This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History: March 7th, Four Obscure Players and a Minor Transaction

Four Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date, plus one transaction to mention.

The Transaction

The only transaction of note on this date for the Pirates is a minor one. On this date in 1990, the Pirates signed pitcher Mark Huismann as a free agent. He was 31 years old at the time, with parts of eight seasons in the majors, though his only full season happened four years earlier. He spent the 1989 season playing for the Baltimore Orioles, where he made eight appearances and allowed eight runs in 11.1 innings. Huismann would re-sign with the team for the 1991 season, but his contribution to the 1990-91 playoff teams was minimal, and it ended up being his final big league experience. He pitched three innings over two games in 1990, then five innings over five games in 1991. In those eight innings, Huismann allowed a total of 11 runs, with seven of them being earned. He was released in June of 1991, then finished the season in the minors with the Kansas City Royals. He finished his career 13-11, 4.40 with 11 saves in 296.1 innings over 152 games.

The Players

Albert Hall, outfielder for the 1989 Pirates. He played parts of eight seasons in the majors prior to joining the Pirates, all of those years with the Atlanta Braves. He was drafted in the sixth round of the amateur draft by the Atlanta Braves in 1977 out of Jones Valley HS in Birmingham, Alabama. Hall had a rough debut in pro ball, batting .162 over 35 games in the Appalachian League with Kingsport. He actually moved down during his second season, playing in the Gulf Coast League in 1978, where he hit .293 with a .771 OPS in 34 games. Moving up to Class-A Greenwood of the Western Carolinas League in 1979, Hall batted .288 in 105 games, with 84 runs, 13 extra-base hits, 60 walks and 66 stolen bases in 76 attempts. Playing for Durham of the Class-A Carolina League in 1980, he batted .283 in 125 games, with 95 runs, 77 walks and 100 stolen bases (in 127 attempts). He also topped his previous totals in doubles, triples and homers, compiling 27 extra-base hits on the season. The next three seasons saw him steal a combined 168 bases in the minors, and he also made brief appearances in the majors each year without collecting a single base hit in any year.

Hall hit .308 in 133 games in 1981, with 83 runs, 28 doubles, ten triples, five homers, 64 walks and 60 steals, which led to him going right from Double-A Savannah of the Southern League to the majors in September of 1981. He was basically used as a pinch-runner during his first cup of coffee, getting just two at-bats in six games with the Braves. In Triple-A with Richmond of the International League in 1982, Hall put up a .729 OPS and he stole 62 bases in 73 attempts. He batted just .263, but he drew 74 walks and managed to collect 18 doubles and 15 triples. His September recall to the Braves that year consisted of five pinch-running appearances and no plate appearances. After batting .294 in 130 games, with 120 runs scored, 46 steals, 28 doubles, 11 triples and 66 walks in Richmond in 1983, Hall was a September recall for a third time. On September 4, 1983, he made his first big league start, going 0-for-4 in a 6-5 win over the Pirates. He ended up going 0-for-8 at the plate, though he walked twice and scored two runs. After three September trials, he was 0-for-10 in 21 games.

Hall spent all of 1984 in the majors, then split the next two years between Triple-A/Braves. For the 1984 Braves, he played 87 games and made 26 starts. He hit .261 with six steals, 25 runs and a .647 OPS. He finally collected his first big league hit in the fifth game of his fourth stint in the majors. He played 54 games in the majors in 1985, with just one start all season. Hall batted .149 and stole just one base for the Braves that year. He stole 72 bases and drew 70 walks in 125 games at Richmond in 1986, then came up to the majors in mid-September and saw his first string of consistent starts, batting .240 with eight steals, five walks and six runs over the final 16 games of the season. He had his best MLB season in 1987, hitting .284 with 20 doubles, 38 walks, 33 stolen bases and 54 runs scored in 92 games, but his stats and playing time dropped the next year. For Atlanta in 1988, he hit .247, with a .612 OPS and a rough success rate in steals, going 15-for-25 in his base running endeavors. He played 85 games that year and had 80 fewer plate appearances than the previous season. He was released by the Braves late in spring 1989 and signed with the Pirates near the end of May. He played 90 games in Triple-A Buffalo of the American Association and got into 20 games with the Pirates as a September call-up. With Buffalo, he hit .304 with 63 runs, 22 extra-base hits, 31 steals and 28 walks. He started six games for the Pirates and hit .182 in 33 at-bats, with a .553 OPS and three stolen bases. That would be his last season in baseball. The Houston Astros selected him in the Rule 5 draft after the season, but he did not play in 1990. He played 375 Major League games and hit .251 with 67 stolen bases, five homers, 53 RBIs and 125 runs scored. He hit for the cycle on September 23, 1987, becoming the first Braves player in 77 years to accomplish that feat, which didn’t happen again until 2008, giving him the only franchise cycle over a 97-year time-frame.

