This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History: October 5th, Claude Ritchey

Three former Pittsburgh Pirates have been born on this date, plus we have one transaction of note.

Claude Ritchey, second baseman for the Pirates from 1900 until 1906. He was part of the biggest trade in team history in December of 1899 when the Pirates acquired most of the star players from the Louisville Colonels, including Hall of Famers Honus Wagner, Fred Clarke and Rube Waddell. Ritchey was a strong player at the time as well, hitting .300 in 1899, with 73 RBIs and 21 stolen bases, while playing solid defense in the middle of the diamond. His defense would get better as he got older and stayed at second base more often. He was the top fielding second baseman during four of his seven seasons with the Pirates. Ritchey led the league in fielding percentage five times (four times in Pittsburgh). He also led multiple times in double plays and games played, while consistently ranking near the top in putouts. At the plate in Pittsburgh, he hit .277 over 977 games, with 420 RBIs and 427 runs scored, while recording more than twice as many walks (362) as strikeouts (177). Ritchey batted .292 in his first season with the Pirates and topped that with a .296 mark in 1901, while also setting a career high with 74 RBIs. That helped the Pirates to their first NL title. In 1903, the Pirates went to the first World Series and he contributed a 4.4 WAR season, with above average offense and defense. In 1904, he led the NL with 156 games played. He played a total of 13 seasons in the majors, hitting .273 in 1,672 games, with 607 walks and 290 strikeouts. Ritchey stole 155 bases and scored 709 runs. He posted a career 34.7 WAR, with 25.2 coming with the Pirates.

Onix Concepcion, shortstop for the 1987 Pirates. After spending six seasons with the Kansas City Royals, Concepcion played one game for the Pirates on April 7, 1987 and collected a single in a pinch-hitting appearance. While running out that single, he strained a left hamstring and was placed on the disabled list. He played six minor league rehab games, but never made it back to Pittsburgh. He was released by the Pirates on June 15, 1987, which ended his pro baseball career. Concepcion was a career .239 hitter with three homers and 80 RBIs in 390 games. Despite playing 131 games for the 1985 Royals, a team that won the World Series that year, he spent the entire 1986 season in Triple-A. He is a cousin of former Pirates second baseman Jose Lind.

Jim Bagby Sr., pitcher for the 1923 Pirates. He won 122 games for the Cleveland Indians between 1916 and 1922, including 31 wins during the 1920 season. By the time he reached the Pirates three years after his big season, he was in his last year in the majors. He made six starts and 15 relief appearances, posting a 5.24 ERA in 68.2 innings. Bagby is the father of Jim Bagby Jr, who also finished his career with the Pirates (1947) after excelling as a pitcher with the Indians. The elder Bagby was selected off waivers by the Pirates after the 1922 season. He went 4-5, 6.32 in 98.1 innings in 1922. The Pirates let him start three times in May and he allowed 15 runs in 16 innings. His last three starts all came during doubleheaders and he won two of them. By the end of the season, Bagby was barely being used, pitching three times over the final 47 games. He began his big league career with the 1912 Cincinnati Reds, but didn’t pitch in the majors again until the 1916 season. He had a total of 259 wins between the majors and minors, playing until 1930.

The Transaction

On this date in 1937, the Pirates drafted minor league pitcher Bob Klinger from the St Louis Cardinals in the Rule 5 draft. He would go on win 62 games over the next six seasons with the Pirates, including a 12-5, 2.99 record as a rookie in 1938. Klinger didn’t debut until he was two months shy of his 30th birthday. He spent nine seasons in the minors prior to his debut, winning 115 games.