Eight former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date, plus one transaction of note.
On this date in 1992, the Pittsburgh Pirates traded pitcher Neal Heaton to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for outfielder Kirk Gibson. Heaton was 32 years old at the time. He had played three years in Pittsburgh, two as a starting pitcher, before spending the 1991 season in the bullpen. He had a 4.33 ERA in 42 appearances and 68.2 innings that year. Gibson was just shy of his 35th birthday and he hit .236 with 16 homers in 132 games for the Royals in 1991. Gibson had asked for a trade once the Royals told him he would serve in a backup role for 1992. Just 16 games into the season with the Pirates, Gibson was placed on waivers and said he would likely retire. He hit .196 with two homers and five RBIs with the Pirates. He didn’t play again in 1992, but returned for three more seasons with the Tigers from 1993-95. Heaton was released in late July by the Royals after 31 relief appearances. He pitched one game for the Milwaukee Brewers later that year, then 18 games for the New York Yankees in 1993, before retiring.
Tike Redman, outfielder for the Pirates from 2000-01 and 2003-05. He was a fifth round draft pick of the Pirates in the 1996 amateur draft, selected at 19 years old out of Tuscaloosa Academy HS in Alabama. Redman batted .296 with 18 extra-base hits and 22 steals in 69 games after signing. He skipped from short-season ball up to High-A in 1997 and hit .251 with 21 stolen bases in 125 games for Lynchburg. He repeated High-A in 1998, hitting .257 with 42 extra-base hits and 36 stolen bases in 131 games. Redman moved up to Double-A in 1999, where he batted .269 with 35 extra-base hits and 29 steals in 136 games. He debuted in the majors in 2000 and hit .333 during a mid-season nine-game stint, yet it took him until the next May to make it back from Triple-A, where he hit .261 in 121 games. He stole 24 bases, but he was caught 18 times. Redman hit .304 with 21 steals in 94 games for Triple-A Nashville, and .224 with a .542 OPS in 37 games for the Pirates in 2001, then spent all of 2002 at Triple-A. With Nashville for a fourth season in 2003, Redman hit .294 with 42 steals (in 51 attempts) in 100 games. He was finally recalled by the Pirates on August 1, 2003 and he would hit .330 over the last 56 games of that season, which helped earn him a full-time job for 2004. In his best year in the majors, Redman hit .280 with 65 runs scored and 18 stolen bases in 155 games. He was unable to repeat the performance in 2005, with his average dropping to .251, while drawing just 19 walks in 135 games. He also stole just four bases all year. Following the season, the Pirates sold him to the New York Mets, who released him at the end of Spring Training in 2006. Redman spent the first half of the 2006 season in the minors for the Detroit Tigers, then ended the year on the farm for the Houston Astros. His last big league experience was 40 games with the 2007 Baltimore Orioles, where he signed after being released by the Boston Red Sox at the end of Spring Training. He played pro ball until 2011, last seeing time in the Mexican League. He also played independent ball and spent a brief time in 2009 with the Milwaukee Brewers in Triple-A. Redman played 1,953 games as a pro, 432 in the majors. In his five seasons with Pittsburgh, he hit .277 in 392 games, with 15 homers, 101 RBIs and 33 stolen bases. He batted .318 during his stint with the Orioles. His brother Prentice played in the majors with the 2003 Mets. Tike’s real first name is Julian.
