This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History: October 29th, Jim Bibby, Solly and Fido

Four former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date.

Jim Bibby, pitcher for the 1978-1983 Pirates. Prior to joining Pittsburgh, Bibby had just a 60-69 career record at the age of 33, but he turned that record around while in a Pirates uniform. His career began in 1965 after signing with the New York Mets. At 20 years old in the short-season Appalachian League, he pitched 24 innings and posted a 11.25 ERA and he walked 27 batters. He then served the next two years in Vietnam with the Army. When he returned for the 1968 season, he was vastly improved. He went to A-Ball, where he put up a 7-7, 2.82 record in 131 innings, with 118 strikeouts. In 1969, Bibby split the season between Double-A and Triple-A, combining to go 14-10, 3.38 in 197 innings, with 180 strikeouts. He got called up to the Mets and watched them win the World Series, but he didn’t get into any games. He missed the entire 1970 season due to back surgery, then returned to Triple-A for entire 1971 season, going 15-6, 4.04 in 176 innings, with 150 strikeouts, for Tidewater of the International League. Right after the 1971 season ended, he was traded to the St Louis Cardinals in an eight-player deal, with four players going each way. He was up in the majors by September of 1972, getting six starts for the Cardinals, where he posted a 3.35 ERA in 40.1 innings.

In 1973, Bibby was in the starting rotation for St Louis, where he went 9-12, 3.76 in 196.1 innings, with 123 walks and 167 strikeouts, which were both career highs. He lasted just three starts and three relief appearances (and a 9.56 ERA) with the 1973 Cardinals before they traded him to the Texas Rangers on June 6th. After the deal, Bibby went 9-10, 3.24 in 180.1 innings. He allowed 6.0 hits per nine innings, which was the lowest average in the American League. He had a big season in 1974, going 19-19, 4.74 in 264 innings. He set a career high in innings and shutouts (five), while tying his previous high with 11 complete games, set during the previous season. In 1975, he was 2-6, 5.00 for the Rangers before being traded to the Cleveland Indians as part of a package to acquire Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry. Bibby finished off the season by going 5-9, 3.20 in 112.2 innings with the Indians. In 1976, he put up the same exact 3.20 ERA, but that resulted in a 13-7 record, while throwing 163.1 innings.  He topped the 200-inning mark again in 1977, going 12-13, 3.57 in 206.2 innings.

Bibby was signed by the Pirates as a free agent on March 15, 1978, agreeing to a multi-year deal. He became a free agent after a breach in contract with the Indians that was related to late payments of bonuses in his deal. The Pirates were said to be among 10-15 teams showing interest, and Bibby really wanted to play in Pittsburgh. He ended up taking a lower offer to sign with the Pirates, though that was after he asked them to improve their initial offer, which they did. In 1978, he started the year in the Pirates bullpen, but 40 games into the season he moved into the starter role and threw a complete game his first start. He remained in that role until late in the season, throwing a shutout in his last start, before moving back to the pen after a ten-day layoff. He finished 8-7, 3.53 in 107 innings over 34 games, which included 14 starts.

In 1979, Bibby again started as a member of the bullpen, this time lasting in that role for the first half of the season. When he was moved to the starting role for good on July 10th, he had a 3-2 record. Seven starts later he had a 9-2 record. He ran into a few rough starts later in the year, although his record still ended at 12-4, 2.81 in 137.2 innings. He ended the regular season with two complete games in which he allowed just one total run and struck out 18 batters. His 34 appearances were split evenly between starts and relief work. Bibby started three postseason games (two in the World Series), and while he didn’t get any decisions, he did pitch well, helping the Pirates to their fifth championship. He allowed one run over seven innings in his NLCS start against the Cincinnati Reds, and he gave up one run over four innings in his game seven start in the World Series.

