Eight former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date and one trade of note. Current Pirates pitcher Kyle Keller turns 28 today.
David Freese, third baseman for the 2016-18 Pirates. He was a ninth round pick by the San Diego Padres in 2006 out of the University of South Alabama. He lasted just over one full year in their system before he was traded to the St Louis Cardinals in an even up deal for Jim Edmonds. Freese spent the 2007 season in High-A, playing in the high offense California League, where he hit .302 with 54 extra-base hits, 104 runs scored and 96 RBIs in 128 games. The Cardinals skipped him right to Triple-A for 2008, where he batted .306 with 29 doubles and 26 homers in 131 games. He struggled a bit in winter ball in Venezuela, then spent most of the 2009 season in the minors, though he also missed some time due to injury. He made the Opening Day roster, but lasted just three weeks before being sent down with a .158 average. A month into his stint in Triple-A, Freese had to have surgery on his left ankle, which was injured in a car accident over the winter. He returned in mid-July and eventually finished the season back in the majors, where he went 7-for-12 in six late season games. He put up a .931 OPS in 64 minor league games that year, while hitting .323 in 17 games for the Cardinals. Freese spent the 2010 season with the Cardinals, hitting .296 in 70 games. He missed time with a right ankle injury that year, then missed time in 2011 with a broken hamate bone. He hit .297 with ten homers in 97 games for the 2011 Cardinals, then helped them to a World Series title by winning the MVP award in both the NLCS and the World Series. That postseason he had eight doubles, five homers and 21 RBIs in 18 games. Freese finally put in a full season in 2012 and he made his only All-Star appearance. He hit .293 with 20 homers and 79 RBIs in 144 games. He was slowed by a back strain in 2013 and saw his production drop, putting up a .721 OPS in 138 games. Freese was traded in the off-season to the Los Angeles Angels, where he put up average results over two season. He had a .704 OPS in 2014 and put up a .743 mark in 2015. In 255 games with the Angels, he hit .257 with 24 homers and 111 RBIs.
Freese signed a free agent deal with the Pirates after the 2015 season. He was their starting third baseman, while also seeing time at first base. He hit .270 in 141 games, with 23 doubles, 13 homers and 55 RBIs. He followed that up with a .263 average in 2017, collecting ten homers and 52 RBIs in 130 games. He started the 2018 season with the Pirates, before finishing the year with the Los Angeles Dodgers after an August 31st trade for minor league infielder Jesus Valdez. Freese had an excellent 2018 season, combining to hit .296 with 11 homers in 113 games. He finished his career with a strong season for the 2019 Dodgers, though he landed on the injured list twice due to hamstring issues. In 79 games, he had a 1.002 OPS. Freese played 1,184 games over 11 seasons in the majors, hitting .277 with 113 homers and 535 RBIs. With the Pirates he hit .270 with 32 homers and 149 RBIs in 365 games. He was an average defensive player during his career, finishing with a 0.4 dWAR. In 69 postseason games, he hit .299 with ten homers and 36 RBIs.
Daniel Moskos, pitcher for the Pirates in 2011. Moskos was a first round pick (fourth overall pick) in the 2007 draft out of Clemson University. He was a reliever during his first season of pro ball, putting up a 3.45 ERA in 13 appearances. The Pirates placed him in High-A in 2008 and gave him a starting role for most of the season. He went 7-7, 5.95 in 110.1 innings that season. In 2009, he made 25 starts and two relief appearances for Altoona, going 11-10, 3.74 in 149 innings. Despite seeing an increase of 39 innings over the previous season, Moskos had a total of 77 strikeouts, one under his total from 2008. He pitched in relief in the Arizona Fall League after the season and posted a 5.28 ERA in 15.1 innings. He was moved to the bullpen in 2010, where he dominated in Double-A, then got roughed up badly in Triple-A. He had a 1.52 ERA in 41.1 innings with Altoona. He had a 10.38 ERA in 17.1 innings in Indianapolis, giving up the same amount of hits in each spot (26), while walking more batters in Triple-A. Even though he struggled mightily in Triple-A in 2010, he was there for less than a month before he got his first chance in the majors, making his big league debut on April 30th. Moskos had three stints with the Pirates that season, posting a 2.96 ERA in 24.1 innings over 31 appearances. It ended up being his only season in the majors. He pitched another seven seasons after 2011, though he was with the Pirates for just a short after putting up solid results as a rookie. He was lost on waivers to the Chicago White Sox in July of 2012, and spent the entire season in Triple-A, where he put up a 4.19 ERA over 30 appearances. He remained with the White Sox in Triple-A in 2013, though he was limited to 22 appearances before he was released. The Los Angeles Dodgers signed him as a free agent for 2014, but they gave up on him after a month at Triple-A. Moskos pitched independent ball in 2015, then spent the winter playing in Mexico. He signed with the San Diego Padres in 2016 and remained in Triple-A for the entire season. He signed a minor league deal with the Chicago Cubs after the season, but never pitched in their system. He played independent ball again in 2017, then finished his career in Mexico, with another season of winter ball, followed by his final 44 pro games in 2018. Moskos posted a 1.24 ERA in 43.2 innings during his final season.
