A total of 11 former Pittsburgh Pirates have been born on this date, plus we have one major game of note.
Bob Harmon, Pitcher for the 1914-16 and 1918 Pirates. He came to the Pirates from the St Louis Cardinals as part of an eight-player deal in December of 1913, which did not go well for the Pirates. However, Harmon wasn’t supposed to be the main return piece, but he ended up easily being the best player they got back in the disastrous deal. His pro career began in 1909 at 21 years old and his time in the minors was short. He played for Shreveport of the Texas League that season, where he had a 5-4 record in 94 innings. No ERA is available, but he allowed 3.93 runs per nine innings. He finished the season with the Cardinals, where he went 6-11, 3.68 in 159 innings. In 1910, he had a 13-15, 4.46 record in 236 innings. That win/loss record is actually very impressive considering that the Cardinals finished 63-90 and the league average ERA was 3.02 that season, so he was well below average on a very bad team. In 1911, Harmon improved to 23-16, 3.13 in 348 innings. He tossed 28 complete games, but also led the league in walks for the second straight time, racking up 181 that season. That large win title helped him get mild MVP support, finishing 14th in the voting. In 1912, he had a 18-18, 3.93 record in 268 innings. The Cardinals were 63-90 again that season, and his ERA was 53 points above league average, so his win-loss record once again defied the odds. In 1913, Harmon’s win-loss record finally matched his pitching for a poor team. He went 8-21, 3.92 in 273.1 innings, while leading the league with 291 hits allowed. The Cardinals finished in last place, and the ERA for the league dropped to 3.20 that season.
After the 1913 season, the Pirates gave up five players, including Dots Miller and Chief Wilson, in a return that netted them veterans Ed Konetchy, Mike Mowrey and Harmon. They were giving up too much to begin with, but the deal really went south in a hurry when Mowrey was released during the 1914 season and Konetchy jumped to the Federal League after the season. Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss wanted Konetchy for a long time and praised him numerous times before acquiring him, so he paid too much. Dots Miller outplayed Konetchy at first base in 1914 and didn’t skip his team, turning that portion of the deal one-sided. Harmon salvaged the deal a bit by improving with the Pirates. He had a 68-81, 3.78 record in five seasons for the St Louis Cardinals. Harmon had his best season in his first year with Pittsburgh, posting a 2.53 ERA in 245 innings over 30 starts and seven relief outings, though that lower ERA came with a 13-17 record because the Pirates record dropped, while the revitalized Cardinals improved 30 games in the standings thanks to the Pirates.
Harmon was just as good the next year with a 2.50 ERA, but again he finished under .500, this time going 16-17 in 32 starts and five relief appearances. He also threw five shutouts. It should be pointed out that the 1912 season was the real decline in offense during the deadball era, with league ERAs dropping to an average of 2.78 in 1914 and 2.75 in 1915, so while Harmon really improved, the rest of the league improved with him. In 1916, Harmon split his time between starting and the bullpen, going 8-11, 2.81 in 172.2 innings. The league ERA was down to 2.61 that season. After sitting out the 1917 season due to a salary dispute, he pitched one more year for the Pirates before retiring, going 2-7, 2.62 in 82.1 innings in 1918, which was a shortened year due to the war. Harmon was 39-52, 2.60 in 769.2 innings over 88 starts and 33 relief appearances for the Pirates. He threw 2,054 innings and had a 3.33 ERA in his nine-year career
Mule Watson, pitcher for the 1920 Pirates. He won a total of 50 games over a seven-year big league career, spending time with four different clubs. Watson played pro ball for a total of 12 seasons, starting and finishing with three seasons in the minors. He debuted in pro ball at 19 years old in 1916, playing his first two seasons with Fort Smith of the Class-D Western Association. Limited stats are available from those two years, but they show a 5-3 record in nine games in 1916, and a 12-8 record in 28 games and 221 innings pitched in 1917. The next year saw him move up to Class-B New Haven of the Eastern League, where he went 8-7 in 15 games, throwing 140 innings. That was enough to get him a mid-season gig with the 1918 Philadelphia Athletics, where he went 7-10, 3.37 in 141.2 innings, while throwing three shutouts. He also put in a little time with the war effort, though the war ended not long after he joined in. His big league time in 1919 was limited to two starts and two relief outings early in the year. He posted a 6.91 ERA in 14.1 innings. The rest of the year was split between two minors league teams, where he threw 101 innings back with New Haven, while also making four appearances with Baltimore of the International League.
