Six former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date, plus a trade of note.
On this date in 1992, the Pirates traded third baseman Steve Buechele to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for pitcher Danny Jackson. With the Pirates fighting to stay over .500 in July after winning the NL pennant two years in a row, they moved third baseman Buechele to the Cubs for a veteran pitcher and slid Jeff King over to a full-time role at third base for the rest of the season. Jackson was a 30-year-old lefty, who had won 23 games for the 1988 Reds team that won the World Series. He was also a key pitcher for the 1985 Royals WS winning team. At the time of the deal, he was 4-9, 4.22 in 19 starts with the Cubs. Buechele was also thirty years old, in his eighth season in the majors, second with the Pirates. He was hitting .249 with eight homers and 43 RBIs in 80 games at the time of the deal. His 1991 season was his best, one split between the Pirates and Rangers. He hit .262 with 22 homers and 85 RBIs in 152 games. He was a mainstay in the lineup, three times with the Rangers he played more games in a season than he did during the 1991 campaign.
After the deal, Buechele raised his average to .276 with Chicago, although he didn’t hit for any power, with just one homer in 65 games. He ended up playing three more seasons with the Cubs, prior to finishing his career back with the Rangers in July of 1995. In 1993, he led all NL third baseman in fielding percentage. For the Pirates, Jackson went 4-4 3.36 in 15 starts. He started game two of the NLCS and took the loss after giving up four runs in the second inning. The Pirates lost him to the Marlins in the November 1992 expansion draft. Danny ended up with the Phillies before the 1993 season started and in two seasons in Philadelphia, he went 26-17, helping them to the 1993 WS. He signed with the Cardinals in 1994 and his last three seasons were a disaster, going 5-22 combined.
Johnny Barbato, pitcher for the 2017 Pirates. The Pirates acquired Barbato in April of 2017 from the New York Yankees for minor league pitcher Matt Frawley. Barbato had one season of big league experience at the time, pitching for the Yankees in 2016. In 13 relief appearances, he had a 7.62 ERA in 13 innings. For the Pirates, he made 24 appearances (all in relief), putting up a 4.08 ERA in 28.2 innings. After the season, he was lost on waivers to the Detroit Tigers. Barbato made seven appearances for Detroit in 2018, allowing nine runs in 6.2 innings. He signed in Japan for the 2019 season.
Javier Lopez, pitcher for the 2010 Pirates. He was originally a fourth round draft pick of the Diamondbacks in 1998, making it to the majors for the first time while with the Rockies five years later. Lopez split his time between the minors and majors each season from 2004 until 2007. He became a regular in the Red Sox bullpen during their 2007 World Series winning season and he had a strong 2008 to follow, posting a 2.43 ERA in 70 appearances. His 2009 season was a tough one. He started off slowly in April, seemed to rebound at the end of the month, then had four straight poor outings, which led to him being sent to the minors for the rest of the year. He was granted free agency in October of 2009 and the Pirates picked him up two months later. Lopez became the Pirates lefty specialist, pitching a total of 38.2 innings in 50 appearances, with a 2-2, 2.79 record. On July 31, 2010, the Pirates traded him to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for outfielder John Bowker and pitcher Joe Martinez. He helped the Giants to a World Series win that season and remained with the team until his retirement in 2016. He helped them to two other World Series wins (2012 and 2014). Lopez had a 3.48 ERA in 839 appearances, though as a lefty specialist, he pitched just 533.1 innings in the majors.
Ed Ott, catcher for the 1974-80 Pirates. He was drafted by the Pirates in the 23rd round of the 1970 draft out of high school. He made it to the majors during the 1974-75 seasons, playing a total of 12 games with ten at-bats. His was with the Pirates during the entire 1976 season, although his time was very limited, hitting .308 in 39 at-bats with just five starts the whole year. In 1977, Pittsburgh traded away Manny Sanguillen and Ott became the starting catcher. In 104 games, he batted .264 with seven homers and 38 RBIs, throwing out 42% of would-be base stealers. He saw slightly more time during the following season, going to bat 63 more times (410 total) and finishing with a .269 average, and (again) 38 RBIs. Ott had a little trouble defensively, committing a league high 15 errors behind the plate. His defense improved greatly the next year and he had his best year at the plate, as the Pirates took the 1979 World Series. He finished second in fielding percentage among NL catchers and drove in a career high 51 runs. In the WS, he hit .333 with three RBIs, catching three of the seven games. He played a career high 120 games in 1980, batting .260 with 41 RBIs. On April 1, 1981, the Pirates traded Ott, along with pitcher Mickey Mahler, to the California Angels in exchange for Jason Thompson. He played 75 games during the strike-shortened 1981 season, then missed all of 1982 with rotator cuff surgery. During a comeback attempt in Spring Training of 1983, Ott re-injured his throwing shoulder and missed all but two minor league gamesthat season. He played 14 games at Triple-A in 1984 before deciding to retire.
