Eight former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date.
Jack Wilson, shortstop for the 2001-2009 Pirates. He was drafted by the St Louis Cardinals in 1998 in the ninth round out of Oxnard College in California. Just two years later, the Pirates acquired him on July 29, 2000 in exchange for pitcher Jason Christiansen. Wilson debuted at 20 years old in the Appalachian League with Johnson City, where he batted .373 in 61 games, with 50 runs scored, 26 extra-base hits and 22 steals. In 1999, he split the season evenly (64 games each) between Low-A Peoria of the Midwest League and High-A Potomac of the Carolina League. He did well at both places, though his results with Peoria were much better. Wilson combined to hit .319 with 91 runs scored, 42 extra-base hits and 18 steals in 128 games. He began the 2000 season back in Potomac, but quickly moved to Arkansas of the Double-A Texas League, where he batted .294 with 34 extra-base hits in 88 games. After the trade to the Pirates, Wilson finished the 2000 season in Double-A Altoona, where he hit .232 in 33 games.
Wilson began the 2001 season in the majors as the team’s starting shortstop, skipping over Triple-A. After hitting .155 through the first month, he was sent to Triple-A Nashville of the Pacific Coast League, where he tore up the league, hitting .369 in 27 games. That performance earned him a quick trip back to the majors. He would hit just .223 with 25 RBIs that rookie season in 108 games. He led the league with 17 sacrifice hits. During the 2002 season he established himself as a solid everyday player, who was providing the team with above average defense at a key position. He raised his batting average to .256, took more walks, scored 77 runs, and again led the league in sacrifice hits. He played 147 games and improved his OPS by 88 points.
From 2002 to 2007, Wilson played an average of 149 games a year, with a career high of 158 during the 2005 season. In 2003, he hit .256 in 150 games, with 21 doubles, nine homers and 62 RBIs. His best season came in 2004 when he played 157 games, recorded 201 hits, 41 doubles, a league leading 12 triples, 11 homers and a career high 82 runs scored. He hit .308 that year, earned his only All-Star appearance and won the Silver Slugger award. His offensive numbers fell off from that 2004 high in 2005, but it was one of the best defensive seasons ever (see below). Wilson batted .257 in 158 games, with 60 runs scored, 24 doubles, seven triples, eight homers and 52 RBIs. In 2006, he hit .273 in 142 games, with 70 runs scored, 27 doubles and eight homers. Wilson had a strong season in 2007 when he hit .296 in 135 games, with 67 runs scored, 29 doubles, a career high 12 homers, and a .791 OPS, which was just three points off of his career best season.
Wilson missed the beginning of the 2008 season with a calf strain and ended up playing just 87 games that year, hitting .272 with 20 extra-base hits and a .659 OPS. In 2009 Wilson was traded to the Seattle Mariners on July 29th, exactly nine years to the day the Pirates acquired him. The trade also included Ian Snell going to Seattle, while five players returned to the Pirates. At the time of the deal, Wilson was hitting .267 with 23 extra-base hits in 75 games. After the trade, he batted .224 with one homer in 31 games. Wilson played a total of 154 games over three seasons in Seattle, including the partial 2009 season, and part of 2011 before he was traded to the Atlanta Braves. Much of his time with the Mariners was spent on the disabled list, suffering four separate injuries. During his only full season in Seattle, Wilson hit .249 with a .598 OPS in 61 games. During the 2011 season, he combined to hit .243 in 79 games, with 25 runs scored and nine extra-base hits. His 2012 season was limited to 40 games and he made just 14 starts. He hit just .188 in 57 games with the Braves over two seasons before being released in late August. He also spent time on the DL with in Atlanta.