Romulo Sanchez, pitcher for the 2007-08 Pirates. He signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers just before his 18th birthday as an international amateur free agent out of Venezuela in 2002. Sanchez joined the Pirates as a free agent two years later after the Dodgers released him in March of 2004. He pitched in the Venezuelan Summer League in 2004, then went from the Gulf Coast League all the way to Double-A as a starter in his first year stateside with the Pirates in 2005. It was quite a jump considering that he had a 4.70 ERA in ten starts in Low-A, while skipping over High-A ball entirely. Sanchez gave up four runs over ten innings in his two starts with Altoona that season. He switched to relief in 2006, starting back at low-A Hickory, and again pitched at three levels, including Double-A. That 2006 season he had a combined record of 0-3, 5.86 in 58.1 innings over 37 games, with 30 walks and 39 strikeouts. His best results came in High-A Lynchburg, where he allowed one run over eight relief appearances. Sanchez spent the 2007 season pitching for Altoona, making 40 relief appearances with a 2.81 ERA in 57.2 innings, with 52 strikeouts. In late August, he was called up to the majors and pitched 16 times, totaling 18 innings, with a 5.00 ERA and 11 strikeouts. Sanchez spent most of 2008 in the minors, getting five appearances with the Pirates prior to September, and five more once the minor league season ended. He had a 4.05 ERA in 13.1 innings in the majors. The Pirates traded him in May of 2009 to the New York Yankees for pitcher Eric Hacker. Sanchez spent all of 2009 in the minors, getting some time as a starting pitcher after joining the Yankees. He played two games in the majors for the Yankees in 2010, one in May and one in late September, throwing 4.1 scoreless innings. Sanchez then spent the 2011 season in Japan. Despite last pitching in the majors in 2010, he was still active in winter ball this last season in 2020-21. He spent the 2012 season in Triple-A for the Tampa Bay Rays, then played 2013 in Mexico, 2014 in China and 2015 in Italy, which was his last season of summer ball. He has played 14 seasons of winter ball in Venezuela, where he had made a total of 309 appearances.
Yoslan Herrera, pitcher for the 2008 Pirates. Herrera was born in Cuba and played at the highest level there for four seasons (2001-04). He defected from Cuba in June of 2005 and the Pirates signed him as an amateur free agent on December 18, 2006, giving him a three-year deal worth $1.92 M. He was said to have a fastball that reached 92 MPH, along with command of his pitches and a five-pitch mix. The Pirates initially said that he would begin the 2007 season in Indianapolis, but he spent his first year pitching for Double-A Altoona, where he made 25 starts, going 6-9, 4.69 in 128.2 innings. He began the next season at Altoona as well and had a 6-9 record again, this time with a much better 3.46 ERA, pitching 114.1 innings over 21 starts. Herrera made one spot start for Indianapolis in late June and gave up two runs over seven innings. The Pirates returned him to Altoona, but then two weeks later he made his Major League debut. In five starts with the Pirates over the next month, he went 1-1, 9.82, giving up 20 runs and 48 base runners in 18.1 innings. After his start on August 4th, he was sent back to Altoona for the rest of the season. Herrera returned to Altoona for 2009, going 11-1, 3.23 in 23 outings (15 starts) while also making two brief stops in Indianapolis, one in April and another in September. The Pirates released him on October 30, 2009, and then he pitched winter ball in Venezuela. For a time it appeared like he finished his career the following season in Triple-A for the Minnesota Twins, where he made just six starts. However, Herrera returned after two seasons off and played independent ball in 2013, then pitched winter ball in Mexico. He returned to affiliated ball when he signed with the Los Angeles Angels for the 2014 season. After putting up a 2.52 ERA in 41 appearances with Salt Lake City (a very hitter-friendly park) he made 20 appearances for the Angels, posting a 2.70 ERA in 16.2 innings. He signed to play in Japan in 2015 and did well his first season, with a 2.96 ERA in 51.2 innings over 52 games, but his career in pro ball was done after just two games in Japan in 2016.
