Eight former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date, plus a former Pirates manager.
John Nogowski, first baseman for the 2021 Pirates. He was drafted out of Florida State in 2014 in the 34th round by the Oakland A’s. Most of his draft season was spent in the short-season New York-Penn League, where he hit .259 with one homer and 21 RBIs in 50 games. He then went to High-A Stockton of the California League in 2015. He batted .274 in 96 games, with 20 doubles, four homers and 45 RBIs. In 2016, Nogowski spent most of the year back in Stockton, where he hit .285 in 84 games, with 15 doubles and seven homers. The A’s released him during Spring Training in 2017 and he played independent ball before signing with the St Louis Cardinals in late June. Nogowski hit .402 with a 1.089 OPS in 34 games for Sioux City of the American Association (indy), then batted .295 with a .760 OPS in 59 games for Springfield of the Double-A Texas League. The Cardinals sent him to the Arizona Fall League, but he hit just .188 in nine games. In 2018, he played 83 games for Springfield and another eight games on rehab from an injury that cost him some time during the season. He hit .312 with ten doubles, 12 homers and 64 RBIs in 91 games that year. Nogowski played winter ball in Mexico during the 2018-19 off-season and hit .256 with one homer in 22 games. In 2019, he played for Triple-A Memphis of the Pacific Coast League and hit .295 with 77 runs, 22 doubles, 15 homers, 75 RBIs and 69 walks in 117 games. He played in the Dominican over the 2019-20 winter and he hit .316 in 31 games, with an .887 OPS.
During the shortened 2020 season, Nogowski was at the Alternate Training Site for the Cardinals. He got into one big league game and went 1-for-4 with a single. During the winter of 2020-21, he played in the Dominican again and struggled, hitting .260 with a .636 OPS in 22 games. For the 2021 Cardinals, he went 1-for-18 in 19 games, with a .206 OPS. He then went to Triple-A and struggled there, hitting .195 in 36 games. The Pirates purchased him from the Cardinals on July 3rd and he hit .261 with one homer and 14 RBIs in 33 games. He was sent to Triple-A Indianapolis in mid-August, then released in mid-September. He signed with the San Francisco Giants three days later and played eight Triple-A games before the season ended. Nogowski was picked up in the minor league Rule 5 draft by the Atlanta Braves in December of 2021. He played winter ball in the Dominican during the 2021-22 off-season, but left early after hitting .192 in 15 games. He’s a .233 hitter in 53 big league games.
Danny Ortiz, outfielder for the 2017 Pirates. He was signed as a minor league free agent by the Pirates in November of 2015, just two weeks after reaching free agency. Ortiz was drafted out of high school in Puerto Rico at 17 years old by the Minnesota Twins, who took him in the fourth round of the 2008 draft. He debuted at 18 years old in the Gulf Coast League, where he hit .274 with 18 extra-base hits in 48 games. He didn’t play during the 2009 season due to knee surgery. In 2010, he played in the short-season Appalachian League, where he hit .259 with 16 doubles and 11 homers in 62 games. Ortiz moved up to Low-A Beloit of the Midwest League in 2011 and hit .239 in 129 games, with 33 doubles, ten homers and 71 RBIs. In 2012, he went to Fort Myers of the High-A Florida State League for most of the year, after a short stint back with Beloit. He combined to hit .275 in 119 games, with 28 doubles, five triples and ten homers. The entire 2013 season was spent with New Britain of the Double-A Eastern League, where he hit .258 in 133 games, with 63 runs, 27 doubles, 12 homers and 60 RBIs. He went to Triple-A Rochester of the International League in 2014 for a little more than half of the season. Ortiz hit .324 with an .840 OPS in 49 games for New Britain, while batting .256 with 24 extra-base hits in 73 games for Rochester. The entire 2015 season was spent in Rochester, where he hit .248 in 131 games, with 31 doubles, 17 homers and 78 RBIs. He became a free agent after the season and he was the first minor league free agent signed by the Pirates that winter.