Dick Rand, catcher for the 1957 Pirates. He signed with the St Louis Cardinals as an amateur free agent at 18 years old in 1949 and played over 100 games for eight straight seasons in the minors before joining the Pirates. He debuted at Class-C Fresno of the California League, where he hit .236 in 118 games, though he walked 71 times, which led to a .353 OBP. He also had 65 runs and 72 RBIs that year. The next year he was at the same level with Pocatello of the Pioneer League, and he hit .321 in 120 games, with 47 extra-base hits. Rand moved up a level in 1951, hitting .280 with 35 extra-base hits in 103 games for Winston-Salem of the Carolina League. He moved up to Columbus of the Triple-A American Association in 1952 and did well with the big jump in competition, skipping over two levels of play. He put up a .712 OPS in 109 games, finishing with a .256 average, 23 extra-base hits, 51 RBIs and 50 walks. Despite holding his own, the next two seasons were spent a level lower with Houston of the Double-A Texas League, where he had two very similar seasons. Rand hit .284 in 114 games in 1953, with 23 doubles, four homers, 46 RBIs and 53 walks. That led to a nine-game trial in late September, where he hit .290 in 31 at-bats. In 1954, he hit .273 in 103 games for Houston, with 17 doubles, six triples (no homers), 42 RBIs and 51 walks. The Cardinals gave Rand brief September trials in 1953 and 1955, but he didn’t see big league time during the 1954 season. He earned that 1955 big league stint by putting up a .257 average, with 28 extra-base hits, 50 runs, 50 RBIs, 67 walks and an .805 OPS in 115 games for Omaha of the American Association.

Pittsburgh traded catcher Toby Atwell to the Cardinals early in the 1956 season. After the season ended, they received Rand as a player to be named later in the deal. In 1956, he played for Rochester of the International League, where he batted .278 with 30 doubles, 12 homers, 44 RBIs and 48 walks in 115 games. The 1957 season with the Pirates was his only full year in the majors. Rand played 60 total games, 57 behind the plate, and 34 of those games as a starter. He hit .219 with nine RBIs in 122 plate appearances. He threw out 29% of runners attempting to steal, and his five errors led to a .973 fielding percentage. He was a late cut by the Pirates during Spring Training of 1958, getting sold outright to Columbus of the Triple-A International League on April 5th. He played all of 1958 in the minors for Columbus, hitting .276 in 126 games, with 16 doubles, 12 homers, 55 RBIs and 61 walks. Prior to the 1959 season the Pirates/Columbus traded him back to the Cardinals for minor league 1B/OF Tom Burgess, who was 31 years old with 17 games of big league experience. It was actually a different Burgess that led to this trade of minor league players. When the Pirates acquired Smoky Burgess on January 30, 1959, that gave them an extra catcher, which they agreed to send to Columbus at a later date. That made Rand available to trade for a replacement outfielder to cover for the players they sent to the Cincinnati Reds in the Burgess deal. Rand played two more seasons in the minors after the trade before retiring. He was back in Rochester in 1959, where he batted .244 in 91 games, with a .702 OPS. He retired during the 1960 season due to an injury, but returned in 1961 with Dallas-Fort Worth of the Texas League, where he played just 19 games in his final season before being released on June 3rd. He was a .272 hitter, with 64 homers in 1,133 minor league games. In the majors he batted .240 with 11 runs, two homers and 13 RBIs in 72 games.

Junior Walsh, pitched for the 1946 and 1948-51 Pirates. He played two years of semi-pro ball before signing with an affiliate of the Pirates in 1941 at 22 years old, then spent his entire five-year big league career in Pittsburgh. Walsh debuted for Oil City of the Pennsylvania State Association in 1941, a Class-D level team. He went 16-10, 3.83 in 207 innings. In 1942, he moved up a level to Hutchinson of the Class-C Western Association, where he went 11-13 and he threw 196 innings. He allowed an average of 6.02 runs per nine innings (the ERA is unavailable for the league). He had 178 strikeouts, while also setting a league record with 16 strikeouts in one game. He pitched for York of the Class-B Interstate League in 1943, where he went 7-4, 4.19 in 73 innings. He also pitched for Albany of the Class-A Eastern League at the beginning of the year, though stats are unavailable. However, the papers noted that he was getting attention from scouts and there was a strong belief that he would end up pitching in the majors. Walsh signed with the Pirates in January of 1944, but the military came calling and he reported for active duty on February 26th. He missed the entire 1944-45 seasons, before rejoining the Pirates in 1946. He signed his contract for that season in mid-February, shortly after being discharged. He spent the season in the minors, putting up a 7-12, 4.33 record in 133 innings spread out over two teams, playing for York again, and Birmingham of the Double-A Southern League. Walsh joined the Pirates in September for two starts and two relief appearances. He allowed six runs and ten walks over 10.1 innings.

