This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History: June 17th, the Original Louisville Slugger

Four former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including one of the best hitters ever. There is also a trade, which involved a player the Pirates had acquired just two days earlier.

The Trade

On this date in 1892, the Pirates traded second baseman Cub Stricker to the Baltimore Orioles for pitcher Adonis Terry. The Pirates had acquired Stricker just two days earlier for Hall of Fame pitcher Pud Galvin. Cub never actually played for the Pirates. Terry was a 27-year-old right-handed pitcher, in his ninth season in the majors. He had a career record of 126-140 at the time of the trade and he had pitched just one game in 1892. Adonis gave up seven runs in his only start that year. He too had just joined the team trading him, signing with the Orioles three days prior. He began the year with Brooklyn, where had spent his first eight seasons in the majors, but he never made a start, getting released on June 10th.

After the trade, Terry pitched well for the Pirates, going 18-7, 2.51 in 240 innings. He went 12-8 in 1893 for Pittsburgh, then made one start for them in 1894, giving up five runs in 2/3 of an inning, before being pulled. After being let go by the Pirates, Terry signed with the Chicago Colts, going 41-40 in four seasons. Stricker hit .264 for the Orioles in 75 games. He then signed with the Washington Senators for 1893, hitting .179 in 59 games, in what would be his last season in the majors.

The Players

Bennie Daniels, pitcher for the 1957-60 Pirates. He was signed by the Pirates as an amateur free agent in 1951, spending two years in the minors, prior to missing two seasons due to military service. He returned from the military in 1955, winning 14 games and pitched 218 innings in the minors during his first year back. Playing for Lincoln of the Western League in 1956, Daniels went 15-3 with a 4.08 ERA. He played for Hollywood in the Pacific Coast League the following year, going 17-8, 2.95 in 31 starts. He had major control problems in the minors, walking 356 batters combined during the 1955-57 seasons. The Pirates gave him one late season start in 1957 and he pitched well, giving up two runs in seven innings, though he took the loss. He began the 1958 season with Pittsburgh, posting an 0-2, 9.95 mark in seven appearances before being sent to the minors. Daniels returned in September to make two strong starts (15 IP/3 ER), but again emerged without a victory. He finally spent a full season in the majors in 1959, making 22 relief appearances and 12 starts for a total of 100.2 innings. He went 7-9 with a 5.45 ERA. He was with the 1960 Pirates through the end of June, going 1-3, 7.81 in 40.1 innings before being sent to the minors. Daniels was traded to the expansion Washington Senators on December 16, 1960, where he spent his last five seasons in the majors, going 37-60, 4.14 in 115 starts and 62 relief appearances.

Joe Bowman, pitcher for the 1937-41 Pirates. He was acquired by the Pirates from the Phillies on April 16, 1937 in exchange for OF/1B Earl Browne. Bowman had gone 16-30 in two seasons for Philadelphia, losing 20 games during the 1936 season. He made 19 starts and 11 relief appearances for the Pirates in 1937, going 8-8, 4.57 in 128 innings. The next year he pitched out of the bullpen, although during an eight appearance stretch in July/August, he pitched at least four innings in every outing. He returned to the rotation for 1939-40, going a combined 19-24 with a 4.47 ERA. He was seldom used in 1941, making eight starts and nine relief appearances through early August, when the Pirates tried to trade him to the minors. The trade was voided and Bowman didn’t pitch the rest of the season. He would spend the next two years in the minors, returning to the big leagues in 1944 with the Red Sox. After two seasons in Boston, he returned to the minors, where he finished his career four years later. He had a 77-96, 4.40 record in 298 major league games. With the Pirates, he went 33-38, 4.35 in 134 games, 78 as a starter.

Zeb Terry, shortstop for the 1919 Pirates. He was a star at Stanford University for four years before making his pro debut in 1916, playing in the Pacific Coast League. Terry was strong defensively, earning a long look with the 1916 White Sox despite batting just .190 with 17 RBIs in 94 games. He played briefly for the Sox in 1917, then returned to the PCL until the league shutdown early in 1918 due to the war. Terry signed on with the Boston Braves to finish the 1918 season, hitting .305 in 28 games. He joined the war effort after the season, but before his training was over, the war had ended. The Braves and Pirates had both put in claims for Terry for the 1919 season, with Pittsburgh coming out on top in the dispute. He was on the bench to start the year, quickly taking over the starting shortstop spot from Howdy Caton. Terry played 129 games in 1919, hitting .227 with no homers, 46 runs scored and 27 RBIs. He led all NL shortstops with his .960 fielding percentage. The following January, the Pirates sold him to the Cubs. He played three seasons in Chicago, hitting .280 with 164 RBIs in 387 games. He retired from baseball after his 1922 season.

Pete Browning, outfielder for the 1891 Pirates. One of the best hitters to ever play for the Pirates, wasn’t exactly at his best while with the team. He played 50 games for the 1891 Pirates, hitting .291 with 28 RBIs. The numbers don’t sound bad, but for Browning, it was well off his standards. The official word from the Pirates was that he was released due to indifferent play in the field and at the plate. He had played all but one game on the year, and in his last game he collected two hits and scored two runs. He was scheduled to return to Louisville to play, but he went on the play for the Cincinnati Reds in the second half of that 1891 season, batting .343 in 55 games.

The year before joining the Pirates, Browning won the only batting title in Player’s League history with his .373 mark. He began his career playing for the Louisville Colonels in 1882, and over eight seasons with the team in the American Association, he batted at least .335 six times. Browning won two batting titles with Louisville, plus he batted over .400 in another season that he didn’t win the title. Disease and alcoholism wreaked havoc with his body, forcing him out of the majors by 1894 at 33 years old. Browning batted .341 in his career over 1,183 games, collecting 1,646 hits and scoring 954 runs. He was the original Louisville Slugger for whom the current day bat company is named.