This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History: October 14th, Al Oliver and Two Big World Series Wins

There have been 11 former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date, including a key member of the Lumber Company. There are also two games of note.

Al Oliver, outfielder/first baseman for the Pirates from 1968 until 1977. He signed with the Pirates out of high school as a 17-year-old in June of 1964 and made his debut the next year in Gastonia, where he hit .309 with 34 extra-base hits and 13 steals in 123 games. Oliver played for Raleigh in the Carolina League in 1966 and hit .299 with 39 extra-base hits and 17 steals in 117 games. He repeated the level to start the next year, but was promoted to Double-A to finish the 1967 season, where he struggled. He combined to bat .262 in 78 games that season, though after the year he went to the Fall Instructional League, where they used to keep track of stats and play a full schedule with players from all levels of the system. Oliver batted .312 in 47 games during that fall season. Despite hitting just .222 during his time in Double-A in 1967, he was promoted to Triple-A. for the 1968 season. By the end of the year he was in the majors with the Pirates and got into four late-season games, after he hit .315 with 22 doubles, 13 triples and 14 homers in 132 games for Columbus of the International League.

Oliver was in the majors to stay in 1969, and he played well, finishing second in the National League Rookie of the Year voting due to his .285 average, 17 homers and 70 RBIs in 129 games. He mainly played first base during his first two full seasons, but from 1971 through 1977 he mostly played center field with the Pirates. Oliver hit .270 with 33 doubles, 12 homers and 83 RBIs during the 1970 season. When the Pirates won the World Series in 1971, he helped them get there by hitting .282 with 31 doubles, seven triples, 14 homers, 64 RBIs and 69 runs scored in 143 games. He drove in five runs during the NLCS against the San Francisco Giants, but slumped a bit in the World Series, hitting .211 with two RBIs. In 1972, Oliver topped .300 for the first time (.312), while also making his first All-Star appearance. He had 43 extra-base hits, 89 RBIs and 88 runs scored, helping the Pirates to the postseason, where he hit .250 with a home run. He finished seventh in the NL MVP voting. In 1973, he set his Pirates highs with 20 homers and 99 RBIs, while batting .292 with 38 doubles and 90 runs scored, which gained him mild MVP support that year. In 1974, he set his Pittsburgh highs with 96 runs scored, 198 hits and 11 triples. He batted .321 with 60 extra-base hits and 85 RBIs, which led to his second seventh place finish in the MVP voting. Oliver had a rough postseason, hitting .143 with two singles and two walks.

Oliver batted .280 with 39 doubles, eight triples, 18 homers, 84 RBIs and 90 runs scored in 155 games in 1975, giving him his second All-Star season in Pittsburgh. He set a career high (to that point) with his .323 average during the 1976 season, when he had just 29 strikeouts in 121 games. His .839 OPS that season was his best in Pittsburgh. He made his third All-Star appearance and he finished 12th in the MVP voting. In 1977, Oliver hit .308 in 1977, with 29 doubles, 19 homers, 82 RBIs and 75 runs scored in 154 games. His OPS was just five points below his high with the Pirates and he gained mild MVP support for the fifth time in Pittsburgh. He played a total of 1,302 games in a Pirates uniform, and his 1,490 hits during that time ranks him 12th in team history.  His 276 doubles ranks 11th in team history and his 717 RBIs is the 13th highest total. The Pirates dealt Oliver in December of 1977 to the Texas Rangers as part of a four-team trade that brought Hall of Fame pitcher Bert Blyleven and outfielder John Milner back to Pittsburgh.

