One trade of note and ten former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date.
On this date in 1954 the Pittsburgh Pirates traded starting pitcher Murry Dickson to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for relief pitcher Andy Hansen and infielder Jack Lohrke, along with $70,000 also going to the Pirates in the deal. It was a cost cutting move for the Pirates. They were just 50-104 in 1953 and they finished seventh out of eight National League teams in attendance. Dickson was their win leader in 1953, and he also picked up 20 wins for a seventh place team just two seasons earlier, but he was also one of the higher salary veterans on a team that was far from competing. He was 37 years old at the time of the trade and he had led the NL in losses each of the last two seasons. His first year with the Phillies would be no different, as he went 10-20 in the win-loss column, although his ERA was still a respectable 3.78 in 226.1 innings. Dickson pitched in the majors until 1959. He won 172 big league games during his 18-year career, despite playing for some awful teams. Neither played acquired by the Pirates played for them in the majors, so all of their value came from the cash received and salary saved.
Elmer Dessens, pitcher for the Pirates from 1996-98. He was an international amateur free agent signing by the Pirates in 1993 out of Mexico. He pitched two seasons in the Mexican League before the Pirates sent him to Double-A Carolina of the Southern League in 1995, where he went 15-8, 2.49 in 152 innings over 27 games. He walked just 21 batters, though he also had only 68 strikeouts. After pitching briefly in the minors with Carolina to start the 1996 season, Dessens made his Major League debut in late June and went 0-2, 8.28 in 25 innings over 15 games (three as a starter). He also saw some brief time in Triple-A with Calgary of the Pacific Coast League that year. He returned to the Mexican League for 1997, before making three scoreless late season appearances for the Pirates. Dessens spent most of the 1998 season in the Pirates bullpen, posting a 2-6, 5.67 record in 74.2 innings over 43 games. He was released by the Pirates just prior to Opening Day in 1999. He went 2-8, 6.12 in 103 innings over 61 games (eight starts) while with the Pirates. After spending the 1999 season playing in Japan, Dessens signed a free agent deal with the Cincinnati Reds for the 2000 season.
In his first season with the Reds, Dessens made four starts in Triple-A and spent the rest of the year in the majors, where he went 11-5, 4.28 in 147.1 innings over 16 starts and 24 relief outings. In 2001, he had a 10-14, 4.48 record in 34 starts, throwing a total of 205 innings. It was the only time he cracked 200 innings in a season and he said a career high with 128 strikeouts. In 2002, Dessens went 7-8, 3.03 in 178 innings over 30 starts. In December of 2002, he was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks are part of a four-team deal that included just four players (and cash). He won 28 games and had a 3.94 ERA over 530.1 innings in three seasons with the Reds. Dessens went 8-8, 5.07 in 30 starts and four relief appearances for the 2003 Diamondbacks, with 175.2 innings pitched and 113 strikeouts. In 2004, he had a 1-6, 4.75 record in 85.1 innings spread over nine starts and 29 relief appearances before getting traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in mid-August. He finished the year by putting up a 3.20 ERA in 19.2 innings, then became a free agent at the end of the season.
Dessens signed a one-year deal with the 2005 Dodgers and had a 3.56 ERA in 65.2 innings, making seven starts and 21 relief appearances. He signed with the Kansas City Royals for 2006 and posted a 5-7, 4.50 record in 54 innings and 43 outings, before being traded to the Dodgers, where he had a 4.70 ERA in 23 innings over 19 appearances. Dessens then split the 2007 season between the Milwaukee Brewers and Colorado Rockies, and he posted a 7.15 ERA in 34 innings, making five starts and 12 relief appearances. He gave up ten runs over four innings with the 2008 Atlanta Braves in his only big league time that year, then finished his big league career by putting up strong numbers for the 2009-10 New York Mets. He had a 2.71 ERA in 79.2 innings over 81 appearances with the Mets, with a very strong season to finish out his career at 39 years old. He went 4-2, 2.30 in 47 innings over 53 games in 2010. He pitched 380 Major League games after leaving Pittsburgh and was active up until 2011, spending his final season back in Mexico. Dessens won 28 games with Cincinnati in three years and he had just 24 wins total over his other 11 seasons in the majors. His final big league stats show a 52-64, 4.44 record in 441 games (140 starts), with 1,174.1 innings pitched.
