This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History: January 6th, Seven Former Players Born on This Date

Seven former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date, starting with the most recent one first.

Jimmy Barthmaier, pitcher for the 2008 Pirates. He was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 13th round out of high at 19 years old in June of 2003 and signed exactly a month later. He pitched for them in the minors until the Pirates selected him off waivers in November of 2007. At the time, he went 2-9, 6.20 in 90 innings at Double-A during the 2007 regular season, then followed it up with a poor showing in the Arizona Fall League. In fact, the Pirates picked him up just as the AFL season was ending. He began the 2008 season in Double-A Altoona before getting promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis after his start on May 25th. After five starts for Indianapolis, the Pirates called him up for his big league debut, which was a spot start on June 27, 2008. He gave up seven runs over 2.1 innings to the Tampa Bay Rays. Barthmaier returned to the minors, making 11 more starts for Indianapolis before he was recalled by the Pirates in mid-September for two more starts. He went 0-2, 10.45 in 10.1 innings over his three starts for the Pirates. In 2009 for Indianapolis, Barthmaier pitched to just two batters in his only start before he left the game. He missed the rest of the season due to Tommy John surgery. He returned in early 2010, pitching seven games in the minors before being released by the Pirates. Barthmaier signed with the Washington Nationals shortly after being released in mid-June and he remained in their system through the end of the 2012 season, though he never advanced above Double-A. That ended up being his final season in pro ball.

Brian Bass, pitcher for the 2010 Pirates. He was a sixth round draft pick out of high school by the Kansas City Royals in 2000. Bass pitched for them in the minors until the end of the 2006 season when he was granted minor league free agency. He made it to Triple-A for the first time during his final season with Kansas City and struggled in seven starts, posting a 7.59 ERA in 32 innings. Bass signed with the Minnesota Twins in 2007 and spent the entire season in Triple-A, then went on to play winter ball in Venezuela, where he made nine starts. He finally made it to the majors on Opening Day in 2008. He made 44 relief appearances for the Twins that year before they shipped him to the Baltimore Orioles in September. The Orioles put him into the starting rotation and he had a 4.71 ERA in 21 innings. In 49 games total during his rookie season he posted a 4.84 ERA in 89.1 innings. Bass put up similar numbers out of the Baltimore bullpen in 2009, posting a 4.90 ERA in 86.1 innings over 48 appearances. He was released on December 12, 2009 and the Pirates signed him as a free agent one month later. He began 2010 in Triple-A before being called up three weeks into the season. He made three appearances for the Pirates and gave up multiple runs in each game. He went back to Triple-A, where he stayed until the end of the minor league season. Bass joined the Pirates in September and made just one appearance before being designated for assignment on September 13th. In his four appearances with the Pirates, he posted a 12.27 ERA over 7.1 innings. The Pirates released Bass back into the free agent waters after the season, where he was caught by the Philadelphia Phillies. He spent the entire 2011 season in Triple-A. He was signed by the Houston Astros in May of 2012 and spent part of the year in Triple-A, after beginning the season playing in Korea. Bass signed with the Phillies as a free agent after the 2012 season, but he ended up playing independent ball in 2013, which was the final year of his career.

Doe Boyland, first baseman for the 1978-79 and 1981 Pirates. Boyland was a second round draft pick of the Pirates in 1976 out of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.He’s just one of eight players from that school to make it to the majors. He hit .269 in 71 games with Salem of the Carolina League in 1976, then moved up to Double-A the following season, where he hit .330 with 11 homers and 30 stolen bases. Boyland followed that up with a .291 average in Triple-A in 1978, which earned him a big league call-up in September for six games. He missed most of the 1979 season due to injury, playing just 30 games at Triple-A and four September games for the Pirates. He hit well in Triple-A each of the next two seasons, earning 11 more games with the Pirates in 1981 before being traded away in December 1981 to the San Francisco Giants for pitcher Tom Griffin. Doe (first name was Dorian) played just one more season in the minors before retiring. He played 21 games for the Pirates altogether, all off the bench, hitting .105 (2-for-19). Along with a few other September call-ups, he received a $250 cash bonus from the Pirates out of the team’s World Series pool. The regulars on the team were voted shares that amounted to just over $28,000 each. During the final game of the 1978 season, Willie Stargell batted lead-off in the bottom of the first inning and collected a single. He left the game for a pinch-runner, with Boyland taking his place on the bases and then in the field at first base. It was the only time that Boyland played in the field in the majors. He handled all eight chances over his eight innings of work. In the fifth inning, he hit an RBI single, which ended up being the only RBI during his big league time. Boyland had nearly 100 days of service time in the majors, all accrued as a September recall.

Lee Walls, outfielder for the 1952, 1956-57 Pirates. He was signed as an amateur free agent in 1951 at 18 years old and hit .342 with 16 triples and 14 homers that year in the minors while playing for Modesto of the California League. Walls made the Opening Day roster in 1952, but after a month of being used strictly as a pinch-hitter, he was sent to the minors to play for Waco of the Big State League. After batting .308 with ten homers in 80 games, he returned in August to finish his rookie season in Pittsburgh with a .188 average in 32 games and 80 at-bats. Walls then spent three seasons with Hollywood of the Pacific Coast League, showing slight improvements each year. In 1955, he hit .283 with 24 homers and 99 RBIs in 160 games. Walls returned to the Pirates in 1956 and in his first full season in the majors, he hit .274 with 11 homers and 11 triples, while playing a career high 143 games. Just eight games into the 1957 season, Walls was traded with Dale Long to the Chicago Cubs for Dee Fondy and Gene Baker. Walls would go on to have a career year in 1958, hitting .304 with 24 homers and his only All-Star appearance. He would never approach those lofty numbers over six more seasons in the majors and he moved around a few times before finishing his playing career in the Japanese League in 1965. Walls was traded to the Cincinnati Reds after the 1959 season, then the Reds dealt him to the Philadelphia Phillies during the middle of the 1960 season. The Phillies lost him in the 1961 expansion draft on October 10, 1961, but before he could play a game in New York, he was dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers. In ten big league seasons, he was a .262 hitter in 902 games, with 66 homers and 284 RBIs. He batted .259 in 183 games with the Pirates.