In 1978, Oliver hit .324 with 35 doubles, 14 homers, 89 RBIs and 65 runs scored in 133 games, which led to a 14th place finish in the American League MVP voting. His .848 OPS set a new person high, but he would top that number later in his career. The next year saw him hit .323 with 44 extra-base hits, 76 RBIs and 69 runs scored in 136 games. His best season in Texas was 1980 when he was an All-Star and won his first Silver Slugger award. He set career highs with 209 hits and 117 RBIs, while tying career highs with 96 runs scored and 43 doubles. He hit .319, with 19 homers in 163 games that year. During the strike-shortened 1981 season, Oliver hit .309 with 29 doubles, 55 RBIs and 53 runs scored in 102 games. That performance earned him an All-Star appearance and a second Silver Slugger award. He also received mild MVP support. At the end of Spring Training in 1982, he was traded to the Montreal Expos. With the Expos that season, he led the NL with a .331 average, with 204 hits, 43 doubles and 109 RBIs. The average and doubles were career highs, as was his 22 homers and .906 OPS. He finished third in the MVP voting that season, won his third Silver Slugger and made his sixth All-Star appearance.

Oliver had his final All-Star season in 1983 when he hit .300 with 84 RBIs, 70 runs scored and a league leading 38 doubles. He finished 19th in the MVP voting. The Expos traded him to the San Francisco Giants prior to the 1984 season. His stay there was short, as he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in August. He hit .301 with 26 doubles and 48 RBIs in 119 games between the two stops. He was traded two more times in the next year, first going to the Los Angeles Dodgers before the 1985 season, then after playing 35 games, he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays, where he finished his career later that season. He batted .252 in 96 games during his final season. Oliver finished his 18-year career with a .303 average in 2,368 games, with 529 doubles (which ranks 43rd all-time), 219 homers, 1,326 RBIs, 1,189 runs scored and 2,743 hits, which ranks 58th all-time in baseball history. He made seven All-Star games and won three Silver Slugger awards in his career.

Miguel Del Pozo, pitcher for the 2020 Pirates. He was signed by the Miami Marlins as an international amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2010 at 17 years old. He debuted in the Dominican Summer League in 2011, where he went 3-3, 5.09 in 40.2 innings, with 47 strikeouts. In 2012, Del Pozo moved up to the Gulf Coast League and had a 4.02 ERA in 31.1 innings, while pitching mostly in relief. He struggled with Batavia of the New York-Penn League in 2013, posting a 4.81 ERA in 24.1 innings over 17 relief appearances. In 2014, he pitched for Greensboro of the Low-A South Atlantic League, where he went 2-6, 4.91 in 66 innings over 41 relief outings. He moved up to the Florida State League (High-A) in 2015, where he had a 4.25 ERA in 59.1 innings over 27 appearances, including five starts. He missed the end of the year due to Tommy John surgery and didn’t return until 2017. Del Pozo was dominant in his return, pitching for four different teams, ranging from the rookie level to Double-A. He combined to post an 0.70 ERA in 25.2 innings over 22 games. He got some extra work in during the Arizona Fall League, but that did not go well, with 13 runs allowed in 12.1 innings. In 2018, he was injured early on, then spent the last three months of the season in Double-A, going 5-0, 3.97 in 34 innings over 28 appearances. He signed with the Texas Rangers as a free agent over the off-season, while also pitched 19 times in relief in the Dominican during winter ball. In 2019, he lasted in Triple-A for Texas until he was sold to the Los Angeles Angels in August. He made his big league debut a short time later and really struggled, with 11 runs allowed in 9.1 innings over 17 relief outings.

The Angels let Del Pozo go after the 2019 season and he signed with the Pirates as a free agent. He was with the team for 11 days during the shortened 2020 season, coming up in late July and getting sent back on August 8th, five days before he was designated for assignment. In 3.2 innings over five appearances with the Pirates, he allowed seven runs in 3.2 innings. Del Pozo became a free agent after the season and signed with the Detroit Tigers. He spent most of 2021 in the minors, though he was called up four different times before landing on the injured list late in the year. He pitched five games in the majors in 2021, allowing two runs in 5.1 innings. He has a 9.82 ERA in 18.1 innings over 27 games.