Odell Jones, pitcher for the 1975, 77-78 and 1981 Pirates. He was an amateur free agent signing by the Pirates in late 1971 at 18 years old. Jones pitched well from the start in the minors, posting an ERA between 3.08 and 3.24 as a starter during his first three seasons, working his way from short-season ball to Double-A during that time. He pitched for Niagara Falls of the New York-Penn League in 1972, going 7-3, 3.08 in 79 innings over 11 starts, with five complete games. In 1973, Jones split the season in A-Ball between Salem of the Carolina League and Charleston of the Western Carolinas League. He combined to go 7-7, 3.21 in 129 innings, with 117 strikeouts, posting much better in Charleston. In 1974, he played for Thetford Mines of the Double-A Eastern League and had an 11-8, 3.24 record in 24 starts, with 11 complete games, 161 innings pitched and 153 strikeouts. Jones earned a brief look with the Pirates in September 1975 after going 14-9, 2.68 in 26 Triple-A starts that year with Charleston of the International League, where he had 157 strikeouts in 188 innings. The Pirates used him twice in relief and he allowed just one hit over three shutout innings.
Jones spent all of 1976 in Triple-A Charleston. In July, a shoulder injury described as a muscle tear, put him out of action, limiting him to 84 innings over 16 starts that season. He wasn’t doing well at the time either, posting a 4.93 ERA. Despite those poor results, he spent all of 1977 in the majors with the Pirates, going 3-7, 5.08 in 108 innings over 34 games, 15 as a starter. He returned to Triple-A in 1978 (Pirates affiliate moved to Columbus of the International League) and had a 12-9, 4.57 record and 169 strikeouts in 181 innings before making three late appearances with the Pirates. In December of that year he was part of a six-player trade with the Seattle Mariners. Jones spent all of 1979 in the majors and got roughed up, going 3-11, 6.07 in 118.2 innings, with 19 starts and six relief appearances. The Pirates got him back just prior to the 1980 season in exchange for relief pitcher Larry Andersen, which turned out to be a disastrous deal, because Andersen had 14 seasons left in his career, with a very strong run in the middle as an effective reliever.
Jones spent 1980 in the minors with Triple-A Portland of the Pacific Coast League, posting a 6-7, 4.13 record in 98 innings. In 1981, he split the season between the minors and majors, going 12-6, 3.53 in 23 starts for Portland, while making 13 appearances with the Pirates, eight as a starter. He posted a 4-5, 3.31 record in 54.1 innings for Pittsburgh. Back in the minors for all of 1982, he went 16-9, 4.26 in 190.1 innings over 28 starts, with 172 strikeouts. The Pirates lost him in the Rule 5 draft to the Texas Rangers in December 1982. Jones went 9-12, 4.28 in 174.1 innings over 52 appearances during his four seasons in Pittsburgh. He pitched four more seasons in the majors, finishing with a 24-35, 4.42 record in 201 games. Jones did well in relief for the 1983 Rangers, with a 3.09 ERA in 67 innings over 42 outings. He picked up ten saves as well. He had just 13 saves total in the majors. He had a decent season for the Rangers in 1984, going 2-4, 3.64 in 59.1 innings over 33 games. Jones next appeared in the majors with the 1986 Baltimore Orioles, getting called up in July after spending all of 1985 and the first half of 1986 with their Triple-A affiliate in Rochester of the International League. He went 2-2, 3.83 in 49.1 innings over 21 games. The 1987 season was spent as a starter in Triple-A for the Toronto Blue Jays, playing with Syracuse of the International League. He finished his big league career with the 1988 Milwaukee Brewers, going 5-0, 4.35 in 80.2 innings over 28 games. He remained in pro ball until 1992, finishing up with the California Angels in Triple-A. Jones also spent time playing in Mexico. He won a total of 118 minor league games. His final big league line shows a 24-35, 4.42 record in 549.1 innings, with 45 starts and 156 relief appearances. Jones was featured in our Obscure Pittsburgh Pirates series last year.