Walsh spent the entire 1947 season in the minors, playing for York for the third season, while also spending part of the year back with Albany. He did an excellent job despite not getting a big league chance, putting up a 12-6, 2.58 record in 157 innings, with 123 strikeouts. He made the Opening Day roster in 1948 and pitched twice in relief for the Pirates over the first month of the season, allowing five runs in 4.1 innings. On May 14th, he was released outright to Indianapolis of the Triple-A American Association, where he went 4-2, 4.79 in 47 innings. Walsh remained in Indianapolis until the Pirates purchased him back on August 5, 1949. At the time of the purchase, he was 15-4, 3.88 in 181 innings. He started five days after rejoining the Pirates and had a nice outing against the Chicago Cubs, allowing two runs over six innings in a loss. Eight days after that, Walsh threw a complete game shutout against the Cubs, the only shutout of his big league career. Things went rough after that game, with a 7.16 ERA in his final 27.2 innings. He remained with the Pirates for all of the 1950-51 seasons, as the club put up back-to-back 90+ loss seasons. Pitching almost strictly in relief, Walsh had a 5.05 ERA in 62.1 innings over 38 appearances (two starts) in 1950, followed by a 6.87 ERA in 73.1 innings over 36 games (one start) in 1951. Despite those poor stats, Walsh was a holdout in 1952 and didn’t sign with the Pirates until mid-March. On March 29th, he was sold outright to Hollywood of the Pacific Coast League, ending his time with the Pirates. Walsh average 173 innings pitched over the next four seasons in the PCL, playing three years for Hollywood and the final year for San Francisco. He had a 44-35 record during that time, topping out at 16 wins in 1953. He finished his pro career with two games for Buffalo of the Triple-A International League at 37 years old in 1956. His first name was James, but he was occasionally referred to as Junior, and more often than not he was called Jim in the papers. His final stats for the Pirates show a 4-10, 5.88 record in 193 innings over 12 starts and 77 relief appearances.

Doc Scanlan, pitcher for the 1903-04 Pirates. He played three years of minor league ball before joining the Pirates at the end of the 1903 season. None of his full minor league stats are available due to the low level of player. He was with Ogdenburg of the Northern New York League in 1901, and then Ilion of the Class-B New York State League in 1902-03. Pittsburgh had already clinched their third straight National League pennant a week earlier, so with two games left in the season on September 24th, Pirates manager Fred Clarke let Scanlan start against the second place New York Giants. His mound opponent was Red Ames, who was his teammate with Ilion during the 1903 season. Ames debuted in the majors just ten days earlier. Scanlan, who was referred to as “Scanlon” that day, threw a complete game, losing 7-2, while walking eight batters. Despite the results, he must have impressed the Pirates enough to bring him back for the next season, despite a broken deal with Ilion that caused some issues. Barney Dreyfuss worked out a deal to purchase Scanlan, but Ilion’s owner backed out of the deal because it was done by the team’s manager (soon to be ex-manager), who supposedly couldn’t negotiate the sale. Since no money changed hands, Scanlan was sent back to his old team during the off-season. On February 11, 1904, the two sides agreed on a sale price and Scanlan was back with the Pirates.  He made two early season starts in 1904, winning his first game, then losing 15-3 in his second outing. He didn’t make his third start until two months later and it would be his last one for Pittsburgh. He was sold to the Brooklyn Superbas on August 1, 1904 after making just four appearances all season (he lost his only relief appearance). He had a 4.91 ERA and 20 walks in 22 innings for the 1904 Pirates. He ended up winning 64 games over seven seasons with Brooklyn, including a high of 18 victories in 1906, before he retired from baseball to take up a medical practice.

In 1904 for Brooklyn, Scanlan finished the season by going 6-6, 2.16 in 104 innings over 12 starts and one relief outing, with 11 complete games. He threw three shutouts during that brief time. In 1905, he went 14-12, 2.92 in 249.2 innings, with a career high 135 strikeouts. He made 28 starts and five relief appearances, finishing with 22 complete games and two shutouts. He had a 18-13 record in 1906, despite the fact that Brooklyn finished 66-86 and he led the league with 127 walks, though he did pitch 288 innings that year. His 3.19 ERA was 57 points above league average, so it was quite an odd win-loss record in his favor, but the fact that he tossed six shutouts helped his case. When he was on his game, he was very good. Scanlan went 6-8, 3.20 in 107 innings in 1907 after coming back in late May after a contract squabble early in the year. He missed the entire 1908 season due to a sickness brought on by an appendicitis operation in December of 1907, which caused him to lose 30 pounds. During his off-time, he played some semi-pro ball to stay in shape and worked as a doctor, though he announced in June of 1908 that he would return the next season to Brooklyn. In 1909, he went 8-7, 2.93 in 141.1 innings. He was better the next season, but the Superbas finished 64-90 record, leading him to a 9-11, 2.61 record in 217.1 innings. In his final season of pro ball, Scanlan went 3-10, 3.64 in 113.2 innings over 15 starts and seven relief appearances. Helped by pitching in the deadball era, he had a career 3.00 ERA in 1,252 innings, though that came with a 65-71 record due to playing for some poor teams in Brooklyn. He made 149 starts, complete 102 games, and he threw 15 shutouts. His first name was William, but the “Doc” nickname was used very often. He had a brother named Frank, who pitched in the majors with the 1909 Philadelphia Phillies.

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