Six former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date, plus two transactions of note from 1950.
Will Craig, first baseman for the 2020-21 Pirates. He was originally drafted in the 37th round out of high school by the Kansas City Royals in 2013, but he decided to attend Wake Forest, where the Pirates snapped him up in the first round, selected 22nd overall in 2016. Craig debuted in pro ball with Morgantown of the New York-Penn League in 2016, where he helped them to a league title by hitting .280 with 14 extra-base hits and 41 walks in 63 games. He skipped to Bradenton of the High-A Florida State League in 2017 and batted .271 in 123 games, with 26 doubles, six homers, 61 RBIs and 62 walks. He also got hit by 16 pitches, helping him to an impressive .373 OBP. Craig moved up to Altoona of the Double-A Eastern League in 2018, where he hit .248 with 30 doubles, 20 homers and 102 RBIs. He then played for Triple-A Indianapolis of the International League in 2019. That season saw him hit .249 with 23 doubles, 23 homers and 78 RBIs in 131 games. During the shortened 2020 season, he was at the Pirates Alternate Training site in Altoona, which allowed him to play his first two big league games with the Pirates. He began 2021 back in Indianapolis, but he got a shot with the Pirates and hit .217/.277/.300 in 18 games. After being sent back to the minors, where he had a .916 OPS in 33 games, the 26-year-old Craig was released in July so he could finish the season playing in Korea. In 60 games while in Korea in 2021, he hit .249/.322/.387 with 12 doubles, six homers and 30 RBIs.
Brandon Cumpton, pitcher for the 2013-14 Pirates. He was a ninth round pick in 2010 by the Pirates out of the Georgia Institute of Technology, whose career was sidetracked by a pair of major injuries. He debuted in pro ball with State College of the short-season New York-Penn League, where he had a 2.53 ERA in 10.2 innings. In 2011, Cumpton split the year evenly between Low-A West Virginia of the South Atlantic League and High-A Bradenton of the Florida State League. He made 12 starts and one relief appearance in both spots, pitching 67 innings with West Virginia and 66.1 innings with Bradenton. He combined to go 10-7, 3.98 in 133.1 innings. The 2012 season was spent entirely in Double-A with Altoona of the Eastern League, where he went 12-11, 3.84 in 152.1 innings. He played in the Arizona Fall League after the season and had a 2.57 ERA in 11 relief appearances. He made two poor starts in Altoona in 2013, yet he ended up pitching well in the majors that same year. Cumpton reached the majors in mid-June for the first time and did well in some spot starts, posting a 2.05 ERA in 30.2 innings, with five starts and one relief appearance. The majority of his season was spent with Triple-A Indianapolis of the International League, where he had a 6-7, 3.32 record in 122 innings.
Cumpton spent more time in Pittsburgh in 2014, switching between starting and relief, though he still spent half of the year in Triple-A. He had a 3.03 ERA in 71.1 innings with Indianapolis, while posting a 4.89 ERA in 70 innings with the Pirates, making ten starts and six relief appearances. During Spring Training of 2015, he required Tommy John surgery, which cost him the entire season. He then missed 2016 due to shoulder surgery, which also spilled into the 2017 season, where he was only able to throw 37.1 innings of minor league ball split over three levels. Cumpton signed with the Texas Rangers for 2018, though he was released during Spring Training. He signed with the Blue Jays in July and made one big league appearance on July 31st, allowing one run in 1.2 innings. He became a free agent after the season and spent 2019 pitching both summer and winter ball in Mexico, while also playing independent ball and winter ball in the Dominican, pitching a total of 151.1 innings. In 2020, he played independent ball in Winnipeg. He played for two different teams in Mexico during the summer in 2021. His career big league stats show a 5-5, 4.05 record in 102.1 innings over 15 starts and eight relief appearances.
