Four former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including the all-time home run king.
Barry Bonds, outfielder for the 1986-92 Pirates. He was the sixth overall draft pick in 1985 and the Pirates had him in the majors by May 30, 1986. Bonds was originally drafted out of high school by the San Francisco Giants in the second round of the 1982 draft. He decided to attend Arizona State, where he improved his draft status over three seasons. His minor league career was extremely brief for the Pirates. He batted .299 with 13 homers and 15 steals in 71 games with Prince William of the Carolina League in 1985. He skipped to Triple-A in 1986 and spent 44 games with Hawaii before his big league debut, hitting .311 with seven homers and 16 steals. The 21-year-old Bonds hit just .223 as a rookie in 113 games, but he stole 36 bases and hit 16 homers, while drawing 65 walks. In 1987, he raised his average to .261, though his OBP was a point lower than the previous year. He hit 25 homers and stole 32 bases, while scoring 99 runs. In 1988, he hit for average and drew walks, while showing some power, leading to a .283/.368/.491 slash line. His stolen bases dropped to 17, but he still scored 97 runs. Bonds had a bit of a down year in 1989, seeing his OPS drop for the first time. He batted .248, but still had solid numbers with 96 runs scored, 34 doubles, 19 homers, 32 steals and 93 walks.
The Pirates made the playoffs in 1990, 1991 and 1992 and Bonds was a huge part of that run. He won the National League MVP in 1990 by hitting .301 with 33 homers and 114 RBIs. He added 104 runs scored, 93 walks, 34 doubles and 52 stolen bases, giving him his first 30/30 HR/SB season in the majors. He would repeat that feat four more times, and he also missed 30/30 twice by finishing with 29 stolen bases. Bonds made his first All-Star team in 1990, while also winning his first Gold Glove and first Silver Slugger awards. In the postseason, he went 3-for-18 with four runs scored. In 1991, Bonds had another MVP season, though the writers mistakenly gave it to Terry Pendleton, who had a strong season, but it didn’t compare well to Bonds. In 153 games, Bonds hit .292/.410/.514, leading the league in OBP and OPS. He drew 107 walks, drove in 116 runs, scored 95 runs and stole 43 bases. He picked up his second Gold Glove and second Silver Slugger awards, but he didn’t make the All-Star team. He once again struggled in the postseason, hitting .148 in seven games, with no RBIs and one run scored. In 1992, Bonds played out his last year before free agency and had an outstanding year. He led the league with 109 runs scored, 127 walks, a .456 OBP and a .624 slugging. He had 34 homers, 39 steals and 103 RBIs. He repeated his 1990 feat with an MVP, All-Star appearance, Gold Glove and Silver Slugger. His postseason was better in 1992, with a .261 average and five runs scored. He moved on to San Francisco after the season, where he played out the rest of his 22-year career and made baseball history.
In 1993, he led the league with 46 homers, 123 RBIs, a .458 OBP, a .677 slugging percentage and a 1.137 OPS. He also batted .336 with 38 doubles, 29 steals and 129 runs scored, which set a career high that he would amazingly tie three more times, but never surpass. He won his third MVP award, made his third All-Star appearance, won his fourth straight Gold Glove and fourth straight Silver Slugger award
In the strike-shortened 1994 season, he hit .312 with 37 homers, 29 steals and a league leading 74 walks. He was fourth in the MVP voting and picked up another Gold Glove, another Silver Slugger and a fourth All-Star appearance.
In 1995, he led the league with 120 walks, a .431 OBP and a 1.009 OPS. He picked up an All-Star appearance, but his Gold Glove and Silver Slugger streaks were snapped. Bonds hit .294 with 30 doubles, 33 homers, 104 RBIs and 109 runs scored in the season which was slightly shortened due to the strike.
