This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History, September 23rd, Jim Rooker and Jim Morrison

Ten former Pittsburgh Pirates players have been born on this date, including a member of the 1979 World Series champs.

Chris Volstad, pitcher for the 2015 Pirates. He pitched two scoreless innings on June 24th, which ended up being his only appearance with the Pirates. Volstad was signed as a minor league free agent prior to the season and he was designated for assignment shortly after his only game. He spent the rest of the 2015 in the minors. Volstad was a first round pick out of high school by the Florida Marlins in 2005. He spent four seasons in their rotation (2008-11), then pitched for the 2012 Chicago Cubs and the 2013 Colorado Rockies. Since leaving the Pirates, he has pitched for the 2017-18 Chicago White Sox. He was still active in spring of 2020, though he was released before the season started. He has a 37-58, 5.00 record in 772.1 innings.

Dennis Lamp, pitcher for the 1992 Pirates. In the last season of his 16-year career, Lamp had a 5.14 ERA over 21 relief appearances for the Pirates. He was released in mid-June, finishing his career with a 3.93 ERA and 96 wins in 639 games, with 1,830.2 innings pitched. Lamp was a third round pick of the Chicago Cubs in 1971. He made the majors in 1977 and spent four years with the Cubs, then moved across town for three more seasons. In 1984, he moved on to the Toronto Blue Jays for three seasons. In 1985, he went 11-0, 3.32 in 105.2 innings, making 52 relief appearances and one start. In the playoffs that year, he threw 9.1 scoreless innings in relief. Lamp then spent one year in Oakland and four years with the Boston Red Sox, before joining the Pirates.

Jim Winn, pitcher for the 1983-86 Pirates. He was a first round pick (14th overall) of the Pirates in 1981, who was in the majors 22 months after he signed. Winn struggled in his initial trial with the team, posting a 7.36 ERA in seven appearances. He pitched just slightly more in 1984 and lowered his ERA to 3.86 in 18.2 innings. He saw some starts in 1985, pitching a total of 75.2 innings, while posting a 5.36 ERA. Winn had his best season in 1986, while making three starts and 47 appearances. He had a 3.58 ERA in 88 innings and picked up three saves. Overall, Winn had a 4.47 ERA in ten starts and 86 relief appearances with the Pirates. He was traded to the White Sox for John Cangelosi during Spring Training in 1987. He lasted one full season in Chicago, posting a 4.79 ERA in 56 appearances. He was released after the season and signed with the Minnesota Twins, where he finished his big league career with a 6.00 ERA in nine outings.

Jim Morrison, third baseman for the Pirates from 1982 until 1987. He was drafted three times before signing with the Philadelphia Phillies as a fifth round pick in 1974. Morrison was actually drafted twice by the Pirates and passed on a first round selection in 1982. He played two seasons with the Phillies before being traded to the Chicago White Sox in 1979. He was there for 3 1/2 seasons before the Pirates acquired him in a trade for Eddie Solomon. Morrison lasted six seasons in Pittsburgh. His best season was 1986, when he hit .274 with 23 homers and 88 RBI.  He also did well in limited playing time in 1983, hitting .304 with an .834 OPS in 66 games. Morrison was blocked in Philadelphia by Mike Schmidt at third base and then the Pirates had All-Star Bill Madlock manning the hot corner, so he also saw time at second base throughout his career. Late in 1987, the Pirates traded him to the Detroit Tigers for Darnell Coles and Morris Madden. Morrison finished his career in 1988, splitting his final season between the Tigers and Atlanta Braves.  He had a .764 OPS in 552 games with the Pirates.

Jim Rooker, pitcher for the 1973-80 Pirates. He debuted in the majors at 25 years old in 1968 and put up mediocre stats over five seasons before joining the Pirates. In October of 1972, the Pirates sent Gene Garber to the Kansas City Royals to acquire Rooker, who posted a 4.38 ERA in 72 innings in 1972. Rooker immediately turned things around with the Pirates, posting ERAs of 2.85, 2.78 and 2.97 in his first three seasons in Pittsburgh, while throwing a total of 629.2 innings. The ERA slipped just slightly, going into the low-3.00’s over the next two seasons, but Rooker was still throwing 200 innings per year and he had a combined 29-17 record in 1976-77. He dropped to a 4.24 ERA in 1978 and saw a little less mound time than he did over the 1973-77 run. During the 1979 season, he went 4-7, 4.60 in 17 starts and two relief outings. During the World Series, Rooker started game five with the Pirates down 3-1 in the series. He gave up one run over five innings and the Pirates ended up winning the game 7-1. In game one, Rooker threw 3.2 shutout innings in relief. Rooker pitched briefly for the 1980 Pirates, his last big league club. He went 82-65, 3.29 in 187 starts and 26 relief appearances for the Pirates.