Kris Johnson, pitcher for the 2013 Pirates. He was a first round draft pick by the Boston Red Sox in 2006, selected 40th overall out of Wichita State. Three years earlier, the Anaheim Angels took him in the 50th round out of high school. Johnson debuted in pro ball with Lowell of the New York-Penn League, where he had an 0.88 ERA in 30.2 innings. In his first full season in 2007, he jumped to the high offense environment of Lancaster in the High-A California League, where he went 9-7, 5.56 in 136 innings over 27 starts. In 2008, Johnson went to Portland of the Double-A Eastern League, where he had an 8-9, 3.63 record in 136.1 innings over 27 starts. He split the 2009 season between Double-A and Triple-A, struggling at both spots, putting up identical 6.35 ERAs, while throwing a total of 113.1 innings. He pitched winter ball in the Dominican, then came back in 2011 and had a horrible time with Triple-A Pawtucket, posting a 12.63 ERA in 20.2 innings.

Johnson was released during the 2011 season and finished the year in independent ball. He signed with the Pirates over the 2011-12 off-season when he once again pitched winter ball in the Dominican. He split the 2012 season between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis, combining to go 8-4, 3.19 in 101.2 innings over 13 starts and 22 relief appearances. After dominating in winter ball in the Dominican over the 2012-13 off-season, allowing two earned runs in 27 innings, Johnson went 10-4, 2.39 in 135.2 innings at Triple-A in 2013. The Pirates called him up for one game in August, then he returned for three games in September. In one start and three relief appearances with the 2013 Pirates, he went 0-2, 6.10 in 10.1 innings. After the season, he was traded to the Minnesota Twins for pitcher Duke Welker, who was sent to the Twins by the Pirates in an earlier trade. Johnson went 10-7, 3.95 in 23 starts for Triple-A Rochester of the International League. The Twins called him up for a spot start on May 1st, in which he threw 4.1 scoreless innings, though he walked six batters. In July, he returned to Minnesota for two more starts that saw him allow seven runs over nine innings. That would be his last big league experience and his last season in the minors as well, though he didn’t retire. Johnson pitched through the 2020 season, spending his last six years in Japan. He compiled 125 wins and threw over 2,000 innings over all levels of pro ball.

Duaner Sanchez, pitcher for the 2002-03 Pirates. He was signed at 16 years old as an amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 1996 by the Arizona Diamondbacks. It took him six years to make the majors, then almost immediately after his debut, he was traded to the Pirates for reliever Mike Fetters. Sanchez debuted in the Dominican Summer League, where he played the 1997-98 seasons (no stats available). He moved up to the U.S. in 1999, where he mainly pitched for Missoula of the short-season Pioneer League, though he also had three appearances in High-A. He went 5-3, 3.94 in 77.2 innings as a starting pitcher. In 2000, Sanchez spent the season in the Low-A Midwest League, where he went 8-9, 3.65 in 165.1 innings over 28 starts. He split the 2001 season between High-A and Double-A, pitching in the high-offense environment of Lancaster in the California League, he went 2-4, 4.58 in ten starts. He moved up to El Paso of the Texas League and had a 3-7, 6.78 record in 70.1 innings over 13 starts. He moved to relief and split 2002 between five teams at three levels thanks to that mid-season trade to the Pirates. Sanchez allowed six runs over six innings prior to the trade with the Diamondbacks. He pitched three times in 2002 for the Pirates, allowing four runs in 2.1 innings. He spent his most time that year in Double-A, where he made 31 appearances.

In 2003, Sanchez allowed 11 runs in six innings, giving up 3+ runs in three of his appearances. He had two separate stints that year, joining the club in late July, then returning in mid-September. The rest of the year was spent in Triple-A, where he had a 3.69 ERA in 61 innings. The Pirates lost him via waivers to the Los Angeles Dodgers shortly after the 2013 season ended, which proved to be a bad decision. Sanchez had a 3.38 ERA in 80 innings over 67 appearances with the Dodgers in 2004. He made 79 appearances in 2005, posting a 4-7, 3.73 record in 82 innings, with eight saves. After the season, Sanchez was traded to the New York Mets, where he had a 2.60 ERA in 55.1 innings over 49 appearances in 2006. He suffered a shoulder injury in a taxi accident late in the season, which required shoulder surgery. The next season saw him come to Spring Training out of shape, which got him into trouble with the Mets. However, late in Spring Training, he suffered a broken bone in the same shoulder, which required a second surgery and ended his season before it started.