Tim Wood, pitcher for the 2011 Pirates. He was originally drafted in the 21st round out of high school in 2001 by the Montreal Expos, but he decided to attend Prima Community College to attempt to improve his draft stock. He slipped to the 44th round in 2002 and decided to sign with the Florida Marlins. Wood began his career in short-season ball in 2003, posting a 5.35 ERA in 38.2 innings for Jamestown of the New York-Penn League. He pitched the 2004-05 seasons with Greensboro of the Low-A South Atlantic League. He went 2-3, 4.22 in 70.1 innings over eight starts and 16 relief appearances in 2004. He made just five starts in 2005 before requiring Tommy John surgery. In 2006, he moved up to Jupiter of the High-A Florida State League for the first of two full seasons, though he wasn’t fully healthy either year. He made 16 starts in 2006, though he was on limited work due to his rehab from surgery. He had a 5.83 ERA in 63.1 innings. A shoulder injury in 2007 led to Wood pitching just 17 games as a reliever. He was finally healthy in 2008 and did great with Jupiter, posting a 1.80 ERA in 40 innings of relief work. He moved up to Carolina of the Double-A Southern League and had a 5.75 ERA in 20.1 innings. He pitched in the Arizona Fall League after the season and had a 2.77 ERA in 12 appearances. In 2009, Wood split the year between Triple-A New Orleans of the Pacific Coast League and a stint with the Marlins. He actually did better in the majors, though he was coming from a high-offense league. Wood posted a 3.18 ERA in 31 games with New Orleans and a 2.82 ERA in 22.1 innings with the Marlins. He had the same type of team/time split in 2010, though this time he struggled in both spots, with a 6.43 ERA in 14 games with New Orleans, and a 5.53 ERA in 26 appearances with the Marlins.
Wood was granted free agency after the 2010 season and signed with the Washington Nationals, who cut him at the end of Spring Training in 2011. He signed with the Pirates one day later and went to Triple-A Indianapolis. The Pirates recalled him in early June and he pitched often during a 22-day stretch. He went 0-3, 5.63 in 13 relief appearances during that time, pitching a total of eight innings. After returning to the minors, he was sold to the Texas Rangers in mid-August. Wood became a free agent after the season and he pitched poorly in winter ball in the Dominican that off-season, posting a 7.59 ERA in 11 appearances. He re-signed with the Pirates on November 1, 2011 and spent all of 2012 in Indianapolis, where he did outstanding work, posting a 2.19 ERA and 21 saves in 70 innings over 54 appearances. Wood became a free agent after the season and finished his career in 2013 in the Minnesota Twins system, where he pitched poorly in limited work. His finished his three-year big league career with a 1-4, 4.50 record in 58 innings over 57 appearances.
Mark Corey, pitcher for the 2003-04 Pirates. He was drafted in the fourth round of the 1995 draft by the Cincinnati Reds. He is the only player from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania to make it to the Major Leagues. Corey debuted in pro ball with Princeton of the short-season Appalachian League, where he had a 3.68 ERA in 14.2 innings. He didn’t play during the 1996 season, then returned to make 26 starts in 1997 for Charleston of the Class-A South Atlantic League. He went 8-13, 4.57 in 136 innings. In 1998, he made 20 starts for Burlington of the Class-A Midwest League, where he had a 12-6, 2.44 record in 140 innings. He also posted an 8.20 ERA in six starts for Chattanooga of the Southern League and he made one Triple-A start. In 1999, Corey was traded in the preseason to the New York Mets, where he spent the year in Double-A with Binghamton of the Eastern League, posting a 7-13, 5.40 record in 155 innings. The 2000 season was split between Binghamton and Triple-A Norfolk of the International League. He went 3-7, 5.14 in 89.1 innings over 13 starts and 21 relief appearances. He had the same season split in 2001, except he pitched much better in both stops. Corey had a 1.80 ERA in 35 innings with Binghamton, and a 1.47 ERA in 36.2 innings with Norfolk. He had a rough big league debut in October of 2001, giving up three runs on five hits and three walks in 1.2 innings over two appearances.
