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Monday, January 30 2023 @ 07:48 am UTC
This Day in Pirate History - 2/14   
By 81omar_moreno

Former Pirate players born on this date include Earl "Oil" Smith, who was a member of the 1925 and 1927 World Series teams. Born in 1897, the lefty hitting catcher came over to the Pirates from the Braves midseason 1924 and in 39 games would hit .369 with 21 RBI's. In 1925 Earl platooned with Johnny Gooch during the championship season, and they provided the Bucs with great offense from the Catcher position. In 109 games, Smith hit .313 with 64 RBI's and Gooch hit .298 with 30 RBI's in 79 games. The Pirates that season had 10 players with over 150 at-bats and all of them hit at least .298 and the team hit .307 combined on the year.

Earl would play in his 3rd World Series in 1925, the previous 2 came with the Giants who beat the Yankees in 1921-22. Smith had gone just 1-14 combined in the first 2 appearances, but he broke out in the 3rd with the Bucs vs the Senators. Getting the majority of the playing time at catcher in the series, Smith hit .350 (Gooch had just 3 at-bats) and the Pirates would go on to win in 7 games. Again going with a platoon in 1926, Smith hit a team high and career high .346 in 105 games. The Bucs finished 3rd that year, but just 4 1/2 games behind the 1st place Cardinals.

In 1927 the Pirates returned to the W.S. but Smith had a rough season. His average dropped to .270 and he played in just 66 games, plus he got suspended for a month for attacking Braves manager Dave Bancroft for no apparent reason. Bancroft is a Hall of Fame shortstop who was near the end of his career, and as a manager, wasn't too successful but that was due mostly to the teams he managed. In the W.S. Earl went 0-8 in 3 games and the Bucs got swept by the Yankeees.

Smith's last season with the team was 1928 and he lasted just 32 games, hitting .244 before being sent to the Cardinals, for whom he would again appear in the W.S. The Bucs had 2 new catchers that year as both Smith and Gooch lost their jobs and Charlie Hargreaves and Rollie Hemsley (who was a rookie, and a future all-star) took over. Smith in his 12 year career hit .303 over 860 games and he struck out just 106 times total.

Morgan Murphy was a catcher who played 11 seasons in the majors, and had a short stay as a member of the Bucs in 1898. Born in 1867,he had hit just .169 the previous season with the Cardinals in 62 games. Starting the year with the Pirates in 1898, Morgan lasted just 5 games and went just 2-16 (.125). He would finish the year with the Phillies, but hit just .198 over 25 games as their backup catcher. He played parts of 1900-1901, but got into just 20 games total, ending his big league career. In 11 seasons he hit .225 with his best year coming in 1894 when he hit .275 for the Reds.

Harry Jordan was a little known player for the 1894-95 Pirates. He started one game for the 1894 Bucs on September 25th and he won, giving up just 4 runs in a complete game. The next year he started 2 games, but took the loss in both games, giving up 8 runs total, and throwing 2 complete games. That would be his only ML experience. So little is known about Jordan that record books don't even know if he was a lefty or righty. Born in 1873 Harry was a lifelong resident of Pittsburgh who died shortly after his 47th birthday of Pneumonia.

Will McEnaney who turns 51 today played for the 1978 Pirates. A star for the 1975 Reds championship team in just his 2nd season, Will's stats fell off drastically the next season and by the end of 1976 he would be traded to the Expos. He was acquired by the Pirates on March 28, 1978 from Montreal in exchange for Tim Jones. The lefty reliever spent most of the year in the minors, appearing in just 6 ML games with no record and a 10.38 ERA. He became a free agent at the end of the season and signed with the Cardinals where he finished his career in 1979. He had a career 12-17 3.76 record in 269 games, and he went 5-2 2.47 with 15 saves in 70 games in 1975 and then pitched in 5 games during the W.S. throwing 6 2/3 innings with a 0-0 2.70 record and 1 save.

Finally, Damaso Marte who pitched for the 2001 Pirates turns 28 today. The lefty pitcher threw 23 games for the Bucs, all in relief and went 0-1 4.71 in 36+ innings. He appeared briefly for the Mariners in 1999, his first games in the big leagues and was traded to the White Sox just prior to the 2002 season along with Lee Evans for Matt Guerrier. He pitched 68 games for the Sox last year, getting 10 saves and a 2.83 ERA.

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