Ortiz played the entire 2016 season in Triple-A for the Pirates, matching his 17 homers from the previous year, though he hit just .236 with 25 walks in 130 games. He went to winter ball in Puerto Rico after the season and put up a .340 batting average, which led to him re-signing with the Pirates as a minor league free agent. He went to Spring Training in 2017, but he began the year back in Triple-A. In late April, he was called up to the majors for the first time in his career and lasted just one day before being returned, though he got to make his debut as a defensive replacement in right field in the seventh inning. He came back 17 days later he went 1-for-13 with a walk over eight games, before being optioned back to Triple-A. That has been his only big league experience to this date. He actually spent a total of nine days on the big league roster, getting into a game each day in the majors. Ortiz played in Mexico in 2019 and 2021. He is currently playing winter ball in Puerto Rico for the 12th straight season. He actually played the first half of the 2020-21 winter season in Mexico, which began two months earlier than the league in Puerto Rico, but he ended up in his home country for 17 games that winter. Including winter ball, he has played over 1,700 games and he has 213 homers and 928 RBIs.
Mark Redman, pitcher for the 2005 Pirates. He was originally drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 41st round out of high school in 1992. Three years later after attending the University of Oklahoma, Redman was a first round pick of the Minnesota Twins, taken 13th overall. It took him four years to make the majors, debuting for the 1999 Twins. Redman went right to High-A ball after signing, playing for Fort Myers of the Florida State League, where he went 2-1, 2.76 in 32.2 innings. He did well for Fort Myers in 1996, going 3-4, 1.85 in 82.2 innings over 13 starts, then had a 7-7, 3.81 record in 16 starts for Hardware City of the Double-A Eastern League. He finished with one start for Salt Lake City of the Pacific Coast League (Triple-A). The 1997 season was spent with Salt Lake City, where he went 8-15, 6.31 in 158.1 innings. That ERA was less than a full run more than the team average. Redman spent part of 1998 back in Double-A and did well, posting a 1.52 ERA in eight starts. He returned to Salt Lake City for 18 starts and improved slightly to a 5.53 ERA in 99.1 innings. That season he struck out 139 batters in 146.2 innings. In 1999, he made 24 starts at Salt Lake City and had a 9-9, 5.05 record in 133.2 innings over 24 starts. The Twins called him up in July for a spot start, then he returned in September. He had an 8.53 ERA in 12.2 innings during his first big league trial.
After making just five appearances that first year in the majors, Redman moved into the starting rotation in 2000, where he went 12-9, 4.76 in 151.1 innings. He finished sixth in the American League Rookie of the Year voting. After putting up a 4.22 ERA in nine starts with the 2001 Twins, he was traded to the Detroit Tigers. Redman saw brief Triple-A time with both the Tigers and Twins that season, but after the deal he made just two starts for the Tigers that year, allowing six runs in nine innings. In 2002, he spent the entire season in the Detroit rotation, going 8-15, 4.21 in a career high 203 innings over 30 starts. He was traded to the Florida Marlins in January of 2003 and he helped them to a World Series title that year by going 14-9, 3.59 in 190.2 innings, with a career high 151 strikeouts. He topped the 100-strikeout mark four more times in his career, but never came close to that 2003 total. He made four postseason starts and the Marlins won two of those games, though he finished 0-1, 6.50 in 18 innings. Redman went 11-12, 4.71 in 191 innings over 32 starts for the Oakland A’s in 2004 after signing there as a free agent.
Pittsburgh acquired Redman and Arthur Rhodes in November of 2004 from the A’s in exchange for Jason Kendall. Redman started off strong for the Pirates, going 4-4, 2.80 in his first 14 starts, but he went downhill quick after that. He finished with a 5-15, 4.90 record in 178.1 innings. The Pirates won just one of his last 16 starts. Following the season he was traded to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for pitcher Jonah Bayliss and a minor leaguer (pitcher Chad Blackwell). Redman was an All-Star during the 2006 season in Kansas City, though it was far from a solid performance. He went 11-10, 5.73 in 167 innings. He signed with the Atlanta Braves during the 2007 season, then moved on to the Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays, before finishing the season with the Colorado Rockies. He only pitched briefly in the majors that year with the Braves and Rockies, combining to go 2-4, 7.62 in 41.1 innings. Redman’s big league time in 2008 consisted of 45.1 innings over nine starts and a relief appearance for the Rockies. He went 2-5, 7.54 that year. He retired after the 2008 season with a 68-85, 4.85 record over 1,238.2 innings, spending ten seasons in the majors.