Jim Foor, pitcher for the 1973 Pirates. He was a first round draft pick of the Detroit Tigers in 1967 out of high school, taken 15th overall. While he didn’t fly through the minors, Foor put up some strong stats while working his way up. He had a 2.59 ERA in 66 innings at 18 years old in the Class-A Florida State League (Lakeland) in 1967, then posted a 1.91 ERA in 33 innings as a reliever in Double-A in 1968 with Montgomery of the Southern League. He was actually attending college early in the year and didn’t debuted until late June. He went back to starting in 1969 with Montgomery and had a 2-4, 3.72 record in 75 innings, but he missed time that year with an elbow injury. After struggling a bit with the switch back to a starting role, he had an outstanding 1970 season with Montgomery (and briefly back with Lakeland), putting up an 11-6, 1.93 record in 163 innings, with 129 strikeouts. At 22 years old, Foor made the Tigers Opening Day roster in 1971 without any Triple-A experience, but he recorded just three outs in his three relief appearances before being sent back to the minors for the rest of the season, leaving him with an 18.00 big league ERA for the next 16 months. He returned to the majors in August 1972 after posting a 2.94 ERA in 22 starts at Triple-A. He pitched a total of 3.2 innings over seven appearances with the Tigers, this time getting tagged for six runs and a 14.73 ERA. He made the news when Detroit manager Billy Martin called him “gutless” in the media for his inability to get out of an inning.
The Pirates acquired Foor in a November 1972 trade, along with another young pitcher named Norm McRae, in exchange for minor league outfielder Dick Sharon. Foor was said to be in the doghouse in Detroit and a trade was inevitable. The Pirates moved him to relief and he had a 3.58 ERA in 83 innings over 40 games (six starts) at Triple-A Charleston of the International League. He made three big league appearances for the Pirates in late September, pitching a total of 1.1 scoreless innings. The Pirates then traded him to the Kansas City Royals for pitcher Wayne Simpson prior to the 1974 season. Foor pitched three years in the minors after the trade, spending one year each at Triple-A with the Royals (Omaha of the American Association), St Louis Cardinals (Tulsa of the American Association) and Oakland A’s (Tuscon of the Pacific Coast League). He never appeared in the majors again, leaving him with a 12.00 ERA in six innings over 13 big league games.
Ron Brand, catcher for the 1963 Pirates. He was signed as an amateur free agent by the Pirates prior to the 1958 season at 18 years old. He played five full minor league seasons, twice hitting over .300, before he got his first chance at the majors. His split his first season of pro ball between Class-D Clinton of the Midwest League and Class-C San Jose of the California League. He hit .237 that year in 97 games, with 23 extra-base hits and 49 walks. His OPS was 199 points higher at the lower level, with similar playing time at each spot. In 1959, Brand spent the season with San Angelo/Rosewell of the Class-D Sophomore League. He hit .317 in 117 games, with 97 runs, 32 extra-base hits, 71 RBIs, 26 steals and 64 walks. In 1960, he played his first of two seasons with Burlington of the Three-I League (Class-B). He hit .240 that first year in 121 games, with 62 runs, 25 extra-base hits and 61 walks. In his second season in 1961, Brand batted .316 in 120 games, with 62 runs, 24 extra-base hits and 66 RBIs. He spent a short time with Kinston of the Class-B Carolina League in 1962, but the majority of the season was spent with Columbus of the Triple-A International League. He hit .282 that year in 126 games, with 64 runs, 31 extra-base hits, 54 RBIs and 57 walks, with much better results at the lower level.