In his nine seasons in Pittsburgh he played 1,159 games, and hit .269 with 508 runs scored, 217 doubles, 60 homers and 389 RBIs. He led National League shortstops in assists in both 2004-05 and putouts in 2004. He turned 255 double plays between the 2004-05 seasons. His 4.1 dWAR led all NL players in 2005, and it is rated as the best defensive season in franchise history. It is tied for the 15th best season in baseball history. His 18.3 dWAR with the Pirates is third best all-time, trailing only Bill Mazeroski and Honus Wagner, who both played much more time with the team.
Emil Brown, outfielder for the Pirates from 1997 to 2001. He was originally drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 37th round out of high school in 1993. He decided to attend Indian River Community College, where in just one year he moved up 31 rounds in the draft. He was selected by the Oakland A’s, who then lost him to the Pirates in the 1996 Rule 5 draft. He debuted in the Arizona Summer League in 1994, hitting .221 with three homers and five steals in 32 games. In 1995, Brown spent the year with West Michigan of the Class-A Midwest League, where he hit .251 in 124 games, with 63 runs, 23 extra-base hits, 67 RBIs and 35 steals, though he was caught 19 times. In 1996, he was injured for part of the season, but he did well in the High-A California League for Modesto, hitting .303 with 50 runs scored, ten doubles, ten homers and 13 steals in 57 games. The Pirates were taking bring him to the majors at 22 years old, with 217 games of minor league experience, and nothing above A-Ball.
Brown spent the entire 1997 season in the majors as per the rules of the draft, getting just 112 plate appearances in 66 games. He hit .179 with five stolen bases and 16 runs scored. The following season he went to Double-A Carolina of the Southern League to get regular at-bats. He hit .330 with 14 homers and 24 stolen bases in 123 games, earning a late season call-up to Pittsburgh, where he hit .256 in 13 games. Brown spent the 1999 season in Triple-A with Nashville of the Pacific Coast League, hitting .307 with 18 homers and 16 stolen bases in 110 games. For a second straight season he received some playing time in September, though it amounted to just six games at 14 at-bats. He started the 2000 season back in the minors with Nahville, getting brief call-ups in May and June, before coming up for good in late July. In 50 Major League games that season, he hit .218 with three homers and 16 RBIs. The next year he began the season in the majors, but hit only .203 through 61 games, before the Pirates traded him to the San Diego Padres for two minor leaguers, who never made it to the Pirates.
Brown played just 13 games for the 2001 Padres, then played in Triple-A for four different organizations over the next three seasons, seeing time with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, St Louis Cardinals, Houston Astros and Cincinnati Reds. Despite that long stretch in the minors, Brown had a breakout season with the Kansas City Royals in 2005. He batted .286 with 75 runs scored, 31 doubles, 17 homers and 86 RBIs in 150 games. Despite the strong offense, his defense was atrocious in right field, which led to a season WAR of just 0.2, and a move to left field in 2006. He put up nearly identical numbers on offense in 2006 (with better defense), hitting .287 with 77 runs, 41 doubles, 15 homers and 81 RBIs in 147 games. Brown then saw a drop-off in production the next year, with a 168-point drop in his OPS. He hit .257 in 113 games, with 20 extra-base hits and 62 RBIs. From 2005-07 with the Royals, he hit .279 with 229 RBIs and 196 runs scored in 410 games. Brown played 117 games for the 2008 Oakland A’s and hit .244 with 14 doubles, 13 homers and 59 RBIs. He then played his final three games in the majors with the 2009 New York Mets, who acquired him on May 29th from the San Diego Padres, and released him on July 20th. He finished his pro career playing winter ball in Mexico during the 2010-11 off-season. He hit .205 with eight homers, 38 RBIs and 18 steals in 196 games with the Pirates. He was a career .258 hitter in 739 big league games, with 296 runs scored, 112 doubles, 59 homers, 326 RBIs and 52 steals.
