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Friday, March 24 2023 @ 12:16 am UTC
This Day in Pirate History - 2/12   
By 81omar_moreno

On this date in Pirates History in 1912 the Bucs traded Vin Campbell, who had hit over .300 in 2 partial seasons with the Pirates, to the Braves for Mike Donlin. Known as Turkey Mike, he was a great hitter, who left baseball right after his best season to pursue a career in vaudeville. At the age of 30 in 1908, Mike hit .334 with 106 RBI's, but left for 2 full seasons before returning briefly to the Giants in 1911, who in turn sold him to the Braves midseason. Mike also missed all of the 1907 season as a holdout.

In his one season with the Bucs, Mike played right field and hit .316 in 77 games. He would again retire when the Pirates tried to sell him to the Phillies, but he returned to the Giants in 1914 for one last season. He was a hack in the outfield, but in 1049 career games, Mike hit .333 and 5 times finished either 2nd or 3rd in the league in average. More info on Vin Campbell in the January 30th article.

Players born on this date include Joe Garagiola who was a catcher for the Bucs from 1951-53. The famous baseball announcer was born in 1926 and joined the Bucs from the Cardinals on June 15, 1951 along with Howie Pollet, Dick Cole, Ted Wilks and Bill Howerton in exchange for Cliff Chambers and Wally Westlake. Joe played 72 games with the Bucs and hit .255 with 35 RBI's. The next season Garagiola had his best season of his 9 year career, as he hit .273 with a career high 54 RBI's in 118 games, also a career high.

On June 4th of the 1953 season Joe was part of one of the most significant trades in Pirates history. He was traded along with Ralph Kiner,George Metkovich and Pollet to the Cubs for 6 players and $150,000. In 27 games before the trade, Joe hit .233 with 14 RBI's and in his career in 676 games, he hit .257 with 255 RBI's. Joe never played, even one inning, at any other position in the majors besides catcher.

Earl Sheely didn't make it to the majors till age 28, but when he did make it he did real good. Born in 1893, he was a career .300 hitter who had at least 77 RBI's in 8 of his 9 seasons. After hitting at least .296 with no less than 80 RBI's in each of his first 6 seasons, he hit just .209 in 45 games in 1927. After not playing in the majors in 1928, Sheely joined the Bucs in 1929 and hit .293 with 88 RBI's in 139 games as the Pirates starting 1st baseman. Despite the good year, Sheely didn't appear in the majors in 1930, but would return in 1931 for the Braves to hit .273 with 77 RBI's at the age of 38. Earl struckout just 205 times in over 4400 at-bats and he had 747 RBI's in 1234 games.

Stan Fansler was a small right hander who pitched 5 ML games in his career, all for the 1986 Pirates. Born in 1965, he made his ML debut on September 6th as the starting and losing pitcher in a 4-2 loss to Atlanta. Stan pitched twice against the eventual World Championship NY Mets and took loses in both games. In 5 starts total he went 0-3 3.75 in 24 innings. Despite the 0-3 record he gave up just 20 hits, but was hurt by 15 base on balls and the fact the Pirates scored just 4 runs in his 3 losses.

Forrest "Woody" Main was a right handed pitcher for the Pirates from 1948-1953. Born in 1922, Woody struggled as a reliever in 1948, his rookie season. In 17 games, he went 1-1 8.33 in 27 innings. After spending all of 1949 in the minors, Woody returned in 1950 and pitched in 12 games, going 1-0 4.87 with his first career save. He again missed a full season, returning in 1952 to lead the team in games pitched with 48 (also finished 5th in the NL). The Pirates were 42-112 on the season, and Main struggled along with the team. His record was just 2-12 (2-5 in 11 starts). He saved 2 games, and pitched 153.3 innings. In Woody's final season in the majors in 1953, he lasted just 2 games giving up 5 runs in 4 innings. His career stats were 4-13 5.14 in 79 games.

Finally, Ray Miller who was born in 1888 and was a lifelong resident of Pittsburgh, played one season in the majors (1917) and spent part of the year with the Pirates. After playing 19 games with the Indians, hitting .190 with 2 RBI's mostly as a pinch hitter, Ray joined the Bucs to finish out the season. In 6 games, he batted 27 times with 4 hits, 1 run, 1 double. He played flawless in the field in his 10 games at first base. The lefty Miller finished hitting .167 that year, but he did have an on base % of .310.

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