Pedro Ramos, pitcher for the 1969 Pirates. Ramos originally signed with the Washington Senators in 1953 out of Cuba when he was 18 years old. He was in the majors by 1955, when he went 5-11, 3.88 in 130 innings, making nine starts and 36 relief appearances. Ramos had a lot of support on offense in 1956, which was almost never the base during his time with the Washington/Minnesota Twins franchise. That second season he posted a 5.27 ERA in 152 innings for a team with a 59-95 record, yet he ended up with a 12-10 record. Ramos made 30 starts and 13 relief appearances in 1957, throwing a total of 231 innings. He went 12-16 with a 4.79 ERA. The 1958-61 stretch saw Ramos put in an average of 259 innings per year and he led the American League in losses each season. His team’s best finish during that stretch was 73-81 in 1960, the year before the team transferred to Minnesota. Ramos went 14-18, 4.23 in 259.1 innings in 1958. He had a 13-19, 4.13 record in 1959 when he made his only All-Star appearance. He was 11-18 in 1960, despite a 3.45 ERA. The first year in Minnesota was just as rough, going 11-20, 3.95 in 264.1 innings. Ramos was traded to the Cleveland Indians prior to the 1962 season. He went 10-12, 3.71 in 201.1 innings during his first season with the Indians. It was his sixth straight season with 200+ innings, though it was also the final time he eclipsed that mark. Ramos went 9-8, 3.12 in 184.2 innings over 22 starts and 14 relief appearances in 1963. He had a rough 1964 season that ended on a high note. He was 7-10, 5.14 in a swingman role for the Indians, before being traded to the New York Yankees on September 5th. He pitched out of their bullpen that last month and posted a 1.25 ERA in 21.2 innings. He became the closer for the Yankees during the 1965-66 seasons, though the role back then wasn’t defined as a closer and the save didn’t become a real stat until he was in Pittsburgh. Ramos went 5-5, 2.92, with 18 saves in 92.1 innings over 65 appearances in 1965. He was 3-9, 3.61 in 89.2 innings in 1966, picking up 13 saves.
Ramos was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies after the 1966 season, but his stay there was short. He was released in early June after allowing eight runs in eight innings over six appearances. He signed with the Pirates as a free agent prior to the 1968 season, spending the entire year at Triple-A Columbus, where he had a 5.09 ERA in 76 innings. Ramos began the 1969 season back in Triple-A for the Pirates, earning a promotion one month into the season. He pitched five games in relief for the Pirates, allowing four runs in six innings. Pittsburgh released him on June 5th and he signed with the Cincinnati Reds less than a week later. He finished the season by putting up a 5.16 ERA in 66.1 innings over 38 appearances. Ramos played briefly with the Senators (now Texas Rangers) in 1970, pitching four times in relief, then he returned to the minors, where he finished his career two years later. He had a career record of 117-160, 4.08 in 582 major league games (268 starts). He threw 2,355.2 innings and picked up 54 saves.
Tom Sturdivant, pitcher for the 1961-63 Pirates. He spent ten seasons in the majors (1955-64), playing for seven different teams along the way. Sturdivant signed with the New York Yankees in 1948 at 18 years old out of Capitol Hill HS in Oklahoma City, OK. He was an infielder during his first three seasons of pro ball (1948-50), spending most of that time with Quincy of the Three-I League. He lost the entire 1951 season and part of 1952 serving in the military. When he returned to the minors in 1952 he was a pitcher. Sturdivant went 3-3, 3.56 in 86 innings in 1952 while playing in the Texas League. He was with Birmingham of the Southern Association in 1953, where he went 10-7, 2.98 in 139 innings. He pitched mostly in relief during his first two seasons on the mound, then switched to a starting role in 1954 with Kansas City of the American Association. Sturdivant was 8-9, 3.57 in 169 innings that year. He made the Yankees as a reliever in 1955, making 33 appearances as a rookie, posting a 3.16 ERA in 68.1 innings. The Yankees made the World Series and he had two appearances in the series loss to the Brooklyn Dodgers. Between the 1956-57 seasons, Sturdivant went a combined 32-14 for the Yankees, winning 16 games each year. Despite those strong seasons, he won just 26 more games in his career and never reached double figures again. He managed a 16-8 record in 1956, while making 17 starts and 15 relief appearances. He had a 3.30 ERA in 158.1 innings, then pitched twice (one start) in the World Series, giving up three runs in 9.2 innings. In 1957 he had his best season, going 16-6, 2.54 in 201.2 innings. He had one relief appearance and one start in that World Series, allowing four runs in six innings.
