There have been nine former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including the starting right fielder for the first team in franchise history to win a World Series title. We also have one trade of note, which is where we start.
On this date in 1987, the Pirates traded pitcher Rick Reuschel to the San Francisco Giants for pitchers Jeff Robinson and Scott Medvin. Reuschel was already 38 years old at the time of the deal, playing in his 15th season in the majors. For the Pirates in 1987, he was 8-6, 2.75 in 25 starts, with 170 career wins to his credit. Despite the age and a slow start to his Giants career (4.32 ERA after the deal), Reuschel went on to have two big seasons with San Francisco, going a combined 36-19 between the 1988-89 seasons. The Pirates signed him to a three-year deal prior to 1986, so they were trading away one year and about six weeks of contract control. He stayed with the Giants in 1989 and started the All-Star game that year at 40 years old. He played two more years afterwards, getting into just 19 games due to injuries. Medvin pitched 23 games in relief over two seasons with the Pirates before they dealt him to the Seattle Mariners in 1990 for minor league pitcher Lee Hancock. The Pirates actually lost Medvin in the 1987 Rule 5 draft, but he was returned before the season started. Robinson pitched three years in Pittsburgh, going 20-19, 3.78 in 143 games, with 19 starts and 17 saves. His biggest contribution to the Pirates was likely his inclusion in the deal to the New York Yankees in December of 1989 that brought Don Slaught back to Pittsburgh.
Chief Wilson, right fielder for the Pirates from 1908 until 1913. Wilson’s strong hitting off of Pirates minor league pitcher Babe Adams got him highly recommended to the Pirates by Adams himself, and the Pirates acted upon that recommendation by signing Wilson. At 21 years old, he debuted in pro ball in his home state of Texas. He would player for Fort Worth of the Class-C Texas League (it was Class-D in 1906) during the 1905-07 seasons, but he also played for three other teams during that time. In 1905, he split the season between Fort Worth and Austin, combining to hit .256 in 117 games, with 24 doubles and four triples. In 1906, he spent the entire year with Fort Worth, hitting .265 in 127 games (only available stats). Besides Fort Worth in 1907, he also played for Des Moines of the Class-A Western League and Little Rock of the Class-A Southern Association. His stats are available for two of those stops, with a .286 average and 26 extra-base hits in 71 games with Fort Worth, and a .323 average in 50 games with Des Moines. The Pirates selected Wilson in the Rule 5 draft on October 12th, and received word 18 days later that their claim went through.
In 1908, without a game of Major League experience, Wilson became the Pirates starting right fielder to open the season. He was known for his strong arm, which led to 20 outfield assists during his first year. His bat didn’t come around until his second season, which just happened to be the year the Pirates won their first World Series title. He batted .227 with 47 runs, 43 RBIs and a .546 OPS in 144 games as a rookie. Wilson then hit .272 with 64 runs, 38 extra-base hits, 59 RBIs, 17 steals and a .677 OPS in 154 games in 1909. He led the league in games played that season, starting every single game, while playing all but two innings all season. Those missed innings came when he left for a pinch-hitter during the eighth inning of the first game in Forbes Field history. In the World Series against the Detroit Tigers, he hit just .154 with no walks, but the Pirates still took the series in seven games. In 1910, he batted .276 in 146 games, with 59 runs, 14 doubles, 13 triples, four homers, 50 RBIs and a .685 OPS. Chief, who was known mainly by his middle name Owen (his first name was John), really broke out with the bat in 1911, hitting .300 with 58 extra-base hits and a league leading 107 RBIs. He set career highs with 34 doubles and 12 homers. His .826 OPS was seventh best in the league.
