Two trades of note and eight former players born on this date.
On this date in 1982, the Pirates acquired Larry McWilliams from the Atlanta Braves for Pascual Perez and a player to be named later. McWilliams was a tall, lanky, 28-year-old lefty, who was moved to the bullpen after struggling for two seasons as a starter. He had a strong rookie season in 1978, but four years later, he was 2-3, 6.21 in 37.2 innings over 27 appearances for the 1982 Braves. Perez had spent half of the 1981 season with the Pirates, going 2-7 3.96 in 86.1 innings over 13 starts and four relief appearances. In 1982, the 25-year-old was back in Triple-A, where he remained until the trade. He was 4-9, 4.82 in 106.1 innings with Portland of the Pacific Coast League at the time of the deal.
After the deal, Perez became an All-Star for the Braves, although that star quickly faded. He won 29 games between the 1983-84 seasons, then dropped to 1-13 in 1985 and didn’t pitch the following season. He returned in 1987 for five more seasons, winning as many as 12 games (1988) in a year. In September, the Pirates completed the original deal, sending Atlanta minor league infielder Carlos Rios, who never made the majors. McWilliams had success with the Pirates after the trade, winning 43 games over his 4 1/2 seasons in Pittsburgh, before returning to Atlanta as a free agent in 1987. He won 15 games in 1983 and finished fifth in the National League Cy Young voting. That season was covered here in detail. As far as value for their new teams, Perez had 6.3 WAR in four season with Atlanta, while McWilliams had 9.0 WAR in five seasons with the Pirates, so it was a fairly even swap.
On this date in 2009, the Pirates sent outfielder Nyjer Morgan and lefty pitcher Sean Burnett to the Washington Nationals in exchange for outfielder Lastings Milledge and reliever Joel Hanrahan. The two outfielders in this deal basically canceled each other out. Milledge was a big prospect at one point, who made it to the majors at a young age, but he had some off-field issues and his career never panned out. Morgan was a 33rd round pick who scratched his way to the majors, putting up a 6.8 WAR in seven seasons, though most of it came after he left Washington. Both players had a 1.0 WAR with their new team after the deal.
The Pirates gave up on Burnett, who was their first round pick in 2000, after he had a few injuries that slowed his progress. History has credited the Pirates with winning this deal, partially because Hanrahan netted them Mark Melancon in a later trade. However, Burnett pitched well for Washington, posting a 2.82 ERA over 255 appearances in five seasons. Before the Melancon trade, Hanrahan spent four years in Pittsburgh and posted a 2.59 ERA in 229.1 innings over 238 appearances. He saved 82 games and was named to the 2011 and 2012 All-Star games. Without the Hanrahan trade value factored in, he put up 5.5 WAR in Pittsburgh, while Burnett had 4.5 WAR in Washington. Using just the performances with their new teams, this was a fairly even deal.
Cole Figueroa, infielder for the 2016 Pirates. He was drafted in the ninth round out of Lincoln HS in Tallahassee, Fl. in 2006 by the Toronto Blue Jays, but he decided to attend the University of Florida instead. That led to him being selected in the sixth round by the San Diego Padres in 2008. He went to the short-season Northwest League in 2008, where he hit .290 in 32 games for Eugene, with 23 runs, six doubles, five homers and 24 walks. Figueroa played 70 games for Fort Wayne of the Low-A Midwest League and 21 games for Lake Elsinore of the High-A California League in 2009, hitting a combined .288 with 20 extra-base hits and a .735 OPS. The Lake Elsinore park/league is huge for offense, but he did much better at the lower level that season. In 2010, Figueroa spent the entire season with Lake Elsinore, hitting .303 in 124 games, with 88 runs, 32 extra-base hits, 66 RBIs, 26 steals, 81 walks and an .800 OPS. He went to the Arizona Fall League after the season and hit .290 in 13 games, with a double and seven walks. On December 17, 2010, he was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays in a four-for-one deal for Jason Bartlett. In 2011, he spent the entire year with Double-A Montgomery of the Southern League, hitting .283 in 114 games, with 71 runs, 31 extra-base hits, 51 RBIs and 55 walks. He played winter ball in the Dominican during the 2011-12 off-season, but he hit .133 in 15 games. Figueroa played 25 games for Montgomery in 2012, and another 88 games with Durham of the Triple-A International League. He put up a .931 OPS in Double-A, then had a .730 OPS after being promoted. His full stats show a .292 average in 113 games, with 49 runs, 33 extra-base hits and 54 RBIs.
