Six former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date, plus one trade of note.
George Hendrick, right fielder for the 1985 Pirates. He had a successful 18-year career in the majors, but his time in Pittsburgh wasn’t among his highlights. Hendrick batted .230 with two homer and 25 RBIs in 69 games and Pirates fans were on him for his lack of hustle, which earned him the nickname “Jogging George”. The Pirates traded Hendrick away on August 2,1985 in a six-player deal with the California Angels. He played a total of 2,048 career games, hitting .278 with 267 homers and he drove in 1,111 runs. He was a four time All-Star and twice drove in over 100 runs in a season. Hendrick was the first overall pick in the January phase of the 1968 draft. Taken by the Oakland A’s, he played parts of two seasons there before moving on to the Cleveland Indians, where he had two All-Star seasons over four years, averaging over 20 homers per season. He played 1 1/2 season with the San Diego Padres before heading to the St Louis Cardinals, where he had his most success. Hendrick had two All-Star seasons in St Louis and he won two Silver Slugger awards. He put up 18.0 WAR in his seven seasons with the Cardinals.
Andy Hassler, lefty pitcher for the 1980 Pirates. Hassler had a lot in common with Hendrick in that his time in Pittsburgh didn’t amount to much, yet he still had a long productive career. He too was also involved in a deal between the Pirates and Angels. Hassler signed with the Pirates as a free agent after the 1979 season. He made just six appearances out of the bullpen before the Pirates sold him to the Angels in early June. Hassler allowed six runs (five earned) over 11.2 innings while in Pittsburgh. He pitched well as a long reliever for the Angels for the next 3 1/2 seasons before being released. Hassler pitched a total of 14 seasons in the majors, making 112 starts and 275 relief appearances. He went 44-71, 3.83 with 29 saves. He was a 25th round draft pick out of high school in 1969 by the California Angels, who brought him to the majors as a teenager in 1971. He was clearly rushed and didn’t put in his first full season until 1974, though it was a solid campaign. He had a 7-11 record, despite a strong 2.61 ERA in 162 innings. He made 22 starts, with ten complete games and two shutouts. With 2.8 WAR that season, it was the best year of his career, only matched by the 2.8 WAR he put up with the Angels in 1980 after being traded by the Pirates, though that was in a relief role.
Hans Lobert, infielder for the 1903 Pirates. Lobert is a sign of just how good the Pirates were during the early part of the century. He was a very good player, who they had no room for at the time, and he went on to have a strong career elsewhere. Lobert played five late-season games for the 1903 Pirates, the team that played in the first World Series. He went 1-for-15 at the plate and played three games at third base and one each at shortstop and second base. The Pirates were dealing with late-season injuries and Lobert was playing for the Pittsburgh Athletic Club (P.A.C.) at the time. In fact, he was right back with his P.A.C. after the season ended and he played a doubleheader for them just a week after his big league debut. He was with the Pirates in Spring Training of 1904, but did not make the team. Lobert next appeared in the majors in late 1905 with the Chicago Cubs and played another 12 seasons after that. He was one of the fastest players during his time, with the ability to circle the bases in under 14 seconds. He was a .274 hitter in 1,317 games and he stole 316 bases during his career. Lobert was signed after playing at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and he came from a big baseball family. His brother Frank Lobert played one year in the majors. His cousin Joe Schultz Sr. played 11 years in the majors, including one year (1916) with the Pirates. Joe’s son Joe Schultz Jr., played nine years in the majors, spending his first three years (1939-41) with the Pirates.
Garrett Olson, pitcher for the 2011 Pirates. The Pirates selected him off waivers from the Seattle Mariners in March of 2011. He made the Opening Day roster and pitched four games in relief before being sent to the minors, where he pitched for Triple-A Indianapolis for the rest of the season. He was released after the season ended. In parts of six seasons in the majors with the Baltimore Orioles, Mariners, Pirates and New York Mets, he had a 14-22 6.26 record in 104 games, 44 as a starter. He was a first round draft pick out of college by the Orioles in 2005. In January of 2009, Olson was traded by the Orioles to the Chicago Cubs. Just ten days later, he and former Pirates shortstop Ronny Cedeno were dealt together to the Mariners. He his lone game for the Mets, which ended up being his final big league game, Olson faced five batters. He recorded one out, allowed three hits and issued one walk. All four runs scored, leaving him with a 108.00 for his final season. After leaving the Mets, he finished his career with one season in Korea (2013).