Hal Gregg, pitcher for the 1948-1950 Pirates. He was signed by the Dodgers in 1941 and he made his Major League debut two years later. Gregg was a good pitcher, albeit with a lack of control on his pitches at most times. He led the NL in walks during his first two full seasons, yet still won 18 games during the 1945 season. In 1946, he showed the best control of his career and ended up with a 2.99 ERA in 117.1 innings. His numbers fell off the next season, posting a 5.87 ERA in 104.1 innings. He actually made 16 starts and 21 relief appearances, so he had trouble going deep in games. On December 8, 1947, the Pirates acquired Gregg in a six-player deal with the Brooklyn Dodgers. He saw limited action in 1948, making eight starts and 14 relief appearances, going 2-4, 4.60 in 74.1 innings. He would then split the next two seasons between the minors and majors, pitching a total of 13 games for the Pirates. At the end of 1950, Gregg was lost in the minor league draft. He would make it back to the majors in 1952, playing 16 games for the Giants, before finishing his career in the minors the next season. He had a 40-48, 4.54 record in 200 Major League games, while going 3-6, 4.85 in 35 games for the Pirates.
Harry Wolter, pitcher for the Pirates on June 17, 1907. He made his Major League debut during the 1907 season with the Reds, playing four games in the outfielder before moving on to Pittsburgh. For the Pirates, he made just one appearance and it was as a pitcher. On June 17, 1907, Wolter pitched the last two innings of a 7-3 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. He allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits and two walks. Two weeks later, he was playing for the Cardinals, where he started three games and played all three outfield positions during his 16 games with the team. He spent all of 1908 in the minors, playing in California, where he hit .339 and won 25 games. Wolter returned to the majors in 1909 with the Red Sox, then joined the Highlanders (Yankees) in 1910, playing two years as their full-time right fielder. In 1911, he hit .304 with 78 runs scored, 15 triples and 62 walks. He got off to a fast start in 1912, but early in the year, he broke his leg when his spike got caught as he started a slide. Wolter spent the entire 1913 season with New York and his numbers were down. He returned to the minors in 1914, making it back to the big leagues for one more season (1917 Reds) before finishing out his baseball career in 1927 as a player/manager.
Pop Schriver, catcher for the 1898-1900 Pirates. He had a long career in pro ball, playing his first game as a teenager in 1885 and his last as a 42-year-old in 1907. Pop (first name was William) even managed in the minors into the mid-1920’s after his playing career was over. He played eight games in the majors during his first season in 1886, going 1-for-21 at the plate for an .048 average. That led to him spending all of 1887 back in the minors, returning to the big leagues with the Phillies (also known as the Quakers) as a platoon catcher for three years. In 1891, he moved on to the Chicago Colts (Cubs) for four seasons, then played briefly with the 1895 New York Giants. After spending all of 1896 in the minors, he made the 1897 Reds roster, hitting .303 with 30 RBIs in 61 games.
On November 10, 1897, the Pirates and Reds hooked up on a seven-player deal that saw star pitcher Pink Hawley, and star outfielder Elmer “Mike” Smith go to Cincinnati for five players, Schriver included among them. During his first two seasons in Pittsburgh, he split the catching duties with Frank Bowerman. In 1900, the Pirates acquired Chief Zimmer and Jack O’Connor, giving the team three catchers that were all at least 34 years old, and all three were better than average players during their prime. Schriver ended up playing 224 games for the Pirates, batting .260 with two homers and 93 RBIs. In his career, he threw out 40% of would-be basestealers, a total of 575 runners caught stealing over his 656 games caught.