Sanchez returned in 2008 and made 66 appearances for the Mets, posting a 5-1, 4.32 record in 58.1 innings. He was released during Spring Training in 2009 and signed with the San Diego Padres a few days later, but they let him go after he had a 9.00 ERA in 12 appearances. That ended up being his final big league time. He pitched winter ball in the Dominican that off-season, then split the 2010 season between Mexico and independent ball. His pro career ended with a brief stint in indy ball in 2011. His final big league line in seven seasons shows a 19-11, 4.10 record in 288 appearances and 298.2 innings pitched. All eight of his career saves came during the 2005 season.

Ryan Church, outfielder for the 2010 Pirates. He was a 14th round pick of the Cleveland Indians in 2000 of of the University of Nevada, who was traded to the Montreal Expos shortly before his big league debut in 2004. Church debuted strong in the short-season New York-Penn League in 2000, hitting .298 with 31 extra-base hits and 11 steals in 73 games. In 2001, he split the season between Low-A Columbus of the South Atlantic League (101 games) and Kinston of the High-A Carolina League (24 games), combining to hit .278 with 30 doubles, 22 homers, 72 walks and 80 runs scored. In 2002, Church split the year between Kinston and Double-A Akron of the Eastern League, hitting .307 with 29 doubles, 22 homers and 81 RBIs in 124 games. He spent all of 2003 in Akron, where he batted .261 with 33 extra-base hits in 99 games, which was followed by a trip to the Arizona Fall League. After being traded to the Expos, he spent half of the 2004 season in Triple-A, hitting .343 with 54 extra-base hits in 98 games with Edmonton of the Pacific Coast League, a great park for hitters. He batted .175 in 30 games for the Expos that season.

Church hit .287 with nine homers, 42 RBIs and 41 runs scored in 102 games in 2005 when the Expos franchise moved to Washington. For the 2006 Nationals, he put up an .891 OPS in 71 games, thanks to a .276 average, 17 doubles and ten homers in 196 at-bats. He saw his most playing time in 2007, hitting .272 with career highs of 43 doubles, 15 homers and 70 RBIs in 144 games. Church was traded to the New York Mets after that big season, but he didn’t do as well in New York. He played 90 games in 2008, hitting .276 with 14 doubles, 12 homers, 49 RBIs and 54 runs scored. He moved on to the Atlanta Braves in a mid-season trade in 2009, combining to bat .273 with 28 doubles, four homers and 43 RBIs in 111 games, with slightly better results in 44 games after the trade. Church signed with the Pirates as a free agent in January of 2010. He hit .182 in 69 games (36 starts) with the Pirates, before being dealt to the Arizona Diamondbacks mid-season in a five-player/cash deal. While his time in Pittsburgh was a disaster, he rebounded in Arizona to finish strong, posting an .835 OPS in 35 games. That ended up being his final season in pro ball. Church played seven years in the majors and batted .264, with 56 homers, 267 RBIs and 251 runs scored in 654 games.

Midre Cummings, outfielder for the Pirates from 1993 until 1997.He is one of 15 players in big league history who were born in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Cummings was a first round pick in 1990 out of high school by the Minnesota Twins. He debuted strong in the Gulf Coast League in 1990, hitting .316 with 14 steals in 47 games. In 1991, he went to Low-A Kenosha of the Midwest League, where he hit .322 with 28 extra-base hits and 28 steals in 106 games. The Pirates acquired him from the Twins in March of 1992, along with Denny Neagle, in the John Smiley trade. Cummings spent the 1992 season with Salem of the High-A Carolina League, where he hit .305 with 20 doubles, 14 homers, 75 RBIs and 23 steals in 113 games. The 1993 season was split evenly between Double-A Carolina of the Southern League and Triple-A Buffalo of the American Association. Cummings combined to hit .286 with 47 extra-base hits and ten steals in 123 games, with similar results at each level. He played 13 games for the Pirates that season, hitting .111 in 36 at-bats.

