This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History: July 9th, Coot Veal and Farewell to the Candy Man

Three transactions of note, plus one player born on this date.

The Player

Coot Veal, pinch-hitter for the Pirates on April 17, 1962. He was a light-hitting, strong fielding shortstop, who spent parts of six seasons in the majors. Veal was originally signed by the Tigers in 1952, six years before he made his Major League debut. He spent three seasons in Detroit, hitting .250 with one homer and 39 RBIs in 162 games. The Tigers lost him in the 1960 expansion draft to the Washington Senators. In 1961, Coot (first name was Orville) would get 252 plate appearances, his single-season career high. He hit just .202 with no homers, eight RBIs and 21 runs scored. The Pirates purchased Veal from Washington in late November and he would make the Opening Day roster in 1962.

In the sixth game of the 1962 season, starting pitcher Tom Sturdivant allowed five first inning runs in Chicago. When his turn came up in the batting order during the top of the second inning, manager Danny Murtaugh sent up Veal to bat. Veal struck out looking to end the inning, but the Pirates still nailed down an impressive 10-6 come-from-behind win. After spending 19 straight days on the bench, the Pirates shipped Veal, along with Orlando McFarlane to Columbus of the International League and recalled veteran catcher Cal Neeman. Coot would never play another game for Pittsburgh. A month later, the Pirates traded him to his original team, getting veteran minor league pitcher Albert Pehanick back in return. Veal would play 15 games for the Tigers in 1963, before finishing his career in the minors the following season.

The Transactions

On this date in 2009, the Pirates signed 16-year-old pitcher Dovydas Neverauskas as an amateur free agent. It took him eight years to make the majors, but on April 24, 2017 he became the first Lithuanian-born Major League player. He has made 59 relief appearances for the Pirates over the last three seasons, posting a 6.71 ERA in 61.2 innings.

On this date in 1993, the Pirates said goodbye to the Candy Man. John Candelaria was released after posting an 8.24 ERA in 19.2 innings over 24 relief appearances. He pitched his final big league game two days earlier. Candelaria, who spent the 1975-85 seasons with the Pirates, signed as a free agent with the Pirates on December 16, 1992.

On this date in 1953, 17-year-old Nick Koback signed a bonus baby deal with the Pirates and was brought right to the majors. Due to his bonus being over $4,000, he had to spend two full years in the majors before he could be sent to the minors. Koback debuted shortly after his 18th birthday and would play his final big league game before he celebrated his 20th birthday. Despite spending two full years (spread out over three seasons), he played just 16 games and only started eight times.