The Pirates called Brand up in late May of 1963, using him as a backup catcher for the rest of the season. Despite the promotion, he was hitting just .094 in 23 minor league games with Columbus at the time. He came up when backup catcher Elmo Plaskett was sent down, which was actually the end of Plaskett’s big league career. The local papers said that the Pirates sent Plaskett down to the minors to help beef up the lineup for their last place Columbus/Triple-A affiliate. Considering the circumstances, with Brand hitting .094 at the time and the older Plaskett having big league experience, it almost feels like that was the truth. Brand did much better with the bat in the majors, hitting .288 in 46 games for the Pirates, though he had just 77 plate appearances, with 24 of them coming during the last week of the season. He spent the entire 1964 season in Columbus, hitting .273 with 24 doubles, six homers and 42 RBIs in 123 games, before they lost him in the November 1964 Rule 5 draft to the Houston Colt .45’s.
Brand spent four years in Houston, hitting .231 over 300 games. He was used often off of the bench, and also saw time at second base, third base and the corner outfield spots. His most big league time came during his first year in Houston. The franchise lost 96 games in each of their first three years of existence. They didn’t improve in 1965, losing 97 games, but Brand was able to play regularly, hitting .235 with 11 extra-base hits, 37 RBIs and 27 runs in 117 games. He had 420 plate appearances that season and dropped down to 139 in 1966, when he hit .244 in 56 games, with an identical .562 OPS that he put up in his first season in Houston. In 1967, he hit .242 in 84 games, with 22 runs, 18 RBIs and 23 walks, to go along with a .609 OPS. Brand received just 94 plate appearances over 43 games during his last season with the Astros. He batted .160 and finished with a .446 OPS.
Brand moved to the expansion Montreal Expos for his final three seasons and added both shortstop and center field to his resume. He saw plenty of work in 1969 during the first season for the Expos. He hit .258 in 103 games, with 19 runs, 12 doubles, 20 RBIs and 30 walks. The doubles and walks totals were career highs. In 1970, he hit .238 in 72 games, with five extra-base hits, including three of his seven career triples. In his final season in the majors, Brand batted 61 times in 47 games. He hit .214, with all of his hits being singles, and he had one RBI. He played six positions that season, but all of his six starts came at shortstop. He spent the 1972 season in Triple-A for the Expos, then took up minor league managing for three seasons (1974-76), which included some time as a player-manager for Bakersfield of the California League in 1975. He finished his big league career as a .239 hitter in 568 games, with 108 runs scored, 44 extra-base hits, 106 RBIs and 112 walks. Brand homered once with the Pirates and twice during his first season in Houston, then went 1,109 plate appearances (the rest of his big league career) without hitting another homer. His two homers in Houston came against Hall of Famer Bob Gibson and Pirates great Bob Veale. He homered 42 times in 848 minor league games. Brand turns 82 today
Ben Guintini, outfielder for the 1946 Pirates. He started playing pro ball in 1940 at 21 years old, then missed two seasons due to the war, before returning in 1944. The 1940-41 seasons were spent with Salt Lake City of Class-C Pioneer League. He hit .228 with 20 extra-base hits in 82 games in 1940, then followed it up with a .275 average in 129 games in 1941, with 24 doubles, 12 triples and ten homers. After missing the 1942-43 seasons, Guintini played for San Francisco of the Pacific Coast League in 1944 and hit .245 in 117 games, with 26 extra-base hits and 59 RBIs. The Pirates took the 26-year-old outfielder in the 1945 Rule 5 draft from the New York Giants after he hit .283 with 20 extra-base hits in 109 games for San Francisco. He was on the Pirates 1946 Opening Day roster and pinch-hit in his first game (team’s fifth game). He flew out to center field in the fourth inning, hitting for pitcher Jim Hopper, who allowed five runs in three frames. Four days later, Guintini went 0-for-2 while playing right field. He started the game, but left after six innings for pinch-hitter Johnny Barrett. The Pirates shipped Guintini back to the PCL after that two-game trial. He spent his final 11 days with the team on the bench, before getting optioned to Hollywood of the PCL on the same day (May 7th) the Pirates outright released veteran star pitcher Bob Klinger.