Watson’s time in Pittsburgh consisted of 11.1 innings over five relief appearances. He gave up runs in each of his first four appearances with the Pirates, including six runs over three innings on June 29th. The Pirates acquired him via waivers on May 27, 1920 from the Boston Braves and lost him via waivers back to the Braves on July 8th. He had one scoreless appearance with Boston before joining the Pirates and it came against the Pirates when he threw three no-hit innings in relief. Shortly after returning to Boston, he threw a three-hit 1-0 shutout over Hall of Fame pitcher Grover Alexander and the Chicago Cubs. The Pirates never gave him a chance to start during his six weeks with the club. Watson finished out the 1920 season by going 5-4, 3.77 in 71.2 innings during his second stint with the Braves. In 1921, he went 14-13, 3.85 in 259.1 innings, setting career highs with wins, innings, games pitched (44), starts (31) and complete games (15). The next year saw him go 8-14, 4.70 in 201 innings over 27 starts and 14 relief appearances.
Watson finished his big league career as a member of the 1923-24 New York Giants, going to the World Series two years in a row. He had a 5.17 ERA in 31.1 innings with Boston in 1923 before he was part of a four-player deal with the Giants on June 7th. After the deal, he had an 8-5, 3.41 record in 108.1 innings. In 1924, he went 7-4, 3.79 in 16 starts and six relief appearances, throwing a total of 99.1 innings. His final big league appearance came in game three of the 1924 World Series, where he recorded the final two outs to save a 6-4 win. Watson finished with a 50-53, 4.03 record in 124 starts and 54 relief appearances over seven big league seasons, throwing a total of 941.2 innings. He was back in the minors by age 28 in 1925, where he played for four teams in four leagues over three seasons before retiring. His real first name was John. It’s interesting to note that while he was in Pittsburgh, he was only referred to as John, and there was a local outlaw league player at the time who was called Mule Watson. That other Watson was Milt Watson, who pitched in the majors during the 1916-19 seasons. So it appears that the Pirates Watson just picked up the other players nickname later in his career when the other was out of pro ball.
Mule Haas, outfielder for the 1925 Pirates. He played a bit part on the Pirates second World Series winning club, going 0-for-3 with a run scored in four late season games. Haas spent the next two years in the minors, then played 11 more seasons in the majors, helping the Philadelphia A’s to three straight World Series appearances (1929-31). He was known as one of the best bunters of his day, leading the league in sacrifice hits six times between 1930 and 1936. The Pirates signed him as an amateur in February of 1923 at 19 years old. He went to Spring Training with them, then was assigned to Williamsport of the New York-Penn League, where he hit .342 in 114 games. Haas was sent to Oklahoma City by the Pirates in 1924, then moved mid-season to Pittsfield of the Eastern League. He batted .293 in 136 games, with 50 extra-base hits. The Pirates sent Haas to Birmingham of the Southern Association in 1925, then recalled him on August 14th, after he hit .316 in 99 games. Despite being with the Pirates for 50 days, he played just four games, including his first and last days with the club. In between he pinch-ran on August 29th and pinch-hit on September 26th. On February 13, 1926, he was released outright to Atlanta of the Southern Association, ending his time with the Pirates.
Haas batted .299 with 28 doubles and 18 triples for Atlanta in 1926. The next year in Atlanta he improved to a .323 average in 153 games, with 34 doubles, 19 triples and ten homers. He joined the A’s in 1928 and platooned in the outfield during his first season, hitting .280 with 31 extra-base hits and 41 runs scored in 91 games. In 1929, he hit .313 in 139 games as the starting center field. Somewhat surprisingly in 1929, he set career highs in sacrifice hits (40) in the same season he also set highs in runs scored (115), hits (181), doubles (41), triples (9) and homers (16). In 1930, Haas batted .299 with 33 doubles, 68 RBIs and 91 runs scored in 132 games. It was actually a down year for him, as the 1930 season was a huge year for offense in baseball. In 1931, he hit .323 in 102 games, with 44 extra-base hits and 82 runs scored. The next season saw him hit .305 with 65 RBIs, 62 walks and 91 runs scored in 143 games.