Clyde Barnhart, outfielder/third baseman who spent his entire Major League career with the Pirates, playing from 1920 to 1928. He started his minor league career in 1913 at age 17, playing for Zanesville of the Class-B Interstate League. There are no stats available for that league, and he didn’t play minor league ball in 1914. In 1915, he hit .254 over 77 games in D-level ball, in his first of three seasons with Frederick of the Blue Ridge League. In 1916, Barnhart hit .335 in 61 games, then followed that up with a .256 average and 27 extra-base hits in 90 games during the 1917 season. He didn’t play pro ball during the 1918-19 seasons, so it was quite a jump to the majors for him in 1920. Barnhart spent the 1919 season with a semi-pro team in Williamsport, where he was scouted by Billy Hinchman of the Pirates. He went to Spring Training with the Pirates in 1920, and made the Opening Day roster, but he was shipped out to Birmingham of the Class-A Southern Association on May 1st without getting into a game for the Pirates. After hitting .322 with 25 doubles and 17 triples in 131 games, he earned a late season look with Pittsburgh, and hit .326 in 12 games. The Pirates took no time putting him right into the fire. He played his final game for Birmingham on September 20th and two days later he started both games of a doubleheader with the Pirates.
Barnhart was the everyday third baseman in 1921 when he hit .258 with 66 runs scored, 31 extra-base hits and 62 RBIs in 124 games, but he lost his starting job to a young Pie Traynor during the 1922 season. Barnhart moved to the outfield in 1922 and hit .330 with an .828 OPS in 75 games. He didn’t get his first start until June 17th that year, but the strong second half led to regular playing time in 1923. He responded with a .324 average, 25 doubles, 13 triples, nine homers and 72 RBIs in 114 games. His .972 OPS was over 100 points better than the second best total on the Pirates that season. Barnhart’s numbers fell off in 1924, batting .276, with a 251 point drop in his OPS. He lost his starting job for a second time, and again it was lost to another future Hall of Famer (Kiki Cuyler). During the 1925 season Barnhart became the everyday left fielder and he had a big season hitting .325 with 85 runs, 32 doubles, 11 triples, 114 RBIs and 59 walks, helping the Pirates to their second championship in team history. He hit .250 in the World Series against the Washington Senators, driving in five runs.
Barnhart had a knack for being replaced by great all-time Pirates and the 1926-27 seasons were no different, although he had himself to blame the next two times. After his huge 1925 season, he hit just .192 in 76 games in 1926, watching his OPS drop from .838 in 1925, down to a .484 mark in 1926. Barnhart was never especially skilled in the outfield, so the Pirates called upon rookie Paul Waner to take his place. The following season Barnhart was still around due to the loss of two outfielders, and likely would’ve had the starting job if he came into camp into shape, but he didn’t and rookie Lloyd Waner took the position from him. That gave the Pirates an outfield to start the year made up of all future Hall of Famers, the Waner brothers and Cuyler. Barnhart eventually did get plenty of time in 1927 when Cuyler was hurt and then benched. He batted .319 with 65 runs scored and 54 RBIs in 108 games during the regular season. In the World Series that year, he hit .313 against the Yankees.
Barnhart was with the Pirates in 1928 and hitting well in limited time when they sent him to Indianapolis of the Double-A American Association in exchange for young outfielder Adam Comorosky. Barnhart actually didn’t play much after July 1st due to a gasoline burn he suffered. He was hitting .296 with 30 RBIs in 61 games at the time of the trade, which ended his big league career, though the Pirates sent him to Indianapolis with an option to recall him at the end of the season, which they decided to do. On January 9, 1929, he was part of a deal to acquire pitcher Steve Swetonic from Indianapolis. Barnhart went on to play four minor league seasons before ending his pro career, with most of that time spent with Indianapolis. He was a career .295 hitter in 814 games for the Pirates, with 209 extra-base hits, 436 RBIs and 404 runs scored. His son Vic Barnhart was an infielder for the Pirates in 1944-46.