Phil Masi, catcher for the 1949 Pirates. Masi spent 11 seasons in the majors as a catcher for the Boston Braves before he was acquired by the Pirates in June of 1949. He was a four-time All-Star (1945-48), who started the 1949 season slowly for the Braves, hitting just .210 with six RBIs in 37 games. The Pirates acquired the 33-year-old veteran backstop in exchange for minor league outfielder Ed Sauer. With the Pirates. Masi split the catching duties with veteran Clyde McCullough over the remainder of the 1949 season. Masi hit .274 in 48 games, and ended up leading National League catchers in fielding % with a .994 mark. He had previously led the league in fielding once before, putting up a .989 mark in 1947. After the season, the Pirates sold him to the Chicago White Sox, where he finished his career three seasons later. Masi had a strong 1950 season, putting up a .756 OPS in 122 games, while posting an 0.6 dWAR. He led the AL with a .996 fielding percentage. The Pirates didn’t suffer with his loss though, as the catching combo of McCullough and Ray Mueller each put up 0.9 WAR. In 1,229 Major League games, Masi hit .264 with 417 RBIs. He played in three All-Star games after first being selected to the 1945 game, which was canceled due to wartime travel restrictions. The next year he led NL catchers in games and putouts, while batting .267 in 133 games, with 55 walks and 62 RBIs. While many veteran players saw a drop in their production in 1947 when the league was back to full strength, Masi ended up having the best year of his career, batting .304 with a career best .820 OPS. The Pirates were likely eager to acquire him, as he batted .293 in 132 games against them while he was in Boston, well above his .262 average with the Braves. Masi also hit better at Forbes Field (.756 OPS) than he did at Braves Field (.719 OPS).

Chuck Workman, outfielder for the 1946 Pirates. Workman began his pro career in the minors in 1937 at 22 years old and saw very limited big league action in his first six years, despite hitting over .300 four times in the minors. He played two games for the 1938 Cleveland Indians, then got in nine more games for the tribe off of the bench in 1941. When the war opened up Major League spots for career minor leaguers, Workman took advantage of his chance, playing 432 games for the 1943-45 Boston Braves. He had a big season in 1945, hitting .274 with 25 homers and 87 RBIs. He ranked second in the National League in homers that year, finishing three behind his teammate Tommy Holmes. Workman had the better home run rate though, leading the league with one homers every 20.6 at-bats. In 1946 he struggled to open up the season, hitting .167 through 25 games. The Braves then traded him to the Pirates in early June for Johnny Barrett, an outfielder with a very similar story to Workman. For the Pirates, Workman hit .221 with 16 RBIs in 58 games to finish off the 1946 season. He was sold outright to Indianapolis of the American Association on December 5, 1946. Workman returned to the minors in 1947, where he finished out his playing career in 1951. During the 1948 season, he hit .353 with 52 homers for Nashville of the Southern Association. The following year he hit 41 homers and drove in 122 runs for Minneapolis of the American Association. He hit a total of 230 homers over 11 minor league seasons. He was a career .242 hitter in 526 big league games, with half of his 50 career homers coming during the 1945 season.

George Grant, pitcher for the 1931 Pirates. He made his big league debut at age 20 in 1923, pitching parts of three season for the St Louis Browns, where he posted a 1-4, 6.13 record in 38 games. During an era when full-time relievers weren’t common, he made just two starts during those three seasons. After spending the entire 1926 season in the minors he returned to the majors for three seasons with the Cleveland Indians, where he posted a 14-16, 5.39 record. Despite a 5.04 ERA in 155.1 innings during the 1928 season, Grant posted a 10-8 record. He saw a huge drop in his production in 1929, as offense started to take off in the majors. He went 0-2, 10.50 in 24 innings over 12 relief outings. He went 11-14, 4.58 in 39 starts split between International League teams  in Rochester and Jersey City in 1930.  The Pirates acquired him via the minor league draft (old Rule 5 draft rules) on October 14, 1930. He came highly recommended by a Pirates scout who saw him pitch well in the minor league postseason. Grant was used mostly in the mop-up role with the Pirates, making 11 relief appearances over a three month span before the Pirates sent him to the minors on July 18th. He was sent to Buffalo of the International League, with the Pirates still holding an option on his contract. He returned to the Pirates on September 12th, but didn’t appear in any of the final 15 games of the 1931 season. On February 2, 1932 Pirates sold him outright to Fort Worth of the Texas League, which would be his last team in the pros. He retired after the year ended to take up umpiring in the minors. He had an 0-0, 7.41 record in 11 games and 17 innings with the Pirates. His big league record stood at 15-20, 5.65 in 347.1 innings over 114 appearances, 23 as a starter.