John Cangelosi, outfielder for the Pirates from 1987 until 1990. He was a fourth round draft pick of the Chicago White Sox in 1982 out of Miami-Dade College. Cangelosi put up huge stolen base and walk numbers in the minors to run his way to the White Sox by June of 1985, though his first stint with the team was brief. In his first season of pro ball, he had 45 steals, 56 walks and a .289 average in 76 games, playing in the New York-Penn League. In 1983, he hit .282 with 99 walks and 83 steals in Low-A. Cangelosi jumped to Double-A in 1984 and batted .282 with 65 steals and 101 walks in 138 games. He had trouble with the jump to Triple-A, and his first big league cup of coffee lasted just five games. Cangelosi played his first full season in the majors in 1986. He hit just .235, but he had 71 walks and 50 stolen bases. The Pirates acquired him from the White Sox at the end of Spring Training 1987 in exchange for relief pitcher Jim Winn. He was used mostly as a pinch-hitter during his four seasons in Pittsburgh, playing 349 total games, while getting only 663 plate appearances. He hit .275 his first season, with 21 steals and 46 walks, then watched his average drop each of the next three years, down to .197 in 1990. Cangelosi stole 48 bases in 68 attempts while in Pittsburgh. The Pirates released him following the 1990 season, after he received just 90 plate appearances in 58 games. He also had two short stints in Triple-A during his time in Pittsburgh. He spent 1991 in the minors, splitting the year between the Milwaukee Brewers and the White Sox. In 1992, he signed with the Rangers, who released him after he batted .188 in 73 games. He signed with the Detroit Tigers to finished the season and remained there through the end of 1993, though he spent the entire time in Triple-A. Cangelosi signed with the New York Mets for 1994 and got back to the majors, where he played six straight seasons. He hit .252 in 62 games for the Mets, then signed with the Houston Astros in 1995. He batted .318 with 21 steals in 90 games in 1995, then played 108 games in 1996, hitting .263 with 17 steals and 44 walks. He spent the next two seasons with the Florida Marlins, seeing some starts and regular time off the bench. He played a total of 207 games with Florida, batting .248, while attempting just 11 stolen bases. Cangelosi finished his big league career with seven games for the 1999 Colorado Rockies. He played 1,038 Major League games over 13 seasons, hitting .250 with 154 stolen bases. Despite being used 468 times as a pinch-hitter in the majors, he did not excel at the role. He hit .207 with a .589 OPS and 11 RBIs. Cangelosi pitched three different times in his career, including two innings for the 1988 Pirates, and he allowed just one hit over four shutout innings.
Art Herring, pitcher for the 1947 Pirates. He pitched six seasons in the majors (1929-34) before going to the minors for most of the next ten years. From late June 1934 until August of 1944, he spent a total of just one month in the majors (1939 Chicago White Sox). Once he got back at age 38 in 1944, he managed to get another four seasons of Major League service, including 1947 for the Pirates. Pittsburgh purchased his contract from the Brooklyn Dodgers in October of 1946. Herring made 11 early season appearances out of the bullpen for the Pirates, pitching a total of 10.2 innings, with an 8.44 ERA. He allowed runs in three of his last four outings before being released in late June. He signed with the St Louis Cardinals organization and finished his career in Triple-A later that season. His big league career started with four late season starts for the 1929 Detroit Tigers. He spent most of the 1930 season in the majors, posting a 3-3, 5.33 record in 77.2 innings over six starts and 17 relief appearances. The 1930 season was a huge year for offense in baseball, so his ERA wasn’t as bad as it appeared. Herring was with the Tigers for all of 1931, going 7-13, 4.31 in 165 innings, making 16 starts and 19 relief appearances. He saw limited time during the 1932-33 seasons, throwing a total of 83.1 innings. He was sold to the Brooklyn Dodgers after the 1933 season and he went 2-4, 6.20 in 49.1 innings, before being traded to Sacramento of the Pacific Coast League in December of 1934. His stint with the 1939 White Sox consisted of seven relief outings through the end of May. Before coming back to the majors in 1944, he had a 2.18 ERA in 103 innings for St Paul of the American Association. Herring pitched well with the Dodgers during the 1944-46 seasons, posting ERA’s of 3.42, 3.48 and 3.35 in a total of 265.1 innings. He pitched 69 games during that three-year stretch, appearing 23 times as a starter. The Pirates were getting a good pitcher when they acquired him in 1947, though he was already 41 years old and many players who did well during the war years, struggled when the quality of play improved with the return of many young players who served during the war. Herring won 181 minor league games and had a 34-38, 4.32 record in 199 Major League games, 56 of them as a starter. Herring debuted in pro ball in 1927, playing for Beaumont of the Texas League at 21 years old. He was with Oklahoma City in 1929 before joining the Tigers. He went 19-13 and pitched 262 innings. Those stats are currently listed as “Herring” on Baseball-Reference and a separate minor league player, but I was able to track down his beginnings and added those wins to his total above. Herring pitched nine seasons for St Paul, where he compiled 113 of his minor league victories.