Corey did better in his brief time in New York in 2002, posting a 4.50 ERA in ten innings over 12 appearances. At the trading deadline that year, he was sent to the Colorado Rockies, where he gave up 16 runs in 12 innings over 14 appearances. He was granted free agency after the season and signed with the Pirates in December of 2002. Corey split the 2003 season between the Pirates and Triple-A Nashville of the Pacific Coast League. He made 22 appearances for the Pirates that year, posting a 5.34 ERA in 30.1 innings. In 2004, he had the same split between the Pirates and Nashville, while seeing slightly more time in the majors. He made 31 appearances for the Pirates that season, pitching a total of 35.1 innings, while posting a 4.54 ERA. Corey became a free agent after the season, but returned to the Pirates for 2005. He spent the entire year in Triple-A (affiliated moved to Indianapolis of the International League that year), pitching 61 times, while going 5-5, 4.02 in 65 innings, with 28 saves. He spent all of 2006 at Triple-A for the New York Yankees, then returned to Indianapolis for the Pirates for 2007, which ended up being his last year of pro ball. In that final season, he had a 4.13 ERA in 32.1 innings over 23 appearances. In his four seasons in the majors, he went 2-7, 6.02 in 89.2 innings over 81 games out of the bullpen.
Hector Fajardo, pitcher for the 1991 Pirates. He was playing in his home country of Mexico when the Pirates purchased his contract at 18 years old in early 1989. He rose quickly through the minors, debuting at 20 years old on August 10, 1991. He pitched in the Gulf Coast League in 1989 for the Pirates, going 0-5, 5.97 in 34.2 innings, with six starts and four relief appearances. In 1990, Fajardo had a 3.86 ERA in 21 innings back in the GCL, while also making seven starts for Low-A Augusta of the South Atlantic League, where he duplicated that 3.86 ERA, this time in 39.2 innings. He began the 1991 season at Low-A and played all four full-season levels of the minors that year. He had a 2.69 ERA in 11 starts with Augusta and a 4.13 ERA in ten starts for Carolina of the Double-A Southern League. His time in High-A (Salem of the Carolina League) amounted to one start, while his time in Triple-A Buffalo of the American Association all came out of the bullpen, where he made eight appearances. Fajardo made two late season starts for the 1991 Pirates that did not go well, with seven runs over 6.1 innings. Before the season ended, he was traded to the Texas Rangers on September 6th as the player to be named later in the Steve Buechele trade, which was made one week earlier.
Fajardo pitched parts of four seasons in Texas, making a total of 28 appearances, with a majority of his time coming in 1994 before baseball shut down due to the strike. After the trade in 1991, he went 0-2, 5.68 in 19 innings over three starts and one relief appearance. A shoulder injury during Spring Training in 1992 limited him to 61 innings in the minors spread over four levels. He tried to pitch winter ball, but the shoulder injury resurfaced and caused him to miss the start of 1993. He ended up pitched eight times in the minors on rehab, then appeared once with the Rangers at the end of the season. He made eight successful starts in Triple-A in 1994, then spent the rest of the year before the strike in the majors, where he went 5-7, 6.91 in 83.1 innings over 12 starts and six relief outings. For the 1995 Rangers, Fajardo had a 7.80 ERA in 15 innings over five relief appearances. He was traded to the Montreal Expos during the 1995 season, but never appeared with them in the majors. After his brief stint in the Expos system in Triple-A in 1995, Fajardo returned to Mexico, where he pitched the final three seasons of his pro career. Fajardo compiled a 5-9, 6.95 record in 124.1 innings in the majors, with 17 starts and 13 relief outings.
