Seven former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date, starting with the most recent one first:
Radhames Liz, pitcher for the 2015 Pirates. He signed with the Baltimore Orioles at age 19 in 2003 as an international amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic. He didn’t debut until 2005, beginning his pro career with a half season of Low-A and a half season of short-season ball that first year. He had a 7-7, 2.86 record in 94.1 innings, with much better results at the lower level. In 2006, he split the year between the High-A Carolina League (16 starts) and Double-A Bowie of the Eastern League (ten starts). Liz went 9-6, 3.78 in 133.1 innings with 149 strikeouts, putting up better results at the lower level. In 2007, he pitched in Double-A until late August, going 11-4, 3.22 in 137 innings, with 161 strikeouts. He then made four starts and five relief appearances for the Orioles, going 0-2, 6.93 in 24.2 innings. Liz pitched for the Orioles for three seasons from 2007-09, posting a 7.50 ERA over 110.1 innings, while making 21 starts and seven relief appearances. Most of his playing time came during the 2008 season, when he went 6-6, 6.72 in 84.1 innings over 17 starts. The 2009 season saw him spend part of the year (eight starts) in Double-A. He pitched twice in relief for the Orioles with disastrous results, allowing ten earned runs in 1.1 innings.
Liz spent the 2010 season in Triple-A for the San Diego Padres, posting a 4.83 ERA in 123 innings. He went to Korea for the 2011-13 seasons and excelled in a starting role, culminating with a 3.06 ERA and 188 strikeouts in 202.2 innings during his final season. He pitched in the minors for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2014, but most of his time was spent in Double-A. After spending five full seasons in the minors/Korea, Liz showed huge improvements during the 2014-15 winter playing ball in the Dominican, which earned him a deal with the Pirates. He would make 14 relief appearances in 2015, posting a 4.24 ERA in 23.1 innings. Liz had excellent results as a starter at Triple-A Indianapolis, posting a 1.40 ERA in 64.1 innings. That time with the Pirates ended up being his last big league experience. Since his stint in Pittsburgh, he has played in China, Japan, winter ball in the Dominican and even spent some time in Triple-A for the Milwaukee Brewers. The 37-year-old Liz spent the 2021 season pitching in Mexico. Between all of his stops in pro ball, he has a 122-119 record and he has thrown nearly 2,000 innings.
Joel Hanrahan, reliever for the 2009-12 Pirates. He was a second round draft pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2000 out of high school. He went to the Pioneer League as a starting pitcher and had a 4.75 ERA in 55 innings. The next season saw him move up to Low-A Wilmington of the South Atlantic League, where he had a 9-11, 3.38 record in 144 innings. The next season saw him make 25 starts with Vero Beach of the High-A Florida State League, along with three starts in Double-A that resulted in a 10.64 ERA. With Vero Beach, Hanrahan had a 10-6, 4.20 in 143.2 innings, with 139 strikeouts. The 2003 season was mostly spent with Jacksonville of the Double-A Southern League, where he went 10-4, 2.43 in 133.1 innings, with 130 strikeouts. He also made five starts with Triple-A Las Vegas of the Pacific Coast League and had a 10.08 ERA. He pitched for Las Vegas all year in 2004, going 7-7, 5.05 in 119.1 innings. Despite spending all of the 2004 season in Triple-A, he saw most of his time in 2005 in Double-A, though he also dropped down to High-A for five starts. Hanrahan went 10-8, 5.08 in 133 innings, with 127 strikeouts. The 2006 season was split evenly between Las Vegas and Jacksonville, with much better results in Double-A. He combined to go 11-5, 3.58 in 140.2 innings, with 113 strikeouts, showing a sharp drop in his strikeout rate.