In the strike-shortened 1994 season, Cummings hit .244 in 23 games with the Pirates, and .311 in 49 games with Calgary of the Pacific Coast League, after an affiliation switch. He played 45 games for Calgary in 1995 and 59 games for the Pirates, where he hit .243 with two homers and 15 RBIs. In 1996, Cummings played 97 games for Calgary and 24 for the Pirates. He hit .224 with three homers during his big league time, though his OBP was .221 due to no walks and a sacrifice fly. He spent the entire 1997 season in the majors, just not all in Pittsburgh. With the 1997 Pirates, he hit .189 in 52 games. Cummings didn’t have any success in Pittsburgh, but things changed instantly for him after being picked up mid-1997 off waivers from the Philadelphia Phillies. In 63 games, he batted .302 and played strong defense, leading to 1.8 WAR. Despite playing well, he was released prior to 1998 and signed with the Boston Red Sox, where he put up an .856 OPS as a bench player in 67 games. Even with two solid showings in a row, the rest of his career in the majors amounted to a total of 320 at-bats spread out over five seasons and five teams.

In 1999, Cummings was released at the end of Spring Training and then signed with the Minnesota Twins six weeks later. He played just 16 big league games that season, hitting .263 with one homer. During the 2000 season, he batted .276 with ten doubles and four homers for the Twins, then was traded late in the year back to the Red Sox. He hit .280 in 21 games, though he had just 31 plate appearances. He became a free agent after the season and signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks for 2001. He was a small part of that World Series winning team, going 6-for-20 at the plate in 20 games. Cummings was a pinch-runner during the postseason and scored three runs. In 2002, he signed a minor league deal with the Milwaukee Brewers, but he played just 11 games all year due to shoulder surgery in April. The entire 2003 season was spent in Triple-A with the Chicago Cubs. In 2004, he batted .278 with two homers in 22 games for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. In 2005, he played his final two big league games with the Baltimore Orioles. Cummings played briefly in China in 2006, his final season in pro ball. He played 172 games over his five seasons in Pittsburgh, batting .217 in 501 at-bats. Cummings played for seven teams over his 11 years in the majors, batting .257 in 460 games, with 22 homers, 124 RBIs and 136 runs scored. He stole 75 bases during his first four seasons in the minors, but he attempted just 15 steals during his entire time in the majors.

Tom Cheney, pitcher for the 1960-61 Pirates. He’s the holder of a major big league record that often gets overlooked whenever the discussion arises. Cheney was signed by the St Louis Cardinals in 1952 at 17 years old, and he debuted in the majors five years later at 22 years old. He debuted in pro ball with Albany of the Class-D Georgia-Florida League, where he spent his first two seasons, although that 1952 season consisted of just one game. In 1953, he went 9-12, 3.61 in 172 innings, splitting his time between starting and relief. Cheney moved up to Fresno of the Class-C California League in 1954, where he had a 12-11, 3.86 record in 203 innings, with 207 strikeouts. The next year was spent in A-Ball, with Columbus of the South Atlantic League. He went 14-12, 3.25 in 227 innings, with 153 strikeouts. He pitched one game for Omaha of the Triple-A American Association that season, then spent the next two full years there. In 1956, Cheney went 10-5, 2.93 in 169 innings. That was followed by a 14-8, 2.62 record and 175 strikeouts in 182 innings in 1957. He began that season in the majors, but he was sent down after throwing a total of nine innings over three starts and a relief appearance. He missed the 1958 season due to military service, then returned in 1959 to pitch 11 big league games, posting a 6.94 ERA in 11.2 innings.