George Perez, pitcher for the 1958 Pirates. Perez played a total of four Major League games, all before the age of twenty-one. He pitched for the Pirates early in the 1958 season, making his last appearance on May 6th. In four relief outings, he went 0-1, 5.40 with one save in 8.1 innings. In 1958, teams were allowed to carry extra players during the early part of the season, which had to be cut down to 25 players within 30 days of Opening Day. Perez was a surprise addition to the team due to his lack of experience in general and the fact that it was all lower level affiliates The Pirates signed him as an 18-year-old in 1956 out of high school in Verdugo Hills, California. Three teams showed heavy interest in signing him, but the Pirates came through with a $4,000 bonus to win out over the Milwaukee Braves and Boston Red Sox. He was assigned to Douglas of the Arizona-Mexico League and he went 13-5, 4.50 in 146 innings during his first season in pro ball. He moved up to Lincoln of the Western League in 1957 and went 15-6, 2.96 in 204 innings. It was said that two outings in particular earned him a spot on the 1958 Pirates out of Spring Training. He allowed one run over three innings against the Milwaukee Braves, then pitched two scoreless innings against the Detroit Tigers. In both of those innings, Perez gave up a lead-off double, but the runner never moved from second base. The coolness under pressure impressed manager Danny Murtaugh.
Perez threw hard and mixed in a curveball that had average results against Major League hitters. He season salary during his brief time was $7,000 (he only received the pro-rated amount), which was double his minor league salary. The Pirates sent him to the minors on May 10th, giving him a total of 25 days of service time in the majors. The Pirates finished in second place in 1958, which gave them a share of the World Series cut. The team voted a 1/4 share to Perez, which amounted to a $376.76 bonus. Perez went to Spring Training with the 1959 Pirates, but he was limited in his work due to a sore arm. He was sent to minor league camp on April 2nd, ending his shot at making the Opening Day roster. On May 13th, he threw a ho-hitter for Salt Lake City of the Pacific Coast League. A seventh inning walk was the only runner of the game for the opposition. He finished the season with an 11-7, 2.55 record in 159 innings over 24 starts. He served in the Army for six months during the off-season and he was optioned to Columbus of the International League on April 20, 1960, eight days after the 1960 season opened. He stayed in the Pirates organization until 1961 before retiring after he was assigned to a new team and refused to report. He pitched just 11 games total over his final two seasons, finishing up with nine games in Class-A ball for Asheville of the South Atlantic League. Arm and back trouble limited him to two games in 1960. Perez was actually traded to Salt Lake City in September of 1960 in exchange for Harry Bright and RC Stevens. He had a 47-24 record in his six seasons in the minors.
Kevin Hart, pitcher for the 2009 Pirates. Hart came to the Pirates from the Chicago Cubs at the 2009 trading deadline. Along with Josh Harrison, he was part of the return for pitchers John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny.Hart was an 11th round draft pick of the Baltimore Orioles in 2004 out of the University of Maryland. He split his first season between the short-season New York-Penn League (Aberdeen) and Delmarva of the Low-A South Atlantic League. He had matching 3.71 ERAs in 14.1 innings in both spots, combining for a perfect 5-0 record. In 2005, he spent the season with Delmarva, going 9-8, 4.55 in 28 starts, with 164 strikeouts in 152.1 innings. In 2006, Hart played all year for Frederick of the High-A Carolina League. He went 6-11, 4.61 in 148.1 innings. The Orioles sent him to the Cubs as the player to be named later in a December 2006 trade. He went 8-7, 4.24 in 102 innings for Tennessee of the Double-A Southern League in 2007, then went 4-1, 3.54 in 56 innings for Iowa of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. Hart made his big league debut with the Cubs in September of 2007 and gave up one run over 11 innings during his eight relief appearances. That success earned him an Opening Day spot in 2008, but it didn’t carry over.