The 1912 season forever put Wilson’s name in the baseball history books. That year he hit 36 triples. It’s a Major League record that still stands 100+ years later, and one that no one has seriously approached since then, with the high being 26 (done twice). He batted .300 for a second consecutive season, finishing with 19 doubles, 11 homers, 94 RBIs and a career high of 80 runs, while playing 152 games. His career best .855 OPS was eighth best in the league. Wilson finished eighth in the MVP voting that season. His offense dropped off a little bit in 1913, batting .266 with 36 extra-base hits, 73 RBIs and 71 runs scored. He dropped to a .694 OPS, which was still above league average during that deadball era year. He started all 155 games that season. On December 12, 1913, the Pirates traded Wilson to the St Louis Cardinals in an eight-player deal that didn’t work out at all. The Pirates gave up Dots Miller and three other players in the deal, for first baseman Ed Konetchy and two players. Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss talked about getting Konetchy for a long time prior to the deal, so he gave up a lot to get him. He then saw the deal backfire, when Miller not only outplayed Konetchy at first base, Konetchy jumped to the Federal League after one season. St Louis showed a 30-game improvement in the standings between 1913 and 1914, while the Pirates saw a nine-game slide in their record in 1914 and it resulted in their first losing season since 1898.
Wilson would go on to play his final three years in the majors with the Cardinals, never quite approaching the numbers he put up during the 1911-12 seasons, but his 1914-15 numbers with St Louis showed very similar production to his final season in Pittsburgh. He hit .259 with 64 runs, 27 doubles, 12 triples, nine homers, 73 RBIs and a .695 OPS in 154 games in 1914. That was followed by a .276 average in 107 games in 1915, when he finished with 33 runs, 22 extra-base hits and 39 RBIs. During that three-year stretch (1913-15) his OPS marks were .694, .695 and .694 each year. His final season saw him drop down to a .239 average, along with 30 runs, 13 extra-base hits and 32 RBIs in 120 games in 1916. After his final big league game, Wilson finished up his career with 19 games with San Antonio of the Class-B Texas League. The Cardinals still held his rights going into 1918 and they released him to Houston of the Texas League, but he decided not to play that season and never played again professionally.
In his six seasons in Pittsburgh, Wilson played at least 144 games each year, three times leading all National League outfielders in games played. In 899 games for Pittsburgh, he hit .274 with 393 runs, 109 doubles, 94 triples, 44 homers, 427 RBIs and 72 steals. His career average was .269 in 1,280 games, with 520 runs scored, 570 RBIs and 340 extra-base hits, including 114 triples. He collected 181 outfield assists during his nine-year career. Before he joined the Pirates he had the nickname Tex, which was just because he was born in Texas. When he joined the Pirates, manager Fred Clarke said that he looked like the chief of the Texas Rangers (the state police officers), which gave him his new nickname Chief. A popular misconception is that he was part Native American, based on other Native Americans in baseball at the time getting the nickname Chief, but his nickname had nothing to do with his ancestry. Baseball-Reference recently did a lazy sweep of nicknames they deemed to be offensive and mixed Wilson into that group, one of many mistakes they made in that process due to lack of proper research. He’s now listed as just Owen Wilson.
Jeff Clement, first baseman for the 2010 and 2012 Pirates. He was originally drafted in the 12th round out of high school by the Minnesota Twins in 2002. He was signed as a first round pick (third overall pick) of the Seattle Mariners in 2005 out of USC. He was considered to be a top prospect in baseball for a few years, though he never reached that high potential. Clement spent most of his first season in Low-A Wisconsin of the Midwest League (also played four games for Everett of the short-season Northwest League), hitting .315 with 21 runs, six doubles, six homers and 21 RBIs in 34 games. He played in the Arizona Fall League after the season and hit .269 with five doubles, three homers and an .824 OPS in 22 games. In 2006, he split the year between 15 games at Double-A San Antonio of the Texas League and 67 games at Triple-A Tacoma of the Pacific Coast League. He also playing winter ball in Hawaii, back when MLB ran a league similar to the Arizona Fall League. He hit .263 with 30 runs, 16 doubles, six homers and 42 RBIs in 82 games during the regular season, then batted .189 with two homers in winter ball. Most of the 2007 season was spent in Tacoma, where he batted .279 with 76 runs, 35 doubles, 20 homers, 80 RBIs, 61 walks and an .867 OPS in 125 games. Clement reached the majors in late 2007 and started off with a bang, hitting .375 with two homers and a 1.286 OPS in nine games. He attended the Arizona Fall League after the season and hit .269 with three homers and an .848 OPS in 14 games.
