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Thursday, March 23 2023 @ 11:54 pm UTC
This Day in Pirate History - 2/8   
By 81omar_moreno

Former Pirates born on this date include Monty Basgall, who was a light hitting second baseman for parts of 3 season from 1948-51. Born in 1922, Monty originally signed with the Dodgers as a teenager, but never played for them in the majors. He made the Pirates out of spring training in 1948, but appeared in just 38 games, many as a pinch hitter / pinch runner or defensive replacement. In 22 games at 2nd base, Basgall was flawless in the field. In 51 at-bats he hit .216 with 6 RBI's and 12 runs scored.

The next season Monty got his chance at a full-time job when he replaced the injured Danny Murtaugh at 2nd base. Danny had hit .290 with 71 RBI's in 146 games the year before, but hit just .203 in 75 games in 1949. Basgall got into 107 games, but he himself hit just .218 with 26 RBI's. After spending all of 1950 in the minors, Monty came back to the Pirates in 1951 to play 55 games replacing Murtaugh who struggled in his last year in the majors hitting just .199 in 77 games. Basgall hit .209 with 9 RBI's in what would be his last season in the majors. Monty wore #8 (retired now- Stargell) his 1st year, #10 his second and then #10 and #12 his last season.

Bob Oliver who was born in 1943 made his ML debut with the 1965 Pirates as a September call up. He appeared in just 3 games with the Bucs after hitting .260 with 15 HR's and 71 RBI's in 128 games for Asheville of the Southern League. Oliver played 3 games in left field, batted twice and went 0-2 with a run scored. Sent back to the minors the next season, Oliver would be traded to the Twins on Dec. 2,1967 in exchange for Ron Kline. He next appeared in the majors in 1969 and he would last till 1975 ending his career as a member of the Yankees. Overall in 847 games over 8 seasons he hit .256 with 419 RBI's.

Roy Ellam who was born in 1886 in West Conshohocken, PA. He played one season for the Pirates in 1918. Roy had made his ML debut in 1909 for the Reds, but hit just .190 in 10 games while playing shortstop in a late season appearance. Ellam would then play in the minors for the next 8 seasons before resurfacing with the Pirates in 1918. He got into 26 games with the Bucs, all at shortstop, and he hit just .130 with 2 RBI's in 77 at-bats. Ellam did have a good eye at the plate, and despite hitting .143 his on base % was still a respectable .323, equal to the NL average at that time.

Finally, Cookie Cuccurullo, who pitched for the Pirates during the war years in the early 40's, was born on this date in 1918. A lefty pitcher, his ML debut was as a starter in the last game of the 1943 season. He lost 11-3 to the Phillies giving up 5 runs in 7 innings. The next season he appeared in 32 games, 4 as a starter and he went 2-1 4.06 with 4 saves. He was even used as a pinch hitter, and he batted .368 with 4 RBI's in 38 at-bats. The 1945 season would be his last in the majors. He pitched in 29 games, again starting 4, and he went 1-3 5.24 with 1 save in 56+ innings. Cookie didn't have such a great walks to strikeout ratio during his brief career, as his walks outnumbers his K's 81-51.

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