Sturdivant saw limited time in 1958, making ten starts and five relief appearances. He went 3-6, 4.20 in 70.2 innings. He split the 1959 season between the Yankees and Kansas City Athletics, going 2-8, 4.73 in 97 innings over six starts and 37 relief appearances. He played for the Boston Red Sox in 1960, posting a 4.97 ERA in 101.1 innings. After the season, he was taken by the Washington Senators (current day Texas Rangers) in the expansion draft. The Pirates acquired him from the Senators in exchange for pitcher Tom Cheney on June 29, 1961. Sturdivant had a 2-6, 4.61 record in 80 innings prior to the trade. For the Pirates that season, he went 5-2. 2.84 in 85.2 innings, making 11 starts and two relief appearances. In 1962, he made 12 starts and 37 relief appearances for the Pirates, finishing with an overall record of 9-5, 3.73 in 125.1 innings. Less than a month into the 1963 season, after just three relief outings, the Pirates sold him to the Detroit Tigers. Sturdivant finished the 1963 season with the Kansas City Athletics, compiling a 3.95 ERA over 114.1 innings with his three teams that season. He then split his final year in the big leagues between the A’s and New York Mets, posting a 6.40 ERA in 32.1 innings over 19 appearances. He finished his ten-year career with a 59-51, 3.74 record in 1,137 innings over 335 games, 101 as a starter. With the Pirates he was 14-7, 3.49 in 219.1 innings.
Red Lucas, pitcher for the 1934-38 Pirates. Before joining the Pirates, Lucas had 11 seasons of big league experience already, spending the last eight years with the Cincinnati Reds. For Cincinnati, he went 109-99, 3.64 in 257 games, 202 as a starter. Three times from 1929 until 1932, he led the National League in complete games and he received MVP votes four times from 1927 to 1933 . Lucas debuted in pro ball in 1920 at 18 years old, playing for Class-D Rome of the Georgia State League. He won 16 games the next season while playing with three different clubs. He played the 1922 season for Nashville of the Southern Association, where he went 20-18, 4.63 in 282 innings. Lucas made the New York Giants out of Spring Training in 1923, but he lasted just three relief appearances before finishing the season with San Antonio of the Texas League, where he had an 18-9, 4.05 record in 211 innings. He spent the entire 1924 season with the Boston Braves, mostly pitching in relief. Lucas went 1-4, 5.16 in 81.2 innings. In 1925 he was the Opening Day second baseman for the Braves, but that experiment lasted just six games and he was soon sent to the minors. After spending nearly the entire 1925 season pitching in the Pacific Coast League, he returned to the majors with the Reds, where he would quickly become a star. Lucas went 8-5, 3.68 in 154 innings in 1926, making 11 starts and 28 relief appearances. He took more of a starter role in his second season in Cincinnati, going 18-11, 3.38 in 239.2 innings. He finished 11th in the NL MVP voting. In 1928, he was 13-9, 3.39 and led the league with four shutouts. Lucas finished sixth in the MVP voting in 1929, thanks to a 19-12, 3.60 record in a career high 270 innings. He completed 28 of 32 starts and his 1.20 WHIP was the best in the league. The 1930 season was a huge year for offense in baseball and Lucas had a 5.38 ERA, which wasn’t that much above league average. He went 14-16 and threw 210.2 innings. He also managed to hit .336 that season in 113 at-bats. Offense settled down from that one-year peak and Lucas went 14-13, 3.59 in 238 innings. He led the league with 24 complete games. That led to a 14th place finish in the MVP voting. He had a 2.94 ERA in 1932, while throwing 269.1 innings and a league leading 28 complete games.
In 1933, he went 10-16, 3.40 with 219.2 innings pitched, while completing 21 of his 29 starts. He received mild MVP support for the fourth time in his career. The Reds traded Lucas and outfielder Wally Roettger to the Pirates on November 17, 1933 in exchange for second baseman Tony Piet and outfielder Adam Comorosky. Lucas had pitched over 200 innings in a season six times with the Reds, but he never topped the 175 mark for the Pirates. He was still a valuable pitcher for the team, four times finishing with a record over .500 on the season, and twice winning in double figures. He went 10-9, 4.38 in 172.2 innings in 1934, making 22 starts and seven relief appearances. Lucas was 8-6, 3.44 in 125.2 innings in 1935. His best season with the Pirates came in 1936 when he went 15-4, 3.18 in 22 starts and five relief appearances. After losing the team’s fourth game of the season, Lucas didn’t pick up another loss until over three months later and that second loss was a 1-0 game. He was 8-10, 4.27 in 20 starts in 1937. The Pirates released him after the 1938 season, when he went 6-3, 3.54 in 13 starts and 84 innings. That ended his big league career, but he played five more seasons in the minors before retiring as a player, including two years as a player-manager. He finished his Major League career with a 157-135, 3.72 record in 2,542 innings over 396 games. He made 302 starts in his career and threw 204 complete games. Lucas had a 47-32, 3.77 mark in 684.1 innings while with Pittsburgh. He was a strong fielding pitcher, committing just 12 errors while on the mound (he made four while playing other positions). He occasionally played in the field on his off-days early in his career. At the plate, Lucas was a great hitter for a pitcher, batting .281 with 190 RBIs in his career. He hit over .300 in six of his 14 full seasons. He was used nearly 500 times as a pinch-hitter. During the 1931 season alone, he pinch-hit 67 times.