Figueroa spent all of 2013 with Durham, hitting .286 in 129 games, with 65 runs, 27 extra-base hits, 62 RBIs, 54 walks and a .727 OPS. He debuted in the majors with the Rays in mid-May of 2014, playing two weeks, then returning for a second stint at the end of June, which ran into August. In 23 games for the Rays, he hit .233/.286/.326 in 49 plate appearances. He also had a .761 OPS in 71 games for Durham that season. He was released after the season and signed a free agent deal with the New York Yankees. In 2015, Figueroa spent almost the entire season with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, hitting .292 in 121 games, with a .713 OPS. He was called up in July, but he played just two games for the Yankees, going 2-for-8 with two doubles. On December 3, 2015, he signed a minor league deal with the Pirates. He hit .307 in 20 games for Triple-A Indianapolis of the International League that year, then played 23 games with the Pirates, going 4-for-26 with four singles and a walk. He was put on waivers in late June and got selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers, who let him go after just two weeks in Triple-A. He signed with the Miami Marlins to finish out the season in Triple-A, without getting a shot in the majors. That was the end of his playing career. He now works in the front office of the Tampa Bay Rays. In 48 big league games, he hit .209 with eight runs, four doubles, a triple, no homers and nine RBIs. Cole was his middle name. His actual first name was Stephen. His father Bien Figueroa played 12 big league games for the 1992 St Louis Cardinals.
Drew Sutton, outfielder for the 2012 Pirates. He was originally a 38th round draft pick of the Colorado Rockies in 2002 out of Texarkana College. He decided to return to school and head to Baylor University, where he was a 15th round draft pick of the Houston Astros in 2004. He played for Tri-City of the short-season New York-Penn League in 2004, where he hit .280 with 43 runs, ten doubles, 39 walks and a .711 OPS in 63 games. He split the 2005 season between Low-A Lexington of the South Atlantic League and High-A Salem of the Carolina League, combining to hit .274 with 68 runs, 24 doubles, 16 homers, 54 RBIs and 65 walks in 105 games. The entire 2006 season was spent in Salem, where he hit .263 with 65 runs, 27 doubles, 15 homers, 54 RBIs and 69 walks in 125 games. He stole 20 bases that year, though he was caught 15 times. Sutton moved up to Double-A Corpus Christi of the Texas League in 2007 and remained there through the end of the 2008 season. He hit .269 with 81 runs, 38 extra-base hits, 54 RBIs, 57 walks and 24 steals in just 29 attempts in 128 games in 2007. In his second go through the league, he hit .317 with 102 runs scored, 39 doubles, 20 homers, 20 steals and 76 walks in 133 games.His .931 OPS that year was 193 points higher than the previous season. He went to the Arizona Fall League after the season and hit .315 with nine doubles and seven homers in 30 games, leading to a 1.038 OPS.
On April 19, 2009, Sutton was the player to be named later in a deal made three weeks earlier with the Cincinnati Reds. He spent 2 1/2 months in Triple-A with the Reds before making his big league debut on July 2nd. In 42 games for the Reds, mostly off of the bench, he hit .212 with ten runs, one homer and nine RBIs. In 2010, Sutton played two games with the Reds and 11 for the Cleveland Indians after they picked him up off of waivers in August. He hit .256 with two homers and a .745 OPS during his limited big league time that year, and he had a .766 OPS in 113 games at Triple-A with both the Reds and Indians. He became a free agent after the 2010 season and signed with the Boston Red Sox. Sutton played 31 big league game in 2011, hitting .315 with seven doubles, seven RBIs and an .807 OPS. He did well in his minor league time that year with Triple-A Pawtucket of the International League, posting an .858 OPS in 45 games. He signed with the Atlanta Braves as a free agent in 2012 and he hit .270/.374/.372 in 38 games in Triple-A with Gwinnett of the International League.