Hanrahan became a free agent after the 2006 season and signed a deal with the Washington Nationals. They sent him to Triple-A, where in 15 starts, he went 5-4, 3.70 in 75.1 innings. He debuted in the majors in late July of 2007 as a starting pitcher for the Nationals, posting a 5-3, 6.00 record in 51 innings. He switched to relief in 2008 and excelled in the role, going 6-3, 3.95 with nine saves in 84.1 innings over 69 appearances. He started off the 2009 season poorly, going 1-3, 7.71 in 32.2 innings over 34 games with the Nationals. He was acquired by the Pirates mid-season in 2009 in a deal that included Sean Burnett and Nyjer Morgan from the Pirates and Lastings Milledge coming back from Washington. Hanrahan had a 1.72 ERA in 31.1 innings over 33 appearances with the 2009 Pirates. In 2010, he went 4-1, 3.62 in 69.2 innings over 72 games, while picking up six saves. He switched to the closed role in 2011 and made his first of two straight All-Star game appearances. That season saw him go 1-4, 1.83 in 68.2 innings over 70 games, while picking up 40 saves. He went 5-2, 2.72 in 59.2 innings over 63 games in 2012. Hanrahan had 36 saves that year.
After the 2012 season, Hanrahan was part of a six-player deal with the Boston Red Sox that brought Mark Melancon to Pittsburgh. Hanrahan had a 2.59 ERA and 82 saves in 229.1 innings over 238 appearances with the Pirates. After the deal with Boston, he lasted just nine games in the majors, putting up a 9.82 ERA in 7.1 innings. Hanrahan had to have a pair of Tommy John surgeries, one in mid-2013 and another in 2015, which kept him from pitching again. Despite losing their closer, the 2013 Red Sox still won the World Series. He finished his career with 22-18, 3.85 record in 362 games, with 100 saves and 404.2 innings pitched. Hanrahan is currently a minor league pitching coach for the Pirates, working his way up the system, where he was at Indianapolis this past year.
Jeff Zaske, pitcher for the 1984 Pirates. He was a 27th round pick in 1978 and spent just a few weeks total in the majors six years later. Zaske tossed a total of five shutout innings in his only three big league appearances. He was called up on July 13th, though he didn’t debut until the 21st. He last played on July 28th, though he wasn’t sent back to Triple-A until August 5th. So he got in just over three weeks at the majors, but all of his pitching came during an eight-day stretch. After spending the 1985-86 seasons in the minors, the Pirates used him to acquire pitcher Randy Kramer, who pitched three years for the Pirates. Zaske never made it back to the majors. Two years after he was drafted, Zaske was throwing batting practice against Bill Madlock and had a crazy run-in. Madlock took a swing at a pitch and then told Zaske to throw harder. Dave Parker first, then other Pirates, yelled at Zaske to hit him with the next pitch for saying that. He apparently listened to the crowd, which led to Madlock coming to the mound and taking a swing (and connecting) at him. Despite the incident, the sidearm throwing Zaske still got his 15 minutes of fame from the incident.
Zaske debuted in pro ball at 18 years old in 1979. He was drafted out of high school in 1978, but didn’t debut until the following season, though he went right to full-season ball. He played for Shelby of the Class-A Western Carolinas League, where he had a 5-10, 5.22 record in 100 innings over 16 starts and nine relief appearances. The next season saw him go 8-10, 4.30 in 132 innings over 26 starts for Salem of the Carolina League. In 1981, Zaske spent most of the season with Alexandria of the Carolina League, though he got four relief appearances for Double-A Buffalo as well. He combined to go 5-10, 4.35 in 110 innings. In 1982, he spent the year with Alexandria as a reliever, posting a 7-4, 2.89 record and 14 saves in 74.2 innings over 48 appearances. Most of 1983 was spent with Lynn of the Eastern League (Double-A) where he had a 2.18 ERA and 24 saves in 70.1 innings over 48 games. He spent some time in Triple-A, where he had a 6.00 ERA in six games. During his lone season in the majors, he had a 3.58 ERA in 60.1 innings for Hawaii of the Pacific Coast League (Triple-A). The next two years before being traded were also spent in Hawaii, where he had a 3.41 ERA in 68.2 innings in 1985, and a 4.12 ERA in 113.2 innings in 1986, when he saw some brief time back in a starting role. After leaving the Pirates, he spent time in the minors with the Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland A’s, as well as playing in Mexico.
