Eight former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date.
Bob Veale, who played for the team from 1962-72. Veale was signed as a free agent out of college in 1958. The Pirates sent him to the California League where he struggled with his command, walking 55 batters in 63 innings. He was just as wild his second season, but much more effective, lowering his ERA by almost two runs from the previous season. He then spent the next three seasons in Triple-A with Columbus, making 77 starts before finally earning a permanent spot on the Pirates. He started the 1962 season in the big leagues, but lasted just over a month before being returned Columbus. He came back up to Pittsburgh in late September to make three more appearances.
In 1963, Veale was used out of the bullpen for most of the season. After an August 14th appearance lowered his season ERA to 0.70, the Pirates moved him to the rotation. He would start seven games that year, throwing complete game shutouts in two of them, and allowing no earned runs in another three starts. In fact, when Veale allowed five earned runs in 3.1 innings to the Dodgers on September 11th, that was more earned runs than he allowed the rest of the entire season (four) in 74.1 innings. He was a regular member of the Pirates rotation for the next seven seasons, making 242 starts over that time. In 1964, Veale posted a career high 18 wins and led the NL in both strikeouts and walks.
Veale was a two-time All-Star, making his first appearance in 1965 when he went 17-12 and struck out a career high 276 batters. Here’s an in depth look at his 1965 season. He made the All-Star team again the next year when he went 16-12 with 229 strikeouts. It was the third straight year he was among the top three in the NL in strikeouts. In 1967, he had his best win/loss percentage as a starter when he went 16-8. That gave him 67 wins over a four-year stretch. Veale had three straight losing seasons from 1968-70, despite posting a 2.05 ERA in 1968 and a sub-4.00 ERA each of the other two seasons. In 1971, he was moved to the bullpen and posted a 6-0 record in 37 games, despite a 6.99 ERA. That was the only season the Pirates made the playoffs during his stay in Pittsburgh, and he made it into just one postseason game, pitching 2/3 of an inning during the Pirates 11-3 game two loss to the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series.
In 1972, Veale was once again in the Pirates bullpen to start the season, but it did not last long. After just five appearances, he was sent to the minors, where he stayed until the Pirates sold him to the Boston Red Sox on September 2nd. Here’s a look at his 1972 Topps card. Veale finished his playing career with the Red Sox following the 1974 season. While with the Pirates, he posted a 119-96, 3.06 record with 1,652 strikeouts. His strikeout total ranks him second all-time in team history, just 30 K’s behind Bob Friend, who pitched over 1,600 more innings with the Pirates. Veale’s 276 strikeouts in 1965 are the most in a season since the franchise moved to the National League in 1887. In franchise history, only Ed Morris had more strikeouts in a single season, and he did that twice times while the team was still in the American Association in 1885-86. Veale turns 85 years old today.
Nate McLouth, outfielder for the 2005-09 and 2012 Pirates. He batted .256 over 515 games with the Pirates, hitting 60 homers and stealing 64 bases in 69 attempts. McLouth had a huge 2008 season, making the All-Star team and winning the Gold Glove. He led the NL with 46 doubles, scored 113 runs, drove in 94 runs and had 26 homers and 23 stolen bases. He was traded to the Atlanta Braves in mid-2009 and failed to approach his previous numbers, bouncing around the majors, including the 2012 Pirates (hit .140 in 34 games), until finishing up his career in 2014. McLouth was a 25th round draft pick of the Pirates out of high school in 2000. He debuted in the minors in 2001 and stole 20+ bases each year until making the majors in late June of 2005. He batted .300+ twice, topping out at .322 in Double-A Altoona in 2004. McLouth was a solid offensive player in the majors, but despite the Gold Glove award, he was well below average defensively. During that award-winning season, he had a -2.1 dWAR, which was only his second worst season. Despite that poor number, he was still well above average overall due to a 4.8 WAR on offense. When he returned in 2012, he was a free agent signing, but he was released by the end of May. He had a career .742 OPS in 1,045 games, but his OPS was .785 with the Pirates.
Corban Joseph, infielder for the 2019 Pirates. On September 16, 2019, the Pirates picked up Joseph off waivers from the San Francisco Giants. He was picked up by the Giants from the Oakland A’s just 13 days earlier. He played nine games for the Pirates, going 2-for-11 at the plate, while seeing time at second base and right field. Joseph was a 2008 draft pick of the New York Yankees, who selected him in the fourth round out of high school. He played two games for the Yankees in 2013, then didn’t make it back to the majors until 2018 for 14 games for the Baltimore Orioles. Despite spending time with three teams in the majors in 2019, Joseph played a total of 28 games in the majors. The Pirates let him go via free agency after the season and he signed with the Chicago Cubs for 2020, though he was released in May before the season started. In three big league seasons, he has played a total of 44 games for five teams.
