This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History: August 17th, Bill Landrum, Johnny Rawlings and a One-Game Player

There have been five former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date. We also have one game of note from our Game Rewind series.

Chad Qualls, relief pitcher for the 2012 Pirates. He came to the Pirates from the New York Yankees at the 2012 trading deadline in exchange for Casey McGehee. Qualls was in his ninth year in the majors at that point and Pittsburgh was his seventh different team. He made 17 appearances during his two months with the Pirates, going 0-0, 6.59 in 13.2 appearances. The Pirates let him go via free agency at the end of the season and he signed with the Miami Marlins three years later. Qualls ended up playing 14 seasons in the majors, seeing time with nine different clubs. He went 52-48, 3.89 in 807.1 innings over 844 appearances. All of his big league games came as a reliever. He made at least 77 appearances each year during the 2005-08 seasons, then saved 24 games for the 2009 Arizona Diamondbacks.

Alex Cole, outfielder for the 1992 Pirates. He was a second round draft pick of the St Louis Cardinals in 1985, who made it to the big leagues five years later with the Cleveland Indians. Cole had a big first season with Cleveland after coming up in late July. He hit .300 with 40 stolen bases in just 63 games. He was a regular in center field the next year and hit .295 in 122 games, but the stolen bases really went down, swiping 27 bags while getting caught 17 times. Cole’s 1992 season started off slow and his playing time became very limited going into July. On July 4, 1992, the Pirates acquired him in exchange for minor league outfielder Tony Mitchell. Cole mostly played left field and center with the Indians, but after coming over to the Pirates, who had Barry Bonds and Andy Van Slyke in the outfield, he moved over to right field and saw plenty of playing time. In 64 games, he hit .278 with 33 runs scored. In the playoffs, he went 2-for-10 with three walks and two runs scored. After the season, he was lost to the Colorado Rockies in the expansion draft. Cole played four more years in the majors, stealing 30 bases with Colorado in 1993, then hitting .295 with 29 steals for the Minnesota Twins one year later. His last Major League season was 1996, but he played ball until 2001, spending time in the Mexican League and in independent ball.

Bill Landrum, reliever for the 1989-91 Pirates. He was signed as an amateur free agent by the Chicago Cubs in 1980 after going undrafted out of college. Before making it to the majors, he went from the Cubs to the Cincinnati Reds to the Chicago White Sox, then back to the Reds. Landrum broke into the majors on August 31, 1986, pitching ten games that year for the Reds. The next season, he made the Opening Day roster, but started off slow and was back in Triple-A by early May. He returned in June and ended up pitching 44 big league games that year, going 3-2, 4.71 in 65 innings. Landrum was dealt to the Cubs at the end of Spring Training in 1988. He missed the start of the season due to injury, then was sent down in June, and then missed more time due to injury. He pitched a total of just 16 games all year. The Pirates signed him as a free agent in January of 1989 and that ended up being his best season in the majors. In 56 appearances, he had a 1.67 ERA, with a career high 26 saves in 81 innings. In 1990, he helped the Pirates to the playoffs for the first time in 11 years. Landrum went 7-3, 2.13 in 54 games, picking up 13 saves. In the postseason he had two scoreless appearances, retiring all six batters he faced.