Joe Quest, infielder for the 1884 Alleghenys. He played ten years in the majors, split between seven teams. He debuted in pro ball at 18 years old in 1871, the first year of Major League baseball, playing for the Cleveland Forest Citys of the National Association. After playing three games that season, his next big league appearance was in 1878 for the Indianapolis Blues of the National League. There was no minor league for most of that time, so the New Stanton, Pa. resident was playing amateur/semi-pro ball for most of that time. Quest played in Pittsburgh in 1876 for a semi-pro team called the Allegheny (no S at the end), signing for $90 a month after playing for the Meadville Mutuals in 1875. He played for Indianapolis in the League Alliance in 1877 during the first year of minor league ball. He remained in Indianapolis for the 1878 season back in the majors. Despite batting .205 that season in 62 games, Quest led the National League with 290 plate appearances. He moved on to the Chicago White Stockings (Cubs) for four seasons and was there more for his glove at second base (technically his hands, since they didn’t use gloves then). Quest hit .207 in 83 games in 1879, with 38 runs scored, 22 RBIs, and a career high 16 doubles. In 1880, he improved to a .237 average in 82 games, with 37 runs, 12 doubles and 27 RBIs. In 1881, he hit a career best .246, with 35 runs scored and 27 RBIs. He hit just one home run in his career, and it came off of Hall of Famer John Ward on June 27, 1881. In 1882, Quest hit .201 in 42 games, with 24 runs scored and 15 RBIs.
Quest played for the Detroit Wolverines (NL) and the St Louis Browns (American Association) in 1883. He batted .234 in 37 games with Detroit to start the year, then finished with a .256 average, 12 runs scored and ten RBIs in 19 games with the Browns. Most of 1884 was spent with St Louis, where he hit .206 with 46 runs scored, nine doubles and five triples. He was signed by the Alleghenys on September 21st to play shortstop, though he ended up seeing more games at second base, which is where he spent a large majority of his big league time. Quest played 12 games for the Alleghenys in 1884, batting .209 with three doubles. His 48 runs scored and five triples that year were both career highs. After leaving Pittsburgh, he played for Detroit again in 1885 and hit .195 with 24 runs scored and 21 RBIs in 55 games. He finished his big league time with the Philadelphia Athletics of the American Association in 1886, where he batted .207 with 14 runs scored in 42 games. He played his last pro ball in the minors in 1892. Quest finished his big league career as a .217 hitter in 596 games, with 300 runs scored, 96 extra-base hits and 161 RBIs, though RBI totals for the 1884 season in the American Association are unavailable. He umpired in 1886-87, but did such a poor job that he was suspended for three weeks without pay on June 5, 1887, which actually ended his big league umpiring career. In 1912, there was a long tribute article to Quest that got passed around to the newspapers, which stated that he was very ill and likely wouldn’t last long. He ended up living until 71 years old in 1924.
On this date in 1950, the Pirates picked up Dale Long and George Metkovich in the Rule 5 draft. Long had a good run with the Pirates in the late 50s, but his stint with the 1951 Pirates lasted just ten games before he was put on waivers. He was picked up by the St Louis Browns and then returned to Pittsburgh in December of 1951 when they purchased him back from the Browns. Metkovich was a bit different than Long. He already had six MLB seasons in at that point and was taken off the roster of a Pacific Coast League club. He played three seasons in the outfield for the Pirates, hitting .276 in 271 games.
Long played the next three years in the minors after returning to the Pirates organization. He was back in the majors in 1955 with Pittsburgh and hit .291 with a league leading 13 triples to go along with 16 homers and 79 RBIs. He led the Pirates in RBIs that season and even garnered some MVP attention, finishing 19th in the voting. In 1956. Long set a still standing record by homering in eight straight ballgames from May 19 – May 28. He finished the year with 27 homers and 91 RBIs which earned him the only All-Star appearances of his career. Just seven games into the 1957 season the Pirates traded away the big first baseman to the Chicago Cubs along with Lee Walls for Gene Baker and Dee Fondy.