This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History: February 9th, Eddie Solomon

There have been seven former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date.

Aki Iwamura, second baseman for the 2010 Pirates. He played in his home country of Japan until he was 28 years old, then joined the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on December 15, 2006 after his contract was purchased from the Yakult Swallows. He put up some big numbers in eight full seasons in Japan, including a .300 average with 44 homers and 103 RBIs in 2004, a .319 average with 30 homers in 2005, and a .311 average with 32 homers in 2006. While he never approached those type of numbers in the U.S., he did well in his rookie season with the 2007 Devil Rays. He batted .285 with 38 extra-base hits in 123 games. That was followed in 2008 by a .274 average, 45 extra-base hits, 70 walks and 91 runs scored in 152 games. His 2009 season was sidetracked by a torn ligament in his knee, which occurred during a collision on the field. He batted .290, though he was limited to 69 games. The Pirates acquired him from the Rays in a trade prior to the 2010 season for pitcher Jesse Chavez. Iwamura was a .281 hitter over three seasons in the majors with the Rays, posting a .747 OPS, but he was done as a productive player by the time he joined Pittsburgh. With the Pirates, he hit .182 in 54 games, then was sent to Triple-A Indianapolis after his final game on June 15th, where he batted .264 in 50 games. He was released by the Pirates on September 10th after clearing waivers (they used his roster spot for September call-ups), and finished the season with the Oakland A’s, who signed him three days later. Iwamura hit .129 in ten games in Oakland, then got released the day after the season ended. In 2011, he returned to Japan for his final four seasons of pro ball, playing two years with Rakuten before returning to his original Yakult team. In his big league career, he hit .267 with 16 homers in 405 games. In 13 seasons in Japan, he was a .287 hitter with 200 homers, collecting more than half of those home runs (106) during the big three-year stretch in 2004-06.

Eddie Solomon, pitcher for the Pirates from 1980-82. He began his MLB career in 1973, and played for four teams prior to coming to the Pirates in a March 1980 trade for minor league pitcher Greg Fields. Solomon was originally signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers as a non-drafted free agent at 18 years old in 1969. By age 19, he put up a 2.37 ERA in 156 innings for Daytona Beach of the Florida State League. Moving up to Double-A in 1971, he had a 3.02 ERA in 182 innings. Solomon struggled between Double-A and Triple-A in 1972, then had a 4.25 ERA in 187 innings for Albuquerque of the Pacific Coast League in 1973, which earned him a September call-up to the majors. He would get brief trials with the Dodgers during the 1973-74 seasons, but it amounted to just eight appearances and 12.1 innings. He was back in Triple-A in 1975 when the Dodgers traded him in May to the Chicago Cubs. Solomon didn’t get much of a chance with his new team either, pitching six games and 6.2 innings in 1975, before getting traded to the St Louis Cardinals in late July. The Cardinals didn’t bring him to the majors until 1976, but he finally got his first legit shot at the majors. In 26 games (two starts), he had a 4.86 ERA in 37 innings. That was the extent of his stay in St Louis. He was traded for a third time in three years, this time heading to the Atlanta Braves in May of 1977. He saw regular work for the Braves, getting a starting role in 1977, a swing role in 1978 (eight starts and 29 relief outings), following by a return to the rotation full-time in 1979. He went 7-14, 4.21 in 186 innings over 30 starts during his final year in Atlanta.

Prior to the trade to the Pirates, Solomon had an 18-27, 4.27 career record in 126 games pitched, 56 as a starter. For the Pirates in 1980, he was used in both the relief role and as a starter for a stretch, going 7-3 2.69 in 100.1 innings. He had a similar role the next year with similar results, posting a record of 8-6, 3.12 in 127 innings. He was actually getting much more work in 1981, but the mid-season strike shaved 50 games off of the schedule. In 1982, he began the year in the starting rotation and struggled, posting a 6.90 ERA in ten starts before the Pirates traded him to the Chicago White Sox for infielder Jim Morrison. The White Sox released him in July after just six relief appearances. He pitched briefly in the minors in 1983 with the New York Yankees, while also spending some time playing in Mexico, before retiring as a player at 32 years old. Solomon went 36-42, 4.00 in 718 innings over 95 starts and 96 relief appearances in ten seasons at the big league level. With the Pirates, he had a 3.58 ERA in 274 innings. Sadly, he passed away at age 34 due to injuries he suffered in a car accident.