In 1996, he led the league with 151 walks, while hitting .308 with 42 homers, 129 RBIs and 122 runs scored. He stole 40 bases that year, giving him a 40/40 HR/SB season. He was an All-Star and won the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger again, but he finished just fifth in the MVP voting, despite his 9.7 WAR being the best in the league.
In 1997, Bonds led the league with 145 walks, while gaining the All-Star/Gold Glove/Sliver Slugger trifecta. He batted .291 with 40 homers, 37 steals, 101 RBIs and 123 runs scored. The 1998 season saw him make the All-Star team and win another Gold Glove. He hit .303 with 44 doubles, 37 homers, 122 RBIs, 28 steals, 130 walks and 120 runs scored. In 1999, he was limited to 102 games and he hit .262 with 34 homers and 91 runs scored. That year broke a string of seven straight All-Star appearances, but he picked right back up in 2000, hitting .306 with 49 homers, 106 RBIs, 129 runs scored and a league leading 117 walks.
Bonds had his record-breaking season in 2001 when he hit 73 homers. He led the league with 177 walks, a .515 OBP, an .863 slugging and a 1.379 OPS. He scored 129 runs and set a personal best with 137 RBIs. It started a four-year string of MVP awards, All-Star appearances and Silver Slugger wins. In 2002, he won the batting title with a .370 mark, and had a .582 OBP, thanks to 198 walks. He hit 46 homers, with 110 RBIs and 117 runs scored. In 2003, Bonds batted .341 with 45 homers in 130 games. He had 111 runs scored and 148 walks. Pitchers basically refused to pitch to him in 2004 and he still managed to hit 45 homers. He walked 232 times, 120 of those times were intentional. He led the league with a .362 batting average, despite having 373 official at-bats. He was limited to just 14 games in 2005 due to injury, but returned in 2006 to hit .270 with 26 homers in 130 games. He led the league with 115 walks and a .454 OBP. In his final season, he passed Hank Aaron in career homers. Bonds batted .278 with 28 homers, 132 walks and a .480 OBP. He was basically forced into retirement by baseball, despite still being a productive hitter at 42 years old.
Bonds is the all-time leader with 762 homers and 2,558 walks. He had 1,996 RBIs and 2,227 runs scored. He is the only member of the 400 HR/SB club and for good measure, the only member of the 500 HR/SB club as well. He won the MVP award seven times and deserved the award in both 1991 and 2000 as well. He was a 14-time All-Star, 12-time Silver Slugger winner and he has eight Gold Gloves. He’s the single season leader in OPS, home runs and walks. He was intentionally walked 688 times, which is more twice as much as anyone else. In career WAR, he only trails Babe Ruth, Walter Johnson and Cy Young. With the Pirates, Bonds hit .275/.380/.503 in 1,104 games. He is fifth on the Pirates all-time home run list with 176 and seventh with 251 steals. His 50.3 WAR is seventh in team history.
Joe Oliver, catcher for the 1999 Pirates. He was a second round pick in 1983 by the Cincinnati Reds out of high school. Oliver made it to the big leagues in 1989 and ended up playing 13 seasons in the majors. He was still 17 years old when he signed, but the Reds started him in the Pioneer League instead of the lowest level. Oliver hit .215 with four homers in 56 games in 1983. The next year they pushed him to Low-A and he batted .218 with three homers in 102 games. He caught up to the competition in 1985 in the Florida State League, hitting .269 with 23 doubles and seven homers in 112 games. The next two full seasons were spent in Double-A. He put up a .733 OPS in 1986, then followed it up with a .305 average and ten homers in 66 games in 1987. He put in even more time at Double-A in 1988, though the majority of the season was spent in Triple-A. Between the two stops, he hit .218 with 22 extra-base hits in 101 games. The 1989 season was split between Triple-A and the majors. That year he hit .272 with three homers and 23 RBIs in 49 games for the Reds. He was their regular catcher for the next four seasons.
