Five former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including the all-time home run king.
Barry Bonds, outfielder for the 1986-92 Pirates. He was the sixth overall draft pick in 1985 and the Pirates had him in the majors by May 30, 1986, less than a full year after he was drafted. Bonds was originally drafted out of high school by the San Francisco Giants in the second round of the 1982 draft. He decided to attend Arizona State, where he improved his draft status over three seasons. After signing, he batted .299 with 16 doubles, 13 homers, 15 steals and a .930 OPS in 71 games with Prince William of the Class-A Carolina League in 1985. He skipped to Triple-A in 1986 and spent 44 games with Hawaii of the Pacific Coast League before his big league debut, hitting .311 with 30 runs, seven doubles, seven homers, 37 RBIs, 16 steals and a .963 OPS. The 21-year-old Bonds hit just .223 as a rookie in 113 games, but he scored 72 runs, hit 16 homers and stole 36 bases, while drawing 65 walks, leading to a respectable .746 OPS. In 1987, he raised his average to .261, though his OBP was a point lower than the previous year. He finsihed with 99 runs, 34 doubles, nine triples, 25 homers, 59 RBIs, 54 walks and 32 stolen bases. In 1988, he hit for average and drew walks (72), while showing some power (30 doubles and 24 homers), leading to a .283/.368/.491 slash line. His stolen bases dropped to 17, but he still scored 97 runs. Bonds had a bit of a down year in 1989, seeing his OPS drop for the first time. He batted .248, with 96 runs scored, 34 doubles, 19 homers, 32 steals and 93 walks, leading to a .777 OPS.
The Pirates made the playoffs in 1990, 1991 and 1992, and Bonds was a huge part of that run. He won the National League MVP in 1990 by hitting .301 with 33 homers and 114 RBIs. He added 104 runs scored, 93 walks, 34 doubles and 52 stolen bases, giving him his first 30/30 HR/SB season in the majors. He would repeat that feat four more times, and he also missed 30/30 twice by finishing with 29 stolen bases. He led the league with a .565 slugging percentage and a .970 OPS. Bonds made his first All-Star team in 1990, while also winning his first Gold Glove and first Silver Slugger awards. In the postseason, he went 3-for-18 with four runs scored.
In 1991, Bonds had another MVP season, though the writers mistakenly gave it to Terry Pendleton, who had a strong season with 6.1 WAR to his credit, but it didn’t compare well to Bonds, who compiled 8.0 WAR that season. In 153 games, Bonds hit .292/.410/.514, leading the league in OBP and OPS. He drew 107 walks, drove in 116 runs, scored 95 runs and stole 43 bases. He picked up his second Gold Glove and second Silver Slugger awards, but he didn’t make the All-Star team. He once again struggled in the postseason, hitting .148 in seven games, with no RBIs and one run scored.
In 1992, Bonds played out his last year before free agency and had an outstanding year. He led the league with 109 runs scored, 127 walks, a .456 OBP and a .624 slugging. He had 34 homers, 39 steals and 103 RBIs. He had a 1.080 OPS that season, which led the league and represented the first of 14 straight seasons in which he had an OPS over 1.000, a streak that was snapped by .001 in 2006. He repeated his 1990 feat with an MVP, All-Star appearance, Gold Glove and Silver Slugger. His postseason was better in 1992, with a .261 average and five runs scored. He moved on to San Francisco after the season, where he played out the rest of his 22-year career and made baseball history.
In 1993, Bonds led the league with 46 homers, 123 RBIs, a .458 OBP, a .677 slugging percentage and a 1.137 OPS. He also batted .336 with 38 doubles, 29 steals and 129 runs scored, which set a career high that he would amazingly tie three more times, but never surpass. He won his third MVP award, made his third All-Star appearance, won his fourth straight Gold Glove and fourth straight Silver Slugger award. Bonds played 159 games that season, the second time he reached that mark, and he would tie that career high again four years later.