In his first stint in Pittsburgh, Sutton was with the Pirates for one day, joining the team on May 20, 2012. He was acquired from the Braves in a cash deal, before being moved to the Tampa Bay Rays the next day in another cash deal. He batted .271 with four doubles and a .668 OPS in 18 games with the Rays. Five weeks after getting rid of him, the Pirates got him back off of waivers from the Rays. In 24 games with the Pirates, he batted .243 with ten runs, eight doubles, one homer and seven RBIs. He was designated for assignment in July and finished the year in the minors with Triple-A Indianapolis of the International League, going 1-for-21 with four walks in 12 games. That 2012 campaign was his last big league season. He signed a minor league free agent deal with the Red Sox and spent the 2013 season in Pawtucket, where he hit .245 in 104 games, with 55 runs, 22 doubles, 48 RBIs and 58 walks. That ended up being his final season in pro ball. In his MLB career, he saw time with five teams over four seasons, hitting .256 with 38 runs, 24 doubles, four homers and 37 RBIs in 128 games. Despite 20+ steals in three seasons in the minors, he didn’t steal a single base in the majors. He played both corner outfield spots and all four infield spots during his career. His first name is Steven, but he went by his middle name.
Delwyn Young, utility player for the 2009-10 Pirates. He spent eight seasons in the Los Angeles Dodgers system, hitting for average and power in the minors, although those numbers never translated to big league success. Young was drafted three times before he finally signed. He was taken out of high school by the Atlanta Braves in the 2000 draft. He went to Riverside Community College, where the Braves took him in the 29th round in 2001. He transferred Santa Barbara City College, where the Dodgers took him in the fourth round in 2002. Young did well at the start, batting .300 with 42 runs, 18 doubles, ten homers and 41 RBIs in 59 games for Great Falls of the short-season Pioneer League in 2002. In 2003, he played for South Georgia of the Low-A South Atlantic League, where he hit .323 with 67 runs, 38 doubles, 15 homers, 73 RBIs and a .923 OPS in 119 games. The next year he moved up to the pitcher-friendly Florida State League, where he batted .281 with 76 runs, 36 doubles, 22 homers, 85 RBIs and an .875 OPS in 129 games with Vero Beach.
Young’s 2005 season was split between Double-A Jacksonville of the Southern League and Triple-A Las Vegas of the Pacific Coast League, and he had similar success at both levels. He combined to hit .305 with 75 runs, 37 doubles, 20 homers, 76 RBIs and an .842 OPS in 131 games. He spent the 2006 season in Las Vegas, batting .273 with 76 runs, 42 doubles, 18 homers, 98 RBIs and a .783 OPS in 140 games, which earned him a September call-up. Young went 0-for-5 in eight games during his first shot at the majors. He spent most of 2007 back in Las Vegas, despite tearing up the league all season. In 121 games, he hit .337 with 107 runs, 54 doubles, 17 homers, 97 RBIs and a .955 OPS in 121 games. In the majors that year, he batted .382 with two homers and a 1.064 OPS in 19 games. He spent almost the entire 2008 season with the Dodgers, except for 13 games with Las Vegas. He batted .246 with ten runs, nine doubles, one homer and seven RBIs in 83 games for Los Angeles, getting a total of 143 plate appearances.
Young played 110 games for Los Angeles from 2006 to 2008, hitting .267 with three homers. In mid-April of 2009, the Pirates acquired him in exchange for two minor league pitchers who combined to pitch 12.1 big league innings. Young played second base, right field and pinch-hit often that first season in Pittsburgh, batting .266 with 40 runs, 16 doubles, seven homers and 43 RBIs in 124 games. In 2010, he was used more often off of the bench, also adding third base to his resume temporarily. He hit .236 with 22 runs, 11 doubles, seven homers and 28 RBIs in 110 games (72 as a pinch-hitter), getting 207 plate appearances. Young last appeared in the majors during that 2010 season, but he played pro ball until 2016. The Pirates let him go after the 2010 season and he signed with the Philadelphia Phillies, where he spent the entire season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley of the International League, hitting .244 in 126 games, with 30 doubles, 11 homers, 51 RBIs and a .687 OPS. . He would attend Spring Training with the Chicago White Sox in 2012 and Washington Nationals in 2013, but he was cut before the season each time, then spent both of those years with Camden of the independent Atlantic League. His final five seasons of pro ball were spent between independent ball and Mexico. He also played winter ball in Mexico and Venezuela during that time. In five big league seasons, he was a .258 hitter over 344 games, with 76 runs, 37 doubles, 17 homers and 81 RBIs.