The Pirates acquired Cheney from the St Louis Cardinals in December of 1959, along with Gino Cimoli, in exchange for pitcher Ron Kline. Half of the 1960 season was spent making 15 starts in Triple-A, but Cheney also had a 3.98 ERA in 52 innings over eight starts and three relief appearances for the World Series champs. He pitched three postseason games that year, allowing two runs over four innings. In 1961, he lasted just one game, allowing five runs (four earned) without recording an out. In June, he was traded to the Washington Senators for pitcher Tom Sturdivant. Cheney finished out the 1961 season with a 1-3, 8.80 record in seven starts and three relief outings for Washington. He did much better in 1962, posting a 7-9, 3.17 record in 173.1 innings, with 147 strikeouts. There was one major highlight to that season. Cheney pitched one of the best games in baseball history on September 12, 1962 for the Senators against the Baltimore Orioles. He allowed just one run over a 16-inning complete game and set a still-standing single game MLB record with 21 strikeouts. In 1963, he went 8-9, 2.71 in 136.1 innings, allowing just 99 hits all year. He had a quick drop-off in 1964, going 13, 3.70 in 48.2 innings over six starts and nine relief outings. He injured his elbow in 1963, but pitched through it for a time in 1964 until he could go any longer. The injury forced him to miss the end of that season and all of 1965. Cheney returned in 1966 to pitched three games for the Senators, before finishing out his career later that year in the minors. He had a career 19-29, 3.77 record in 466 innings over 71 starts and 44 relief appearances in his eight seasons in the majors.

Ken Heintzelman, pitcher for the 1937-42 and 1946-47 Pirates. He debuted in pro ball at 19 years old in 1935, spending his first season with McKeesport of the Class-D Pennsylvania State League, where he went 10-11, 3.00 in 195 innings. He remained in the same league, playing for Jeannette, where he improved to 20-8, 3.07 in 243 innings. Stats aren’t available online for strikeouts during this time, but a local story credited him with 229 for the season. He also got the nickname “Cannonball” which was put on Ed Morris, who is the Pirates franchise record holder in numerous single-season pitching categories. Heintzelman joined the Pirates at the end of the 1936 season, but never got into a game. He went to Spring Training with the Pirates in 1937, and received a lot of praise for his work, but he was still sent down once the season started. After posting a 4-16, 4.08 record in 205 innings, spent mostly with Knoxville of the Southern Association, Heintzelman rejoined the Pirates in September and got into one game, making a start on the last day of the season. He made the Opening Day roster in 1938, though he pitched just once in relief before being sent to Montreal of the International League for the rest of the season.

Heintzelman finally made the Pirates in 1939. He was used in a mop-up role that year, pitching 35.2 innings over 17 games (two starts), while posting a 5.05 ERA. He saw regular use in 1940, making 16 starts and 23 relief appearances. He went 8-8, 4.47 in 165 innings. His best season for the Pirates was 1941 when he had an 11-11, 3.44 record in 196 innings. He pitched 35 games, 24 as a starter, with 13 complete games. Heintzelman’s stats slipped in 1942 to 8-11, 4.57 in 130 innings, with 18 starts, nine relief outings and three shutouts. Part of the struggle came from an arm injury, which ended his season a few weeks early. He would spend the next three seasons in the Army before returning to the Pirates in 1946. In his first year back, he went 8-12, 3.77 in 157.2 innings, with 24 starts and eight relief appearances. He started off 1947 by allowing 11 runs over his first four innings before he was sold to the Philadelphia Phillies on May 9th. After the sale he went 7-10, 4.04 in 136 innings. In 1948, he had a 6-11, 4.29 record in 130 innings, with 16 starts and 11 relief outings.

In 1949, Heintzelman had his best season. He went 17-10, 3.02 in 250 innings. It was the only season as a starter that he didn’t switch between starting and relief during his career. He had one relief outing and 32 starts, with career highs of 15 complete games and a National League leading five shutouts. He finished ninth in the MVP voting. The Phillies made it to the World Series in 1950, though Heintzelman had a down year, going 3-9, 4.09 in 125.1 innings over 17 starts and six relief outings. He went 6-12, 4.18 in 118.1 innings in 1951 when he made 12 starts and 23 relief outings. His final season in the majors was 1952, and he was in a relief role, going 1-3, 3.16 in 42.2 innings over 23 games. While he was done in the majors at 36 years old, he pitched another three seasons in the minors, pitching for Baltimore (1953) and Richmond (1954-55) of the International League. Heintzelman went 37-43, 4.14 in 699.1 innings over 86 starts and 68 relief appearances with the Pirates. He had a 40-55, 3.75 record in Philadelphia, with 97 starts, 68 relief appearances and 802.1 innings pitched. You can read much more on Heintzelman in our in depth Obscure Pittsburgh Pirates article.

