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Monday, January 30 2023 @ 08:08 am UTC
This Day in Pirate History - 2/16   
By 81omar_moreno

On this date in 1952, coach Honus Wagner announces his retirement, ending his baseball career which began with Louisville way back in 1897. Honus joined the Pirates after the 1899 season and played with them till retiring as a player in 1917. In his career he hit .327 with 3415 hits and over 1700 runs scored and RBI's. He also managed the Bucs for a very short time during the 1917 season. Wagner rejoined the Pirates as a coach on Feb 2,1933 and he was named to the Baseball Hall of Fame exactly 3 years after that.

On this date in 1924 former Pirates 3rd baseman Tony Boeckel, who was playing for the Braves at the time, dies in an automobile crash becoming the first ML player to be killed in a auto accident. Tony played for the Bucs in 1917 and 1919. He hit .265 in 64 games during his rookie year and then .250 in 45 games in 1919 before being sent to the Braves. He missed all of the 1918 season while in the military during World War I. Tony was the Braves everyday 3B since the trade and he had hit .298 with 79 RBI's his last season.

Former players born on this date include Jerry Hairston, who's part of a 3 generation family in the majors. Born in 1952, his father Sam played for the 1951 White Sox, his brother Johnny played for the 1969 Cubs and his son Jerry who still plays, has been a member of the Orioles for 5 seasons. The older Jerry was sold to the Pirates from the White Sox midseason 1977 and he had played for the Sox since 1973. While with the Pirates Jerry played 51 games, being used mainly as a pinch hitter, a role he would excel at during his career. Jerry hit .192 in 52 at-bats in what would be his last appearance in the majors till he rejoined the White Sox in 1981. In between he played in Mexico. He played parts of 14 seasons, with all but those 51 games with the Pirates, spent with the White Sox and he was a PH in about half of his career games.

John Sullivan who was born in 1873, didn't make his ML debut till he was 32 with the 1905 Tigers. A catcher, he hit just .156 for them in 13 games before going back to the minors. In 1908 he joined the Bucs for one game, in which he came in mid-game as a catcher and got just 1 at-bat without a hit. That would be his last appearance in the majors ending as a .152 hitter with 4 RBI's and 4 runs scored. A light hitting catcher (like most backstops those days) all of John's hits were singles and he had 6 Sac. bunts in just 33 official at-bats (43 plate appearances).

Like Sullivan, Kip Dowd played just one game for the Pirates but unlike Sullivan, it would be his only ML game. A small righty pitcher born in 1889, he joined the Bucs in early July 1910 and played his only game on July 5th. In relief he pitched 2 innings, giving up 4 hits, 2 walks but no earned runs while striking out one. The Pirates lost 11-3 that day to the 1st place Cubs at Forbes Field and the winning pitcher in that game was Hall of Famer, Mordecai "Three Fingers" Brown.

Ray Harrell, who was born in 1912, was a right handed pitcher for the 1940 Pirates. He was in his 5th season when he joined the Bucs, but had a record of just 9-20 with an ERA of almost 6.00 in 104 games, mostly in relief. With the Pirates he lasted just 3 games and 3 1/3 innings giving up 3 runs. He did not appear in the majors again till he had a last brief stint with the Giants in 1945. Ray wasnt much of a hitter either, batting just .069 career and in the field he also had his problems, finishing with a .914 career fielding average.

Finally, Luis Figueroa who played for the 2001 Pirates turns 29 today. A small infielder he made his ML debut with the Pirates on June 27th of that year and appeared in 4 games, batting twice with no hits, before being demoted on July 5th. He played 6 innings over 3 games at 2nd base. This last season he started with the Mets, but was immediately traded to the Expos and played in the minors the entire season. He wore #25 while with the Bucs

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