Five former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date, plus two transactions of note from 1950. Before we get into all of that, current first baseman Will Craig turns 26 today. He debuted briefly with the 2020 Pirates. Craig was a first round draft pick in 2016.
Brandon Cumpton, pitcher for the 2013-14 Pirates. He had a 4.02 ERA in 100.2 innings with the Pirates, then injuries sidetracked his career. He made it back to the majors in 2018 with the Toronto Blue Jays, though he lasted just one appearance. Cumpton was a ninth round pick in 2010 by the Pirates out of the Georgia Institute of Technology. He reached the majors in three years and did well in some spot starts, posting a 2.05 ERA in 30.2 innings, with five starts and one relief appearance. He spent more time in Pittsburgh in 2014, switching between starting and relief. Cumpton had a 4.89 ERA in 70 innings, making ten starts and six relief appearances. During Spring Training of 2015, he required Tommy John surgery, which cost him the entire season. He then missed 2016 due to shoulder surgery, which also spilled into the 2017 season, where he was only able to throw 37.1 innings. Cumpton signed with the Texas Rangers for 2018, though he was released during Spring Training. He signed with the Blue Jays in July and made his one big league appearance on July 31st. He became a free agent after the season and spent 2019 pitching both summer and winter ball in Mexico, while also playing independent ball and winter ball in the Dominican, pitching a total of 151.1 innings. In 2020, he played independent ball in Winnipeg.
Tim Wood, pitcher for the 2011 Pirates. He went 0-3, 5.63 in 13 relief appearances for the Pirates, pitching a total of eight innings. His only other big league experience came with the 2009-10 Florida Marlins, where he had a 4.32 ERA in 50 innings over 44 appearances. He did much better in his first season (2.82 ERA in 22.1 innings) versus his second year (5.53 ERA in 27.2 innings). Wood was originally drafted in the 21st round out of high school in 2001 by the Montreal Expos, but he decided to attend Prima Community College to attempt to improve his draft stock. He slipped to the 44th round in 2002 and decided to sign with the Marlins. He was granted free agency after the 2010 season and signed with the Washington Nationals, who cut him at the end of Spring Training in 2011. He signed with the Pirates one day later and went to Triple-A Indianapolis. The Pirates recalled him in early June and he pitched often, making 13 appearances in 22 days. After returning to the minors, he was sold to the Texas Rangers in mid-August. Wood became a free agent after the season and re-signed with the Pirates. He spent all of 2012 in Indianapolis and finished his career in 2013 in the Minnesota Twins system.
Mark Corey, pitcher for the 2003-04 Pirates. He pitched 66 innings over 53 appearances with Pittsburgh, posting a 4.91 ERA. His other big league experience includes 14 games for the 2001-02 New York Mets and 14 more games for the 2002 Colorado Rockies. Corey was drafted in the fourth round of the 1995 draft by the Cincinnati Reds. He is the only player from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania to make it to the Major Leagues. The Reds traded him to the Mets in 1999 and he had a rough big league debut in 2001, giving up three runs on five hits and three walks in 1.2 innings. He did better in his brief time in New York in 2002, posting a 4.50 ERA. At the trading deadline, he was sent to the Rockies, where he gave up 16 runs in 12 innings. He was granted free agency after the season and signed with the Pirates in December of 2002. Corey made 22 appearances in 2003, posting a 5.34 ERA in 30.1 innings. In 2004 he made 31 appearances, pitching a total of 35.1 innings. He had a 4.54 ERA. Corey became a free agent after the season, but returned to the Pirates for 2005. He spent the entire year in Triple-A, pitching 61 times. He spent 2006 at Triple-A for the New York Yankees, then returned to Indianapolis for the Pirates for 2007, which ended up being his last year of pro ball.
Hector Fajardo, pitcher for the 1991 Pirates. He made two late season starts for the 1991 team before he was traded to the Texas Rangers on September 6th as the player to be named later in the Steve Buechele trade, which was made one week earlier. Fajardo pitched parts of four seasons in Texas, making 15 starts and 13 relief appearances, with a majority of his time coming in 1994 before baseball shut down due to the strike. He was traded to the Montreal Expos during the 1995 season, but never appeared with them in the majors. Fajardo compiled a 6.95 ERA in 124.1 innings in the majors. He allowed seven runs over 6.1 innings during his brief time with the Pirates. He was playing in Mexico when the Pirates purchased his contract at 18 years old in early 1989. He rose quickly through the minors, debuting at 20 years old on August 10, 1991. He began the 1991 season at Low-A and played all four full-season levels of the minors that year. After his brief stint in the Expos system in Triple-A in 1995, Fajardo returned to Mexico, where he pitched the final three seasons of his pro career.
Joe Quest, infielder for the 1884 Alleghenys. He played 12 games for the Alleghenys at the end of 1884, batting .209 with three doubles while splitting time between shortstop and second base. Quest played ten years in the majors, split between seven teams. He debuted at 18 years old in 1871, the first year of Major League baseball, playing for the Cleveland Forest Citys of the National Association. After playing three games that season, his next big league appearance was in 1878 for the Indianapolis Blues of the National League. Despite batting .205 that season, Quest led the league in plate appearances. He moved on to the Chicago White Stockings (Cubs) and was there more for his glove at second base (technically his hands, since they didn’t use gloves then). He spent four seasons there and hit .225 in 285 games. He then played for Detroit (NL) in 1883, the St Louis Browns (American Association) in 1883-84 and the Alleghenys. He was signed on September 21st to play shortstop, though he ended up seeing more games at second base. Quest had played in Pittsburgh in 1877 for a minor league team in town called the Allegheny (no S at the end). After leaving Pittsburgh, he played for Detroit again in 1885 and finished his big league time with the Philadelphia Athletics of the American Association in 1886. He played his last pro ball in the minors in 1892. Quest hit just one home run in his career, though it came off of Hall of Famer John Ward.
On this date in 1950, the Pirates picked up Dale Long and George Metkovich in the Rule 5 draft. Long had a good run with the Pirates in the late 50s, but his stint with the 1951 Pirates lasted just ten games before he was put on waivers. He was picked up by the St Louis Browns and returned to Pittsburgh in December of 1951 when they purchased him back from the Browns. Metkovich was a bit different than Long. He already had six MLB seasons in at that point and was taken off the roster of a Pacific Coast League club. He played three seasons in the outfield for the Pirates, hitting .276 in 271 games.
Long played the next three years in the minors after returning to the Pirates organization. He was back in the majors in 1955 with Pittsburgh and hit .291 with a league leading 13 triples to go along with 16 homers and 79 RBIs. He led the Pirates in RBIs that season and even garnered some MVP attention, finishing 19th in the voting. In 1956. Long set a still standing record by homering in eight straight ballgames from May 19 – May 28. He finished the year with 27 homers and 91 RBIs which earned him the only All-Star appearances of his career. Just seven games into the 1957 season the Pirates traded away the big first baseman to the Chicago Cubs along with Lee Walls for Gene Baker and Dee Fondy.