Just after the 1932 season ended Haas was sold to the Chicago White Sox, along with Jimmy Dykes and Hall of Famer Al Simmons for $100,000. Haas hit .287 with 33 doubles, 65 walks and 97 runs scored in 146 games for the 1933 White Sox. In 1934, he hit .268 with 54 runs scored in 106 games. His .702 OPS was his lowest mark for a full season. The next season he moved from center field to right field and hit .291 in 92 games, with 40 RBIs and 44 runs scored. In 1936, he batted .284 in 119 games, with 26 doubles, 75 runs scored and 64 walks. That was his last season as a full-time player. In 1937, Haas saw most of his time at first base. He played 54 games and hit just .207, with a .601 OPS. He was released by the White Sox after the season and re-signed with the A’s for his final season in the majors. As a seldom-used bench player, he had a .542 OPS in 93 plate appearances over 40 games. He was a .292 career hitter in 1,168 games, with 706 runs scored, 496 RBIs and 433 walks. He stole just 12 bases (in 28 attempts) during his career. Haas was a player-manager in the minors in 1939, his last season as a player. He also managed in the minors during the 1948-50 seasons. His real first name was George.
Don Carlsen, pitcher for the 1951-52 Pirates. He played a total of eight seasons in pro ball, debuting in 1947 at 20 years old with Tulsa of the Double-A Texas League, where he hit 8-7, 3.04 in 151 innings. His only big league experience besides his two seasons with the Pirates was one inning for the 1948 Chicago Cubs. He began that season with the Cubs, but he was let go to the minors after allowing four runs in his only inning of work on April 28th. He pitched the rest of that season for Los Angeles of the Pacific Coast League, where he was 7-6, 5.20 in 116 innings. Carlsen spent all of 1949 with Los Angeles, going 9-8, 4.73 in 135 innings. He nursed an arm injury for much of the 1950 season while still property of the Chicago Cubs, pitching just 16 innings total for Nashville of the Southern Association. He then he moved on to Hollywood of the Pacific Coast League in early 1951. He was traded to New Orleans of the Southern Association in early May, then the Pirates purchased his contract on August 15th and had him starting game one of a doubleheader four days later. He had an 11-3, 3.05 record in 121 innings in the minors that season.
Carlsen won both of his first two starts with the Pirates, giving up three earned runs over 21 innings. He lost his next three decisions, giving up 18 runs over 22 innings in September. Carlsen had a 4.19 ERA in 43 innings for the 1951 Pirates, making six starts and one relief appearance. In 1952, he made five early season appearances (one start) for a team that finished up 42-112, allowing a total of 13 runs in ten innings. He spent the rest of that season in the minors, seeing time with New Orleans and Denver of the Class-A Western League. The Pirates traded him to Charleston of the South Atlantic League for catcher Bill Hall on October 13, 1952, but he ended up back in New Orleans for 1953. His final season of pro ball was spent with Williamsport, the Pirates affiliate in the Class-A Eastern League in 1954. He had a 2-4, 5.43 record in 53 innings during his two seasons in Pittsburgh.
Bill Henry, Pitcher for the 1968 Pirates. He was a lefty reliever for 16 years in the majors, pitching a total of 527 games for six different teams. He debuted in pro ball in 1948, playing two seasons for the Class-C Clarksdale Planters of the Cotton States League. He went 6-9, 4.58 in 119 innings during his first season, then came back with a 14-14, 3.23 record in 195 innings. Most of the 1950 season was spent in the Class-B Big States League, where he went 11-7, 3.29 in 164 innings. He pitched one game that season for Shreveport of the Double-A Texas League, then remained in Shreveport for the entire 1951 season. Henry had a 12-15, 4.44 record in 229 innings. From there he moved up to the majors with the Boston Red Sox, though he spent most of the year with San Diego of the Pacific Coast League in 1952, where he went 7-9, 3.59 in 123 innings. With Boston, he went 5-4, 3.87 in 76.2 innings. In 1953, he split the season between the Red Sox and Louisville of the Triple-A American Association. In the majors, he was 5-5, 3.26 in 85.2 innings over 12 starts and nine relief outings. The 1954 season was also split between the majors and minors, though he spent a majority of the year with Boston, where he had a 3-7, 4.52 record in 95.2 innings over 13 starts and 11 relief appearances.