Gene Clines, outfielder for the Pirates from 1970 until 1974. He was drafted by the Pirates in the sixth round of the 1966 draft. He played four seasons in the minors, making it up to Double-A, before getting promoted to the Pirates mid-season in 1970. Clines started in the Appalachian League, where he batted .358 in 52 games at 19 years old. He moved up to Raleigh of the Class-A Carolina League in 1967, hitting .259 with 15 extra-base hits in 83 games. The next year saw him just to Double-A, playing for York of the Eastern League. He hit .241 with 23 steals and a .588 OPS in 137 games. He was with York again in 1969 and hit .268 in 135 games, with 23 extra-base hits, 86 runs scored and 63 steals in 75 attempts. The Pirates affiliate moved to Waterbury in 1970 and Clines hit .310 with 28 extra-base hits and 32 steals in 95 games before joining the Pirates in late June. Being used mostly as a pinch-hitter during his first big league shot, he batted .405 in 31 games. That earned him a spot for the following season, which turned out to be the fourth World Series winning season for Pittsburgh.
During that 1971 season, Clines batted .308 with 15 steals and 52 runs scored over 97 games. He saw most of his playing time in center field, though he also got occasional starts in left field and right field. He went 1-for-3 in the NLCS with a homer, then went 1-for-11 in the World Series. The next year he hit .334 in 107 games and received some mild MVP consideration. He was mostly a singles hitter at the time, with no homers, 17 RBIs and a low walk rate, but the high average led to 52 runs scored and a career best .790 OPS. He mostly split his time in 1972 between the two corner outfield spots, though the 1973-74 seasons saw him spend more of his time in center field. Clines saw his average drop to .263 in 110 games in 1973, with 42 runs scored and a .656 OPS. That OPS dropped down to .557 in 107 games the next year. After hitting just .225 with six extra-base hits in 107 games during the 1974 season, he was traded to the New York Mets for catcher Duffy Dyer.
Clines’ one season in New York didn’t go well, with a .227 average, 27 runs scored and four steals in 82 games. He was traded to the Texas Rangers in December of 1975 and he hit .276 with 52 runs scored, 38 RBIs and 11 steals in 116 games. He had 480 plate appearances that season, which was 143 more than his next highest season total. Clines was traded to the Chicago Cubs prior to the 1977 season. He hit .293 with a career high 41 RBIs in 101 games in his first season in Chicago. His .756 OPS was easily his best mark since his 1972 season. The offense fell off the next year, with a .258 average, 17 RBIs and 31 runs scored in 109 games, though he saw a lot of that time off of the bench. His pro career ended when he was released a month into the 1979 season, going 2-for-10 with two singles in ten games, all as a pinch-hitter. Clines batted .287 in 459 games with the Pirates, with 51 stolen bases and 179 runs scored. He was a career .277 hitter with 314 runs, 71 steals and 187 RBIs in 870 big league games over ten season and he managed to collect just five homers total, three coming with the Chicago Cubs in 1977. Clines only homered in two parks, hitting all three in 1977 at Wrigley Field, while his two with the Pirates came at Dodger Stadium two years apart. After his playing days, he took up coaching and remained active in baseball until 2012. In 1989, he returned to play, taking part in the upstart Senior Professional Baseball Association’s inaugural season.
Tom Padden, catcher for the Pirates from 1932 until 1937. He was a platoon starter for three seasons and backup for the three other years while in Pittsburgh. The Pirates purchased him out of the minors from the New York Yankees in late May of 1932 for $7,500. They also needed to loan two players to Newark of the International League, where he was playing at the time. Padden was in the middle of his fifth season in pro ball at the time of the deal. He debuted in 1928 at 19 years old and saw some advanced play that first season, spending part of the year in the Class-B New England League and the rest of the year with Hartford of the Class-A Eastern League. He batted .272 in 92 games between the two stops. Padden played for two teams in the Eastern League in 1929 (full stats aren’t available), then split the 1930 season between New Haven of the Eastern League and Baltimore of the Double-A International League. He batted .320 with 44 extra-base hits in 129 games. He stayed at the Double-A level in 1931, moving to Kansas City of the American Association, where he hit .311 in 94 games. When the Pirates got him from the Yankees, he was with Newark of the International League and he was hitting .182 in 12 games.