Hugh Casey, pitcher for the 1949 Pirates. He spent three seasons in the minors right out of high school before the Chicago Cubs purchased his contract for the 1935 season. He pitched 13 games in Chicago, then returned to the minors, where he stayed until the Brooklyn Dodgers made him a Rule 5 pick after the 1938 season.  Casey debuted in pro ball at 18 years old in 1932, playing for Atlanta of the Southern Association, a Class-A team which was a bit advanced for a first-year player out of high school. He had a 5.77 ERA in 53 innings. He moved down one level to Charlotte of the Piedmont League, where he went 19-9 and pitched 239 innings. He returned to Atlanta in 1934 and had an 8-6, 4.90 record in 156 innings. The entire 1935 season was spent with the Cubs, with 13 relief appearances spread throughout the year. He had a 3.86 ERA in 25.2 innings. From there, Casey spent 1936 with Los Angeles of the Pacific Coast League, then the 1937-38 seasons were spent in the Southern Association, where he went 14-13, 2.56 in 236 innings with Birmingham in 1937 and 13-14, 3.37 in 291 innings with Memphis in 1938. Casey joined Brooklyn in 1939 and had a full-time role right away, going 15-10, 2.93 in 227.1 innings over 25 starts and 15 relief outings. He pitched more in relief the next season, posting an 11-8, 3.62 record in 154 innings over ten starts and 34 relief appearances.

In 1941, Casey started 18 times and pitched in relief 27 times. He went 14-11, 3.89 in 162 innings. That was followed by a 6-3, 2.25 record in 112 innings in 1942 when he pitched 48 times in relief and made two spot starts. While not a stat at the time, he is retroactively credited with a league leading 13 saves. Casey spent the 1943-45 seasons serving in the military. He returned in 1946 to go 11-5, 1.99 in 99.2 innings over 46 games. In 1947, he had a 10-4, 3.99 record in 76.2 innings over 46 games. Despite his workload dropping and his ERA doubling, he finished 12th in the National League MVP voting. In 1948, he saw limited work due to poor results, with a 3-0 record, despite an 8.00 ERA in 36 innings. He was released by Brooklyn shortly after the season ended and signed right away with the Pirates as a free agent. Casey went 4-1, 4.66 in 38.2 innings before the Pirates released him in early August. He finished his nine-year big league career with the New York Yankees later that season, giving up ten runs in 7.2 innings over four appearances. In his career, he went 75-42, 3.45 in 939.2 innings, making 56 starts and 287 relief appearances. His pro career ended where it started, spending the 1950 season back with Atlanta of the Southern Association.

Ona Dodd, infielder for the 1912 Pirates. The Pirates signed Dodd after his first season of pro ball in 1911, though he had previous experience for semi-pro and independent teams. The Pirates acquired him through the Rule 5 draft on September 1, 1911, back when big league teams paid a fee to acquire minor league players at the end of each season. He was with the Pirates during Spring Training in 1912 and made a strong impression, but was still shipped to the minors on April 7th, which still left the Pirates with eight infielders at the time. He was originally released on option to Indianapolis of the American Association, but he ended up going elsewhere two weeks later. Dodd played for Wheeling of the Class-B Central League during the early parts of the 1912 season, where he hit .343 in 90 games. He was recalled by the Pirates and rejoined the team on July 25th. In what turned out to be his only big league experience, he went 0-for-9 with a walk and an RBI in five games for the Pirates, seeing all of his time at second base. His online stats show time at third base, but he never played there.