In the strike-shortened 1994 season, Bonds hit .312 in 112 games, with 89 runs scored, 37 homers, 81 RBIs, 29 steals and a league leading 74 walks, leading to a 1.073 OPS. He was fourth in the MVP voting and picked up another Gold Glove, another Silver Slugger and a fourth All-Star appearance.
In 1995, Bonds led the league with 120 walks, a .431 OBP and a 1.009 OPS. He picked up an All-Star appearance, but his Gold Glove and Silver Slugger streaks were snapped. Bonds hit .294 with 30 doubles, 33 homers, 104 RBIs and 109 runs scored in the season which was slightly shortened due to the strike, though he led the league with 144 games played. He finished fifth in the MVP voting.
In 1996, Bonds led the league with 151 walks, while hitting .308 with 27 doubles, 42 homers, 129 RBIs and 122 runs scored in 158 games. He stole 40 bases that year, giving him a 40/40 HR/SB season. He was an All-Star and won the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger again, but he finished just fifth in the MVP voting, despite his 9.7 WAR being the best in the league.
In 1997, Bonds led the league with 145 walks, while gaining the All-Star/Gold Glove/Sliver Slugger trifecta. He batted .291 with 26 doubles, 40 homers, 37 steals, 101 RBIs and 123 runs scored in 159 games. The 1998 season saw him make the All-Star team and win another Gold Glove. He hit .303 with 44 doubles, 37 homers, 122 RBIs, 28 steals, 130 walks and 120 runs scored. In 1999, he was limited to 102 games due to an elbow injury early in the year. He hit .262 with 91 runs, 20 doubles, 34 homers, 83 RBIs and a 1.006 OPS. That year broke a string of seven straight All-Star appearances, but he picked right back up in 2000, hitting .306 with 28 doubles, 49 homers, 106 RBIs, 129 runs scored and a league leading 117 walks in 143 games. He won a Silver Slugger that year and finished second in the MVP voting.
Bonds had his record-breaking season in 2001 when he hit 73 homers. He led the league with 177 walks, a .515 OBP, an .863 slugging and a 1.379 OPS. He batted .328, scored 129 runs, hit 32 doubles and set a personal best with 137 RBIs. That slugging percentage is a single-season record in baseball history. It started a four-year string of MVP awards, All-Star appearances and Silver Slugger wins. In 2002, he won the batting title with a .370 mark, and had a league best .582 OBP, thanks to 198 walks. He hit 46 homers, with 110 RBIs and 117 runs scored, while leading the league with a .799 slugging and a 1.381 OPS, surpassing his record-breaking home run year, but it wasn’t his career best.
In 2003, Bonds batted .341, finishing with 111 runs scored, 22 doubles, 45 homers, 90 RBIs and 148 walks in 130 games. He led the league with a .529 OBP, a .749 slugging percentage, and his 1.278 OPS. Pitchers basically refused to pitch to him in 2004 and he still managed to hit 45 homers. He walked 232 times total, and 120 of those times were intentional. He led the league with a .362 batting average, despite having 373 official at-bats. He had a .609 OBP, an .812 slugging percentage and a 1.422 OPS. Those OBP and OPS numbers are all-time records that broke his own records set two years earlier. Bonds was limited to just 14 games in 2005 due to a knee injury and surgeries, but he returned in 2006 to hit .270 with 26 homers in 130 games. He led the league with 115 walks and a .454 OBP. In his final season, he passed Hank Aaron in career homers. Bonds batted .278 that year, with 28 homers, 132 walks and a .480 OBP. He was basically forced into retirement by baseball, despite still being a productive hitter at 42 years old.
Bonds is the all-time leader with 762 homers and 2,558 walks. He had a .298 average, 601 doubles, 1,996 RBIs, 514 steals and 2,227 runs scored. He is the only member of the 400 HR/SB club and for good measure, the only member of the 500 HR/SB club as well. He won the MVP award seven times and deserved the award in both 1991 and 2000 as well. He was a 14-time All-Star, 12-time Silver Slugger winner and he has eight Gold Gloves. He’s the single season leader in OPS, home runs and walks. He was intentionally walked 688 times, which is more twice as much as anyone else. In career WAR, he only trails Babe Ruth, Walter Johnson and Cy Young. With the Pirates, Bonds hit .275/.380/.503 in 1,104 games. He is fifth on the Pirates all-time home run list with 176 and seventh with 251 steals. His 50.3 WAR is seventh in team history.