Danny Jackson, pitcher for the 1992 Pirates. He was originally drafted out of high school in the 24th round of the 1980 draft by the Oakland A’s. Just two years later, Jackson was the first overall pick in the January 1982 draft, taken by the Kansas City Royals out of Trinidad State College. He had an incredible first season in pro ball, splitting the year between Charleston of the Class-A South Atlantic League and Jacksonville of the Double-A Southern League. He combined to go 17-3, 2.50 in 194.1 innings. The 1983 season was spent with Triple-A Omaha of the American Association, where he had a 7-8, 3.97 record in 136 innings. Jackson debuted in the majors that September and had a 5.21 ERA in 19 innings. He pitched half of the 1984 season in Omaha and the other half with the Royals. He went 2-6, 4.26 in 76 innings over 11 starts and four relief appearances with Kansas City. He was a regular on the 1985 Royals teams that won the World Series. He went 14-12, 3.42 in 208 innings over 32 starts that year. He started two games in the World Series and allowed just three runs over 16 innings.
Jackson improved his ERA to 3.20 in 185.2 innings in 1986, though his record dropped to 11-12. The Royals went from 91 wins during their World Series season, down to a 76-86 record in 1986. The Royals were slightly above .500 in 1987, but Jackson went 9-18, 4.02 in 224 innings. The Royals traded him over the winter to the Reds, where he had his near Cy Young season. Besides the 23-8 record, he had a 2.73 ERA in 260 innings over 35 starts, with a career high 161 strikeouts. He pitched 15 complete games and six were shutouts. He was an All-Star for the first of two times in his career, and he finished ninth in the MVP voting, the only time he received any MVP votes. That big 1988 season was followed in 1989 by an ERA that was more than double the previous year, going from 2.73 to 5.60. He made just 20 starts, while throwing 115.2 innings. The Reds won the World Series in 1990 and Jackson was a solid contributor, though he missed about ten starts due to injury. He went 6-6, 3.61 in 117.1 innings. He did well in two NLCS starts against the Pirates, allowing three runs in 11.1 innings, but he struggled in his World Series outing, allowing four runs in 2.2 innings. He signed a free agent deal with the Chicago Cubs in November of 1990. During the 1991 season, he went 1-5, 6.75 in 70.2 innings over 14 starts and three relief outings.
Jackson’s 1988 highlight season was far removed by the time he joined Pittsburgh. When the Pirates acquired him from the Chicago Cubs on July 11, 1992 for third baseman Steve Buechele, he had won a total of 17 games since his 23 victories in 1988. Before the trade, Jackson had a 4-9, 4.22 record in 113 innings over 19 starts for Chicago. He went 4-4, 3.36 in 88.1 innings over 15 starts for the Pirates to finish out the 1992 season. He started game two of the NLCS against the Atlanta Braves, but was chased from the game in the second inning, giving up four earned runs and taking the loss. Following the season he was taken by the Florida Marlins in the 1992 expansion draft. That same day he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for two players. Jackson did well in two seasons with the Phillies, posting a 26-17, 3.57 record in 57 starts. He went 12-11, 3.77 in 210.1 innings over 32 starts in 1993, then followed it up with a 14-6, 3.26 record in 179.1 innings during the strike-shortened 1994 season. He was an All-Star that year and he finished sixth in the Cy Young voting. From there he moved to the St Louis Cardinals, where he had an awful time over three seasons.