Guintini broke his toe late in the 1946 season and missed a chance at a September recall. He played in Triple-A (Indianapolis of the American Association) for the Pirates in 1947, hitting .302 with 21 doubles, 16 homers and 70 RBIs in 126 games, before they sold him to his old team in San Francisco in April of 1948. He refused to report to the Pirates farm club in Indianapolis due to a salary dispute, with Indianapolis saying they wouldn’t give him a raise because his lack of hustle resulted in him hitting into too many double plays. Guintini hit just .220 in 78 games during the 1948 season. After that one down season in San Francisco, he hit .306 with 32 homers and 95 RBIs for Dallas of the Double-A Texas League in 1949, which earned him another big league look. In 1950, he got a three-game trial with the Philadelphia A’s at the beginning of the season. He pinch-hit twice and started once in left field. Guintini played the entire game, but it was called after just six innings due to darkness. He was sent to the minors a short time later and remained there until the end of the 1951 season, playing for four different teams during that stretch. He played semi-pro ball in 1952, then retired from baseball. He went 0-for-7 in his five big league games.
Spades Wood, pitcher for the 1930-31 Pirates. He debuted in pro ball at 20 years old in 1929, playing for Salisbury-Spencer of the Class-C Piedmont League. Wood went 12-13, 3.87 in 207 innings over 34 games that year. He went 22-3, 2.65 in 197 innings over 25 games for Wichita of the Western League in 1930, earning an August call-up to the Pirates. A story printed in the August 17, 1930 edition of the Bristol Herald Courier said he got his nickname when he drew a perfect hand of 13 spades while playing a card game at Wofford College with friends, but when the story got out, they were found to be playing cards on a Sunday, which got them kicked out of school. That led to his minor league baseball career, which led into him pitching so well in the minors over two seasons that he was purchased by the Pirates. His real first name was Charles, but he was often referred to as Charley. Wood was called to the majors on August 12, 1930 when pitcher Leon Chagnon was sent to Wichita for more seasoning. His late-season trip to the majors in 1930 resulted in a 4-3, 5.12 record in 58 innings over nine games (seven starts). The ERA wasn’t that good, though two things stand out about it. The 1930 season was one of the highest offense years in baseball history, so a lot of pitchers got hit hard that season. The second thing that stands out is the fact Wood threw two complete game shutouts. Those shutouts came in his second and third career starts, and both were the first game of a doubleheader.
Wood was seldom used by the Pirates during the following year, pitching 15 games spread out over the entire season. He went 2-6, 6.15 in 64 innings, in what would be his last big league season. He was still Pirates property for the next two seasons in the minors and he pitched pro ball until 1934. His shot at coming back to the majors in 1932 was hampered by an appendicitis operation that limited him to 70 innings on the season with Tulsa of the Western League. Wood competed for an Opening Day spot with the Pirates in 1933, but he was sent first to Kansas City of the American Association, then back to Tulsa (then of the Texas League) on May 30th. He struggled with both teams, finishing the season 3-14, 4.46 in 124 innings. His final season (1934) saw him pitch just six games total split between Tulsa and St Joseph of the Western League. He played semi-pro ball in 1934, then started playing outfield in semi-pro ball in 1935 and made a name for himself as one of the league’s top hitters. He’s also credited with briefly playing pro ball in 1938 for Cooleemee of the Class-D North Carolina State League. There were reports that said he didn’t throw hard, but he had such a good changeup that he could sneak his fastball by hitters looking for the slower pitches.
Fred Schulte, outfielder for the 1936-37 Pirates. He debuted in pro ball in 1924 at 23 years old, spending most of the season with Waterloo of the Class-D Mississippi Valley League, where he hit .368 with 26 doubles, 25 triples and nine homers in 117 games. He played for the Milwaukee Brewers of the Double-A American Association for two games in 1924, then the full seasons in 1925-26, before debuting in the majors in 1927. He did some pitching in 1924, but gave the position up that season. During the 1925 season, Schulte hit .275 with 14 extra-base hits in 74 games. The next year he batted .347 in 150 games, with 30 doubles, 14 triples and 13 homers. Later in the 1926 season, Milwaukee traded him to the St Louis Browns for three players and cash. He debuted in the majors in 1927 and hit .317 in 60 games, with 24 extra-base hits, 32 runs and 34 RBIs. Despite the limited playing time, he actually got mild MVP support. In 1928, he batted .286 in 146 games, with 90 runs, a career high 44 doubles, 85 RBIs and 51 walks. He followed that up with a .307 average in 121 games in 1928, with 63 runs, 32 extra-base hits, 71 RBIs and 59 walks.