In 2008, Clement got an extended look with the Mariners and batted .227/.295/.360 with five homers in 66 games. He hit .335 with 17 doubles, 14 homers and a 1.131 OPS in 48 games with Tacoma that year. He spent the entire 2009 season in the minors, despite putting up 35 doubles, 21 homers, 90 RBIs, 51 walks and an .850 OPS in 119 games. He came over to the Pirates in the seven-player Jack Wilson/Ian Snell deal with the Mariners at the 2009 trade deadline. His last 27 Triple-A games that season were spent with Indianapolis of the International League. Clement played 54 games for Pittsburgh in 2010, hitting .201/.237/.368, with seven homers and 12 RBIs in 153 plate appearances. He did well with Indianapolis that year, finishing with a .304 average and an .885 OPS in 42 games. He missed the end of the season with a knee injury and an oblique injury, which landed him on the 60-day disabled list. After missing most of the 2011 season due to surgery over the off-season, he became a free agent, though he quickly re-signed with the Pirates on a minor league deal. Clement played just 31 games total in 2011, including nine in the Gulf Coast League on rehab, and another 22 games with Indianapolis. He began the 2012 season back in Indianapolis, where he put up solid stats, batting .276 with 35 doubles, 16 homers, 58 RBIs and an .826 OPS in 112 games. The Pirates called him up in late August and used him often off of the bench. In 23 games, he batted .136/.208/.182 with an RBI. Clement was granted free agency after the 2012 season and spent 2013 in Triple-A for the Minnesota Twins before retiring. That year he hit just .220 in 123 games with Rochester of the International League, collecting 25 doubles, 16 homers and 70 RBIs. In four Major League seasons, he hit .218 with 33 runs, 15 doubles, 14 homers and 39 RBIs in 152 games.
Jesse Chavez, pitcher for the 2008-09 Pirates. He was originally drafted in the 39th round by the Chicago Cubs out of high school in 2001. He was then drafted by the Rangers in the 42nd round in 2002 out of Riverside Community College, signing as a draft-and-follow the following May. He spent the 2003 season in short-season ball with Spokane of the Northwest League, posting a 4.55 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 55.1 innings, while splitting his time between starting and relief. In 2004, Chavez went 6-10, 4.78 in 123 innings, being mostly used as a starter in his 27 games (22 starts) for Clinton of the Low-A Midwest League. The next season was split between High-A Bakersfield of the California League and Double-A Frisco of the Texas League, where he combined to pitch 81.1 innings in relief over 42 appearances. He had a 4.65 ERA that year, with much better results at the lower level. In 2006, he went 2-5, 4.42, with four saves and 70 strikeouts in 59 innings over 38 outings with Frisco. He made one Triple-A appearance with Oklahoma of the Pacific Coast League before the Pirates acquired him at the 2006 trading deadline in exchange for Kip Wells. Chavez went to Triple-A Indianapolis of the International League for the Pirates and he had a 4.24 ERA in 17 innings. He went to the Arizona Fall League after the season and dominated, allowing one run in 14 innings.
In 2007, Chavez had a 3-3, 3.92 record in 80.1 innings over 46 games at Indianapolis. That was followed by another AFL assignment, where this time he had a 6.00 ERA in 12 innings and 11 appearances. In 2008 at Indianapolis, he posted a 3.80 ERA, 70 strikeouts and 14 saves in 68.2 innings over 51 games. Chavez made his debut for Pittsburgh at the end of August in 2008, pitching 15 games in relief, finishing with an 0-1, 6.60 record in 15 innings. The Pirates used him often in 2009, with strong results early, but he fell off in the second half. In 73 games, he posted a 4.01 ERA in 67.1 innings. He had a 3.19 ERA at the All-Star break and a 4.99 mark afterwards. In November of 2009, the Pirates traded Chavez to the Tampa Bay Rays for second baseman Aki Iwamura. Chavez was traded a month later to the Atlanta Braves. After being dealt from the Pirates, he has pitched with the Braves (twice), Kansas City Royals, Toronto Blue Jays (twice), Oakland A’s, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels (twice), Chicago Cubs (twice) and the Texas Rangers (twice).