Hart was with the Cubs until late April of 2008, then had brief stints with the club in early June and mid-July, before coming back in September. The Cubs had him pitching in relief in the majors, while also seeing time as a starter in the minors. In the majors, he had 6.51 ERA in 21 appearances. Before joining the Pirates in 2009, he made three June appearances in relief for the Cubs, then moved to the starting rotation for four games in July, He won three of those games and had a 2.86 ERA in 22 innings. In his three seasons with Chicago, he went 5-3, 3.93 in 66.1 innings over four starts and 33 relief appearances. Hart was immediately inserted into the starting rotation after the trade, and he went 1-8, 6.92 in 53.1 innings over ten starts for the Pirates. He started the 2010 season in the minors(Triple-A Indianapolis of the International League), then tore his labrum early in May and missed the rest of the year. He didn’t pitch at all in 2011, then attempted a brief comeback in Independent ball and winter ball in 2012 before retiring. He did well in indy ball, with a 2.25 ERA in 21 appearances, but in Venezuela over the 2012-13 winter, he allowed ten runs in 2.1 innings.
Mike Brown, right fielder for the 1985-86 Pirates. He was a seventh round draft pick of the California Angels in 1980 out of San Jose State University. He debuted in pro ball with Salinas of the Class-A California League, where he hit .263 with five homers and 35 RBIs in 47 games. In 1981, Brown played for Holyoke of the Double-A Eastern League, where he batted .321 in 135 games, with 64 runs scored, 25 doubles, eight triples, six homers, 15 steals and 60 walks. He moved up to Spokane of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League in 1982 and hit .284 in 134 games, with 74 runs scored, 30 doubles, 11 homers and 73 RBIs. He repeated Triple-A in 1983, as the Angels affiliate moved to Edmonton of the PCL that season. In 115 games, he hit .355 with 91 runs scored, 39 doubles, 22 homers, 106 RBIs and 51 walks. That performance earned him a trip to the majors for a short time in late July, as well as a return trip in September. Brown batted .231 with five doubles and three homers in 31 games during his first trial in the majors, while seeing time at all three outfield spots.
Brown was with the Angels for nearly all of 1984, debuting in early May. Serving as a fourth outfielder, he hit .284 with seven homers and 22 RBIs in 62 games. Prior to the trade to the Pirates in 1985 at 25 years old, he was serving in the same backup role, hitting .268 with four homers and 20 RBIs in 60 games. Brown was one of six players involved in the August 2, 1985 trade between the Angels and Pirates that sent veterans John Candelaria and George Hendrick to California. Brown was the everyday right fielder for the Pirates after the trade and did well over the rest of the 1985 season, hitting .332 with 25 extra-base hits in 57 games. He struggled in 1986, hitting .218 in 87 games for the Pirates, while also seeing brief time in Triple-A (Hawaii of the PCL), where he batted .379 in 24 games. Brown was released by the Pirates at the end of Spring Training in 1987. He split the 1987 season playing in Triple-A for the Chicago White Sox (back in Hawaii) and Atlanta Braves (Richmond of the International League). He signed with the Detroit Tigers in 1988, and played in Triple-A before returning to the Angels, where he ended up hitting .220 in 18 big league games. That was his only Major League experience after leaving Pittsburgh. He spent the 1989 season in Triple-A with the Angels, then finished his pro career with one season in Japan.
Chase De Jong, pitcher for the 2021 Pirates. He was a second round draft pick out of high school in 2012 by the Toronto Blue Jays. He went to the Gulf Coast League that first year at 18 years old and had a 1.50 ERA in 12 innings over six appearances. In 2013, De Jong moved up to the short-season Appalachian League, where he put up a 2-3, 3.05 record in 56 innings, with 66 strikeouts, while playing for Bluefield. In 2014, he played for Lansing of the Class-A Midwest League, where he had a 1-6, 4.82 record in 97 innings over 21 starts and two relief appearances. He split the 2015 season between Lansing and Rancho Cucamonga of the High-A California League. He was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in July of that season. He posted an 11-7, 3.43 record in 136.1 innings, with 129 strikeouts, putting up slightly better results at the lower level. In 2016, De Jong played for Tulsa of the Texas League, where he had a 14-5, 2.86 record in 141.2 innings, with 125 strikeouts. He made one Triple-A start and allowed one run in 5.1 innings. He was traded to the Seattle Mariners in March of 2017 and he made five starts in Double-A, and another 15 starts with Tacoma of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. De Jong combined for a 4-9, 5.99 record in 112.2 innings, with nearly identical results at both levels. Despite the poor results, he saw four starts and three relief appearances with the Mariners that season, posting a 6.35 ERA in 28.1 innings.