Henry spent all of 1955 in the majors, though he saw limited action, going 2-4, 3.32 in seven starts and ten relief games, throwing a total of 59.2 innings. The entire 1956 season was spent with San Francisco of the Pacific Coast League, then he dropped down a level to Memphis of the Southern Association in 1957, where he went 14-6, 3.39 in 210 innings. He was traded to the Chicago Cubs system that season. The 1958 season was split between Portland of the Pacific Coast League and the Cubs. Henry went 5-4, 2.88 in 81.1 innings over 44 appearances in his return to the majors. His best season came in 1959 when he had a 9-8, 2.68 record over 134.1 innings for the Cubs. He led the National League with 65 games pitched that year. While it wasn’t an official stat at the time, he picked up 12 saves that season. Henry was involved in a December 1959 trade with the Cincinnati Reds that also included Lee Walls and Frank Thomas, both of whom played for the Pirates earlier in their career. In 1960, he was selected to both All-Star games, back when they played two games per year. He went 1-5, 3.19 in 67.2 innings over 51 games, picking up a career high of 17 saves.
Henry went 2-1, 2.19 with 16 saves in 47 games, with 53.1 innings pitched in 1961. He pitched twice during the World Series that year, though he allowed five runs in 2.1 innings. In 1962, Henry had a 4.58 ERA in 37.1 innings over 40 outings. He went 1-3, 4.15 in 47 games in 1963, with 14 saves in 47 appearances. It was his fifth straight season with 11+ saves. He had an outstanding season in limited use in 1964, posting an 0.87 ERA in 52 innings over 37 appearances. He didn’t allow more than one earned run in any appearance, and he didn’t give up an earned run in his last 15 games, totaling 25.2 innings. Henry threw five more scoreless innings to start 1965, then got traded to the San Francisco Giants. He had a 3.64 ERA in 42 innings with the Giants after the deal. In 1966, he had a 2.45 ERA in 22 innings over 35 games. He was released at the end of the season, but ended up re-signing with the Giants right before the 1967 season opened. Henry went 2-0, 2.08 in 21.2 innings over 28 games in 1967. He allowed three runs over five innings in seven appearances with the 1968 Giants. Henry joined the Pirates in the middle of the 1968 season, coming over from the Giants in June in a cash transaction. He pitched ten games for Pittsburgh, throwing a total of 16.2 innings. He had an 8.10 ERA and no record. Henry was released in early August and played just three more Major League games with the 1969 Houston Astros. At the time, he was the oldest player in the National League. Henry finished his career with a 46-50, 3.26 record and 90 saves in 913 innings. He had 527 appearances, with 44 of those games being starts.
Gail Henley, outfielder for the 1954 Pirates. His big league career consisted of 14 games and 30 at-bats for the 1954 Pirates. He batted .300 and homered in his first big league start. Henley played 14 seasons in the minors. Henley originally signed with the New York Giants in 1948. He debuted in Class-A ball at 19 years old, hitting .295 with 45 RBIs and 53 runs scored in 64 games for Sioux City of the Western League. The next season was spent in Triple-A, splitting the year between Minneapolis of the American Association and Jersey City of the International League. He combined to hit .275 with 18 homers and 52 RBIs in 106 games. In 1950, Henley split the year between Jersey City and Sioux City, hitting .307 with 25 doubles and 25 homers in 128 games. The 1951 season was split between Sioux City and Minneapolis. He hit .274 with 36 extra-base hits in 100 games that year. In 1952, he played for Tulsa of the Double-A Texas League, where he hit .274 with 43 extra-base hits in 137 games. Henley was traded to the Cincinnati Reds in October of 1952. The Pirates acquired him the very next day in a three-for-one deal that sent Gus Bell to Cincinnati.