Padden was playing sparingly in the his first two years in Pittsburgh. He batted .263 in 47 games in 1932, getting 29 starts behind the plate. He began the 1933 season with the Pirates as a backup, then got released on option to Albany of the International League on June 25th, where he stayed until September. Padden hit .211 in 30 games with the Pirates that season. He was with Pittsburgh all of 1934 and had a strong season at the plate, which led to more playing time. He batted .321 over 82 games, with 22 RBIs and 27 runs scored that season. He played a career-high 97 games in 1935, hitting .272 with 30 RBIs, while setting career highs with 48 walks and 35 runs scored. Despite being known as a solid defender, he led the National League in errors and stolen bases allowed that season. He played 88 games and set a high with 31 RBIs in 1936, but the average dropped to .249 and he had a .610 OPS. His playing time suffered in 1937, though he batted .286 in 35 games.
The Pirates used Padden in October of 1937 as part of a package that included three players and cash, to acquire outfielder Johnny Rizzo from the St Louis Cardinals. Rizzo went on to set a Pirates single-season record for homers as a rookie. Padden spent the 1938-42 seasons in the minors, before coming back for a brief stint with the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Senators in 1943, playing a total of 20 games. He was acquired and traded again by the Yankees during that minor league time. His brief stint in 1943 ended up being his only big league experience outside of his time with the Pirates. Padden played his final minor league games in 1948 as a player/manager for his hometown team in Manchester of the New England League, where he started his career 20 years earlier. He hit .272, with two homers and 109 RBIs in 329 games with the Pirates.
Pat Duncan, outfielder for the 1915 Pirates. After debuting mid-season with the 1915 Pirates and getting into just three games, Duncan didn’t see the majors again until four years later. Once he returned, he would end up hitting .307 in 724 games with the Cincinnati Reds. Duncan played a total of 18 years in pro ball, debuted in the minors in 1912, the spending another five seasons in the minors after his final big league game. In all, he compiled over 2,300 career hits. He spent his first season in pro ball with Marion of the Class-D Ohio State League at 18 years old. There’s no stats available from that season, but we know he did well in 1913 when he moved to the Southern Michigan League (Class-D), where he hit .299 with 23 extra-base hits in 97 games for the Flint Vehicles. He switched teams in the same league (now reclassified as Class-C) during the 1914 season and hit .285 with 43 extra-base hits and 46 steals in 147 games for Battle Creek. He was with Battle Creek at the start of 1915, hitting .323 with 23 extra-base hits and 27 steals in 61 games, but the league folded after two months and it left him searching for a job. His landing spot was the Pittsburgh Pirates, who announced on July 8th that they signed him to a contract. It was reported that he received offers from 14 clubs, including other minor league teams. The Pirates got him when owner Barney Dreyfuss offered him a $300 bonus for signing.
Duncan got one start in center field and two pinch-hitting appearances for the Pirates. After spending three weeks with the Pirates, going 1-for-5 in three games, he was released to Grand Rapids of the Class-B Central League on July 28th, where he hit .295 in 30 games. The Pirates had the option to recall him at the end of the season, but they let that option lapse, officially ending his time with the team. He hit .328 in 124 games with Grand Rapids in 1916. The next three seasons were spent with Birmingham of the Southern Association, though some of that time was lost to service during WWI. His best season there was 1919 and it helped him get back to the majors with the Reds late in that season. He played 31 games for Cincinnati that year, hitting .241 with 17 RBIs in 31 games. They won the World Series that year over the Chicago White Sox (Black Sox scandal) and he hit .269 with eight RBIs and seven runs scored in the eight-game series.