Chan Ho Park, pitcher for the 2010 Pirates. He signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers out of college in his home country of South Korea at 20 years old. He pitched briefly in the majors during each of his first two seasons, pitching two games each year, while throwing a total of 211.1 innings in the minors during those seasons. Park went right to Double-A with San Antonio of the Texas League in 1994, where he 5-7, 3.55 in 101.1 innings, with 100 strikeouts. He gave up five runs over four innings in his brief time with the Dodgers. In 1995, he went to Albuquerque of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, where he 6-7, 4.91 in 110 innings, with 101 strikeouts. With the Dodgers that season, he allowed two runs over four innings and struck out seven batters. Park was in the majors for good in 1996, going 5-5, 3.64 in 108.2 innings over ten starts and 38 relief appearances. He struck out 119 batters that year. He moved into a full-time starter role in 1997 and had a 14-8, 3.48 record in 192 innings, picking up 166 strikeouts. In 1998, he went 15-9, 3.71 in 220.2 innings, with 191 strikeouts, which ranked as the sixth highest total in the National League. Park stumbled badly in 1999, yet still had a winning record. He went 13-11, 5.23 in 194.1 innings. He rebounded the next season, going 18-10, 3.27 in 226 innings, with 217 strikeouts, which ranked second in the NL. In his final season in Los Angeles, Park went 15-11, 3.50 in 35 starts and a career high 234 innings. He made his only career All-Star appearance and he struck out a career best 218 batters, the third highest mark in the league.
Park signed a large free agent deal with the Texas Rangers prior to the 2002 season and struggled badly his first year. He went 9-8, 5.75 in 145.2 innings. He was limited to 23 starts over the next two seasons due to a combo of hamstring and back injuries. He had a 7.58 ERA in 29.2 innings in 2003 and a 5.46 ERA in 95.2 innings in 2004. He made a total of 16 rehab starts in the minors during his first three seasons with the Rangers. After posting an 8-5, 5.66 record in 109.2 innings over 20 starts in 2005, the Rangers traded him to the San Diego Padres on July 30, 2005 for Phil Nevin. Park finished 2005 by going 4-3, 5.91 in 45.2 innings with the Padres. In 2006, he went 7-7, 4.81 in 136.1 innings spread over 21 starts and three relief appearances. He signed with the New York Mets in the spring of 2007 and that did not go well. He gave up seven runs over four innings in his only big league start, then got released on June 3rd. He started nine minor league games that year for the Mets, then signed with the Houston Astros and spent the rest of the season with Round Rock of the Pacific Coast League, where he had a 2-10, 6.21 record in 15 starts.
Park signed as a free agent back with the Dodgers in 2008, going 4-4, 3.40 in 95.1 innings over five starts and 49 relief appearances. He signed with the Philadelphia Phillies for the 2009 season, and went 3-3, 4.43 in 83.1 innings over seven starts and 38 relief appearances. The New York Yankees signed Park in 2010 and saw him go 2-1, 5.60 in 35.1 innings over 27 games, all in relief. Pittsburgh took him off waivers from Yankees in August of 2010 and he was used often over the final two months of the season. Park went 2-2, 3.49 in 26 appearances, throwing a total of 28.1 innings for the Pirates. He pitched in Japan in 2011 and then Korea in 2012 before retiring. He finished his big league career with a 124-98, 4.36 record and 1,715 strikeouts in 1,993 innings over 17 seasons. He started 287 games and he pitched 189 times in relief.
Dave Roberts, first baseman for the 1966 Pirates. He had a pro career that lasted 22 seasons, spanning from 1952 until 1973, but Roberts played only 91 games in the majors, spread out over three seasons. He was born in Panama and played his first pro game for Porterville of the Class-C Southwest International League, turning 20 years old in the middle of that first season. Roberts batted .314 with 29 extra-base hits in 80 games that year, but He stayed at that same level for the next two seasons in the Northern League. He was signed by the Baltimore Orioles after hitting .269 with 36 extra-base hits in 125 games for Grand Forks in 1953. He had a big season in 1954, batting .297 with 114 runs, 28 doubles, 33 homers, 114 RBIs and 99 walks in 135 games for Aberdeen. Roberts skipped up three levels to San Antonio of the Double-A Texas League, where he played in 1955 and 1956. He hit just .232 in 153 games his first year, but that came with 14 homers, 84 RBIs, 101 walks and a .759 OPS. The next season he hit .275 with 99 walks and 109 runs scored, but the power numbers dropped off, with just seven homers in 539 at-bats. He finished that year with a .786 OPS.