Henley hit .290 with 47 extra-base hits, 82 RBIs and 98 runs scored in 151 games for New Orleans of the Southern Association in 1953, then made the Pirates Opening Day roster in 1954. He was starting every day for a short time until he ran into a wall and needed ten stitches to close a cut over his left eye. He missed a week, then had just two pinch-hitting appearances before being sent back to New Orleans on May 12th, ending his big league career. Henley was bitter over the decision to send him down, saying that he was doing well and going all out for the team when he got injured and he never got a chance to play again after that. On October 14, 1954, the Pirates traded Henley to Hollywood of the Pacific Coast League as part of the purchase price to acquire outfielder Tom Saffell. He was playing for Pirates affiliates for the next three seasons, starting with Hollywood in 1955, followed by New Orleans for most of 1956, and Columbus of the International League in 1957. Henley spent the 1958-60 seasons with Birmingham of the Southern Association, followed by finishing his career in 1961 playing briefly in Class-D ball. That 1961 season was the start of his minor league managerial career. He managed during 12 season between 1961 and 1983, including three separate stints with Lethbridge of the Pioneer League, which was an affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He turns 93 years old today
Red Swanson, pitcher for the 1955-57 Pirates. He was done with his big league career by age 20, after debuting at 18 years old with the 1955 Pirates. Swanson played another six years in the minors after his final big league game. He had a 4.90 ERA in the majors (all spent with the Pirates), making 34 relief appearances and eight starts. Swanson signed as a bonus baby out of high school on August 23, 1955, meaning that he got a large bonus and had to spend his first two full years (from the date of signing) in the majors. He had quite an amateur record before joining the Pirates, going 30-3 in high school, 40-5 in American Legion ball, and 10-3 for a semi-pro team during the summer of 1955. He pitched just once over the final five weeks in 1955, giving up four runs over two innings, then he was used nine times in relief in 1956. He was with the Pirates all season in 1956, with his appearances spread out over five months, and none of them came after August 14th. He pitched just two innings over the final 110 games, finishing the year with 13 runs allowed in 11.2 innings. Despite the limited use in 1956, Swanson made eight starts and 24 relief appearances in 1957, posting a 3.72 ERA in 72.2 innings.
Swanson went to Spring Training with the Pirates in 1958, and gained 30 pounds over the off-season, saying that he was coming into camp much stronger. He was cut from big league camp on March 28th and spent most of the season in Triple-A with Columbus of the International League, where he had a 5.02 ERA in 86 innings. He pitched better in A-Ball that year, posting a 3.60 ERA in seven starts for Lincoln of the Western League. On October 1, 1958, Swanson and pitcher Luis Arroyo were traded to Columbus for pitcher Al Jackson. Swanson spent most of 1959 pitching in the Class-A South Atlantic League, where he went 10-7, 3.65 in 147 innings. He remained with Pirates affiliates through the end of his career in 1963. He was a Spring Training invite in 1960, but didn’t come close to making the roster of the World Series champs. In 1962, he nearly made the Pirates Opening Day roster out of Spring Training after getting highly recommended by Don Hoak, who coached him and saw him do well in winter ball in the Dominican over the 1961-62 off-season. Swanson turns 85 years old today. His real first name is Arthur.
Mitchell Page, pinch-hitter for the 1984 Pirates. He was originally with the Pirates, but was part of a nine-player deal with the Oakland A’s prior to the 1977 season. The A’s drafted him in the fourth round in 1970 out of Compton Community College, but he passed on signing. Page was drafted in the third round by the Pirates in 1973 out of Cal State Poly. He played just 24 games in A-Ball during the 1973 season, then spent 1974 season with Salem of the Class-A Carolina League, where he hit .296 with 17 homers, 15 steals, 70 walks, 75 RBIs and 80 runs scored in 123 games. In 1975, Page moved up to Shreveport of the Double-A Texas League, where he batted .291 with 24 doubles, 23 homers, 90 RBIs and 23 steals in 122 games. He moved up to Triple-A Columbus of the International League in 1976. That year he hit .294 with 22 homers, 83 RBIs and 23 steals in 126 games. After the season, the Pirates sent six players to the A’s, including Page, Tony Armas, Doc Medich, Doug Bair, Dave Giusti and Rick Langford. The return basically amounted to Phil Garner, as the other two pieces combined to play 77 games with the Pirates. It was a one-sided deal in the favor of the A’s, but it gets lost in the mix because Garner helped the Pirates to the World Series, then got traded to the Houston Astros in a good deal for Johnny Ray.
