This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History: October 26th, Francisco Liriano

Six former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date.

Francisco Liriano, pitcher for the 2013-16 and 2019 Pirates. In five seasons in Pittsburgh, four as a starter, he had a 46-39, 3.65 record in 693.2 innings. Liriano has pitched a total of 14 seasons in the majors, going 112-114, 4.15 in 300 starts and 119 relief appearances. He was originally signed by the San Francisco Giants as an international amateur free agent in 2000. The Minnesota Twins acquired him three years later in a four-player trade. Liriano debuted in the majors in 2005, then had a breakout season in 2006, going 12-3, 2.16 in 121 innings. He was an All-Star and finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting. Unfortunately for him, he needed Tommy John surgery, which cost him all of 2007. Over the next five years, he never came close to matching his 2006 numbers, with his best year being a 3.62 ERA in 2010. It was still a solid season, one in which he compiled 201 strikeouts and finished 11th in the Cy Young voting. In the middle of 2012, he was traded to the Chicago White Sox.

Liriano had two straight seasons with an ERA over 5.00 before joining the Pirates. He turned things around in Pittsburgh right away, going 16-8, 3.02 in 26 starts in 2013. He finished ninth in the Cy Young voting, his best career finish. Liriano had a strong season in 2014 as well, though it didn’t show in the record. He went 7-10, 3.38 in 162.1 innings. He matched that ERA in 2015, though it came with a 12-7 record, thanks in part to the Pirates winning 98 games. He set a career high with 205 strikeouts. After struggling badly during the 2016 season, and with a year still left on his contract, the Pirates traded him to the Toronto Blue Jays at the 2016 trade deadline. He did poorly as a starter for the Blue Jays in 2017, got traded to the Houston Astros, where he had a rough time in a bullpen role. Liriano signed with the Detroit Tigers in 2018 as a starter and had a 4.58 ERA in 133.2 innings. He signed with the Pirates on a minor league deal in 2019 and made the Opening Day roster in the bullpen. In 69 appearances, he had a 3.47 ERA in 70 innings. He signed with the Philadelphia Phillies for 2020, but he was released prior to the start of the season in July.

Wilfredo Boscan, pitcher for the 2016 Pirates. He was called up to the majors three times without appearing in a game, before finally making his big league debut in his fourth stint with the club. In five relief appearances and one start for the 2016 Pirates, he had a 6.46 ERA in 15.1 innings. That has been his only big league time, though he is still currently active, pitching last year in Mexico and the winter in Venezuela. Boscan was originally signed as an international amateur free agent out of Venezuela in 2006 by the Texas Rangers. He was traded to the San Diego Padres in 2012 and became a minor league free agent after the 2013 season. Boscan signed a minor league deal in 2014 with the Boston Red Sox, then signed a deal with the Pirates for 2015. He spent the year in Triple-A Indianapolis, posting a 3.07 ERA in 126 innings. In between his four stints with the Pirates in 2016, he had a 3.75 ERA in 84 innings at Indianapolis. Boscan was released in August and signed with the Atlanta Braves. He pitched in the New York Mets system in 2017 and he has played in Mexico and Venezuela since then.

Marty McLeary, pitcher for the 2006-07 Pirates. He was signed by the Pirates as a free agent in January 2006. Prior to joining Pittsburgh, he had just three games of Major League experience, all in relief for the 2004 San Diego Padres. He spent most of 2006 in Triple-A, earning a late August call-up and making his Pittsburgh debut on August 29th in relief. McLeary got his first big league win the next day when the Pirates scored three runs in the bottom of the 11th to come back from a 9-7 deficit over the Chicago Cubs. On the next to last day of the season, he got the start and shutout the Cincinnati Reds for seven innings, picking up his second win in a 3-0 game. McLeary spent just two weeks in May of 2007 with the Pirates, spending the rest of the year in the minors. He pitched four times in relief with the Pirates and allowed runs in all four games. He was granted free agency and signed with the Toronto Blue Jays following the season. McLeary never made it back to the majors, finishing up his career in the minors in 2010. He had a brief stint in Korea in 2008.  He was originally drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 1997 and nearly made the majors four years before his debut. McLeary was a Rule 5 pick of the Montreal Expos in the winter of 1999, but he was returned to the Red Sox in mid-March.

Jack Cassini, pinch-runner for the 1949 Pirates. The only big league experience for Cassini was a total of eight early season pinch-running appearances at 29 years old for the 1949 Pirates. He scored three runs. He wasn’t a bad hitter, batting .304 over 1,517 minor league games, so it’s a bit surprising that he never got a real big league shot. He made his Pirates debut on April 19th and scored the only run of the game running for Dixie Walker in the top of the ninth inning. During a doubleheader on May 1st, he ran for Danny Murtaugh in both games. Cassini played a total of 14 seasons in pro ball and managed 11 years in the minors between 1955 and 1977. He originally signed in pro ball at 20 years old in 1940. After two seasons in the minors, he spent the next four years serving in the military during WWII. Cassini returned in 1946 and played for Indianapolis in 1948, where he was one of four players purchased by the Pirates on September 29, 1948. He was a very fast runner, leading the American Association is steals with 33 that season. After his brief stint in Pittsburgh, he was sent back to Indianapolis, where he hit .300 in 131 games. On October 11, 1949, he was traded to the Brooklyn Dodgers as the player to be named later in a deal made ten days earlier.

Harry Camnitz, pitcher for the 1909 Pirates. He made his big league debut on September 29, 1909, pitching four innings in relief of Nick Maddox, who gave up four runs in the first five innings. Camnitz allowed solo runs in the sixth and the eighth, as the Pirates went on to lose 6-1 that day. In the minors that year before joining the Pirates, he went 27-9 for the McKeesport Tubers. The Pirates purchased his contract for $1,500 on July 7th, though he was allowed to remain with McKeesport to finish the season. He was with the Pirates for Spring Training of 1910 and made the Opening Day roster, but he was an early cut and didn’t appear in a game (Another pitcher named Willis Humphries was sent down the same day and never appeared in an MLB game). After spending 1910 with Jersey City of the Eastern League and 1911 with Youngstown of the Ohio-Pennsylvania League, Camnitz pitched two more Major League games for the St Louis Cardinals in September/October of 1911. He played pro ball until 1915 and had a total of 99 wins in the minor leagues. He was the younger brother of Howie Camnitz, who won 25 games for the Pirates during their first World Series winning season in 1909, giving the pair a total of 52 wins that season.

Bill Garfield, pitcher for the 1889 Alleghenys. The 1889 Pittsburgh Alleghenys were not a horrible team, finishing with a 61-71 record, but they had a rough patch mid-season. In the midst of a 12-game losing streak in the beginning of July they called upon Garfield to make his Major League debut during a one-sided loss. He was with the team in Spring Training and rejoined the Alleghenys on July 1st, nine days before he played his first game. Seven days later, they gave him his first big league start and he lost 10-4 to the Washington Nationals. He made his second (and last) start with the Alleghenys on August 2nd, during the second game of back-to-back doubleheaders. He lost that day 10-5 to the Indianapolis Hoosiers. By the end of August, he was released. Garfield signed with the Cleveland Spiders the next year and went 1-7, with his last loss coming on August 6th when he pitched the second game of a doubleheader. The first game was started by a 23-year-old making his Major League debut named Denton True “Cy” Young. Garfield’s only career victory came against Hall of Famer Mickey Welch, who won 307 games in his career. Garfield pitched in pro ball from 1888 until 1893.