Jack Mercer, pitcher for the Pirates on August 2, 1910. He was just 21 years old at the time of his big league debut, having already played parts of four seasons in the minors, but that one appearance for the Pirates would be the last game of his big league career. He threw one inning, allowing no runs on two walks and one strikeout. He was a project of Pirates manager Fred Clarke, who believed he had a natural ability that could lead to him being a great pitcher if he had the ambition to work on his control. His fastball was said to have great speed and he had an easy delivery, which made it a bit deceptive to hitters. Mercer began his pro career in 1907, appearing briefly for the Springfield Babes of the Central League. He was in the Ohio State League (Class-D) in 1908, where he had a 12-20 record and threw 290 innings, splitting his time between two teams. Before joining the Pirates, he was pitching for Peoria of the Three-I League, where he had a 7-10 record in 123 innings over 20 games (stats aren’t all available for this league that year) in 1909, then went 6-6 in 15 games in 1910. The Pirates signed him on July 15, 1910 under the recommendation of scout Howard Earl, who called him the best pitcher he saw that season, though he also noted that he would still probably need more minor league work. He reported to the Pirates on July 25th and made his debut eight days later. He remained with the Pirates through the middle of September, though he was often left at home when the team went on road trips, which was a cost-saving move for travel expenses. On September 19th, he was released to Jersey City of the Eastern League, ending his time in Pittsburgh.
In March of 1911, Mercer brought up a case against the Pirates, claiming that they owed his $160 to pay him for the final 21 days of the season (players were paid until October 15th that year), after he was already released by the Pirates. The Pirates won the case, though they actually provided proof that they paid him until October 9th, so all they would have owed him had they lost was six days pay. While still technically a member of the Pirates, Mercer was placed on the ineligible list in 1911 because he failed to report. The Pirates received him back from Jersey City 16 days after his case against them was decided. Finally, on December 14, 1911, the Pirates released him to Chattanooga of the Southern Association, and he was removed from the ineligible list on January 7, 1912. The Pirates couldn’t get rid of him though, because he pitched poorly in Chattanooga in the spring of 1912, partially due to an early spring illness, and his rights were returned to the Pirates on April 4th. Chattanooga had a deal with Barney Dreyfuss that they would only pay for Mercer if he earned a spot on their team. He ended up signing with Fort Wayne of the Central League on May 17, 1912 and pitched poorly for them in a few appearances, with the team manager noting that he wasn’t showing him previous pitching ability, but they kept him around hoping for it to return. Mercer was once credited with an appearance for the 1912 St Louis Cardinals as a first baseman, but that has been changed over the years. The 1912 player was a man named John Mercer. This Jack Mercer for the Pirates was actually named Harry Mercer, and Jack was just a nickname. To make things a bit more confusing, during his brief time in Pittsburgh, he was known as John Mercer. His pitching hand is listed as unknown online, but the September 20th Pittsburgh Post lists him as a right-handed pitcher.