Page hit .307 in 145 games as a rookie in 1977, with 85 runs scored, 28 doubles, eight triples, 21 homers, 75 RBIs, 78 walks and 42 stolen bases, finishing second in the Rookie of the Year voting to Eddie Murray, despite a 6.1 to 3.2 advantage in WAR. Page never approached those stats during the rest of his career. In 1978, he hit .285 with 25 doubles, 17 homers and 70 RBIs in 147 games. He stole 23 bases, but he was caught 19 times, after getting caught just five times in the previous season. He stolen base success rate was even worse in 1979 when he went 17-for-33 in steals. Page moved from left field to the DH role, where he hit .247 in 133 games that season, seeing a drop of 157 points in his OPS. In 1980, he was a full-time DH, though he didn’t play every day. In 110 games, he hit .244 with 17 homers, 51 RBIs and 14 steals (in 21 attempts). During the strike-shortened 1981 season, Page played just 34 games, and he had a .141 average, with four homers. His average bounced back in 1982 in limited time, hitting .256 with four homers in 31 games. In 1983, he had 92 plate appearances spread out throughout the season, along with some pinch-running appearances. In 57 games, he batted .241 and drove in just one run.
The Pirates signed Page as a free agent in May of 1984, two months after the A’s released him during Spring Training. He was with the 1984 Pirates in August and September, and all 16 of his appearances came as a pinch-hitter, with no time spent in the field. He went 4-for-12 with three walks in 16 games for the Pirates. Page was with the Pirates through the end of 1985, though he spent almost all of his two years with the team in Triple-A, where he had the odd stat line of going 39-for-151 (.258 average) in each season. He finished his eight-year big league career as a .266 hitter, with 294 runs scored, 72 homers, 259 RBIs and 104 steals in 673 games.
Carlos Garcia, infielder for the 1990-96 Pirates. He was signed by the Pirates as an international free agent at 19 years old out of Venezuela in 1987. While he was a member of three straight playoff teams (1990-92) to start his career, a large majority of his time with the Pirates came during the following four seasons. In fact, he was still eligible for the Rookie of the Year award in 1993. He debuted in pro ball in Low-A, playing for Macon of the South Atlantic League, where he hit .255 with 20 extra-base hits and 20 steals in 110 games. In 1988, he spent half of the year in the same league with Augusta, then saw 62 games with Salem of the Carolina League, one step higher. He combined to hit .283 with 29 extra-base hits, 19 steals and 73 RBIs in 135 games. In 1989, Garcia split the year between Salem and Double-A Harrisburg of the Eastern League. He batted .283 that season in 135 games, with 73 runs scored, 36 extra-base hits, 25 steals and 74 RBIs. In 1990, his year was split between Harrisburg and Triple-A Buffalo of the American Association. He hit .271 with 33 extra-base hits and 19 steals in 128 games. The Pirates gave him four at-bats in four late season games. In 1991, he batted .266 with 34 extra-base hits for Buffalo, while playing one July game and 11 September games for the Pirates. He batted .250 with two triples and an RBI. Garcia hit .303 with 28 doubles, nine triples, 13 homers and 21 steals for Buffalo, while playing for the Pirates in May/June and September. He hit .205 in 22 games, with a .426 OPS.
Garcia played a total of 38 games for the 1990-92 Pirates and appeared in one playoff game, going 0-for-1 off the bench in game two of the 1992 NLCS. As a rookie, he hit .269 with 77 runs scored, 25 doubles, 12 homers and 18 stolen bases in 141 games during the 1993 season. He finished ninth in the Rookie of the Year voting. His offensive stats weren’t strong in 1994, but his 0.9 dWAR helped earn him his All-Star spot. In fact, Garcia had a career -1.1 dWAR, never coming close to approaching his success on defense in 1994. During that strike-shortened season, he hit .277 with 23 extra-base hits, 18 steals and 49 runs scored in 98 games. Garcia played 104 games in 1995, hitting .294 with 24 doubles, six homers and 50 RBIs. He played three infield spots in 1996 (not first base), hitting .285 with 28 extra-base hits, 66 runs scored and 16 steals in 101 games. The Pirates traded him to the Toronto Blue Jays in a nine-player deal after the 1996 season in which they received six young players back in exchange for three veterans, which also included Orlando Merced and Dan Plesac.