For the 1995 Cardinals, Jackson went 2-12, 5.90 in 100.2 innings over 19 starts. Injuries limited him to 13 games in 1996, and he pitched nearly as much on rehab that year, making nine minor league appearances. He went 1-1, 4.46 in 36.1 innings for St Louis. His time with the Cardinals in 1997 amounted to a 7.71 ERA in four starts at the big league level, and a 1.80 ERA in four minor league starts. In early June, he was part of a three-for-three swap with the San Diego Padres. He wound up the 1997 season with a tough time for the Padres, going 1-7, 7.53 in nine starts and four relief outings. He finished his 15-year big league career with a 112-131, 4.01 record, while throwing 2,072.2 innings. He started 324 games, threw 44 complete games and he had 15 shutouts.
John Russell, manager of the Pirates from 2008-2010. Russell was a catcher in the majors for ten seasons prior to becoming a manager/coach. He was a first round pick in 1982, who made it to the majors two years later with the Philadelphia Phillies. In a career that also included big league time with the Atlanta Braves and Texas Rangers, he played 448 games and hit .225 with 34 homers and 129 RBIs. He retired after a brief minor league stint in 1994 and immediately took up a coaching role. Russell managed in the Minnesota Twins minor league system from 1995 to 2002 before becoming the Pirates third base coach and catching instructor from 2003 to 2005. After two seasons of managing in the Phillies farm system ,the Pirates hired him as their manager for the 2008 season. In three years at the helm he went 186-299 with a high of 67 wins in 2008. His record got progressively worse during that stretch, going from 67-95, to 62-99, to 57-105 during his final season. He finished in last place all three seasons. He went on to be a coach for the Baltimore Orioles for eight seasons (2011-18) and now coaches at the IMG Academy in Bradenton.
Roger Samuels, pitcher for the 1989 Pirates. He was originally drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the second round of the January 1980 draft. He decided to go back to school, where he was next taken by the Houston Astros in 1983, dropping to the tenth round. Samuels split his first season between the short-season New York-Penn League (Auburn) and the Low-A South Atlantic League (Asheville), going 6-6, 3.84 in 93.2 innings, with similar results at both levels. In 1984, he spent part of the year back in Asheville, and the other half of the season with Daytona Beach of the Class-A Florida State League. He combined to go 9-9, 3.73 in 156.2 innings, with 126 strikeouts. That year was the only season in which he topped 100 strikeouts during his career. He did slightly better with Asheville that season. In 1985, Samuels moved up to the Double-A Southern League, where he spent the first of two seasons with Columbus. He went 10-9, 3.96 in 147.2 innings over 25 starts and eight relief appearances in 1985. He topped out at Double-A with the Astros, posting a 5.10 ERA in 1986 after being moved to the bullpen. Before he could make the majors, the Astros released him prior to the 1987 season.
Samuels signed as a minor league free agent with the San Francisco Giants 18 days after being released and ended up making his MLB debut with them in July of 1988. He spent the 1987 season pitching for Fresno of the Class-A California League and Shreveport of the Double-A Texas League, doing great in both spots. He combined to go 4-3, 1.18 in 76 innings over 48 appearances, with 13 saves and 99 strikeouts. He moved up to Triple-A Phoenix of the Pacific Coast League in 1988 and had a 2.63 ERA and eight saves in 48 innings over 30 appearances. After joining the Giants, he made 15 relief appearances. Samuels had a 3.47 ERA in 23.1 innings, with 22 strikeouts during his first big league trial. He began the 1989 season back in the minors, and was still there when the Pirates acquired him in a deal for veteran third baseman Ken Oberkfell on May 10th. Samuels reported to Triple-A Buffalo of the American Association before he was called up by the Pirates on May 29th. He struggled in five relief appearances (9.82 ERA in 3.2 IP) before they returned him to the minors on June 11th. He pitched until 1990, finishing his career in the New York Mets organization after being released by the Pirates on April 29, 1990 after five games with Buffalo. The Oberkfell for Samuels deal was a very controversial one because fans/media believed that the Pirates dumped a valuable player for a player who was unlikely to help. While that was true about Samuels, Oberkfell was a highly paid bench player, whose best days were behind him. He was a singles-hitting third baseman, who had 22.4 WAR in his first ten seasons (he played 33 games total in his first two years). In his final six seasons in the majors, he had 0.0 WAR. Samuels finished with a 4.33 ERA in his 20 big league appearances.
