steve would hit just .235 with 9 RBI's in 66 games. He was a free agent at the end of the season and signed with the Padres, but never played in the majors for them and finished his career a .258 hitter in 697 games.
Finally, Dennis Konuszewski born in 1971, played one game for the 1995 Pirates. On August 4, during a doubleheader vs Houston at Three Rivers Stadium, Dennis came on in relief. The right-hander got one out, but gave up 3 hits a walk and 2 runs posting a 54.00 ERA. Sent back to the minors the next day he would never appear in the majors again. He wore #50 during that unmemorable appearance. He is one of 9 players from the 1992 amateur draft selected by the Pirates that made it to the majors with them, with Jason Kendall and Adriam Brown being the most prolific.