Today is a popular day in team history for lefty relievers, plus we also have a player who took part in the first game in franchise history. Before we get into the former players, current outfielder Gregory Polanco turns 29 today.
Jerry Don Gleaton, lefty reliever for the 1992 Pirates. He was a first round draft pick in 1979 by the Texas Rangers, who went right to the majors for one game, before making his minor league debut. Despite that quick debut, Gleaton didn’t spend a full season in the majors until 1990 with the Detroit Tigers. That season he posted a 2.94 ERA in 57 relief appearances. Prior to that, he had appeared in majors during parts of nine seasons, compiling a 10-18, 4.72 record in 180 games. His numbers slipped in 1991, down to a 4.06 ERA, and he was let go after the season. Pittsburgh signed him as a free agent just days after Opening Day in 1992 and he ended up pitching five games at Triple-A and 23 in the majors before being released in July. He went 1-0, 4.26 in 31.2 innings. He was signed by the San Francisco Giants for the rest of the 1992 season, then inked a deal with the Florida Marlins in 1993, but his days in Pittsburgh would be his last Major League experience.
Frank Carpin, lefty reliever for the 1965 Pirates. He spent exactly one year with the Pirates and pitched well, but his Major League career lasted just ten more games elsewhere. In the November 1964 Minor League draft, the Pirates picked Carpin up from the New York Yankees. The following November they lost him to the Houston Astros in the Rule 5 draft. During the 1965 season, he went 3-1,, 3.18 in 39 games, throwing a total of 39.2 innings. He had some shaky control, walking 24 batters in his limited time, but he was still able to keep the damage to a minimum. With Houston in 1966, he had a 7.50 ERA in ten games, pitching a total of just six innings. That would be the extent of his Major League time and he never pitched in pro ball after the 1966 season. Carpin pitched eight seasons in the minors, going 60-57, 3.55 in 279 games, 113 as a starter. He was 4-0, 2.67 in 1965 while with the Pirates Triple-A affiliate. He turns 82 today.
Fred Green, lefty reliever for the 1959-61 and 1964 Pirates. He was signed by the Pirates as an amateur free agent in 1952, taking seven seasons to make it to the majors for the first time. Green made the Opening Day roster in 1959, though he didn’t last long before being sent down. He ended up pitching 17 games for the Pirates that year, posting a 3.17 ERA in 37.1 innings. The World Series winning 1960 season ended up being his only full season in the majors. He went 8-4, 3.21 in 45 appearances, throwing 70 innings. Green got hit hard in the World Series, allowing ten runs in four innings. He struggled with the Pirates in 1961 before getting sent to the minors, then he was eventually was put on waivers, where the Washington Senators picked him up. Green threw five games for Washington in 1962, spending the rest of his time in the minors prior to his May 1963 release. He re-signed a short time later with the Pirates and pitched well in eight early season appearances during the 1964 season, allowing one run and no walks in 7.1 innings, but he was still sent back to the minors in June. Green ended up pitching in the Pirates system until the end of the 1965 season, his last year in pro ball. He went 98-88 in 12 minor league seasons.
Don Williams, pitcher for the 1958-59 Pirates. He was signed by the Pirates as an amateur free agent in 1953, but shortly thereafter, he missed two full seasons to military service. When he returned in 1956, he pitched well for Lincoln of the Western League (A-ball), but returned to the level the next season as well. Williams went 15-6, 2.98 in 1957, pitching 142 innings over his 60 relief appearances. He went to Triple-A Salt Lake City in 1958 and was even better, earning a September call-up to the Pirates. He pitched twice for Pittsburgh, throwing a total of four innings, allowing three runs. The following season he was recalled in May, getting into six games for the Pirates, allowing nine runs in 12 innings. After spending the rest of the 1959 season, and all of 1960 in the minors, Williams was sold to the Chicago White Sox in 1961. The rest of his Major League career consisted of three appearances for the 1962 Kansas City Athletics. He had identical 6.75 ERA’s in each of his two brief trials with the Pirates.
Jake Goodman, first baseman for the 1882 Pittsburgh Alleghenys and the fifth-place hitter in the first game in franchise history. Goodman started his pro career by playing for the first minor league team in baseball history, the Pittsburgh Allegheny (no “s” at the end like the Major League team five years later). He played two seasons in the majors, the first coming in 1878 with the Milwaukee Grays. That year he hit .246 with 27 RBIs and 28 runs scored in 60 games, making 42 errors at first base, the most in the league at that position. He was the everyday first baseman, playing all but one game that season for a team that finished 15-45 (one tie). Goodman played in the minors in 1879, then next appeared in pro ball as the Alleghenys’ Opening Day first baseman on May 2nd, batting fifth in the order. He was also the team captain. He did well in his limited time with the team, hitting .317 in ten games, but he was soon replaced by Chappy Lane, an outstanding fielder, who could barely hit. Goodman injured his knee in the fifth inning of his final game on May 29th and had to be removed, replaced by Lane. It was called a “severe cut on his knee while playing first base”. He never appeared in another Major League game, finishing his career off in the minors in 1886, playing his third season in a row in his hometown of Lancaster, Pa.
In the first Spring Training game for the 1882 Alleghenys, their first ever game together as a team, Goodman missed hitting a double cycle by the second homer. In an eight-inning game, he had a homer, two triples, two doubles and three singles. The game was actually called in the ninth after the Alleghenys put up another nine runs, but those didn’t count. No account of how they scored those nine runs exists, so it’s possible that he had more than eight hits.