In 1990, Oliver hit .231 with eight homers and 52 RBIs in 121 games. His average dropped to .216 in 1991 and his walk rate went down, but he hit 11 homers in 94 games. He played a career high 143 games in 1992, hitting .270 with 25 doubles, ten homers and 57 RBIs. In 139 games in 1993, Oliver set career highs with 28 doubles, 14 homers and 75 RBIs, though his .659 OPS was 45 points lower than the previous year. Arthritis in his ankles limited him to just six games during the strike-shortened 1994 season and the Reds let him go that November. He signed with the Milwaukee Brewers and hit .273 with 12 homers and 51 RBIs in 97 games in 1995, then re-signed with the Reds as a free agent prior to the 1996 season. He hit .242 that first year back in 106 games, with 11 homers and 46 RBIs. In 1997, he batted .258 with 14 homers and 43 RBIs in 111 games. He scored just 28 runs that season, half of them coming on his own homers. Oliver signed with the Detroit Tigers as a free agent for the 1998 season, but he was released mid-year and finished out the campaign with the Seattle Mariners. He batted .225 with six homers in 79 games that year.
Oliver was already in his 11th season when he joined the 1999 Pirates, his fifth different team in the majors. The Pirates acquired him from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays the day before his 34th birthday. They gave up pitcher Jeff Sparks and a young outfielder named Jose Guillen in the deal, while also getting back another catcher, Humberto Cota, who stuck around Pittsburgh for nine years. Oliver was in the minors the whole time in Tampa Bay. He was brought in by the Pirates to replace the injured Jason Kendall, who was out for the entire year with a severe ankle injury. Oliver played 45 games for the Pirates, hitting .201 with one homer and 13 RBIs. He was just a .247 career hitter, but that average in 1999 turned out to be the lowest of his 13-year career. He also hit 102 homers in the big leagues, seven times reaching double figures, so his offensive output with the Pirates was well off his career norm. He became a free agent after the season and signed with the Mariners for 2000, where he hit .265 with ten homers in 69 games. He played briefly for the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox in 2001, which ended up being his final season in the majors. Oliver finished with 1,076 games in the big leagues, playing for seven different teams. He led National League catchers in fielding in 1990 and putouts in 1992. To go along with that .247 career average and 102 homers, he drove in 476 runs and scored 320 runs.
Preston Ward, utility fielder for the Pirates from 1953 until 1956. He was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers at the age of 16 in 1944 and he wasn’t over-matched that first season while playing in Class-D ball, batting .250 with 25 extra-base hits in 77 games. He moved up to Class-B in 1945 and batted .325 in 90 games. He stayed in Class-B in 1946, though he switched from the Piedmont League to the Three-I League, where he hit .214 with 26 extra-base hits in 107 games. He had a breakout year in 1947 while playing for Class-A Pueblo of the Western League, where he hit .325 with 98 walks, 30 doubles, 21 triples, 17 homers and 121 RBIs in 125 games. Ward played six seasons in the Dodgers organization, with his only Major League experience coming during the first half of the 1948 season, when he hit .260 with 21 RBIs in 42 games. The second half of the year was spent with Mobile of the Southern Association. In 1949, Ward spent the entire year with Fort Worth of the Texas League, where he hit .303 with 106 walks, 39 doubles, 13 homers, 112 RBIs and 29 stolen bases in 155 games. Brooklyn sold him to the Cubs after the 1949 season and he played 80 games in Chicago in 1950, hitting .253 with six homers and 33 RBIs. Just when it seemed like he was going to stick in the majors, he missed the next two years due to military service during the Korean War. Returning in 1953, he hit .230 with four homers during his first 33 games of the season with Chicago. The Pirates acquired Ward from the Cubs in a ten-player deal on June 4, 1953, with the main piece involved in the trade being Ralph Kiner, who went to Chicago. Ward played first base for the Pirates for the rest of the season, hitting .210 with eight homers in 88 games. He finished that season with one of the best fielding percentages among National League first basemen.