In 1930, Schulte batted .278 in 113 games, with 59 runs, 33 extra-base hits, 62 RBIs and a career high 12 steals. The next year he batted .304 in 134 games, with 100 runs scored, 32 doubles, seven triples, nine homers, 65 RBIs and 56 walks. During his final season in St Louis in 1932, he batted .294 in 146 games, with a career high 106 runs, 35 doubles, nine homers, 73 RBIs and a career best 71 walks. In December of 1932, he was sent to the Washington Senators in a six-player/cash deal that included Hall of Fame outfielder Goose Goslin. Schulte hit .295 over 144 games in his first season in Washington, with 98 runs, 42 extra-base hits, 87 RBIs and 61 walks, with 27 strikeouts in 623 plate appearances. In 1934, he hit .298 in 136 games, with 72 runs, 32 doubles, 73 RBIs and 53 walks.
Schulte was 35 years old and already had nine seasons in at the Major League level when the Pirates purchased him for $8,000 from the Senators in January 1936. He hit .294 or better in six of those seasons, but was coming off a down year in 1935 in which he hit .265 and saw his playing time diminish to 76 games. While he was never a true power hitter, his .698 OPS in 1935 was the lowest of his career, so all signs pointed to him being on the downside of his career. He mostly played center field for the Pirates in 1936, getting plenty of pinch-hitting appearances as well. He hit .261 with 17 RBIs in 74 games that year. Much of his playing time came earlier in the year when starting center fielder Lloyd Waner got off to a very slow start. When Waner started hitting later in the season, Schulte saw less playing time. He got some time in right field in August, but barely played in September. He hit .310 during the first half of the season, and batted .217 during the second half. Schulte was almost glued to the bench for all of 1937, playing 29 games spread out over the entire year, with just two starts. He hit .100 in what would be his final season in the majors. The Pirates released him at the end of the season. He played pro ball until 1944 and also managed during three seasons in the minors, two as a player/manager. After playing 11 years in the majors, he returned to that same Milwaukee team that helped him get his big league starts, playing there during the 1938-39 seasons. He was a .291 career hitter in 1,179 big league games, with 686 runs scored, 249 doubles, 54 triples, 47 homers, 593 RBIs and more walks (462) than strikeouts (361). Schulte led all American League center fielders in assists in 1928, and led all AL outfielders in fielding percentage in 1929 and put outs in 1933.
Edward “Goat” Anderson, outfielder for the 1907 Pirates. He replaced star center fielder Ginger Beaumont after Beaumont was traded to the Boston Doves during the 1906 off-season. Anderson played the first four seasons of his pro career for South Bend of the Class-B Central League. Stats from those years are limited, but we know that he debuted at 23 years old in 1903 and hit .257 in 127 games. The next year he batted .253 in 107 games. The 1905 stats are limited to just hits (116) and games played (137). He hit .315 with 16 extra-base hits in 150 games in 1906 and gained the interest of Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss, who signed him in early January at the same time they released veteran catcher Henie Peitz. The 27-year-old Anderson hit .206 with 12 RBIs in 510 plate appearances during his only season in the majors. While those numbers look awful, he did manage to take 80 walks, steal 27 bases and score 73 runs, though Beaumont led the National League in hits that year, so Anderson couldn’t quite fill the big shoes left for him in Pittsburgh. The Pirates used Anderson mostly in right field, where he played 89 games. He also saw time in center field (26 games), as well as a handful of starts at second base, and a few (literally) innings in left field.