In 1991, Landrum pitched in a career high 61 games, posting a 3.18 ERA in 76.1 innings, with 13 saves. He pitched once in the playoffs, giving up a run on two hits and two walks in his only inning of work. He was released by the Pirates in 1992 during the middle of Spring Training after they were unable to trade him, partially due to a high salary. Landrum signed with the Montreal Expos soon afterwards, and really struggled. In 18 appearances, he posted a 7.30 ERA, while spending half of the season in Triple-A. He spent his last big league season with the Reds in 1993, pitching 18 games, with a 3.74 ERA. After a three-year layoff, Landrum pitched one more season of pro ball, playing for the Lubbock Crickets, an Independent League team. His father Joe Landrum pitched two season (1950 and 1952) for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Johnny Rawlings, second baseman for the 1923-26 Pirates. He played the first three years of his pro career out on the west coast, prior to making his Major League debut with the 1914 Cincinnati Reds. During that first season, he jumped to the newly formed Federal League (a Major League at the time) playing two years for the Kansas City Packers. Rawlings was a light-hitting, good glove shortstop at the time, batting .213 and .216 his first two seasons with 17 combined extra-base hits. When the Federal League folded after two years, he went to Toledo of the American Association for the 1916 season. He was picked by the Boston Braves in the Rule 5 draft after the season ended, becoming Boston’s starting second baseman for most of the 1917 season. He led all NL second baseman in fielding percentage and he showed a big improvement in his batting, hitting .256 in 122 games. Rawlings moved to shortstop the next year, and while his defense was strong there, his batting slipped to .207 and his playing time took a hit. He played just 77 games in 1919, then was sold to the Philadelphia Phillies during the next year after barely moving from the bench for the first two months. The move to Philadelphia and to full-time duty at second base resurrected his career. Rawlings played everyday for the Phillies at second base until the dealt him to the Giants during the middle of the 1921 season. While in New York, he helped them win the 1921 World Series with a .333 average against the Yankees.

Despite hitting .282 and leading all second baseman in fielding in 1922, Rawlings was put on waivers, where the Phillies picked him up. He didn’t played for Philadelphia this time though. On May 22, 1923, the Pirates traded Cotton Tierney and Whitey Glazner to the Phillies in exchange for Rawlings and Lee Meadows. For the Pirates, he went right in at second base and batted .284 with 53 runs scored and 45 RBIs in 119 games. In 1924, Pittsburgh moved Hall of Fame shortstop Rabbit Maranville over to second base. Rawlings lost his job and almost became invisible at the end of the bench. He pinch-hit three times all season, as Maranville played nearly every single inning that year. In 1925, the Pirates won the World Series and Rawlings was a seldom used bench player again, for most of the year at least. In mid-August, after playing in 15 of the first 107 games, with just two starts, he started 21 games in a row at second base. An injury to left fielder Max Carey, caused a position shuffle that saw second baseman Eddie Moore go to right field, while right fielder Clyde Barnhart went to left field for Carey, leaving a spot open for Rawlings. Unfortunately for Rawlings, he broke his ankle during a slide on September 5th and was out for the year. He played 61 games for the Pirates in 1926, before going to the minors for his last four years of pro ball. He was a .272 hitter in 219 games with the Pirates, and he batted .250 in 1,080 career games.

Arch Reilly, third baseman for the Pirates on June 1, 1917. His stay with the Pirates was short. He reported to the team on May 28, 1917 after finishing up his job as a college math teacher. Three days later, he came into a 9-1 game in the ninth inning with the Pirates on the losing end against the Phillies. Reilly had one play at third base that he handled cleanly and he never got a chance to bat. Two days later, he played an exhibition game and went 1-for-4, while starting at third base. The next day he was released, sent to Scranton of the New York State League along with pitcher Marcus Milligan, who never played a game for the Pirates before being sent down. The following year, Milligan was killed in a plane crash at age 22 while training for military service during WWI. Reilly finished the 1917 season in the minors, then returned to one of his alma maters (Marshall University) to coach three different sports, baseball, basketball and football. Prior to joining the Pirates, Arch (first name was Archer) played four years of minor league ball, while also serving as a manager for the 1915 Wheeling Stogies of the Central League.

The Game

On this date in 1924, the Pittsburgh Pirates played a mid-season exhibition game against a semi-pro team named the Warren Moose. The game included Hall of Famers Max Carey, Kiki Cuyler, Rabbit Maranville and Pie Traynor in the starting lineup, as well as some odd sights among the other players used. In the second half of the game, the Pirates used pitcher Arnie Stone in right field. The catcher during the second half was Grover Land, a scout/coach, who last played in the majors nine years earlier. They also used pitcher Bud Culloton, who pitched three mid-season exhibition games for the 1924 Pirates, but didn’t make his big league debut until the next season. Here’s the full recap with boxscore.