Connor Overton, pitcher for the 2021 Pirates. He was a 15th round draft pick in 2014 by the Miami Marlins out of Old Dominion University. In the short-season New York-Penn League in 2014 with Batavia, he went 1-2, 4.71 with 20 strikeouts in 21 innings over 17 relief appearances. In 2015, Overton spent a majority of his time back in the New York-Penn League with Auburn in the Washington Nationals system. He was released by the Marlins in July of 2015 after giving up 14 runs in 9.2 innings with Greensboro of the Low-A South Atlantic League. After joining Washington, he had a 3.72 ERA in 19.1 innings with Auburn, as well as one relief appearance for Triple-A Syracuse of the International League in which he allowed one run in two innings. He became a free agent after the season and signed with the San Francisco Giants. In 2016, he played for San Jose of the High-A California League, where he lasted one game, giving up two runs, while recording one out. That season was started with Sioux City of the independent American Association, posting a 5-1, 1.96 record, with 11 saves and 45 strikeouts in 36.2 innings. Unfortunately for Overton, the 2017 season was lost due to Tommy John surgery after his one appearance with San Jose.
In 2018, Overton pitched over three levels for the Giants, seeing most of his time back with San Jose, while also played for Richmond of the Double-A Eastern League and Sacramento of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. His results were poor in all three stops, with a combined 4.91 ERA in 47.2 innings over 23 appearances (two starts). He was released late in the year and finished up with Lancaster of the independent Atlantic League, where he went 3-5, 4.02 with 56 strikeouts in 53.2 innings over nine starts. He signed with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2020, but never appeared in a game due to the minor league season being wiped away. He became a free agent, but signed back with Toronto for 2021. Overton went 2-1, 2.03 with Triple-A Buffalo that year, making seven starts and 14 relief appearances. He made his big league debut in August and threw 6.2 scoreless innings before the Pirates picked him up off of waivers in September. He pitched briefly for Triple-A Indianapolis after joining Pittsburgh, while pitching five games for the Pirates over the final three weeks of the season. Overton made three starts and two relief appearances, allowing eight runs in 8.2 innings. He was let go at the end of the season and signed with the Cincinnati Reds for 2022. After putting up a 2.84 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 19.2 innings with Louisville of the Triple-A International League, Overton was called up to the Reds and made four starts, going 1-0, 1.82 in 24.2 innings. A back injury after his last start landed him on the 60-day Injured List. Through mid-July 2022, he has a 1-1, 2.93 big league record in 40 innings over seven starts and six relief appearances.
Joe Oliver, catcher for the 1999 Pirates. He was a second round pick in 1983 by the Cincinnati Reds out of high school. Oliver made it to the big leagues in 1989 and ended up playing 13 seasons in the majors. He was still 17 years old when he signed, but the Reds started him in the Pioneer League instead of the lowest level. Oliver hit .215 with four homers and a .588 OPS in 56 games with Billings in 1983. The next year they pushed him to Low-A with Cedar Rapids of the Midwest League, and he batted .218 with 11 doubles, three homers, 29 RBIs and a .539 OPS in 102 games. He caught up to the competition in 1985 in the Florida State League, hitting .269 with 38 runs, 23 doubles, seven homers, 62 RBIs and a .717 OPS in 112 games with Tampa. The next two full seasons were spent in Double-A with Vermont of the Eastern League. He put up a .733 OPS in 84 games in 1986, hitting .277 with 18 doubles, six homers and 41 RBIs. Oliver then followed it up with a .305 average, 31 runs, 13 doubles, ten homers, 60 RBIs and an .854 OPS in 66 games in 1987. He put in even more time at Double-A in 1988 (Reds switched affiliates to Chattanooga of the Southern League), though the majority of the season was spent in Triple-A with Nashville of the American Association. Between the two stops, he hit .218 with 28 runs, 22 extra-base hits and 36 RBIs in 101 games. His OPS dropped 240 points from the previous season.