Garcia hit .220 in 103 games with the 1997 Blue Jays, with 23 extra-base hits, 23 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. He became a free agent and signed with the Cleveland Indians, though they released him near the end of Spring Training in 1998. He signed with the Anaheim Angels five days later and hit .143 in 19 games, while spending half of the year in Triple-A. He signed with the San Diego Padres in 1999, but he was limited to six big league games at the start of the season. He finished the year in Triple-A, then spent the 2000-01 seasons in Triple-A with the New York Yankees before retiring. Garcia was a .278 hitter in 482 games with the Pirates, with 30 homers, 60 steals, 174 RBIs and 240 runs scored. He had a career 3.4 WAR with the Pirates, and he was below replacement level with each of his other three teams, leaving him at 1.0 WAR for his career.
Mendy Lopez, infielder for the 2001-02 Pirates. He signed with the Kansas City Royals as an international free agent from the Dominican in 1992 at 18 years old. His first two seasons were spent in the Dominican Summer League, before moving to the Gulf Coast League in 1994, where he hit .362 with 50 RBIs, 19 steals and 56 runs scored in 59 games. In 1995, he jumped to the High-A Carolina League and batted .271 with 29 doubles, 18 steals and a .689 OPS in 130 games. Lopez was promoted to Double-A in 1996, where he hit .281 with 31 extra-base hits and 14 steals in 93 games for Wichita of the Texas League. Most of 1997 was spent back in Wichita, with a 17-game stint in Triple-A as well. He combined to bat .232 with 27 extra-base hits and 62 runs scored in 118 games. He played 60 games for Triple-A Omaha of the Pacific Coast League and hit just .179, but that didn’t stop him from getting promoted. After six seasons in the minors, he debuted in the majors with the 1998 Royals, hitting .243 with 13 extra-base hits and 18 runs scored in 74 games, while making 66 starts at shortstop. Lopez was injured for part of the 1999 season, limiting him to 64 minor league games and seven big league contests. The Royals released him in December of 1999 and he signed with the Florida Marlins for the 2000 season.
Lopez spent most of 2000 in the minors. He played just four games in the majors and they came in four consecutive days from July 29th to August 1st. He signed with the Houston Astros in 2001, and played ten games between June 30th and August 7th before he was acquired by the Pirates off of waivers. Lopez played 22 games for the 2001 Pirates, seeing time at second base, third base and shortstop. He hit .233 with four RBIs in 48 plate appearances. He became a free agent after the 2001 season, then re-signed with the Pirates on a minor league deal. He saw just three late April pinch-hit appearances in 2002, striking out in all three at-bats. The rest of the year was spent in Triple-A Nashville of the Pacific Coast League, where he hit .252 with 11 homers and 72 RBIs in 101 games. The Pirates released him after the 2002 season and he returned to the Royals for his final two big league seasons. In 2003, he played six positions for the Royals, getting 100 plate appearances over 52 games, hitting .277 with three homers and 11 RBIs. He played just 18 big league games at the start of 2004 and hit .105 in 38 at-bats. Lopez was done with the majors at that point, but he played pro ball until 2013. He played in Korea in 2004 and didn’t play in 2005, then started a string of summer/winter ball in Mexico and the Dominican until his career ended. In 2015, he became a DSL manager for the Pirates and has remained in the system since. He batted .242 with six homers and 40 RBIs in 190 big league games.
Juan Cruz, relief pitcher for the 2012 Pirates. He was signed as an international free agent by the Chicago Cubs out of the Dominican at 18 years old in 1997. He made it to the majors within four years as a starter, then moved to relief the next season. Cruz saw some starting time (15 games) with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2006, then never started again. He debuted in pro ball in the Arizona Summer League in 1998, where he had a 6.10 ERA in 41.1 innings. That’s not the type of start that you expect from someone who played 12 seasons in the majors. In 1999, he had a 5.94 ERA in 80.1 innings for Eugene of the short-season Northwest League. Cruz moved up to Low-A for 17 starts in 2000, then seven more starts in High-A. He combined to go 8-5, 3.27 in 140.1 innings, with 160 strikeouts. In 2001, he made 23 starts for West Tennessee of the Double-A Southern League. He went 9-6, 4.01 in 121.1 innings, with 137 strikeouts. From there it was eight starts for the Cubs, where he finished off the 2001 season with 3-1, 3.22 record in 44.1 innings.