In 1920, Duncan was the everyday left fielder, playing a career high 154 games. He hit .295 with 75 runs scored and 83 RBIs. He boosted that average to .308 in 1921, with 27 doubles, ten triples, 60 RBIs and 57 runs scored in 145 games. The next season saw him set career highs with a .328 average, 44 doubles, 94 runs scored and 94 RBIs. In 1923, Duncan batted .327 in 147 games, with 41 extra-base hits, 83 RBIs and 92 runs scored. His 1924 season ended up being his last. He hit .270 with 37 RBIs and 34 runs scored in 70 games. He went to Minneapolis of the American Association the next season and showed that he still had something left, but he still never returned to the majors. Duncan hit .345, .351 and .352 over the 1925-27 seasons, playing a total of 468 games during that stretch. He played two more seasons of pro ball before retiring, seeing time with Minneapolis each year, while also playing for two other teams. His actual first name was Louis Baird Duncan, but he went by the nickname Pat. We posted an extended article about his time in Pittsburgh here.
Eddie Burke, outfielder for the 1890 Alleghenys. He debuted in pro ball in 1886 at 19 years old, and played for four teams over four seasons before making the majors. Burke debuted in the Pennsylvania State Association and saw time with three teams during that first year. He played 20 games with Scranton that year, then spent the entire 1887 season in Scranton, though part of the year was spent in the International Association. His full stats aren’t available for those two seasons, but we know that when he moved to Toronto of the International Association in 1888, he hit .237 with 34 extra-base hits, 95 runs scored and 107 stolen bases in 111 games. He was back in Toronto for 1889 and hit .315 with 34 extra-base hits, 102 runs scored and 97 steals in 109 games, which led to his big league shot.
As a rookie in 1890 for the Philadelphia Quakers, Burke was hitting .263 with 38 steals and 85 runs scored in 100 games prior to being acquired by Pittsburgh. The Alleghenys acquired him in August in a two-for-one swap with the Quakers. Pittsburgh got Bill Day and Burke (and cash), while Philadelphia got star outfielder Billy Sunday. It was a move made out of necessity for a team that was trying to scrape by to make it through the end of the season. However, the Alleghenys would have made out much better on the deal if they decided to keep Burke after the season because Sunday decided to retire before the 1891 season. Burke hit .210 over 31 games for the worst team in franchise history. He finished that rookie year with 102 runs scored and 44 steals in 131 games. Despite the youth and success before joining the Alleghenys, he was let go after the season and signed with Milwaukee of the American Association, where he hit .236 and scored 31 runs in 36 games in 1891.
Burke split the 1892 season between the Cincinnati Reds and New York Giants after the American Association shut down following the 1891 season. He did poorly in 15 games with the Reds, then had success with the Giants. On the season, he hit .248 with 55 walks, 45 RBIs, 44 stolen bases and 87 runs in 104 games. In 1893, he led the league in games played (135) and hit-by-pitches (25), while hitting .279 with 42 extra-base hits, 122 runs, 54 stolen bases and 80 RBIs. Offense was up all around baseball in 1894 and Burke was no different. He hit .307 with 124 runs, 38 extra-base hits, 77 RBIs and 36 steals in a career high 138 games. He played 95 games in 1895, finishing with a .263 average, 33 steals and 90 runs scored. Midway through that season he was suspended by the Giants for what was likely a drinking related incident. He ended up rejoining the Reds to finish the season and remained there for the rest of his big league career. His best season perhaps came in 1896 when he hit .340 with 120 runs scored, 52 RBIs and 53 steals in 122 games for the Reds. Despite the success one year earlier, the 1897 season turned out to be his last in the majors. That year he hit .266 with 71 runs scored in 95 games. He played another four years in the minors before retiring, which basically made his career an even split between the majors and minors, with equal stints (time-wise) in the minors on both sides of his big league career. Burke was a .280 hitter over eight seasons in the majors and three times he scored over 120 runs in a season. He had 293 stolen bases, 413 RBIs and scored 747 runs in 855 games.