Oliver split the 1989 season between Nashville and the majors. He hit .292 with 13 doubles, six homers and a .756 OPS in 71 games for Nashville, while batting .272/.300/.384 with three homers and 23 RBIs in 49 games for the Reds. He was their regular catcher for the next four seasons. In 1990, Oliver hit .231 with 34 runs, 23 doubles, eight homers and 52 RBIs in 121 games. His average dropped to .216 in 1991 and his walk rate went down, but he hit 11 homers in 94 games. His .684 OPS as a rookie went down 20 points each season afterwards, to a .644 mark in 1991. He would soon see that change direction for one season. Oliver played a career high 143 games in 1992, hitting .270 with 42 runs, 25 doubles, ten homers, 57 RBIs and a .704 OPS. In 139 games in 1993, he set career highs with 28 doubles, 14 homers and 75 RBIs, though his .659 OPS was 45 points lower than the previous year. Arthritis in his ankles limited him to just six games during the strike-shortened 1994 season and the Reds let him go that November. Oliver signed with the Milwaukee Brewers and hit .273 with 43 runs, 20 doubles, 12 homers, 51 RBIs and a .774 OPS in 97 games in 1995. He then re-signed with the Reds as a free agent prior to the 1996 season. He hit .242 that first year back in Cincinnati, with 31 runs, 12 doubles, 11 homers, 46 RBIs and a .715 OPS in 106 games.
In 1997, Oliver batted .258, with 13 doubles, 14 homers, 43 RBIs and a .728 OPS in 111 games. He scored just 28 runs that season, half of them coming on his own homers. He signed with the Detroit Tigers as a free agent for the 1998 season, but he was released mid-year and finished out the campaign with the Seattle Mariners. He batted .225/.272/.346 with 11 doubles, six homers, 32 RBIs and a .618 OPS in 79 games that year, posting similar results in both stops. Oliver was already in his 11th season when he joined the 1999 Pirates, his fifth different team in the majors. The Pirates acquired him from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays the day before his 34th birthday. They gave up pitcher Jeff Sparks and a young outfielder named Jose Guillen in the deal, while also getting back another catcher, Humberto Cota, who stuck around Pittsburgh for nine years. Oliver was in the minors the whole time in Tampa Bay, hitting .301/.325/.489 in 57 games for Durham of the Triple-A International League. He was brought in by the Pirates to replace the injured Jason Kendall, who was out for the entire year with a severe ankle injury.
Oliver played 45 games for the Pirates, hitting .201 with one homer, 13 RBIs and a .537 OPS. While he never hit for high average, that batting mark in 1999 turned out to be the lowest of his 13-year career. He also reached double figures in homers seven times during his career, so his offensive output with the Pirates was well off his career norm. He became a free agent after the season and signed with the Mariners for 2000, where he hit .265 in 69 games, with 13 doubles, ten homers, 35 RBIs and an .803 OPS. He played briefly for the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox in 2001, which ended up being his final season in the majors. He played 17 games total that year, batting .250 in both stops. Oliver finished with 1,076 games in the big leagues, playing for seven different teams. He led National League catchers in fielding in 1990 and putouts in 1992. He finished with a .247 career average, 320 runs, 174 doubles, 102 homers and 476 RBIs. He collected just three triples in his big league career, and 11 total triples in his pro career. According to modern metrics, he put up 5.9 dWAR during his career.
Preston Ward, utility fielder for the Pirates from 1953 until 1956. He was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers at the age of 16 in 1944 and he wasn’t over-matched that first season while playing in Class-D ball, batting .250 with 25 extra-base hits and a .713 OPS in 77 games for Zanesville of the Ohio State League. He also played briefly that year for Newport News of the Class-B Piedmont League. He moved on to Newport News for the entire season in 1945 and batted .325 in 90 games, with 46 runs, 22 extra-base hits, 54 RBIs, 53 walks and an .843 OPS. Ward stayed in Class-B in 1946, though he switched from the Piedmont League to the Three-I League, where he hit .214 with 59 runs, 26 extra-base hits, 63 RBIs and a .622 OPS in 107 games for Danville. He also played one for Fort Worth of the Double-A Texas League that year, a place he would end up at three years later. He had a breakout year in 1947 while playing for Class-A Pueblo of the Western League, where he hit .325 with 98 walks, 30 doubles, 21 triples, 17 homers, 121 RBIs and a 1.033 OPS in 125 games.