Bob Oldis, catcher for the 1960-61 Pirates. Oldis had previously played only 24 Major League games over three seasons (1953-55 with the Washington Senators) when the Pirates took him in the 1959 Rule 5 draft from the New York Yankees. He was originally signed as an amateur free agent in 1949 by the Senators. He was scouted at a baseball camp at 21 years old and signed without getting a bonus. He spent his first four years of pro ball in the minors before making his MLB debut early in the 1953 season. Oldis played his first two pro seasons for Emporia of the Class-D Virginia League. He did well in his pro debut, hitting .285 with a .764 OPS in 79 games. He batted .289 with 27 extra-base hits in 118 games in 1950. During the 1951 season, he moved up two levels to the Class-B Tri-State League, where he played for Charlotte. He hit .285 with 19 doubles and seven triples that year in 116 games. That performance led to another two-level jump in 1952, when he joined Chattanooga of the Double-A Southern Association. He hit .277 that season in 95 games, with 14 doubles and three triples. Oldis started 1953 with the Senators, but he ended up playing 28 games for Chattanooga. Despite spending half of the season in the majors, he played just seven games for Washington.
In 1954, Oldis spent the entire season in the majors, yet he played just 11 games, serving as the third-string catcher. He played just six games in the majors in 1955, while playing a total of 65 minor league games between Chattanooga and Charlotte of the Class-A South Atlantic League. Oldis then played four full seasons in the minors before his Pirates debut. The entire 1956 season was spent with Chattanooga, where he hit .286 in 118 games. The Yankees acquired his after the 1956 season, though he never saw big league time with them over his three years. He played for Denver of the Triple-A American Association in 1957 and he hit .294 with 20 extra-base hits in 85 games. He switched to Triple-A Richmond of the International League in 1958, where he hit .268 with 32 extra-base hits in 124 games. Oldis spent the 1959 season playing for Denver again, where he batted .294 in 135 games. He was already 32 years old at the time he joined the Pirates.
Oldis was used very little throughout the 1960 season in Pittsburgh, making three starts all year, while playing a total of just 22 games. He went 4-for-20 at the plate, with a double, an RBI and a walk. He was used twice off the bench in the World Series without getting an at-bat. He started the following season on the Pirates roster, but spent most of the year in the minors. He went 0-for-5 in four games for the 1961 Pirates, playing twice in April, once in May and once in June. Shortly after the season ended, the Pirates sold him to the Philadelphia Phillies, where he played 85 games over the next two seasons before retiring as a player. Oldis was a .237 hitter in 135 big league games, with one homer and 22 RBIs. He hit 23 homers total in his pro career, while playing 1,179 games. After his final season in the majors, he became a coach for the Philadelphia Phillies. He was actually a player-coach in September of 1964, but he never got into a game. He continued to coach for a few more years, then took up scouting, which he did for over 30 years. Oldis earned a World Series ring with the 2003 Florida Marlins. He turns 94 years old today.
Jack Salveson, pitcher for the 1935 Pirates. His first taste of pro ball came at 18 years old with Winston-Salem of the Class-B Piedmont League in 1932, where he went 7-12, 4.62 in 156 innings. He debuted in the majors in early June of 1933 with the New York Giants after pitching great with Dallas of the Class-A Texas League in seven starts. Salveson went 0-2, 3.82 in two starts and six relief appearances with the 1933 Giants. In 1934, he started and finished the season in the majors, while spending approximately two months from May-July in the minors with Montreal of the Double-A International League. Salveson made four starts and eight relief appearances, posting a 3.52 ERA in 38.1 innings with New York. The Pirates acquired him in December of 1934 from the Giants for pitcher Leon Chagnon. Salveson was just shy of his 21st birthday at the time of the trade. He pitched just five games for the 1935 Pirates, posting a 9.00 ERA in seven relief innings, before they decided to trade him on June 9, 1935 to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for a young outfielder named Bud Hafey, who was a cousin of Hall of Fame outfielder Chick Hafey.