Bill Wilson, utility player for the 1890 Alleghenys. He was a versatile player for the worst team in Pittsburgh Pirates history. Wilson played six different positions for the 1890 Pittsburgh Alleghenys, a team that finished the season 23-113. He wasn’t much of a hitter, batting just .214 with a team leader 50 strikeouts. He also wasn’t very good defensively, committing 60 total errors, including 35 behind the plate in just 38 games. A few times during the season, he was called on to umpire when the regular umpire was too ill or couldn’t make it to the game. It should come as no surprise that Wilson didn’t play in the majors again after the 1890 season until 1897 when he was with the Louisville Colonels. While there, he was teammates with two future Pirates Hall of Famers, Fred Clarke and Honus Wagner. Wilson hit his first major league homer that year off a pitcher with a familiar name, Charlie Brown. Wilson also played with the Colonels in 1898, then bounced around the minor leagues until the age of 40. He also managed for two seasons in the minors. His career stats/stops are incomplete, but he debuted in pro ball in 1887 and last played in 1908.
Percy Jones, pitcher for the 1930 Pirates. Jones had a decent nine-year career, but his time in Pittsburgh was forgettable. He went 0-1, 6.63 in 19 innings, making two starts and nine relief appearances. That proved to be the end of his big league career. Jones came over from the Boston Braves right at the beginning of the 1930 season in exchange for Hall of Fame pitcher Burleigh Grimes and cash. There were claims in the paper that the cash part of the deal was “close to $100,000”, which was an incredibly large amount for that time. It was clear that the cash was the main part of the April 9th deal when Jones was unconditionally released on June 23rd. He went to the minors after pitching for the Pirates , finishing out his career in 1931 for Columbus of the American Association. He pitched his first seven seasons in the majors for the Chicago Cubs, posting his best season in 1926, when he went 12-7, 3.09 in 160.1 innings. Jones finished with a 53-57, 4.34 record in 114 starts and 137 relief appearances.
Joe Page, relief pitcher for the 1954 Pirates. Page was closer for the New York Yankees, well before the role was popular, and long before it became a one-inning role. He pitched multiple innings many times, surpassing the 100 inning mark in each of his first six seasons, while also occasionally filling in as a starter, something that is unheard of now (except for the “opener”). During the 1950 season, his stats began to decline and he was released prior to the start of the next season. Page pitched briefly in the minors in 1952, then didn’t play during the 1953 season. He attempted a comeback with the 1954 Pirates that didn’t go so well. Page made seven relief appearances, allowing 17 runs (12 earned) in just 9.2 innings. He actually started the year with 5.1 shutout innings over three appearances, but things turned disastrous quickly, and on June 1st he was gone. The Pirates released him unconditionally on waivers and no one picked him up, ending his career. He missed nearly three weeks in late April/early May due to a broken finger that reportedly happened during a fall at his home. Though not an official stat at the time, Page was the active saves leader (76) when he retired.
Luis Marquez, outfielder for the 1954 Pirates. Though they both played for the 1954 Pirates, Joe Page (see above) and Marquez were never teammates. Marquez came over from the Chicago Cubs on June 14th in exchange for outfielder Hal Rice. He played 14 games for the Pirates and went to the plate 14 times. He went 1-for-9 at the plate, with four walks, three runs scored and a sacrifice bunt. Marquez saw action at all three outfield positions during his brief time in Pittsburgh. On July 17th, he was outright released to Toledo of the American Association, ending his big league career. Marquez played a total of 99 games in the majors, but he had a long pro career. He played 14 seasons in the minors and three years in the Negro Leagues. He hit .305 in 1,799 minor league games, .335 in the Negro Leagues and .182 in the majors. Marquez was taken by the Boston Braves in the 1950 Rule 5 draft From Portland of the Pacific Coast League. Three years later, the Cubs also picked him up in the Rule 5 draft, this time from the Braves. Marquez played 68 games in the majors for the 1951 Braves and 17 games for the 1954 Cubs, prior to his trade to Pittsburgh.
Gair Allie, shortstop for the 1954 Pirates. October 28th was clearly a popular date for birthdays on the 1954 Pirates. Just like Marquez and Page, Allie played just one season for the Pirates, but unlike the other two, it was his only year in the majors. Allie was signed by the Pirates out of Wake Forest University in 1952. He went to New Orleans of the American Association, where he hit .216 in 155 games. The next season, he played just 32 games for New Orleans, missing a majority of the season due to a broken leg. In 1954, he made the Pirates Opening Day roster and started 92 games at shortstop and another 18 at third base. Allie hit .199 in 121 games, driving in 30 runs and scoring 38 times. He drew 56 walks, but also finished third in the NL with 84 strikeouts. After the season, he returned to the minors, where he played until 1961. Allie missed the 1957 season while serving in the military. He was one of the last Pirates players to wear the uniform #8 before Willie Stargell got it in 1962.