Roberts was sold to the Milwaukee Braves in July of 1957 and he ended up playing 144 games split over four teams and three levels that year, including 42+ games for three different teams. His stats are incomplete, but they show a .269 average in 501 at-bats, with 34 extra-base hits and 81 walks. He spent all of 1958 back in the Texas League, where he hit .294 with 96 runs, 19 doubles, 20 homers and 81 walks for Austin. The 1959 season was spent one step away from the majors, playing for Louisville of the Triple-A American Association. He batted .252 with 32 extra-base hits and a .730 OPS in 133 games that year. Roberts played part of the 1960 season with the Kansas City A’s farm team, splitting the year between three teams and two leagues. He combined to hit .268 with 23 doubles, 14 homers and 79 walks. He played 55 games that year back in Austin, but a majority of his time was spent with Dallas-Fort Worth of the American Association. Roberts split the 1961 season between A-Ball (Jacksonville of the South Atlantic League), where he hit .316 with eight homers, and Triple-A (Houston of the American Association), where he batted .208 with three homers.
Ten years after his first minor league game, Roberts made his big league debut with a new expansion team, the 1962 Houston Colt .45’s. He batted .322 with 38 doubles and 15 homers Oklahoma City of the American Association during the season. He was a September call-up to the majors, hitting .245 with ten RBIs in 16 games. He spent all of 1963 back in the minors with Oklahoma City, where he had a .270 average and a .790 OPS in 151 games, then played for Houston again in 1964, getting into 61 games that year. For most of June, he was the starting first baseman, assuming a bench role at the end of month that lasted for the rest of the season. He batted .184/.270/.256 with seven RBIs in 143 plate appearances that year. He played with Oklahoma City for the entire 1965 season, batting .319 with 102 runs, 20 doubles, 38 homers, 114 RBIs, 97 walks and a 1.043 OPS in 144 games. The Pirates took him in the November 1965 Rule 5 draft. Roberts lasted a month with the Pirates, going 2-for-16 at the plate with seven strikeouts, starting just two of his 14 games with the team. He was sent to Columbus of the International League after his final game on May 11th, then in September he was sold to the Baltimore Orioles. He batted .272 in 119 games, with 67 runs, 14 doubles, 26 homers, 83 RBIs and an .896 OPS.
Roberts ended up going to Japan in 1967, where he played the last six seasons of his career. While he could never translate his big minor league numbers into Major League success, he did well overseas. He hit 28 homers and drove in 89 runs in 126 games in 1967, then followed that with 40 homers and a .979 OPS in 1968. The next year he posted a .318 average, 37 homers and 95 RBIs in 116 games. His numbers slipped from that high point, but he was still a solid hitter over the next three years, hitting 74 homers and driving in 191 runs in 372 games. Roberts was a .196 big league hitter in 91 games, with 15 runs, eight doubles, two homers and 17 RBIs. In his pro career, he had 449 doubles, 433 homers, 1,337 RBIs and 2,611 hits. The Pirates also had a pitcher named Dave Roberts for the 1979 World Series team.
Don Gross, left-handed pitcher for the 1958-60 Pirates. He was originally signed by the Reds in 1950 at 18 years old, and he made his debut in the majors with Cincinnati five seasons later. He had a big first season, going 15-7, 3.13 in 187 innings for Muncie of the Ohio-Indiana League (Class-D). Gross split the 1951 season over three levels, with the majority of the year spent in the Class-C Pioneer League with Ogden, where he went 10-4, 1.11 in 114 innings. He didn’t do well at the other two levels, which was a surprise on one end, as he struggled with Welch of the Class-D Appalachian League, but not on the other end, as he jumped up to the Class-A Central League with Charleston. He combined to go 13-8, 2.65 in 173 innings over all three stops. In 1952 he pitched just two games for Tulsa of the Double-A Texas League. He was inducted into the Army and remained there through the end of the 1953 season. When he returned in 1954, Gross spent some brief time back with Tulsa, but the majority of the year he was with Columbia of the Class-A South Atlantic League, where he went 12-9, 3.14 in 189 innings. After starting the 1955 season with Nashville of the Double-A Southern Association, going 8-2, 3.69 with 117 strikeouts in 127 innings, he joined the Reds in July and went 4-5, 4.14 in 67.1 innings over 11 starts and six relief appearances.