Anderson played ten total seasons in the minors, six after the Pirates released him on January 4, 1908 to Rochester of the Class-A Eastern League. He spent three seasons (1908-10) with Rochester and never approached those 1906 numbers that got him a big league shot. He hit .222 in 124 games in 1908, .201 in 136 games in 1909, and .138 in 48 games in 1910. He played for four teams over his final three seasons, splitting 1911 between two clubs in the Class-A Western League, and then one year each with Wheeling and Terre Haute of the Central League. There were reports in the papers that Anderson received a lot of help from the official scorers in South Bend when he batted .315 in 1906, and his lack of hitting with the Pirates showed that to be true. Those reports said that he would have a tough time ever making it back to the majors, and that turned out to be true as well, even if the reports were based on speculation. He never hit higher than .257 in any of his other nine minor league seasons, and his slightly incomplete minor league career line shows just three homers total in 1,022+ games. His only home run in the majors was an inside-the-park homer off of Chicago Cubs star pitcher Ed Reulbach. Anderson holds the Pirates rookie record for walks.
Jud Smith, third baseman for the 1896 and 1901 Pirates. Smith spent a long time as a player in pro ball (1890-1909), but he played just 103 Major League games spread out of four seasons, and even those seasons were spread out. He debuted in pro ball at 21 years old with Portland of the Pacific Northwest League. His online stats credited him with playing for Wheeling of the Ohio State League in 1887, but more modern research has uncovered that the Smith playing for Wheeling was a different player. From Portland in 1890, he went to La Grande of the Pacific Interstate League in 1891, and Butte of the Class-B Montana State League in 1892. The next season saw him play for two big league teams and two minor league teams in the Eastern League. He hit .196 with a homer and ten walks while playing for the Cincinnati Reds (17 games) and St Louis Browns (four games) in 1893. Smith then next appeared in the majors with the 1896 Pirates. He spent the 1894 season with three different teams, seeing time with Jacksonville of the Western Association, Buffalo of the Eastern League and Grand Rapids of the Western League. He had a full-time job with Toronto of the Eastern League in 1895 and did great, hitting .373 in 113 games, with 108 runs scored, 21 doubles, 12 triples and 14 homers.
Smith was back in Toronto in 1896 before joining the Pirates in June, where he hit .343 in ten games. He was replacing an injured Denny Lyons at third base. When Lyons returned from injury, Smith lost his spot with the team. He joined the team/debuted on June 8th and left for his old team in Toronto of the Eastern League on June 20th, so he was around for just 12 days. Two years later he hit .303 in 66 games for the Washington Senators, but still couldn’t hold a Major League job. He did well with Syracuse of the Eastern League in 1897 and while he wasn’t with Washington in 1898, then moved back to Toronto in 1899. That year he batted .312 in 107 games, with 78 runs, 23 extra-base hits and 24 steals. In 1900, he saw time with three teams, including Worcester and Providence in the Eastern League and Buffalo in the American League, one year before that league became a Major League.
Smith moved again to a familiar place in 1901, going back to Syracuse, though the team played part of the year in Brockton. The end of the 1901 season saw him play six games and hit .143 for the first place Pirates, the first team in franchise history to win the pennant. He was brought to the team on September 6th as an emergency player in case any injuries occurred. He hit .264 with 29 extra-base hits in 98 games during the season with Syracuse/Brockton. He started at first base for the Pirates on September 11th, then moved to third base for five games played on three days between September 13th and 15th. Despite the five-day stint, he ended up playing in three different cities, including two home games. A leg injury to third baseman Tommy Leach during that September 11th game, helped Smith get into the next five games. In fact, his start at first base was the only game Kitty Bransfield missed during the 1901 season, so his entire time with the Pirates over two seasons only happened just by chance due to three injuries. In late September, two weeks after his final big league game, Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss left Smith off the Reserved List for 1902, saying that he had plenty of good players lined up for the following season and Smith wouldn’t be needed.
Smith has a laundry list of minor league stops through his 20 seasons of pro ball, though he managed to play six full seasons for Los Angeles of the Pacific Coast League from 1903-05 and 1907-09. In between, he played for two other west coast clubs. He played for 16 other minor league teams over the years, making multiple stops in a few cities. His minor league stats aren’t 100% complete, but they show that he played at least 2,180 games in pro ball. He hit .280 in the majors in 103 games, with 48 runs, 21 extra-base hits, 37 RBIs and 15 steals.