Ward played six seasons in the Dodgers organization, with his only Major League experience coming during the first half of the 1948 season, when he hit .260/.329/.370 with 21 RBIs in 42 games. The second half of the year was spent with Mobile of the Double-A Southern Association, where he batted .286 in 85 games, with 36 extra-base hits and an .872 OPS. In 1949, Ward spent the entire year with Fort Worth, where he hit .303 with 103 runs, 39 doubles, 13 homers, 112 RBIs, 29 stolen bases, 106 walks and an .876 OPS in 155 games. Brooklyn sold him to the Chicago Cubs after the 1949 season and he played 80 games in Chicago in 1950, hitting .253 with 31 runs, 11 doubles,six homers and 33 RBIs. Just when it seemed like he was going to stick in the majors, he missed the next two years due to military service during the Korean War. Returning in 1953, he hit .230 with four homers and a .748 OPS during his first 33 games of the season with Chicago.
The Pirates acquired Ward from the Cubs in a ten-player deal on June 4, 1953, with the main piece involved in the trade being Ralph Kiner, who went to Chicago. Ward played first base for the Pirates for the rest of the season, hitting .210 with 35 runs, eight homers, 27 RBIs, 44 walks and a .646 OPS in 88 games. He finished that season with one of the best fielding percentages among National League first basemen. In 1954, Ward saw time at RF/1B/3B, batting .269 with 37 runs, 25 extra-base hits, 48 RBIs and a .721 OPS in 117 games. His time was limited in 1955, getting just 39 starts all season, all but one of those at first base. He played in 84 total games, hitting .215 with five homers, 25 RBIs and a .676 OPS. He was hitting .333/.432/.500 with 11 RBIs through his first 16 games in 1956, before the Pirates traded him to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for catcher Hank Foiles on May 15th. After the deal, Ward hit .253 with 18 runs, ten doubles, six homers and 21 RBIs in 87 games to finish out the season.
Ward played just ten games with the Indians in 1957, going 2-for-11 with a double. He spent the rest of the year back in the minors with San Diego of the Pacific Coast League, where he hit .330 in 100 games, with 15 doubles, 22 homers, 70 RBIs and a .991 OPS. He was back in the majors in 1958, playing 48 games for the Indians before being traded to the Kansas City Athletics in a mid-season five-player deal that also included Roger Maris. Ward was hitting .338 with an .832 OPS prior to the trade, then batted .254 with 17 extra-base hits, 24 RBIs and a .685 OPS in 81 games after the deal. His final season in the majors was also his final year in pro ball. In 1959, he hit .248 in 58 games, with seven extra-base hits, 19 RBIs and a .644 OPS in 119 plate appearances. In his nine-year big league career, he hit .253 with 219 runs, 83 doubles, 50 homers and 262 RBIs in 744 games. In 305 games for the Pirates, he batted .240 with 21 homers and 111 RBIs.
Joe Schultz Sr, infielder for the 1916 Pirates. He was a Pittsburgh native, who made his Major League debut at the age of 19 in 1912, after the Boston Braves selected him in the September Rule 5 draft from Akron of the Class-B Central League just a couple of weeks earlier. Schultz played parts of two seasons with Boston, getting into a total of 13 games. He went 3-for-12 with three RBIs in 1912, then batted .222/.333/.222 in nine games in 1913. Most of his 1913 season was spent with Toronto of the Double-A International League, which was the highest level of the minors at the time. He hit .299 in 124 games that year, with 60 runs, 28 extra-base hits, 24 steals and a .717 OPS. After playing the entire 1914 season with Rochester of the International League, where he hit .316 with 95 runs, 44 extra-base hits, 30 steals and a .784 OPS in 155 games, Schultz would return to the majors in 1915. He spent the beginning of the year with the Brooklyn Robins, before ending it with the Chicago Cubs. He batted .289 with 14 runs, five extra-base hits, seven RBIs and a .684 OPS in 63 games, spending most of his time at third base. The Pirates purchased his contract from Chicago in January of 1916.
