Four former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date, plus one game of note.
Joe Boever, pitcher for the 1996 Pirates. At the end of his 12-year career, he made 13 appearances for the Pirates and posted a 5.40 ERA in 15 innings. Boever pitched 516 games in the majors, all of them as a reliever. He was signed by the St Louis Cardinals as a non-drafted free agent in 1982 and made it to the majors with them in 1985. He played parts of four seasons before finally sticking full-time in 1989 with the Atlanta Braves. From 1989 until 1993, he averaged 69 appearances per season, topping out at 81 in in 1992, when he threw 111.1 innings for the Houston Astros and led the league in games pitched. Boever had a 6.39 ERA in 60 games for the 1995 Detroit Tigers. The Pirates picked him up on waivers in April of 1996. In his career, he went 34-45, 3.93 in 754.1 innings.
Billy Hatcher, 1989 outfielder for the Pirates. He was drafted three times before he eventually signed a deal as a sixth round pick of the Chicago Cubs in 1981. He actually passed on signing in 1980 after the Houston Astros selected him in the second round. Hatcher was a late season acquisition by the 1989 Pirates, who hit .244 with a homer and seven RBIs in 27 games. They acquired him on August 18th for outfielder Glenn Wilson. Hatcher was traded to the Cincinnati Reds prior to the 1990 season for infielder Jeff Richardson and pitcher Mike Roesler. Hatcher didn’t have a great regular season for the Reds, but he made quite a name for himself in the playoffs. He hit .333 in four games against the Pirates in the NLCS, then hit .750 in a four-game sweep of the Oakland A’s in the World Series. All told, he had 14 hits and eight runs scored in the eight playoff games. Hatcher was a career .264 hitter in 1,233 big league games, with 218 stolen bases and 586 runs scored. He played 12 seasons in the majors, just like the aforementioned Joe Boever, who was also born on the same day in 1960.
Red Munger, pitcher for the 1952 and 1956 Pirates. He won a total of 229 games in pro ball, but just three of those wins came with the Pirates in the majors. He pitched for them in the minors between 1953-55 and had a 23-win season in 1955, with 56 wins overall for Hollywood of the Pacific Coast League. Munger went 0-3, 7.18 in 26.1 innings for the 1952 Pirates, and 3-4, 4.04 in 107 innings in 1956. He had his baseball career somewhat derailed by WWII. He was called into service during his sophomore season in 1944. At the time, he had an outstanding 11-4, 1.34 record in 121 innings for the St Louis Cardinals. He missed the end of the 1944 season, all of 1945 and most of 1946 before returning. The lowest ERA he could put up after returning was the 3.33 mark he had during the partial 1946 season. Munger played a total of 21 seasons in pro ball, with ten seasons of big league experience. The Pirates acquired him from the Cardinals on May 3, 1952 in an even up exchange for pitcher Bill Werle. Munger’s real first name was George.
Jim Gardner, pitcher/infielder for the 1895, 1897-99 Pirates. Gardner had an odd deal with the Pirates during his first season, at least by current day standards. He never traveled with the team during the 1895 season, making all ten starts and one relief appearance in Pittsburgh. Gardner pitched well, especially considering the high offense in the NL that season. He went 8-2, 2.64, completing eight of his ten starts. After not playing pro ball during the 1896 season, he returned to the Pirates in 1897, going 5-5, 5.19 in 14 games, all as a starter. He made his first appearance on the road in July of that season. He also occasionally took turns at third base and in both corner outfield spots. In 1898, Gardner was a regular with the team, going 10-13, 3.21 in 185.1 innings, his only full season in the majors. He was released after a few poor performances in the 1899 season, attributed partially to a severe beaning the previous season. He played his final game on June 26th and was let go on June 30th.
Gardner made the majors one other time briefly, making three starts for the 1902 Chicago Orphans (Cubs). He was a lifelong native of Pittsburgh, though his life wasn’t that long. Gardner played minor league ball briefly in 1904, then in April of 1905, he passed away at age thirty from an ear abscess and subsequent brain infection from it. A teammate after his passing claimed that the severe beaning he took years earlier, resulted in a fractured skull and played a part in his untimely death.
On this date in 1903, Deacon Phillippe and the Pirates won 5-4 over the Boston Americans in game four of the World Series. It was the third win of the series for Phillippe. The team was short-handed at the time with Sam Leever nursing an injury and Ed Doheny leaving the team right before the series due to personal reasons (he went crazy, literally). Phillippe had to take the brunt of the workload and he won game one, game three and game four over a six-day span. Here’s the boxscore for game four.