Phil Morrison, pitcher for the 1921 Pirates. He was the older (by a year) brother of Johnny Morrison, a pitcher who went 89-71 in eight seasons with the Pirates. Phil got his only Major League game in on September 30, 1921 and faced three batters, giving up one hit and retiring the other two, one by strikeout. With just two games remaining in the season, he didn’t get a chance to pitch again. In the minors, he put together back-to-back 20-win seasons to start his career, then really struggled in 1923, going 6-20 in the Southern Association. That would be his last full season of pro ball. Prior to the 1921 season, the Pirates asked waivers on Morrison so they could send him to the minors for more seasoning. The Cincinnati Reds reportedly claimed him, thinking it was Johnny Morrison, who they saw in 1920. The Pirates had to withdraw the waiver request to keep Phil Morrison. One of the early scouting reports for Morrison said that he had a curve that resembled the one made famous by Hall of Fame pitcher Chief Bender.
Cliff Carroll, outfielder for the 1888 Alleghenys. He very briefly played for the Alleghenys, but he has a great story linked with that short stint. He was a mediocre player when the Pirates signed him in May of 1888, not a star by any stretch, but not bad either. He played just five games that season for the Alleghenys, and for good reason. He went 0-for-20 with no walks, eight strikeouts and three errors. He said that he didn’t get a fair trial with Pittsburgh because they threw him right into the lineup after signing, knowing that he needed training time before he would be ready. Carroll offered his services to the Alleghenys by letter in early May of 1888, so he didn’t have any type of Spring Training. After that brief stint, he played for a minor league team in Buffalo for a time before quitting baseball after he got married, missing the entire 1889 season. He decided to return to the game in 1890, when he would not only hit a career high .285 average, but he would score 134 runs and lead the NL in at-bats with 592. He didn’t have any other seasons quite like that, but it’s tough not to be impressed by an average player taking a year off from the game (and two years from the majors) only to return to the majors and play at such a high quality of play like he did. Carroll was a career .251 hitter in 991 games over 11 seasons. After scoring 134 runs in 1890, he scored 80+ runs in each of his final three seasons. He batted just .228 in his last season, though it came with an 88:28 BB/SO ratio.
On this date in 1973, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Philadelphia Phillies completed a two-player trade, with the Pirates sending second baseman Dave Cash to Philadelphia in exchange for pitcher Ken Brett.
Cash was drafted by the Pirates in the fifth round of the 1966 amateur draft as an 18-year-old. In his first full season of minor league ball in 1967 he hit .335 in 114 games with Gastonia. Just two seasons later he would make his debut in the majors, playing 18 games as a September call-up. After a brief stay in the minors in 1970 Cash was in the majors to stay, and he would hit .314 that year. The next year he played in 123 games, his high while in Pittsburgh. In the postseason against the Giants he would go 8-for-19 (.421) to help the Pirates advance to the World Series. In his five seasons in Pittsburgh he hit .285 in 420 games.
Brett at the time of the trade was coming off a 13-9, 3.44 season with 211 innings pitched as a 24-year-old. He had already pitched four full seasons and three partial seasons in the majors at that point with a career record of 30-36, 4.16 in 136 games, 71 as a starter.
The trade worked out well initially for both teams, Brett basically duplicated his 1973 season, making 27 starts and going 13-9, 3.30 in 191 innings. Cash hit .300 with 20 steals, 206 hits and he lead the NL in at-bats, something he would do for all three seasons in Philadelphia. He was durable for the Phillies, missing just two games in his time there. Brett would play one more season for the Pirates and he missed time during the year with an elbow problem, but pitched well when he was able to go. He finished the season with a 9-5, 3.36 record.
Cash was granted free agency following the 1976 season and he went on to play three years in Montreal before finishing his career in 1980 with the Padres. Brett was traded following the 1975 season along with Dock Ellis and Willie Randolph to the Yankees for Doc Medich. Brett finished his career in 1981 playing with the Royals alongside his brother, Hall of Famer George Brett.