Walter “Judge” Nagle, pitcher for the 1911 Pirates. He began his Major League career with the Pirates on April 26, 1911, after spending the first ten seasons of his pro career in the minors. He pitched in relief that first game and picked up the win, then pulled off the same feat the next game. Three innings into his MLB career he had two wins to his credit. A week later he started his first game against the St Louis Cardinals. While he allowed ten hits and the Pirates scored just two runs, he pitched a complete game and gave up just one run, collecting his third career victory. He lost his next start five days later, giving up six earned runs in six innings against the Philadelphia Phillies, but he picked up his fourth and final win with the Pirates on May 15th when he allowed five runs during a three inning relief appearance against the Boston Braves. The Pirates won that game 12-10. After going 4-2, 3.62 in eight games (three starts) for Pittsburgh, he was sold to the Boston Red Sox on June 21st. He pitched five games for Boston before returning to the minors for 2+ seasons, retiring after a sore arm left him unable to pitch. From 1908-1910, pitching for the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League, he won 20+ games each year (69 total). On December 22, 1910, he was traded to the Pirates for a player to be named later, with the understanding that if they were going to send him to the minors, he would return to Los Angeles. His time in Los Angeles started off with an incredible run at 25 years old in 1905. He went 11-0, 1.37 in 13 starts and 118.1 innings. Nagle previously pitched in the lower levels/independent leagues, beginning in 1901 for the Oakland Commuters of the California League. The Pirates were actually his first team outside of California. He also played for San Francisco and Fresno of the California State League, and Stockton of the California League. He has no known records in 1902, but his SABR bio places him with San Francisco for at least part of that season. In 1913, he was back in California, as a player/manager for San Jose of the California League. His nickname came from his father’s profession (he was a judge obviously).
Gene DeMontreville, shortstop for the 1894 Pirates. He debuted in pro ball in 1894, playing for three different teams before the Pirates gave him a two-game trial in August. He was signed by the Pirates on August 19th and joined the club the next day in Baltimore. On August 20th, he played in place of star shortstop Jack Glasscock, who was out of action after splitting a finger on his glove hand. DeMontreville was referred to as both Dumont and Demont in the game recap, which showed the he went 1-for-4 with an error, while handing six chances in the field in a 7-5 win over the Baltimore Orioles. A detailed description of the error noted that he made a nice catch on a low liner to shortstop, but the umpire failed to call in properly and the runner reached first base safely before his throw could arrive. The Baltimore Sun was brutal to him after one game, saying that had slow footwork, his throws were slow and he cannot bat. DeMontreville picked up a hit and a walk in his second game, while handling three plays in the field. One August 23rd, the Pirates released DeMontreville and they used veteran Farmer Weaver at shortstop, Weaver had just two games of experience at shortstop during his first six seasons in the majors, before joining Pittsburgh. DeMontreville finished the season with Buffalo of the Eastern League. He made it back to the majors in 1895 with the Washington Senators and was a star there by 1896, when he batted .343 in a league leading 133 games. He put up a .341 average in 1897, with 92 runs scored and 93 RBIs. He was traded to the Baltimore Orioles in a six-player deal prior to 1898, then batted .328, with 93 runs, 86 RBIs and 49 steals. His production dropped a bit in 1899 and he was traded mid-season to the Chicago Colts (Cubs). He hit .280 in 142 games, but still had 76 RBIs, 47 steals and 83 runs scored. His production really slipped in 1900, hitting .244 in 69 games for Brooklyn, followed by a partial bounce back in 1901 when he hit .300 for the Boston Beaneaters. His OPS was just .685, due to low walk and power numbers. DeMontreville put up a .592 OPS with Boston in 1902, then finished his big league career with 12 games for the Washington Senators in 1903 and four games for the St Louis Browns in 1904. He finished his career as a .303 hitter in 922 games, with 537 runs scored, 497 RBIs and 228 stolen bases. The Pirates decided that he wasn’t fit to play shortstop, which is why they moved on so quickly. That seemed to check out, because he had some brutal stats at the position in 1896-97, even during a time when official scorers were extremely tough (if you can get to it, you need to make the play. Period), and the equipment and fields were sub-standard. He committed 97 errors in 1896 and 78 in 1897. For reference, those are two of the ten highest season totals at shortstop since 1895. Despite those stats, he still had a positive career mark according to dWAR, with some of his best work coming at the more suitable second base position. His brother Lee DeMontreville played for the 1903 St Louis Cardinals.
