This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History: March 7th, Four Players and a Minor Transaction

Four Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date, plus one transaction to mention.

The Transaction

The only transaction of note on this date for the Pirates is a minor one. On this date in 1990, the Pirates signed pitcher Mark Huismann as a free agent. He was 31 years old at the time, with parts of eight seasons in the majors, though his only full season happened four years earlier. He spent the 1989 season playing for the Baltimore Orioles, where he made eight appearances and allowed eight runs in 11.1 innings. Huismann would re-sign with the team for the 1991 season, but his contribution to the 1990-91 playoff teams was minimal, and it ended up being his final big league experience. He pitched three innings over two games in 1990, then five innings over five games in 1991. In those eight innings, Huismann allowed a total of 11 runs, seven of them being earned. He was released in June of 1991 and finished the season in the minors with the Kansas City Royals.

The Players

Albert Hall, outfielder for the 1989 Pirates. He played parts of eight seasons in the majors prior to joining the Pirates, all of those years with the Atlanta Braves. He was drafted in the sixth round of the amateur draft by the Atlanta Braves in 1977 out of Jones Valley HS in Birmingham, Alabama. Hall had a rough debut in pro ball, batting .162 over 35 games in the Appalachian League. He actually moved down during his second season, playing in the Gulf Coast League in 1978, where he hit .293 with a .771 OPS. Moving up to Low-A in 1979, Hall batted .288 with 60 walks and 66 stolen bases in 76 attempts. Playing for Durham of the Carolina League in 1980, he batted .283 and stole 100 bases, while also topping his previous totals in doubles, triples and homers. The next three seasons he stole a combined 168 bases in the minors and made brief appearances in the majors each year without collecting a single base hit in any year. His .308 average and 60 steals led to him going right from Double-A to the majors in September of 1981. He was basically used as a pinch-runner during his first cup of coffee, getting just two at-bats. In Triple-A in 1982, Hall put up a .729 OPS and he stole 62 bases in 73 attempts. He batted just .263, but he drew 74 walks and managed to collect 15 triples. His second big league September consisted only of five pinch-running appearances. After batting .294 with 120 runs scored, 46 steals, 28 doubles, 11 triples and 66 walks in Triple-A in 1983, Hall was a September recall for a third time. On September 4, 1983, he made his first big league start, going 0-for-4 in a 6-5 win over the Pirates.

Hall spent all of 1984 in the majors, then split the next two years between Triple-A/Braves. For the 1984 Braves, he played 87 games and made 26 starts. Hall hit .261 with six steals and a .647 OPS. He collected his first big league hit in the fifth game of his fourth stint in the majors. He played 54 games in the majors in 1985, with just one start all season. Hall batted .149 and stole just one base. He stole 72 bases in 125 games at Triple-A in 1986, then came up to the majors in mid-September and saw his first string of consistent starts, batting .240 with eight steals over the final 16 games of the season. He had his best MLB season in 1987, hitting .284 with 33 stolen bases and 54 runs scored in 92 games, but his stats and playing time dropped the next year. For Atlanta in 1988, he hit .247, with a .612 OPS and a rough success rate in steals, going 15-for-25 in his base running endeavors. He was released by the Braves late in spring 1989 and signed with the Pirates near the end of May. He played 90 games in Triple-A and got into 20 games with the Pirates as a September call-up. He started six games and he hit .182 in 33 at-bats, with a .553 OPS. That would be his last season in baseball. The Houston Astros selected him in the Rule 5 draft after the season, but he did not play in 1990. He played 375 Major League games and hit .251 with 67 stolen bases, five homers, 53 RBIs and 125 runs scored.

Dick Rand, catcher for the 1957 Pirates. He signed with the St Louis Cardinals as an amateur free agent at 18 years old in 1949 and played over 100 games for eight straight seasons in the minors before joining the Pirates. He debuted at Class-C, where he hit .236 in 118 games, though he walked 71 times, which led to a .353 OBP. The next year he was at the same level and he hit .321 in 120 games, with 47 extra-base hits. Rand moved up a level in 1951, hitting .280 with 35 extra-base hits in 103 games for Winston-Salem of the Carolina League. He moved up to Columbus of the American Association in 1952 and did well with the big jump in competition. He put up a .712 OPS in 109 games. The next two seasons were spent with Houston of the Texas League, where he had very similar seasons, putting up a .757 OPS in 1953 and a .744 OPS in 1954. The Cardinals gave him brief September trials in 1953 and 1955 (12 games total), but he didn’t see big league time during the 1954 season. He earned that 1955 big league stint by putting up an .805 OPS in 115 games for Omaha of the American Association. Pittsburgh traded catcher Toby Atwell to the Cardinals early in the 1956 season. After the season ended, they received Rand as a player to be named later in the deal. In 1956, he played for Rochester of the International League, where he batted .278 with 30 doubles, 12 homers and 44 RBIs in 115 games. The 1957 season with the Pirates was his only full year in the majors. Rand played 60 total games, 57 behind the plate and 34 of those games as a starter. He hit .219 with nine RBIs in 122 plate appearances. He was a late cut during Spring Training of 1958, getting sold outright to Columbus of the International League on April 5th. He played all of 1958 in the minors for Columbus, then prior to the 1959 season the Pirates/Columbus traded him back to the Cardinals for minor league 1B/OF Tom Burgess. It was actually a different Burgess that led to this trade of minor league players. When the Pirates acquired Smoky Burgess on January 30, 1959, that gave them an extra catcher, which they agreed to send to Columbus at a later date. That made Rand available to trade for a replacement outfielder to cover for the players they sent to the Cincinnati Reds in the Burgess deal. Rand played two more seasons in the minors after the trade before retiring. He was a .272 hitter, with 64 homers in 1,133 minor league games.