In 1980, Bibby had his best overall season with the Pirates, going 19-6, 3.32 in 34 starts and 238.1 innings pitched. He made his only career All-Star appearance that year and he finished third in the Cy Young voting. He also received mild MVP support, finishing 14th in the voting. For the second straight season he led the National League in win/loss percentage. In his final start of the season (game 159 of the year) he picked up his 100th career victory. Bibby made just 14 starts during the strike-shortened 1981 season, going 6-3 2.50 in 93.2 innings, putting together his lowest season ERA during his 12-year career. On May 19th against the Atlanta Braves, he allowed a single to lead-off hitter Terry Harper, then retired the next 27 batters in a row. He had already thrown a no-hitter earlier in his career with the Texas Rangers (1973). Unfortunately for Bibby, he tore his rotator cuff and missed all of the 1982 season. He pitched very poorly when he returned in 1983, going 5-12, 6.69 in 78 innings, and the Pirates let him go following the conclusion of the season. He pitched briefly in the majors with the Rangers in 1984 (4.41 ERA in 16.1 IP), and then in the minors with Cardinals that same year, before retiring. Bibby finished with a 50-32, 3.53 record in a Pirates uniform, throwing a total of 654.2 innings. Despite his poor record before joining the Pirates, his best season actually occurred in 1973 when he posted a 4.0 WAR with the Texas Rangers. His career stats show a 111-101, 3.76 record in 1,722.2 innings, with 239 starts, 101 relief appearances and 19 shutouts.

Dana Eveland, pitcher for the 2010 Pirates. He was a 16th round draft pick out of college by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2002. He didn’t debut until the 2003 season, when he went 2-1, 2.08 in 26 innings for Helena of the Pioneer League. Despite pitching just 19 games, he had three decisions and 14 saves. In 2004, he moved to a starting role with Beloit of the Midwest League, where he went 9-6, 2.84 in 117.1 innings, with 119 strikeouts. He also had a 2.28 ERA in four starts at Double-A that season. In 2005, Eveland went 10-4, 2.72 in 109 innings over 18 starts for Huntsville of the Double-A Southern League. He debuted in the majors in mid-July as a reliever, and posted a 5.97 ERA in 27 appearances. After the season, he went to the Arizona Fall League, where he made three starts. He struggled in brief time with the Brewers during the 2006 season, posting an 8.13 ERA in five starts and four relief appearances, while spending the rest of the season in Triple-A. He was sent to the Arizona Diamondbacks in a six-player deal prior to the 2007 season and saw limited big league time in his one season in Arizona, giving up eight runs in five innings. He was then part of an eight-player deal with the Oakland A’s in December of 2007, one of six players sent to Oakland in exchange for Dan Haren.

Eveland went from struggling in limited time in 2007, to becoming a full-time starter in 2008. He went 9-9, 4.34 in 168 innings over 29 starts, which included the only complete game start during his 11 years in the majors. He got roughed up during his time with the A’s in 2009 and spent more than half of the season back in Triple-A. He had a 7.16 ERA in nine starts and four relief appearances with the A’s that season. Eveland had a 4.92 ERA in 212 innings in Oakland before being sold to the Toronto Blue Jays on February 7, 2010. After nine starts in Toronto, in which he had a 6.45 ERA in 44.2 innings, he was traded to the Pirates for minor league pitcher Ronald Uviedo. In one start and two relief appearances for the Pirates, he had an 8.38 ERA in 9.2 innings.The Pirates let him go via free agency after the season. Eveland bounced around for the next seven seasons, changing teams seven times, spending most of the time in the minors, while topping out at 32.1 big league innings in a season. He signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers for 2011 and had a 3.03 ERA in five starts. The Dodgers traded him to the Baltimore Orioles after the season and he posted a 4.73 ERA in 2012, with 32.1 innings pitched over 12 relief appearances and two starts.

In 2013, Eveland spent the season in Korea as a starter, posting a 6-14, 5.54 record in 172.1 innings. He signed a free agent deal with the New York Mets in February of 2014 and spent more than half of the season in the majors in a lefty specialist role, posting a 2.63 ERA in 27.1 innings over 30 outings. He signed with the Boston Red Sox as a free agent for the 2015 season, but they released him in early June without making an appearance in the majors. He signed with the Atlanta Braves four days later and lasted exactly one month there, pitching just 3.1 innings over ten relief appearances. He signed with the Baltimore Orioles ten days after being released and spent the rest of 2015 in the minors. Eveland signed with the Tampa Bay Rays for 2016 and split the season between Triple-A and the majors, going 0-1, 9.00 in 23 innings over 30 games in the majors. He re-signed with the Rays for 2017, but they released him at the end of Spring Training. He finished his pro career by playing in Mexico that summer. Eveland ended up with a 20-28, 5.46 record in 446.1 innings over 61 starts and 126 relief appearances during his 11 years in the majors.