In 1954, Ward saw time at RF/1B/3B, batting .269 with 48 RBIs in 117 games. His time was limited in 1955, getting just 39 starts all season, all but one at first base. He played in 84 total games, hitting .215 with five homers and 25 RBIs. He was hitting .333 with 11 RBIs through his first 16 games in 1956, before the Pirates traded Ward to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for catcher Hank Foiles on May 15th. After the deal, Ward hit .253 with six homers in 87 games to finish out the season. He played just ten games with the Indians in 1957, spending the rest of the year back in the minors. He was back in the majors in 1958, playing 48 games for the Indians before being traded to the Kansas City Athletics in a five-player deal that also included Roger Maris. Ward played in the majors through the 1959 season, hitting .252 with eight homers and 43 RBIs in 139 games with the Athletics. In his nine-year big league career, he hit .253 with 50 homers and 262 RBIs in 744 games. In 305 games for the Pirates, he batted .240 with 21 homers and 111 RBIs.
Joe Schultz Sr, infielder for the 1916 Pirates. He was a Pittsburgh native, who made his Major League debut at the age of 19 in 1912, after the Boston Braves selected him in the September Rule 5 draft from Akron of the Central League just a couple of weeks earlier. Schultz played parts of two seasons with Boston, getting into a total of 13 games. Most of his 1913 season was spent with Toronto of the International League. After playing the entire 1914 season with Rochester of the International League, where he hit .316 with 44 extra-base hits in 155 games, Schultz would return to the majors in 1915. He spent the beginning of the year with the Brooklyn Robins, before ending it with the Chicago Cubs. He batted .289 with seven RBIs in 63 games, spending most of his time at third base. The Pirates purchased his contract from Chicago in January of 1916 and he spent half of the year in Pittsburgh. Schultz hit .260 with 22 RBIs in 77 games, playing 24 games each at second base and third base. He also saw time at both corner outfield spots and even made an appearance at shortstop. He finished the season with Los Angeles of the Pacific Coast League, then spent the next two full seasons in the minors as well. He returned to the big leagues in 1919 and stayed around for the next seven seasons, spent mostly with the St Louis Cardinals. While he played a lot of positions during that time, most of his fielding time was spent in right field.
Schultz batted .253 in 88 games for the 1919 Cardinals, and .263 in 99 games in 1920. He had a .615 OPS the first year and a .617 mark the next. In 1921, he batted .309 with 29 extra-base hits in 92 games. He hit six homers that year, four more than he hit during his previous seasons combined. Schultz played 112 games in 1922 and hit .314 with 64 RBIs and 50 runs scored, setting career bests in all four of those categories. However, the 1923 season saw him play just two big league games and spend the rest of the year in the minors. After 12 games with the Cardinals in 1924, he was purchased by the Philadelphia Phillies. He was hitting .167 at the time, then batted .282 with a .723 OPS in 88 games in Philadelphia. The 1925 season was split between the Phillies and Cincinnati Reds. He did well in both spots in limited time, finishing with a .333 average in 126 at-bats over 57 games, but it still ended up being his final big league season.
Schultz finished his Major League career with a .285 average and 249 RBIs in 703 games. He played minor league ball in 1926, then was a player/manager for the next season, before retiring from playing. He then managed the next six seasons in the minors. He also spent three seasons as the Pittsburgh Pirates farm director, which was his job when he passed away in 1941 at 47 years old. His family had a rich history in the Major Leagues. His son Joe Schultz Jr. played nine seasons in the big leagues, the first three (1939-41) with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was also the manager of the Seattle Pilots during their only season in existence (became Milwaukee Brewers in 1970). His cousin Hans Lobert was a star third baseman in the majors. He played 14 years, including the 1903 season as a rookie with the Pirates, the team that went on to play in the first modern day World Series. Joe Sr also had a cousin named Frank Lobert, who played one season in the majors and lived out his life in the city of Pittsburgh.