Junior Walsh, pitched for the 1946 and 1948-51 Pirates. He played two years of semi-pro ball before signing with an affiliate of the Pirates in 1941 at 22 years old, then spent his entire five-year big league career in Pittsburgh. Walsh debuted for Oil City of the Pennsylvania State Association, a Class-D level team. He went 16-10, 3.83 in 207 innings. In 1942, he moved up a level to Hutchinson of the Western Association, where he went 11-13 and he threw 196 innings. He allowed an average of 6.02 runs per nine innings (the ERA is unavailable for the league). He had 178 strikeouts, while also setting a league record with 16 strikeouts in one game. He moved up one more level in 1943 to pitch for York of the Interstate League, where he went 7-4, 4.19 in 73 innings. He also pitched for Albany of the Eastern League at the beginning of the year, though stats are unavailable. However, the papers noted that he was getting attention from scouts and there was a strong belief that he would end up pitching in the majors. Walsh signed with the Pirates in January of 1944, but the military came calling and he reported for active duty on February 26th. He missed the entire 1944-45 seasons, before rejoining the Pirates in 1946. He signed his contract for that season in mid-February, shortly after being discharged. He spent the season in the minors, putting up a 7-12, 4.33 record in 133 innings spread out over two teams. Walsh rejoined the Pirates in September for two starts and two relief appearances. He allowed six runs and ten walks over 10.1 innings.

Walsh spent the entire 1947 season in the minors, playing for York for the third season, while also spending part of the year with Albany. He did an excellent job despite not getting a big league chance, putting up a 12-6, 2.58 record in 157 innings. In 1948, he pitched twice in relief over the first month of the season, allowing five runs in 4.1 innings. On May 14th, he was released outright to Indianapolis of the American Association. Walsh remained in Indianapolis until the Pirates purchased him back on August 5, 1949. He started five days later and had a nice outing against the Chicago Cubs, allowing two runs over six innings in a loss. Eight days after that, Walsh threw a complete game shutout against the Cubs. Things went rough after that game, with a 7.16 ERA in his final 27.2 innings. He remained with the team for all of the 1950-51 seasons, as the club put up back-to-back 90+ loss seasons. Pitching almost strictly in relief, Walsh had a 5.05 ERA in 62.1 innings over 38 appearances in 1950, followed by a 6.87 ERA in 73.1 innings over 36 games in 1951. Despite those poor stats, Walsh was a holdout in 1952 and didn’t sign with the Pirates until mid-March. On March 29th, he was sold outright to Hollywood of the Pacific Coast League, ending his time with the Pirates. Walsh average 173 innings pitched over the next four seasons in the PCL, playing three years for Hollywood and the final year for San Francisco. He finished his pro career with Buffalo of the International League at 37 years old in 1956. His first name was James, but he was occasionally referred to as Junior, and more often or not he was Jim in the papers.

Doc Scanlan, pitcher for the 1903-04 Pirates. He played three years of minor league ball before joining the Pirates at the end of the 1903 season. None of his full minor league stats are available due to the low level of player. He was with Ogdenburg of the Northern New York League in 1901, and then Ilion of the New York State League in 1902-03. Pittsburgh had already clinched their third straight NL pennant, so with two games left in the season, they let Scanlan start against the second place New York Giants. His mound opponent was Red Ames, who was his teammate with Ilion during the 1903 season. Ames debuted in the majors just ten days earlier. Scanlan (was referred to as Scanlon that day) threw a complete game, losing 7-2, while walking eight batters, but he must have impressed the Pirates enough to bring him back next season, despite a broken deal with Ilion. Barney Dreyfuss worked out a deal to purchase Scanlan, but Ilion’s owner backed out of the deal because it was done by the team’s manager (soon to be ex-manager), who supposedly couldn’t negotiate the sale. Since no money changed hands, Scanlan was sent back to his old team during the off-season. On February 11, 1904, the two sides agreed on a sale price and Scanlan was back with the Pirates.  He made two early season starts in 1904, winning his first game, then losing 15-3 in his second outing. He didn’t make his third start until two months later and it would be his last one for Pittsburgh. He was sold to the Brooklyn Superbas on August 1, 1904 after making just four appearances all season (he lost his only relief appearance). He ended up winning 64 games over seven seasons with Brooklyn, including a high of 18 victories in 1906, before he retired from baseball to take up a medical practice. Helped by pitching in the deadball era, Scanlan had a career 3.00 ERA in 1,252 innings, though that came with a 65-71 record due to playing for some poor teams in Brooklyn. His 18-13 record in 1906 happened despite the fact that Brooklyn finished 66-86 and he led the league with 127 walks, though he did pitch 288 innings that year. His first name was William. He had a brother named Frank, who pitched in the majors with the 1909 Philadelphia Phillies.