Cruz spent the entire 2002 season in the majors, making nine starts and 36 relief appearances. He went 3-11, 3.98 in 97.1 innings. He did great in nine starts at Triple-A in 2003, but his big league time amounted to 2-7, 6.05 record in 61 innings over six starts and 19 relief outings. The Cubs traded him to the Atlanta Braves in a four-player deal at the end of Spring Training in 2004. He spent the entire year in the majors, going 6-2, 2.75 in 50 relief appearances, throwing 72 innings. In December of 2004, he was traded to the Oakland A’s as part of the large return for Tim Hudson. Cruz went 0-3, 7.44 in 32.2 innings over 28 games with the 2005 A’s. He spent part of that season in the minors, as he also did during each of the next three seasons. The A’s traded him to the Diamondbacks at the end of Spring Training in 2006. He went 5-6, 4.18 in 94.2 innings with Arizona that season, with 15 starts and 16 relief outings. Cruz did well with the 2007-08 Diamondbacks once he was back in a full-time relief role. He went 6-1, 3.10 in 63 innings over 53 games in 2007. That was followed by a 4-0, 2.61 record in 51.2 innings over 57 outings in 2008.
Cruz became a free agent after the 2008 season and signed with the Kansas City Royals. He went 3-4, 5.72 in 50.1 innings over 46 appearances in 2009. The Royals released him in 2010 after just five outings, in which he allowed two runs in 5.1 innings. He signed with the Tampa Bay Rays prior to the 2011 season, where he posted a 5-0, 3.88 record in 48.2 innings over 56 games. The Pirates signed him as a free agent in February of 2012 and he was released at the end of August. He was injured for a short time in July/August, then returned to pitch six times in eight days to end his big league career. He had a 2.78 ERA in 43 games for the Pirates, yet it still ended up being the final season of his 12-year career. His only other pitching experience after the Pirates came in the Dominican winter league, where he made seven scoreless appearances over two seasons. Cruz had a 38-36, 4.05 record, with 659 strikeouts in 655 innings over 447 games (38 starts), seeing time with seven different teams.
On this date in 1925 the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Washington Senators by a 9-7 score at Forbes Field in game seven of the World Series to win their second championship. To win the series they had to defeat the great Walter Johnson, who had already won games one and four of the series. The lineups for this game included seven total future Hall of Famers. The Senators had Johnson, Goose Goslin, Sam Rice and Bucky Harris, while the Pirates had Kiki Cuyler, Pie Traynor and Max Carey.
Vic Aldridge started the game for the Pirates. He won games two and five over another future Hall of Famer, Stan Coveleski. On this day however, he did not have his best stuff. He lasted just six batters and four of them would score, putting the Pirates in an early hole. Johnny Morrison relieved him to finish out the first inning. The Pirates got on the board in the third inning when Morrison scored on an Eddie Moore double. Moore would score the second run on a Max Carey single, and Carey would score two batters later on a Clyde Barnhart single to make it 4-3 after three innings.
The Senators scored two runs in the fourth to chase Morrison and take a three-run lead. The Pirates then went to Ray Kremer, who had won game six just two days earlier, and the move paid off. Pittsburgh would score a solo run in the fifth inning when Cuyler drove home Carey with their fourth run of the game to pull them within two. The score would stay 6-4 until the bottom of the seventh inning. Eddie Moore reached on an error and was driven home by a double from Carey to make it a one-run game. With two outs, Pie Traynor came to the plate and hit a ball into right field that got away from the fielder, Joe Harris. Carey scored to tie the game, but Traynor was cut down at home plate to keep the score tied going into the eighth inning.
In the top of the eighth inning with one out, Senators shortstop Roger Peckinpaugh hit a solo home run to left field to put his team up by one. Despite struggling, the Senators stuck with their ace to try to shut down the Pirates for just two more innings, but Pittsburgh had other ideas. The first two batters were retired before catcher Earl Smith hit a double. Pitcher Emil Yde pinch-ran for him and Carson Bigbee batted for Kremer. Bigbee hit a double to tie the game. Johnson walked the next batter and then got a ground ball to Peckinpaugh, who botched the throw to second base for the force and gave the Pirates a chance with the bases loaded and Kiki Cuyler up at bat. Cuyler sent a long drive to right field, which went for a ground rule double and put the Pirates up by two. Red Oldham came in for the ninth inning and retired three Hall of Famers in a row, Rice, Harris and Goslin, to end the game and give Pittsburgh their second World Series title.