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This Day in Pirate History - 1/19  View Printable Version 
Posted: Sunday, January 19, 2003

By 81omar_moreno

On this date in Pirates history there are only 2 former players that were born on January 19th, so I'm going to do something a little different. Each of these players played just one season and combined they played only 6 career games total. Ed Spurney, born in 1872, played 3 games for the 1891 Pirates, he went 2-7 (.286) and played all 3 games at SS. He scored 2 runs and walked twice. The other player Scott Little, born in 1963, played 3 games for the 1989 Pirates, going 1-4. He played one game in right field and even threw out a runner for a double play.

Here's the fun part now. I'm going to do a position by position comparison of the teams these 2 played for. First, the 1891 Pirates were coming off the worst season (still to this date) in team history when they went 23-113 in 1890. They would compile a record of 55-80, not great by any means but it does represent a 32.5 game improvement. The 1989 team was coming off a 85-75 record the previous season, but would finish just 74-88. The attendance for the seasons are as follows. The 1891 team drew 128,000 customers to Exposition Park, good for 7th (out of 8) in the NL. The 1989 Pirates drew almost 1.4 million to Three Rivers Stadium good for 11th out of 12 teams.
This Day in Pirate History - 1/18  View Printable Version 
Posted: Friday, January 17, 2003

By 81omar_moreno

On this date in 1947, the Pirates bought Hank Greenberg from the Tigers. He at first decided to retire, but eventually signed a one year contract with the Pirates for $100,000 becoming the first NL player to reach that level. The Pirates in turn, built a bullpen in left field for him to help shorten the home run distance at Forbes Field. The new bullpen was quickly named "Greenberg Gardens". When Hank retired it was renamed Kiner's Korner.
This Day in Pirate History - 1/17  View Printable Version 
Posted: Friday, January 17, 2003

By 81omar_moreno

Another slow day as far as birthdays and trades go, so I'm going to make another exception and include a story on the Pittsburgh representative in the Federal League. A second major league that was formed in 1914 and lasted 2 seasons. The Pittsburgh team was named the Rebels after its manager Rebel Oakes. A player on one of those teams was named Doc Kerr, a catcher for the 1914 Rebels and he was born on this date in 1882. Kerr played both seasons the FL existed, and that would be his only ML experience. While with the Rebels he hit .239 in 42 games, 18 as a catcher, 24 as a pinch hitter.
This Day in Pirate History - 1/16  View Printable Version 
Posted: Wednesday, January 15, 2003

By 81omar_moreno

Only three former Bucs players born on this date. First one and most prolific of the bunch is Art Whitney. Born on this date in 1858, he played for the Pirates just one year, but was a member of the Pittsburgh Alleghenys of the American Association from 1884-1886, and the Alleghenys in turn became the current Pirates franchise.

Whitney had a rough start to his career. As a 22 year old rookie, he was a third baseman for the Worchester Ruby Legs and he batted .222 in 76 games. The next year, playing for the Detroit Wolverines, he batted just .182 in 58 games. It got worse in 1882 playing for first the Providence Grays, then back to the Wolverines he batted .155 total in 42 games. The season before joining the Alleghenys he spent the whole year in minor league ball.
This Day in Pirate History - 1/15  View Printable Version 
Posted: Tuesday, January 14, 2003

By 81omar_moreno

Just three former Bucs players born on this date, so I'm going to stretch it a little to include a couple players who played for Pittsburgh teams from the American Association and the Union Association,2 short lived Major Leagues before the turn of the century. First the actual Pirates.

Ed Kinsella, born in 1882, played for the 1905 Bucs. A late season call up, he made his ML debut on September 16th of that year starting in a 6-0 loss to the Reds. On the season he went 0-1 2.65 in 3 games, 2 as a starter. He completed both games he started, with one of the games ending in a tie (2nd game of a doubleheader Vs. Brooklyn on Sept. 30th). The Pirates finished 96-57 that year, but still lost to the Giants by 9 games. Kinsella's only other appearance in the majors was for the 1910 St Louis Browns when he went 1-3 3.78
This Day in Pirate History - 1/14  View Printable Version 
Posted: Tuesday, January 14, 2003

By 81omar_moreno

Born on this date in Pirates history in 1892, was manager Billy Meyer, who skippered the team from 1948-1952. The 1947 Pirates were managed by future Hall of Famer Billy Herman, who led them to just a 61-92 record, with Bill Burwell also managing one game and winning for a final team record of 62-92. They ended tied for last in the NL with the Phillies. Meyer led the Pirates to a suprising 4th place finish with an 83-71 record. He won The Sporting News manager of the year award and the team flourished at the gate, settting a franchise record with over 1.5 million customers.
This Day in Pirate History - 1/13  View Printable Version 
Posted: Sunday, January 12, 2003

By 81omar_moreno

On this date in 1954, the Pirates traded pitcher Murry Dickson to the Phillies for Andy Hansen and Jack Lohrke. Dickson had been with the Bucs since 1949, but was the league leader in losses his last 2 years with the team. After winning 20 games in 1951 he went 14-21 in 1952 and 10-19 in 1953. The next season with the Phillies he would lead the NL in losses for the 3rd straight season when he lost 20 against just 10 wins. Both of the players the Pirates acquired would not appear in a game for them, or appear in the majors after the trade.

Lots of birthdays today to get to so I'm going to keep them brief when possible.
This Day in Pirate History - 1/12  View Printable Version 
Posted: Sunday, January 12, 2003

By 81omar_moreno

On this date in 1988, Willie Stargell was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers of America. He was named on 82% of the ballots and was the only player elected that year. It marked the first time since 1965, when former Pirate Pud Galvin was elected, that only one person gained induction.

Stargell played his entire career for the Bucs from 1962-1982 and is the teams all-time leader in homeruns with 475 (tied for 22nd all-time with Stan Musial) and RBI's with 1540. Pops was a 7 time All-Star, helped the Bucs win 2 W.S. (1971, 1979) and was the MVP during the 1979 season.
This Day in Pirate History - 1/11  View Printable Version 
Posted: Friday, January 10, 2003

By 81omar_moreno

Lots of former players and even a small trade made on this date in Pirates history, but I'm going to concentrate on one player because his career is deserving of it. Born on this date in Pirates history in 1890 was Hall of Fame outfielder Max Carey who patrolled left and center field in Forbes Field from 1910 till leaving the team midseason in 1926.

Carey was a speedy switch hitter who made his debut on October 3, 1910 during a 5-2 win over the Cardinals. He played just 1 more of the last 5 games that year, but had 3 hits and 2 RBI's in just 6 at-bats. The next season when manager Fred Clarke, who was also the regular left fielder, got injured Carey was given the job. When Clarke returned Carey moved to center and was a regular from that point on. Batting leadoff that year, Carey batted just .258 in 129 games, but scored 77 runs and stole 27 bases.
This Day in Pirate History - 1/10  View Printable Version 
Posted: Friday, January 10, 2003

By 81omar_moreno

Former Pirates players born on this date include pitcher Bill Swift, who started his ML career with the Pirates in 1932 and pitched for them thru the 1939 season. Bill, born in 1908, was a 24 year old sidearm throwing starting pitcher when he made his debut on opening day, April 12, 1932. The Pirates lost that game 10-2 to the Reds, but Swift would go on to have a great rookie season going 14-10 3.61 with 4 saves. He had the lowest walk per inning ratio in the NL that year and finished 2nd on the team, to the staff ace Larry French, in wins and strikeouts. The Pirates would finish 2nd that year with an 86-68 record, just 4 games behind the Cubs.