Schultz hit .260 with 18 runs, ten extra-base hits, 22 RBIs and a .616 OPS in 77 games for the 1916 Pirates, playing 24 games each at second base and third base. He also saw time at both corner outfield spots and even made an appearance at shortstop. He finished the season with Los Angeles of the Double-A Pacific Coast League, then spent the next two full seasons in the minors as well. Schultz hit .280 with eight extra-base hits in 58 games for Los Angeles in 1916. The next year was split between Los Angeles (39 games) and Toronto of the International League (105 games). He combined to hit .298 with 22 doubles, eight triples and three homers. In 1918, he spent the entire year with Kansas City of the Double-A American Association, where he batted .306 in 62 games, with 22 runs, eight doubles, a triple, 11 steals and .710 OPS. Schultz returned to the big leagues in 1919 and stayed around for the next seven seasons, spent mostly with the St Louis Cardinals. While he played a lot of positions during that time, most of his fielding time was spent in right field.
Schultz batted .253 with 24 runs, 12 extra-base hits and 21 RBIs in 88 games for the 1919 Cardinals. That was followed up by a .263 average, 38 runs, ten extra-base hits and 32 RBIs in 99 games in 1920. He had a .615 OPS in 1919 and a .617 mark the next year. In 1921, he batted .309 with 37 runs, 29 extra-base hits, 45 RBIs and an .816 OPS in 92 games. He hit six homers that year, four more than he hit during his previous seasons combined. Schultz played 112 games in 1922 and hit .314 with 64 RBIs and 50 runs scored, setting career bests in all four of those categories. He had 17 extra-base hits that year and a .742 OPS. Despite setting a career high in games and doing well in 1922, the 1923 season saw him play just two big league games and spend the rest of the year in the minors. He went 2-for-7 with the Cardinals, while spending the rest of the year with Houston of the Class-A Texas League, where he hit .316 in 107 games, with 40 extra-base hits. After 12 games with the Cardinals in 1924, he was purchased by the Philadelphia Phillies. Schultz was hitting .167 at the time, then batted .282 with a .723 OPS in 88 games in Philadelphia. The 1925 season was split between the Phillies and Cincinnati Reds. He did well in both spots in limited time, finishing with a .333/.368/.421 slash line in 126 at-bats over 57 games, but it still ended up being his final big league season.
Schultz finished his Major League career with a .285 average, 235 runs, 83 doubles, 19 triples, 15 homers and 249 RBIs in 703 games. He had two seasons with a lot of steals in the minors, but he stole just 35 bases in the majors. He played minor league ball in 1926 with Mobile of the Class-A Southern Association, then was a player/manager for the next season, before retiring from playing. He was four steps from the majors in 1927 when he hit .358 with 52 extra-base hits in 124 games for Topeka of the Class-C Western Association. His final two years as a player were spent with Danville of the Class-B Three-I League. He then managed the next six seasons in the minors. He also spent three seasons as the Pittsburgh Pirates farm director, which was his job when he passed away in 1941 at 47 years old. His family had a rich history in the Major Leagues. His son Joe Schultz Jr. played nine seasons in the big leagues, the first three (1939-41) with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He (Jr) was also the manager of the Seattle Pilots during their only season in existence (became Milwaukee Brewers in 1970). His cousin Hans Lobert was a star third baseman in the majors. He played 14 years, including the 1903 season as a rookie with the Pirates, the team that went on to play in the first modern day World Series. Joe Sr also had a cousin named Frank Lobert, who played one season in the majors and lived out his life in the city of Pittsburgh. The Shultz/Lobert family connection makes them one of 26 sets of relatives in Pirates history, and one of just two groups with more than two players.