Dodd debuted with the Pirates on July 26th and played his final game on August 14th. In his second (and last) start at second base on July 27th, it was said that he hit the ball well all three times, and even accounted for an RBI on a ground out in the fifth inning. His final three games were off of the bench, including a pinch-running appearance on July 31st. He was released by the Pirates on September 28th to Columbus of the American Association, eight days before the regular season ended. He had two footnotes in September during his time with the Pirates. On September 3rd, he went home on an off-day and got caught in a flood and couldn’t get back to the team right away. A week later, the Pirates went on a road trip and he was one of five players left at Forbes Field to practice, which was done often back then to save on travel costs. Dodd played a total of eight seasons in the minors, debuting in 1911 at 24 years old in the Texas League, where he hit .246 with 43 extra-base hits in 144 games for Waco. He spent seven of his eight minor league seasons in the Texas League (all except 1912), playing for four different teams. Most of his minor league stats are incomplete, but the ones that are available show that he hit about .280 each season with a decent amount of doubles.

Norm Baker, pitcher for the 1883 Alleghenys. He debuted in the majors in late May of 1883 at the age of 20 and made three starts for Pittsburgh, going 0-2, 3.32 in 19 innings. Just four days before his big league debut, he was pitching amateur ball for a team called the Hartville club from Philadelphia. In his debut for the Alleghenys on May 21st in Philadelphia, he dueled Bobby Mathews, a 297-game winner,  to a 1-1 tie through seven innings. In the eighth, Pittsburgh committed two errors, which led to three runs being scored. and a 4-1 loss for Baker. He was thrown out there again the very next day against the same Philadelphia Athletics club and lost 9-1. Short on pitching, the Alleghenys took Baker with them to Baltimore and threw him out there for a third straight game on May 24th. He lasted just one inning in the pitcher’s box before being sent to left field to finish the game. He allowed three runs, but the Alleghenys still won 16-4. Some reports only credit him with 18 innings with Pittsburgh (8 IP debut, 9 IP second game, 1 IP final), which would change his ERA with the team. His final game with the Alleghenys came on May 30th when he started in center field that was shortened to five innings due to rain. On June 1st, he was given a chance to show what he had against a strong minor league team that was playing in Pittsburgh at the time, called the Enterprise, which played in the Western Interstate League. Unfortunately, both game recaps said little more than a small crowd watched a 13-5 (or 14-5) Alleghenys win, with little interest in the outcome. This was the only home game for Baker.

Baker had two other stints in the big leagues, pitching for Louisville in 1885 and Baltimore in 1890. He jumped around a lot during his pro career, not playing a full season with just one team until 1891. He debuted in pro ball during his season with the Alleghenys, also seeing time that year with Johnstown of the Western International League. In 1884, he played for Springfield of the Ohio State League and Oil City of the Iron & Oil Association. Half of the 1885 season was spent with Nashville of the Southern League, where he’s credited with a 10-4, 0.58 record in 14 complete games. He allowed 52 runs, but just eight of those runs are considered to be earned runs. Baker also played for Louisville of the American Association that year, where he went 13-12, 3.40 in 217 innings, completing all of his 24 starts. In 1886, Baker went 17-8, 1.48 in 230.2 innings with Nashville, while also seeing brief time with Rochester of the International League, where he allowed two earned runs in 35 innings. He has no stats available for the 1887-89 seasons, but records show him playing each season with two teams, playing with four teams total including two partial seasons with Stockton of the California League, and two seasons in Newark, NJ, with teams in two different leagues. In 1890, he was with Baltimore of the Atlantic League, where he had a 29-10 record. In late August, the Brooklyn Gladiators of the American Association folded and Baltimore took their place in the league to finish out the last 38 games of the schedule. Baker pitched just twice, going 1-1, 3.71 in 17 innings, in what ended up being his last big league action. He pitched for Omaha of the Western Association in 1891 and then finished his pro career with Minneapolis of the Western League during the 1894-95 seasons. In his three big league seasons, he went 14-15, 3.42 in 253 innings.

The Games

The Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Baltimore Orioles in game five of the World Series on this date in both 1971 and 1979. On this date in 1971, they took a 3-2 lead in the series on a 4-0 shutout by Nelson Briles, who allowed just two hits. Bob Robertson homered and Gene Clines scored two runs. In 1979, the Pirates started their comeback from down 3-1 in the series on this date by winning 7-1, getting strong starting pitcher from Jim Rooker and excellent relief work by Bert Blyleven. Bill Madlock had four hits and Tim Foli drove in three runs.

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