Jim Campanis, catcher for the 1973 Pirates. He was signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers as an amateur free agent out of high school in 1962 and worked his way up through their system, making his Major League debut in late 1966. He didn’t get off to a great start, hitting .234 with a .609 OPS in 102 games in 1962, playing in the Florida State League, which was a Class D level of play that year (equal to short-season ball now). He quickly got on track to the majors though, batting .302 with nine homers in 89 games at Low-A ball in 1963. He hit .301 with 16 homers at the same level in 1964, then got a promotion to Double-A. Campanis spent the 1965 season in Double-A, then moved up to Triple-A in 1966, playing in the Pacific Coast League. His performance earned him a late season trial with the Dodgers, though that amounted to one at-bat in one game. He was with the Dodgers for the entire season in 1967, batting .161 in 41 games. He made just nine starts all year and six of those games came in September. He was back in the Pacific Coast League in 1968, returning to the Dodgers in mid-September for four games. Campanis played parts of three seasons with Los Angeles, but hit just .149 in 46 total games. On December 15, 1968, the Dodgers sent him to the Kansas City Royals, where he was the backup catcher for two seasons. His batting average was even lower there, hitting .146 in 61 total games. He spent about half of each season in the minors while with the Royals. The Pirates acquired him in a December 2, 1970 trade that involved six players, including Bob Johnson and Jackie Hernandez coming to Pittsburgh, with Freddie Patek among the players headed to the Royals. Campanis spent all of the 1971-72 seasons in the minors, most of that time in Double-A, finally earning a call-up with the Pirates in 1973 after hitting .304 with 18 homers at Triple-A Charleston. In six late-season pinch-hit at-bats, he went 1-for-6 with a single. That would be his last time in the majors. He spent the 1974 season at Triple-A for the Pirates before retiring as a player. He started 42 games total over five seasons in the majors. He hit .147 with four homers and nine RBIs in 113 big league games. He is the son of Al Campanis, who played for the 1943 Dodgers. His son Jim Campanis Jr was a minor league catcher for six seasons.

Roy Mahaffey, pitcher for the 1926-27 Pirates. He began his minor league career in 1925, and by the end of next year he impressed the Pirates enough to give him his first taste of the big leagues as a reliever late in the 1926 season. He didn’t even start off well either, posting a 5.78 ERA in 123 innings as a 21-year-old playing for Columbia of the South Atlantic League. During the 1926 season, he didn’t do any better for the same team, going 10-21, 5.83 in 241 innings. The Pirates purchased three players from Columbia on August 6, 1926, Mahaffey, catcher Thomas Farr and a young outfielder named Lloyd Waner. All three were scheduled to join the Pirates at the end of the minor league season according to the initial reports, but the Pirates requested Mahaffey join them on August 23rd to be used in a relief role. On his way to meet the team, he was robbed of $70 during the train ride into Pittsburgh. In four games with the Pirates that season, he pitched 4.2 innings, allowing four runs (all unearned). In 1927 they let him start the third game of the season. While he picked up the win, he allowed five runs and seven walks in 6.1 innings and did not make another start. Mahaffey pitched just once more for the Pirates, two weeks after his start and allowed three runs in three innings of mop-up work. He was back in the minors on May 20th, sent to New Haven of the Eastern League on an optional agreement that allowed the Pirates to call him up with 24 hours notice. He went to Spring Training with the 1928 Pirates, but on April 7th, he was released outright to Columbia, officially ending his time with the Pirates. He next appeared in the majors with the Philadelphia Athletics to start the 1930 season, splitting his time between starting and relief. He had a 5.01 ERA in 152.2 innings, though 1930 was a huge year for offense all around baseball, so that ERA isn’t that bad. Mahaffey went on to pitch seven more seasons in the majors, compiling a 67-49, 5.01 record. He had a 15-4 record in 1931, despite a 4.21 ERA, as offense was still fairly high in the league for that season. He won 13 games each of the next two seasons, but his ERA rose each year from 1932-34 as offense around baseball settled down. Despite the downward trend, he managed to have a solid 1935 season, going 8-4, 3.90 in 136 innings. Mahaffey finished his big league career with a rough season for the 1936 St Louis Browns, posting an 8.10 ERA in 60 innings. He played baseball in the Textile Leagues for five seasons after his minor league career ended in 1936.

Wally Hood, outfielder for the 1920 Pirates. He started his pro career in the Northwestern League, playing for Vancouver in 1916 at age 21, where he hit .216 in 52 games. He was actually a pitcher during his first year and it didn’t go so well with a huge walk rate, so the following season he transformed more into an outfielder role, occasionally taking the mound. After two seasons for Vancouver, he missed the 1918 season while serving in the military during WWI. He returned in 1919, playing in Vancouver again, though in a different league. He also spent part of the season playing for Moose Jaw of the Western Canadian League. Hood played in the minors in Canada until he made the Brooklyn Robins roster to start the 1920 season. After seven games in which he hit .143, he joined the Pirates in late May and was used twice as a pinch-hitter. He made an out in his first plate appearance, but walked, stole a base and scored a run in his second. The Pirates picked him up on waivers on May 27th and then he returned to Brooklyn via waivers on June 9th. The Pirates had Carson Bigbee returning from a dislocated shoulder and they no longer needed Hood as the backup outfielder. Hood was sent to the minors for the rest of the season without getting into a game during his second stint in Brooklyn. He spent the 1920-21 winter playing on a three-month baseball tour that went to Japan, China and Hawaii. He rejoined Brooklyn in 1921 and was a seldom used bench player, mostly pinch-hitting. He made seven starts all season, none after June 3rd. He was then used as a pinch-runner twice during the first few weeks of the 1922 season. He scored runs during both of those games, which ended up being his last games in the majors. He was soon sent out to Seattle of the Pacific Coast League, where he played out the 1922 season. He remained in the PCL in 1923, moving to Los Angeles, where he played for the next six season. Hood played minor league ball until 1930, moving around a lot over his final two seasons. He had a .309 average in 1,593 games over his 13 minor league seasons, which included seven seasons hitting over .300, and one season just under (.298 in 1927). His son Wally Hood Jr pitched for the 1949 Yankees