In 1956, Gross had a 1.67 ERA in 54 innings for Havana of the Triple-A International League, while putting up a 1.95 ERA in 69.1 innings over 12 starts and seven relief appearances with the Reds. He spent the entire 1957 season in the majors, making 16 starts and 27 relief appearances. He went 7-9, 4.31 in 148.1 innings. He set career highs in wins, games, innings and strikeouts (73) that season. Gross went 14-14, 3.69 in 285 innings over 79 games (34 starts) for the Reds in three seasons. The Pirates acquired him on December 9, 1957 in exchange for pitcher Bob Purkey. Gross went 5-7, 3.98 for the 1958 Pirates, making 40 appearances (three starts) and picking up seven saves. In 1959, he pitched strictly out of the bullpen, getting into 21 games with a 1-1, 3.55 record and two saves. He was sent to the minors after dealing with a sore shoulder in early June and pitched just once during a six-week time span. After being used only in a mop-up role through the end of May in 1960, he was sent to the minors, where he finished his pro career three years later without a return trip to the majors.
Gross went 5-6, 3.46 in 117 innings for Salt Lake City of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League in 1960. He went down to Double-A with Macon of the Southern Association in 1961 and had a 3.02 ERA in 119.1 innings. Gross actually went to Spring Training with the Pirates that year without a contract, but arm soreness ended what chances he had to make the team. He pitched just three games in each of his final two seasons in the minors. Arm injuries limited his effectiveness during his final four seasons of pro ball. Gross was 20-22, 3.73 in 398 innings during his six seasons in the majors, making 37 starts and 108 relief appearances. He had nine complete games, one shutout and ten saves. He is the uncle of long-time Major League first baseman, Todd Benzinger.
Hal Smith, pitcher for the 1932-35 Pirates. He didn’t make the big leagues until age 30, and he played all four years of his Major League career with Pittsburgh. He didn’t debut in pro ball until shortly before his 24th birthday in 1926. Smith went 19-9, 2.68 in 225 innings that first season with Peoria of the Three-I League (Class-B). He split the 1927 season between Danville of the Three-I League and Houston of the Class-A Texas League. He went 13-9, 2.90 in 202 innings that year. In 1928 he was one step from the majors with Rochester of the Double-A International League (highest level of the minors at the time), where he had a 9-15, 4.16 record in 184 innings. Smith was back with Danville in 1929, while also seeing time with another Class-C club (Fort Wayne) of the Central League. He went 8-12, 4.42 in 165 innings that year. He ended up pitching 178 innings total for three different teams during the 1930 season while compiling a 12-10 record in 172 innings. Most of his time was spent back with Fort Wayne, but he also saw time in Double-A with Toledo and Minneapolis of the Double-A American Association.
Smith went 13-6, 3.19 in 186 innings for Springfield of the Three-I League in 1931, though those records haven’t been attributed to him (they are currently listed as belonging to an “H. Smith”) on Baseball-Reference. During the 1932 season, Smith went 17-8 in 205 innings for Kansas City of the American Association. His ERA isn’t available, but we know that he allowed 4.04 runs per nine innings. The Pirates acquired him in August of 1932 for two players and cash. On September 22, 1932, Smith made his first Major League start, throwing a complete game shutout over the Chicago Cubs. His only other appearance was one run over three innings in his big league debut on September 14th. The Pirates expected big things from him in 1933 and he didn’t disappoint, going 8-7, 2.86 ERA in 145 innings over 19 starts and nine relief appearances. He threw two more shutouts that season. He did not pitch well or often in 1934, missing nearly two months of the season with an illness. Smith started his first game back and got hit hard in a loss, forcing the Pirates to move him to the pen where he was used sparingly the rest of the way. He finished the year 3-4, 7.20 in 50 innings over five starts and 15 relief appearances.