Mark “Fido” Baldwin, pitcher for the 1891-1893 Pirates. He was a Pittsburgh native who attended college at Penn St. He debuted in pro ball with Duluth of the Northwestern League in 1886, then was in the majors after just one season at age 23 in 1887. He played his first two seasons for the Chicago White Stockings, where he went 18-17, 3.40 in 334 innings as a rookie. He made 39 starts, completed 35 games, and he struck out 164 batters. In 1888, Baldwin went 13-15, 2.76 in 251 innings, with 157 strikeouts. He completed 27 of his 30 starts. He was released by Chicago in April of 1889 an signed with the Columbus Solons of the American Association. He was a true workhorse that season, going 27-34, 3.61, while leading the American Association with 513.2 innings and 368 strikeouts. He also led in losses, walks (274), earned runs allowed (206) and games started (59), though his 54 complete games didn’t lead the league. He tossed six shutouts, which was nearly half of his career total. Like most star players, Baldwin jumped to the Player’s League, where he had a huge season. He led the PL in wins (33), strikeouts (206), starts (56), complete games (53), walks (249) and innings pitched (492) in 1890. Baldwin had a blazing fastball, some say the best of his era/

The Pirates got Baldwin after the Player’s League folded following the 1890 season. He was supposed to return to his 1889 team (Columbus), but he signed with the Pirates instead. It was a move that set off a series of lawsuits he dealt with for years. In his two full seasons in Pittsburgh he was still a workhorse, throwing a combined 878 innings. While he pitched well, his record during that time was just 47-55, mostly due to a bad Pirates team in 1891. Baldwin went 21-18, 2.76 that season in 437.2 innings, completing 48 of his 51 starts. He followed that up by going 26-27, 3.47 in 440.1 innings. He led the league in hit batters during each of his two full seasons with the Pirates. He retired following the 1892 season when he didn’t like his contract he was offered, but returned to the Pirates by Spring Training of 1893. He had troubles off and on during the 1892 season, and despite allowing him to return, the Pirates released him after just one (very poor) start in 1893. Baldwin had a strong spring start that gave the Pirates hope. He threw one-hit ball and hit a homer against a minor league team from Augusta. Five days later however, he allowed seven runs in relief to a team from Montgomery. His only start came on April 28th when he allowed four runs in 2.1 innings before being removed early. He was released on May 1st with ten day’s pay, and already had a job lined up with the New York Giants before he was officially able to sign with them. He played out the season in New York, going 16-20, 4.10 in 331.1 innings, then played two more years in the minors, seeing time with four teams during that span, before retiring for good.

Baldwin finished with a 154-165, 3.37 record in 2,802.1 innings. He completed 295 of his 328 starts. His “Fido” nickname seems to have originated from one newspaper mention that was picked up by a handful of other papers, listing the nicknames of the 1888 White Stockings. A search of newspapers from his playing days came up empty besides that note.

Solly Hofman, outfielder for the 1903 and 1912-13 Pirates. He was briefly a member of the 1903 Pirates, the first National League team to play in the modern World Series, and then he rejoined the team in 1912 for parts of two seasons. Hofman debuted in pro ball with Evansville of the Three-I League, where he played the 1901-02 seasons. The league was considered to be Class-D in 1901, then it was reclassified as Class-B in 1902. Stats are limited for his first two seasons, but he’s credited with a .289 average in 38 games in 1901 at 18 years old. In 1902, he had a .211 average in 75 games. Hofman was playing semi-pro ball in St Louis in 1903, where he also worked as a bank clerk, until getting a tryout with the St Louis Cardinals in mid-July. The Cardinals liked him, but had no room for him, so their manager Patsy Donovan recommended him to Pirates manager Fred Clarke, who agreed to give him a trial. Hofman played just three games with the Pirates in 1903, making his Major League debut on July 28th. He went 0-for-2 and scored a run during those three appearances off the bench, between July 28th and August 5th. His final appearance came when Honus Wagner left the game early.