Walt Woods, pitcher for the Pirates on April 27, 1900. He spent 20 seasons in pro ball from 1895-1914, playing all nine positions over the years. Woods began his career as an outfielder/pitcher, played middle infield frequently early on, then spent a long stretch as a third baseman, before finishing his career as a catcher. He played just three seasons in the majors, and during one of those seasons, he played just one game before going down to the minors. On April 27, 1900 the Pirates were playing their eighth game of the season, facing the Cincinnati Reds that day. Jesse Tannehill was on the mound for Pittsburgh. He won a combined 49 games over the previous two seasons, but on this day he gave up eight runs in the first two innings before Woods replaced him on the mound.Woods lasted three innings, giving up seven runs in the fifth inning before being pulled. He pitched for the Louisville Colonels of the National League in 1899, going 9-13, 3.28 in 186.1 innings. The previous season, as a rookie with the Chicago Orphans (Cubs), he also went 9-13, that time with a 3.14 ERA in 215 innings. So he came into his time in Pittsburgh with a decent amount of big league experience. However, after his debut with the Pirates, Woods never played again in the majors. On May 12th, he was released to the Springfield Ponies of the Eastern League on option. On Christmas Day in 1900, it was announced that Woods was one of three players sent to Syracuse of the Eastern League in exchange for pitcher Lewis “Snake” Wiltse. Woods played another fourteen years in the minors before he finished his career with the Troy Trojans of the New York State League as a 39-year-old catcher in 1914. He became strictly a position player after the 1902 season, and he spent the 1902-09 seasons with Jersey City of the Eastern League, where he had just one season in which he batted over a .231 mark (1903 when he hit .268).
Woods was part of the infamous Honus Wagner trade that turned the Pirates into a powerhouse during the 1901-03 seasons. When Barney Dreyfuss became owner of the Pirates in December of 1899 and the Louisville team (eventually) folded, Woods was one of 13 players to join the Pirates that day, while six players and cash went to Louisville (it’s sometimes referred to as a 12-for-4 deal, but it was originally 19 players). The Pirates ended up with much more of the deal when Louisville folded early in 1900.
There was an interesting note from his time in Louisville under manager Fred Clarke, who was also his manager in Pittsburgh. Woods was feeling sick after one particular game and seemed weak so Clarke advised him to drink beer to help him replenish his system. Drinking beer in season was against team rules, so Woods initially wouldn’t follow his instructions. Once Clarke assured him that it was okay, Woods put some liquor in his system and then started pitching much better immediately afterwards, leading them to believe the two things were connected.
On this date in 1910, the Pirates traded pitcher Sam Frock and first baseman Bud Sharpe to the Boston Doves for pitcher Kirby White. Sharpe had once played for Boston in 1905, but was in the minors up until that 1910 season. The Pirates had acquired the 28-year-old Sharpe as a Rule 5 draft pick in September of 1909. Frock was 27 years old and had also played previously with Boston, making his debut in the majors with the 1907 Doves. He pitched 36.1 innings for the 1909 Pirates, posting a 2.48 ERA. White was 26 years old, and he had a 7-15, 2.94 record in 174.1 innings with Boston between the 1909-10 seasons. He had already made three starts in 1910, and despite two losses, he had a 1.38 ERA.
After the trade, White pitched 153.1 innings for the 1910 Pirates, going 10-9 with a 3.46 ERA. He threw three shutouts and had a streak of 32 consecutive scoreless innings during the second half of the season. He wasn’t healthy in 1911 when he reported to the team and after a poor outing in late May, he was sent to the minors, never returning to the big leagues. Frock suffered nearly the same fate as White. He was used very often by Boston, pitching 255.1 innings in 1910 after the trade. The next season, he didn’t even last a month in the majors before his contract was sold to a minor league team and he too never returned to the majors. Sharpe was Boston’s everyday first baseman after the trade, hitting .239 with no homers and 29 RBIs in 115 games. His contract was sold to a minor league team before the 1911 started, putting all three players out of the majors by the end of May 1911.