Smith pitched just one early season game for the 1935 Pirates before being sent back to Kansas City, where he remained until his retirement at the end of the 1936 season. He did well over the rest of 1935, posting a 13-8, 3.53 record in 191 innings. His final year saw him go 6-2, 4.09 in 121 innings. He went 12-11, 3.77 in 51 Major League games, 25 as a starter, throwing a total of 210 innings. There have been three Major League players named Hal Smith and the Pirates also had the other two, both catchers. One caught for the 1965 team and the other caught for the 1960-61 team.
Johnny Miljus, pitcher for the 1927-28 Pirates. He made his Major League debut in 1915 at 20 years old, playing for his hometown Pittsburgh Rebels of the short-lived Federal League. He attended college at Duquesne and the University of Pittsburgh. His big league debut (which was also his first pro game) was a one-inning relief appearance and it came on the next-to-last day of the season. When the league folded in the off-season, he went to the minors for the first time. Miljus went from the majors to Class-D, where he went 7-7, 1.53 in 118 innings in 1916 for St Mary’s of the Interstate League. He had an 11-6 record (full stats are unavailable) for Binghamton of the Class-B New York State League in 1917 before getting his second cup of coffee in the majors. He had a brief trial with the Brooklyn Robins in 1917, pitching four games in which he allowed one earned run in 15 innings. After missing all of the 1918 season while serving in the military during WWI, he returned to baseball in 1919, and made it back to Brooklyn the following year. He went 9-8, 3.27 in 1919, while throwing 165 innings for Toledo of the Double-A American Association, which was the highest level of the minors at the time. Miljus pitched just nine games over the entire 1920 season for Brooklyn, pitching only in losses up until he won the final game of the season by allowing one run over five innings. Two days later, the Robins played game one of the 1920 World Series, which they lost in seven games to the Cleveland Indians. He had a 3.09 ERA in 23.1 innings during the season, and he did not pitch during the postseason.
Miljus went 6-3, 4.23 in 93.2 innings over 28 games (nine as a starter) for the Robins in 1921, before spending the next 5 1/2 seasons in the minors. He had a 9-13 record while pitching 211 innings in 1922, splitting the year between two Class-A Southern Association teams, New Orleans and Nashville. He won 12 games for Rochester of the Double-A International League in 1923, though it came with a 5.10 ERA in 180 innings. Miljus then went 15-13, 3.21 in 230 innings for Bridgeport of the Class-A Eastern League in 1924. He was a successful pitcher in the Pacific Coast League, winning 47 games and throwing 707 innings for Seattle from 1925 until July of 1927, when he joined the Pirates. His first year there saw him go 20-15, 3.14 in 295 innings. He wasn’t as strong in 1926, finishing up with a 14-13, 4.48 record in 233 innings. He was having his best season in 1927 before joining Pittsburgh, going 13-5, 2.36 in 179 innings. On July 9, 1927, the Pirates sent Seattle $17,500 and pitcher Andy House to acquire the 32-year-old Miljus. House was signed by the Pirates on May 30th and did not appear in the game before the trade, then spent the rest of his pro career on the west coast without another shot at the majors.
Miljus made six starts and 13 relief appearances for the National League champs in 1927, going 8-3, 1.90 in 75.2 innings. He pitched 6.2 innings in the World Series against the powerhouse New York Yankees team, allowing just one run. In 1928, Miljus struggled with the Pirates, going 5-7, 5.30 in 69.2 innings over ten starts and 11 relief outings. In July, Pittsburgh put him on waivers, where he was picked up by the Cleveland Indians. He went 1-4, 2.66 in 50.2 innings for Cleveland to finish out 1928, then had a 8-8, 5.19 record in 1929, with 128.1 innings pitched over 15 starts and 19 relief appearances. That spelled the end of his big league career, which saw him go 29-26, 3.92 in 457.1 innings over seven seasons. He returned to the PCL for the next four seasons, then pitched for Indianapolis of the American Association in 1934. He pitched 157 innings during the 1930 season with San Francisco, then saw a major drop in his workload over the rest of his career, throwing 107 innings in 1931, followed by a total of 115 innings during the 1932-34 seasons. Miljus returned for one final game in 1939 for Hollywood of the Pacific Coast League at age 44.