Al Krumm, pitcher for the Pittsburgh Alleghenys on May 17, 1889. Krumm had a brief minor league career and an even shorter big league career. He spent two seasons in the Tri-State League and had just one tough outing for the Alleghenys. He was signed by Pittsburgh on May 16, 1889 and given a train ticket to New York for a start the very next day. He was a local mill worker in town, who pitched for a strong amateur team in town. He faced the best amateur team (the East End Athletics) in town just days earlier and held them to two hits over seven innings. There were reportedly multiple suitors lined up to sign him at the time, including two local minor league teams. According to a detailed report, just 25 hours before he took the mound in New York, he was still working in the mill 400 miles away, without any knowledge that he was about to pitch a big league game. It was also said that the amateur game he pitched days earlier was his first game of the season.
Going up against the New York Giants in his Major League debut, Krumm had some wildness, issuing ten walks (some newspapers from the time say nine) and that helped the Giants to an 11-7 victory. He was signed by Pittsburgh when injuries to Pud Galvin, Ed Morris and Pete Conway left three of their four starting pitchers unable to play. Following his only game, it sounded like Krumm would get a second chance, as a front office member told the local paper that they were satisfied with his showing against New York and they would keep him around for the time being. He was even announced as the probably starter for May 21st, though Harry Staley ended up pitching instead. Pittsburgh then had a rain out and also signed a local kid named Alex Beam and a 17-year-old named Andy Dunning. Both of those pitchers got two starts without any success, and due to their presence, Krumm never pitched again.
Krumm was with the team working out and felt so good about his control getting better, that he offered to buy a hat for any opposing player than was able to draw a walk off him in his next start. Obviously the hat makers in Pittsburgh were never able to profit from that claim. Krumm was again listed as the probable for May 29th, but that game ended up being the second start from Alex Beam instead. The final straw for Krumm’s career was a natural disaster, the Johnstown flood. It occurred on May 31, 1889 and kept the Alleghenys from returning home from a road trip. It also caused them to play just one game over a six-day stretch. Krumm and Beam were scheduled for a doubleheader against Indianapolis on June 5th, but rain wiped away both games. Prior to the game, the Alleghenys manager Horace Phillips said that Krumm would be left behind while the rest of the team made a road trip, but he was instructed to report to Recreation Park each day and practice. When they finally resumed play, both Pud Galvin and (eventually) Ed Morris returned to the team and the services of the young players were no longer needed. Krumm was released on June 24th, giving ten-days notice, which back then meant that the team paid them for ten days and they couldn’t sign elsewhere, but they could be brought back if needed. He signed with Dayton of the Tri-State League after leaving the Alleghenys, but his time there was so short that his contract and release were both in the same transaction announcement, which newspapers picked up occasionally throughout the year. His two transactions were announced on August 19th, with no specific dates, though from research I figured out that he was at least there between July 17th and August 2nd. The was also word in The Sporting Life just after his release from Pittsburgh that he signed with the Galveston club and the Hamilton club was trying to buy his release, but neither happened.
Krumm was a Pittsburgh kid, who asked a local writer in November of 1887 to make an announcement that he was ready to join a pro team and he wanted to start at a lower level, saying that he had the skills, but not the experience needed to pitch at a higher level. His career started with Lima of the Tri-State League in 1888 at 23 years old, though he was released already by May 15th. It was said at the time that he would join Zanesville, also of the Tri-State League, but there’s no record of him pitching and he arrived home in Pittsburgh on May 23rd. A short time later, there was word that Pittsburgh president William Nimick was helping Krumm get pitching work, so the two had a connection before his time with the Alleghenys. After his big league career was done, there was word in April of 1890 that he was wanted by a minor league team in Canton, OH., but he was playing for a local team (Homestead) in Pittsburgh during the season. In 1891, Krumm pitched for an amateur team from McKeesport.