Salveson finished the 1935 season with the White Sox, going 1-2, 4.86 in 66.2 innings over 20 games (two starts), then returned to the minors for seven seasons before he played in the majors again in 1943 and 1945 for the Cleveland Indians. That was when player losses to the war effort offered older players a chance to get back in the majors. However, he actually quit baseball for the 1944 season to work a wartime job, before returning to the Indians in 1945. Salveson pitched seven straight seasons in the Pacific Coast League (1936-42) and averaged 15 wins per season before making it back to the majors. He won 21 games for Los Angeles of the PCL in 1936 and he won a career best 24 games for Oakland of the PCL in 1942. For the 1943 Indians, he went 5-3, 3.35 in 86 innings over 11 starts and 12 relief appearances. In 1945, Salveson had a 3.68 ERA in 44 innings over 19 relief appearances. He won just nine Major League games over five seasons, but was able to pick up 224 minor league wins before he retired in 1953 after 21 seasons in pro ball. He finished his big league career 9-9, 3.99 in 272.2 innings.
Newt Hunter, first baseman for the 1911 Pirates. He had been playing minor league ball since 1903 when the Pirates traded three players for him on August 20, 1910. The trade was made with the minor league team he was playing for at the time, the Kansas City Blues of the Class-A American Association. There was quite the bidding war for Hunter’s services, with the local papers noting that the Pirates were the front runners and said to be offering as many as six players for his services. Some papers reported that all 16 Major League teams made offers. Other teams were making cash offers, but Kansas City’s owner wanted players and he wanted to make a deal before the Rule 5 draft on September 1st, where there was a slim chance that he could end up getting just $1,000 for Hunter. It’s interesting to note that the report on him said that he was about 22 years old at the time. Hunter was actually 30 years old.
Hunter debuted with Vicksburg of the Class-D Cotton States League, where he hit just .094 in 64 at-bats during the 1903 season. In 1904, he played for two Class-C teams, seeing time with Dallas of the Texas League and Beaumont of the South Texas League. He combined to hit .278 in 115 games, with better results at Beaumont. In 1905, Hunter split the year between Beaumont and Houston, also of the same league. His complete stats aren’t known, but they show a .305 average in 122 games. In 1906, he moved up two levels to Baltimore of the Class-A Eastern League, where he batted .240 with 32 extra-base hits in 115 games. He spent most of 1907 back in Baltimore and hit .231 with 14 extra-base hits and 29 steals in 98 games. He also saw some time with Troy of the Class-B New York State League that season. In 1908, Hunter split the season evenly between Baltimore and Wilmington of the Class-B Tri-State League. He hit .263 with 50 runs, 19 extra-base hits and 24 steals in 101 games. Hunter had his first really good season at Sioux City of the Class-A Western League in 1909 at 29 years old. That year he batted .301 with 39 doubles, seven triples and 13 homers in 156 games. That was followed up by his strong season at Kansas City, which got him his big league shot. In addition to hitting well at the time he was picked up by the Pirates, he was also noted as a fast runner and a brilliant defender. His batting average a few days prior to the trade was .331, yet he finished the year with a .295 mark in 162 games, with 38 extra-base hits. When the deal was completed, it was announced that he was joining the Pirates during the following spring.
Hunter played 65 games total for the 1911 Pirates, 61 at first base, splitting time there with two future Hall of Famers, Honus Wagner and Bill McKechnie. Hunter hit .254 with 35 runs scored and 24 RBIs in what ended up being his only big league season. While his contributions to the Pirates were minimal, all three players sent to Kansas City in the trade ended up being career minor leaguers, so it worked out well in that sense. Hunter was sold outright to Indianapolis of the American Association on September 7, 1911, ending his time with the Pirates. He finished the season with 20 games in Indianapolis, then he played regularly in the minors until 1918, briefly making another appearance on the field in 1924 for six games. After his playing career ended he coached and scouted for many years. While not all of his minor league stats are known, Hunter played over 1,500 minor league games during his 17 seasons. During his time in Pittsburgh and most years in the minors, he was known by his first name (Fred).