Edward “Dad” Lytle, second baseman/outfielder for the 1890 Pittsburgh Alleghenys. He has no known minor league records before the age of 27 in 1889, and he played just 16 Major League games, all in 1890. He began the 1890 season in the minors, with Wheeling of the Tri-State League, before making his big league debut on August 11th with the Chicago Colts, who were playing the Alleghenys. Lytle played right field and went 0-for-4 that day with a run scored. The next day he was with Pittsburgh, playing 15 straight games before his Major League career ended on August 28th. He wasn’t a stranger to Pittsburgh, who got to see him play against them in a Spring Training exhibition game earlier that season. Chicago gave up on him after one game because every time he threw the ball in from the outfield, he would throw it to second baseman Bob Glenalvin, regardless of the situation. When asked about it afterwards, Lytle reportedly said that Glenalvin was the only player he knew (they were teammates in 1889 and 1890). His debut was far from impressive and Chicago was done with him after one day, but Pittsburgh saw outfielder Billy Sunday suffer a knee injury during that game, and utility man Fred Roat was temporarily away from the club, so they took the first player they could get their hands on, which was Lytle. He was basically in the right place at the right time, at least for himself, not so much for Pittsburgh. With the Alleghenys, he hit just .145 with no RBIs in 55 at-bats and he committed ten errors. Lytle never played on a winning team in the majors. The Alleghenys beat the Colts during his one game, then they lost every game he played for them. In fact, from July 28th until September 3rd, Pittsburgh won just that one game against Chicago, on their way to a 23-113 record. The September 3rd date is significant, because that’s not only the end of the losing streak, it’s also the day the Alleghenys released Lytle (and outfielder/pitcher Fred Osborne). He did not play during his final six days with the club. The interesting part about him signing with Chicago on August 10th (the day before his debut) is that Ned Hanlon of the Pittsburgh Player’s League club arrived in Youngstown, Ohio to sign Lytle later that same day, only to find out that Cap Anson signed him to a deal hours earlier. Lytle played another ten seasons in the minors following his only brief stint in the majors. He moved around a lot in his minor league career, including spending time with five different teams during the 1897 season. He also had three different stints with Wheeling, and played on the west coast for a time.
John Kelty, outfielder for the 1890 Alleghenys. While both Kelty and Dad Lytle played for the 1890 Alleghenys, they were never teammates. Kelty was with the team since Spring Training, but he played his final game on July 12th and got released two days later, 29 days before Lytle signed. Kelty debuted in pro ball in 1888 at 17 years old, playing for two different teams in the New England League, where he batted .276 in 90 games. He spent the 1889 season playing for Mansfield of the Tri-State League. When their season ended, he finished out the year with Youngstown of the Ohio State League, joining them on September 17th. On November 20, 1889, he was part of a group of eight players who were announced as officially signed by the Alleghenys for the 1890 season, though his actual signing date can be traced back to November 11th (the later date is when the league office made it official). Minor league stats aren’t available from that season, but on the day he signed, it’s said that he played left field for Mansfield and led the team in hitting. Kelty was the Opening Day right fielder for the Alleghenys in 1890. He hit the first home run of the season for Pittsburgh, an inside-the-park homer on April 23rd, which would be their only home run during the first two months of the season. It was also his only career homer in the majors. Kelty was released by Pittsburgh on June 1st due to his drinking, but just four days later, he was brought back after too many of his teammates complained about his release. In late June, he received a $25 a month raise from the team (giving him a $200 monthly salary), obviously something that is unheard of now. In early July, he was playing through a broken finger. On July 12th, Kelty had a lot of trouble in the outfield in what turned out to be his final game. The team signed outfielder Fred Osborne that same day and said if he did well, that he would replace Kelty. He did and Kelty was released the following day. He batted .237 in 59 games, with ten doubles, two triples, one homer, 27 RBIs and 24 runs scored. He would finish his playing career in the minors with Hartford of the Connecticut State League in 1891.