Hi Ladd, outfielder for the 1898 Pirates. Ladd played one game for the Pirates, coming in to pinch-hit on July 12, 1898 during a 4-1 loss to Brooklyn. Six days later he played his second (and last) Major League game, this time as a member of the Boston Beaneaters. He collected a single in four trips to the plate and scored a run. That second game with Boston was played at home against the visiting Pirates, with Vic Willis on the mound in his rookie season. The Hall of Fame pitcher ended up with the Pirates in 1906 and put together four straight 20+ win seasons. The Pirates actually released Ladd that same day that he played for Boston. It was said that the Beaneaters were giving him a trial. A story that appeared in the July 29, 1898 Brooklyn Times Union said that Ladd was offered a spot with Boston after his one game, but they told him that they couldn’t pay him. He apparently received nothing for his only game with the team, not even the usual expenses that teams paid players back then, for travel/room/food. He ended up returning to his home after the game. It all worked out well for Ladd, who signed with Scranton of the Atlantic League a few months later for the 1899 season, in which he was paid “a good salary and a neat sum in advance”.

Ladd debuted in the majors at 28 years old, playing his seventh season of pro ball. He spent the 1893-98 seasons playing for the Fall River Indians of the New England League. The Fall River team went under in early July and on July 8th it was announced that he would be joining the Pirates three days later, meeting the team in New York. The Pirates also picked up his teammate Jack Cronin, who made four starts that season in Pittsburgh. Considering the fact he played just two Major League games, it may be hard to believe that he had a long productive minor league career. He played 20 seasons in the minors, and although his stats are incomplete, the 17 seasons that are available show that he had a .324 average in 1,747 games. Ladd apparently liked staying in the same place, back when players would often jump to new minor league teams yearly. Not only did he spend six seasons with Fall River early in his career, he spent the 1902-11 seasons with Bridgeport of the Connecticut State League. He retired as a player after hitting 292 in 120 games at 41 years old. His real first name was Arthur, but he was called Hiram, or Hi, during his time in Fall River and the nickname stuck.

Sumner Bowman, pitcher for the 1890 Alleghenys. He went to the University of Pennsylvania and was the first player from that school to play for the Alleghenys. He made his Major League debut on June 11, 1890 for the Philadelphia Phillies, allowing seven runs over eight innings in a game that Philadelphia won 8-7, though he received no decision. Five days later he was signed by scout James Randall, who briefly had the job of trying to acquire talent in the Philadelphia area for the Alleghenys, which often didn’t work out well. The Alleghenys used Bowman for the first time a week later, as the team’s record stood at 12-35 at that point. It would get much worse the rest of the way. Bowman made seven starts and two relief appearances for Pittsburgh, making his last start exactly a month after his first one with the team. He was 2-5, 6.62 in 70.2 innings during that time, allowing 100 hits and 50 walks. Bowman won his debut thanks to support from the bats, collecting a 12-8 victory. The next day he was forced into center field for seven innings after one of Randall’s signings failed miserably and needed to be replaced. Bowman lost 6-0 to Hall of Famer John Clarkson in his second start on June 26th. Six days later, Bowman picked up his second win against Hall of Fame Amos Rusie in a 16-2 rout, which included two hits from Bowman. His control faltered in his next two starts, leading to 17 walks total and two losses to Brooklyn on back-to-back days in different cities, back when trains got teams from place to place.

Bowman was released on July 16th while the team was in Philadelphia, four days after giving up 18 runs to the New York Giants. Despite being released, the teams back then held player’s rights for ten days unless they were released unconditionally. As it turned out, Bowman pitched one more game for the team on July 23rd when they were back in Philadelphia and he lost 17-6, which officially ended his time with the club. He finished the season with the Harrisburg Ponies of the Atlantic Association. He played one more season in the majors, making eight starts for the Philadelphia Athletics of the American Association in 1891. The American Association was no longer a Major League after that season, severely cutting into the amount of big league jobs available. Bowman remained with the Philadelphia Athletics though, following the team to the Eastern League for 1892. He made five starts that season, which appears to be the end of his pro baseball career, though he is known to have pitched for various teams into the 1900 season, with most of his time spent practicing law. On August 17, 1900, the Pittsburgh Press noted that Bowman came in to pitch in relief and on his first pitch, his “arm snapped in two places”, which ended his baseball career. The Press called him the greatest pitcher ever at the University of Penn, a lefty who possessed great speed on his fastball.

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