De Jong was traded to the Minnesota Twins for Zach Duke during the 2018 season. He was in Double-A for the Mariners at the time, putting up a 3.80 ERA in 120.2 innings. After the deal, he had a 3.20 ERA in 38.1 innings for Triple-A Rochester (International League), while also putting up a 3.57 ERA in four starts for the Twins. He pitched one game for the Twins in 2019 and allowed four runs in one inning. He struggled in Rochester with a 9.73 ERA in 45.1 innings, and then ended up pitching independent ball for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the Atlantic League. He have rough times there as well, with a 5.56 ERA in 12 starts. He saw time with Sugar Land in 2020 as well, then really had a poor showing with the Houston Astros, giving up 12 runs in 7.1 innings. He signed a minor league deal with the Pirates on January 5, 2021 and made four starts for Triple-A Indianapolis before joining the Pirates at the end of May. In nine starts in the majors, he went 1-4, 5.77 in 43.2 innings. He injured his knee in July and spent the rest of the year on the injured list. De Jong became a free agent after the season. In parts of five seasons in the majors, he is 2-9, 6.52 in 98 innings over 19 starts and five relief appearances. His cousin Jordan De Jong pitched for the 2007 Toronto Blue Jays during his only season in the majors.
Dustin Fowler, outfielder for the 2021 Pirates. He was an 18th round draft pick of the New York Yankees out of high school in 2013. Prior to the 2018 season, he was considered to be a top 100 prospect in baseball according to multiple sources. Fowler debuted in the Gulf Coast League in 2013, where he hit .241 in 30 games, with 12 extra-base hits and a .657 OPS. In 2014, he moved up to Low-A Charleston of the South Atlantic League, where he batted .257 in 66 games, with 28 extra-base hits, 33 runs scored and 41 RBIs. In 2015, he split the season between Charleston and High-A Tampa of the Florida State League. He combined to hit .298 in 123 games, with 64 runs scored, 31 extra-base hits, 70 RBIs and 30 steals, putting up similar results at both levels. Fowler played in the Arizona Fall League after the season, where he hit .279 with two homers in 16 games. In 2016, he moved up to Trenton of the Double-A Eastern League. That year he batted .281 in 132 games, with 30 doubles, 15 triples, 12 homers, 88 RBIs and 25 steals. He moved up to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre of the International League in 2017 and hit .293 with 40 extra-base hits in 70 games. He was called up to the Yankees in late June and two outs into his big league debut, he suffered a season-ending injury while going after a foul ball. A month later he was one of three players traded to the Oakland A’s for Sonny Gray.
Fowler saw a decent amount of big league action in 2018, hitting .224 with six homers and 23 RBIs in 69 games. He spent the entire 2019 season in Triple-A, where he hit .277 with 98 runs scored, 22 doubles, 25 homers and 89 RBIs, while playing in the high-offense environment in Las Vegas. Fowler did not play during the shortened 2020 season, but he spent the season at Oakland’s Alternate Training Site. He was sold to the Pirates in February of 2021 and played 18 big league games, hitting .171 with two RBIs. He was sent to the minors, then got injured, then released after playing a handful of rehab games. He signed with the Miami Marlins in August, but didn’t play in the majors and became a free agent after the season. He’s a .215 hitter with six homers and 25 RBIs in 88 big league games.