Dino Restelli, outfielder for the Pirates in 1949 and 1951. He hit .241 over 93 games in Pittsburgh, seeing most of his time during the 1949 season. He hit .250 with 12 homers and 40 RBIs in 72 games as a rookie. Restelli spent all of 1950 in the minors, then returned to Pittsburgh for the first two months of the 1951 season. He hit .184 in 21 games, getting just seven starts. Restelli was sold to the Washington Senators in September 1951, but the Pirates were his only big league club. He spent a total of 11 seasons in pro ball, retiring after the 1955 season. Restelli missed the 1945 season while serving during WWI.

Lino Donoso, lefty reliever for the 1955-56 Pirates. He was a 32-year-old rookie from Cuba in 1955. The Pirates acquired him from the Mexican League, where he had spent the previous four seasons. He also played Negro League ball in 1947. Donoso spent the 1954 season with Hollywood of the Pacific Coast League, which had a working agreement with the Pirates. He would win 19 games that season and throw over 200 innings. Donoso had a 5.21 ERA in 96.2 innings with the Pirates. Almost all of his big league time came in 1955. His 1956 season consisted of spending the first few weeks in the majors, which saw him throw a total of 1.2 scoreless innings over three appearances. He was sent to the minors in May and remained there until 1962, spending most of that time in the Mexican League.

Johnny Mokan, outfielder for the 1921-22 Pirates. He spent the first two months of the 1921 season with the Pirates, hitting .269 in 19 games before being sent to the minors. Mokan was back in 1922 and he batted .258 in 31 games, while seeing time again at all three outfield spots. He hit .262 with 16 runs scored and 17 RBIs in 50 games with the Pirates. He was sold to the Philadelphia Phillies in July of 1922. Mokan remained there until his big league career ended in 1927. He hit .313 in 1923, .330 in 1925, and .303 in 1926 when he played a career high 127 games. He was considered a below average defensive player, who finished with a -5.8 dWAR.

Joe Kelly, 1914 outfielder. He spent six seasons in the minors before the Pirates acquired him from St Joseph of the Western League. He started 136 games in center field in 1914 and showed great range, but also led all NL center fielders with 19 errors. Kelly hit .222 and stole 21 bases in 141 games during his only season with the Pirates. After the season, he was sold to Indianapolis of the American Association (minors). Kelly made it back to the majors in 1916 with the Chicago Cubs, who then traded him to the Boston Braves in 1917, where he played his final three big league seasons. He was a .224 hitter over 376 big league games. Kelly returned to the minors in 1919 and played pro ball until 1930. Including his big league stats, he had 3,200 hits as a pro.

Cy Neighbors, played one game without an at-bat for the 1908 Pirates. He played left field during the final inning on April 29, 1908 and never played in the majors again. Neighbors spent 14 seasons in the minors. In the ninth inning against the Chicago Cubs on April 29th, Fred Clarke sent in a pinch-hitter for himself, putting in backup catcher Paddy O’Connor. He singled home a run to make it 1-1 and the Pirates took the lead on a Honus Wagner single. Without that hit from O’Connor, which was his first MLB hit, Neigbors wouldn’t have been used that day. As it was, when they came out for the ninth, Neighbors took Clarke’s position and watched Lefty Leifield close out the game with two strikeouts and a grounder to second base. A short time later, Neighbors was sent to Kansas City, where he remained for the duration of the season. While his minor league stats aren’t complete, the known games (over 1,400) show that he was a .302 hitter in those games.

In 1956, the Pirates drew 44,932 fans, the largest crowd in Forbes Field history. The Pirates lost 8-3 to the Dodgers, although the game was suspended due to rain in the ninth inning and finished the next day. The paper the next day said that between 8,000 and 10,000 fans were turned away at the gate and one fan died during the game. Here’s the boxscore.