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Friday, March 24 2023 @ 12:23 am UTC
This Day in Pirate History - 2/7   
By 81omar_moreno

Former Pirates players born on this date include Juan Pizarro, who had 2 stints with the Bucs. Born in 1937, the left-handed pitcher joined the Bucs in 1967, his 11th season. From 1961-64 Juan won 61 games, but went just 14-9 the 2 seasons prior to joining the Pirates because of arm problems. Pizarro was acquired for Wilbur Wood from the White Sox and Wood went on the have some pretty good years for the Sox. Being used primarily as a reliever Juan pitcher 50 games in 1967 for the Pirates and he went 8-10 3.95 with 9 saves.

The next season he lasted just 12 games with the Bucs, before being sold to the Red Sox.
Juan pitched for 5 different teams over the next 5 seasons, before starting the 1974 season in the mexican league. On August 20th he was sold to the Pirates and he would pitch 7 games over the rest of the year,going 1-1 1.88 in 24 innings. Juan's final ML appearance was in game 4 of the 1974 NLCS when he got the last 2 outs in the bottom of the 8th of the Dodgers 12-1 series winner. In his 18 year career Pizarro went 131-105 3.43 in 488 games, 245 as a starter.

Felipe Montemayor was a lefty outfielder who played 2 seasons for the Pirates in 1953 and 1955. Born in 1930 he made the 1953 Pirates roster from spring training but played just 28 games his rookie year hitting .109 before being returned to the minors. The Pirates lost 104 games that year but it was actually an 8 game improvement over the previous season. After spending all of 1954 in the minors, Felipe played in 36 games for the Pirates in 1955. He hit .211 with 2 HR's, 8 RBI's,10 runs scored and 3 triples. He would not appear in the majors again after 1955.

Charlie "Lefty" Jackson played one season for the 1917 Pirates. Born in 1894, he pinch hit once for the White Sox in 1915 (august 20th,his ML debut). A backup outfielder for the Pirates who finished 51-103 Chuck hit .240 in 121 at-bats with just 1 RBI. He had 3 doubles and 2 triples that year, which seems impossible when you factor in his RBI total. A decent outfielder, he made just 1 error, and threw out 5 runners for a .986 fielding %,well over league average at the time. Despite the awful record, the Bucs had 4 future Hall of Famers play for them that year including Honus Wagner, Max Carey, Burleigh Grimes and George Kelly. Jackson would not appear in the majors after 1917.

Bill Steinecke had a brief major league career spent all with the 1931 Pirates. Born in 1907, he got a late season chance with the Bucs and in 4 at-bats he went 0-4 with a strikeout.
Bill made his debut during a 11-5 loss on September 16th vs the Dodgers. At the time of his call up, the Pirates were going into a stretch where they played 8 games in 5 days. Might sound like a lot but the Pirates played 28 doubleheaders that season. Steinecke was a right-handed hitting catcher, and was used only as a pinch hitter in 3 of his 4 games, catching an inning of the other.

Spike Shannon who was born in 1878 in Pittsburgh, played for the Pirates in 1908 to end his 5 year career. He had played at least 134 games his first 4 years, but in 1908 while with the Giants he struggled and John McGraw sold him to the Pirates. He played 32 games for the Bucs, getting starts at all 3 outfield positions, but he hit just .197 with 12 RBI's. Shannon was a fast runner, 3 times finishing in the top-10 in steals and twice he was among league leaders in walks. In 1907 he led the NL in runs and at-bats. He went on to play minor league baseball after leaving the Pirates.

Adrian Brown who has played outfield for the Bucs since 1997 turns 29 today. A 48th round draft pick in 1992 Brown played 408 games with the Bucs in his 6 seasons with 240 games coming as a center fielder. Adrian batted .261 in his 1072 at-bats, but had just 83 RBI's. His best season came in 2000 when he hit .315 and scored 64 runs in 104 games. Brown has stole 42 bases, with his high being 13 in that 2000 season. He was signed this offseason by the Red Sox.

Current Pirate and probably backup catcher this season, Humberto Cota turns 24 today. He was originally signed by the Braves in Dec. 1995, but was released early 1997. He was signed by the Devil Rays in May 1997 and stayed with them till he was traded to the Bucs along with Joe Oliver for Jose Guillen and Jeff Sparks on July 23,1999. He made his Pirate debut in 2001 and played 7 games hitting .222 with an RBI. Last season he spent with Nashville before being called up in September and again appearing in 7 games, this time hitting .294.

Finally, Michael Jordan who once played for the Pirates was born on this date. Not the famous Jordan, this MJ played 37 games for the 1890 Pirates team. In 125 at-bats this outfielder had 12 hits for a career average of .096. Born in 1863, Mitts as he was known, actually contributed with his glove and arm as he was a pretty good outfielder but his lack of bat ended his ML career in one year.

Chances are, the Players League, which a lot of Pittsburgh players jumped to in 1890, contributed to Jordan making the majors, and the downfall of the PL after one year meant less room for players of his caliber.

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