Hofman was gone without a mention at some point after his final game in Pittsburgh and he ended up in Des Moines of the Western League in 1904, where the Chicago Cubs were able to acquire him to finish out the 1904 season. He hit .301 in 128 games in Des Moines and then batted .229 in seven games with the Cubs over the final two weeks of the season. He stayed in Chicago until May 30, 1912 when the Cubs traded him back to Pittsburgh in a four-player deal that included Tommy Leach, who was in his 13th season with the Pirates. Hofman played six positions in 1905 for the Cubs, seeing most of his time at second base. He batted .237 with 43 runs scored and 38 RBIs in 86 games. He played everywhere but pitcher and catching during the 1906 season when the Cubs finished with a 116-36 record. He was a utility player that year, who hit .256 with 20 RBIs and 30 runs scored in 64 games. He hit .304 in the World Series and scored three runs. In 1907, Hofman started 11+ games at five different positions. He played 134 games total, hitting .268 with 67 runs scored, 36 RBIs and 29 steals. The Cubs won the World Series in 1908 and Hofman had a strong postseason, hitting .316 with four RBIs. During the regular season, he batted .243 in 120 games, with 55 runs scored and 42 RBIs. He made 20+ starts at second base, third base and center field.

In 1909, Hofman was Chicago’s starting center fielder. He hit .285 in 153 games, with 60 runs scored, 21 doubles, 58 RBIs, 20 stolen bases and 53 walks. He had his best season in 1910, batting a career high .325, while also setting highs with 86 runs scored, 16 triples and 86 RBIs. He also had 24 doubles and 29 steals, as well as 65 walks. In 1911, he hit .252 in 143 games, with 66 runs scored, 70 RBIs, 30 stolen bases and a career best 66 walks. He had an odd split in his playing time during the 1910-11 seasons, mostly starting in center field, but also starting 54 games at first base. Before his 1912 trade to the Pirates, Hofman was hitting .272 with 20 RBIs and 28 runs scored in 36 games with the Cubs.

Hofman was seldom used by the Pirates during his second stint, playing just 17 games in 1912 and 28 games in 1913.The Pirates didn’t get his services right away, as he was suffering first from a sore arm, then he was sent home sick for more than a month. He returned in August, only to leave for home at his own request after playing on September 3rd. It was called a desertion by the local press, but manager Fred Clarke allowed him to leave, hoping he would come back strong in 1913. Hofman started the first 15 games of the 1913 season in center field, but after hitting .232 during that time, he was a bench player for the rest of his stint in Pittsburgh. The Pirates released him to Kansas City of the American Association on June 14, 1913, though he refused to report and was awarded back to the Pirates. They finally parted ways on July 5th when he was sold to Nashville of the Southern Association, where he hit .286 in 57 games to finish the 1913 season. He spent the next two seasons in the start-up Federal League (1914-15), joining the Brooklyn Tip-Tops his first year, before playing for the Buffalo Blues in 1915. Hofman had a strong 1914 season, hitting .287 with 65 runs scored, 12 triples, 83 RBIs and 54 walks. He set career highs with 25 doubles and 34 steals. In 1915, he dropped down to a .234 average in 109 games, with 29 runs scored and 27 RBIs. He played seven positions that season. In his final season in the majors, he played 11 games total for two teams in 1916, ending his big league career back with the Cubs, after a short stint with the New York Yankees. With the Pirates in his three partial seasons, he hit just .246 with no homers in 48 games. In 14 seasons in the majors, Hofman hit .269 with 19 homers, 498 RBIs, 208 steals and 554 runs scored in 1,194 games. His first name was Arthur and he mostly went by Artie, though he’s now more identified as Solly, which was a shortened version of his “Circus Solly” nickname. Hofman’s nephew Bobby Hofman played seven seasons for the New York Giants (1949-57)