In 2010, Chavez went 5-5, 5.89 in 62.2 innings over 51 games, spending the first half of the year with the Braves and the second half with the Royals. In 2011, his big league time was limited four relief appearances and a 10.57 ERA for the Royals, with the rest of the season being spent at Triple-A Omaha of the Pacific Coast League. With the Blue Jays and A’s in 2012, he had a combined 9.85 ERA in 24.2 innings over 13 appearances. Despite the struggles, he struck out 30 batters in that brief time. Chavez finally established himself as a solid big league pitcher at 29 years old in 2013 with the A’s. He went 2-4, 3.92, with 55 strikeouts in 57.1 innings over 35 games that season. In 2014, he made 21 starts and 11 relief appearances, going 8-8, 3.45 in 146 innings. He remained in the starter role with the A’s in 2015 and had a 7-15, 4.18 record in a career high 157 innings, making 26 starts and four relief appearances. He had a career high 136 strikeouts in each of those two seasons as a starter in Oakland. The 2016 season saw him return to full-time relief work. The season was split between the Blue Jays and Dodgers, with similar results at each stop. Chavez posted a 4.43 ERA and 63 strikeouts over 67 innings and 62 appearances.
In 2017, Chavez made 21 starts and 17 relief appearances for the Dodgers. He went 7-11, 5.35 in 138 innings, with 119 strikeouts. In 2018, he split the year between the Rangers and Cubs, with much better results after a mid-season trade to Chicago. He had a 3.51 ERA in 56.1 innings with Texas, then posted a 1.15 ERA in 39 innings over 32 games with the Cubs. He had 92 strikeouts in 95.1 innings that year. He re-signed with the Rangers after the season and had a 3-5, 4.85 record and 72 strikeouts in 78 innings over 48 games in 2019. During the shortened 2020 season, Chavez had a 6.88 ERA in 18 games, with 17 innings pitched for the Rangers. He signed with the Angels as a free agent, but they released him at the end of Spring Training in 2021. He then signed with the Braves in mid-April, where he had a 2.14 ERA in 33.2 innings over 30 appearances that season. The 2022 season has seen him play for the Braves, Angels and Cubs this year. He 2.66 ERA in 44 innings, with poor numbers in very brief stays with both the Cubs and Angels. Chavez has a career 46-61, 4.38 record in 548 games, with 84 starts, eight saves and 1,013.2 innings pitched through mid-August of 2022. He has a career 5.3 WAR in 15 seasons, with 3.0 of that number coming during the 2018 season.
Ramon Vazquez, infielder for the 2009 Pirates. He was born in Puerto Rico, though he was drafted out of college in Iowa. Vazquez was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the 27th round in 1995 out of Indian Hills Community College. He went to the rookie level Arizona League in his first season and hit .206 with 20 runs, no homers, 11 RBIs and a .550 OPS in 39 games. In 1996, he played 33 games in short-season ball with Everett of the Northwest League, three games in Low-A Wisconsin of the Midwest League, and 18 games in Triple-A Tacoma of the Pacific Coast League. He batted .265 with 33 runs, eight doubles, one homer, 23 RBIs and a .727 OPS that year. That move to Triple-A was made more out of need, and the 1997 season was spent in Low-A Wisconsin, where he hit .269 with 79 runs, 38 extra-base hits, 49 RBIs, 78 walks and a .766 OPS in 131 games. In 1998, Vazquez spent the entire year in High-A, playing in the high offense environment of Lancaster in the California League. He hit .276 with 77 runs, 32 extra-base hits, 72 RBIs, 81 walks and a .745 OPS in 121 games. In 1999, he spent his first of two full seasons in Double-A with New Haven of the Eastern League. He hit .258 with 58 runs, 27 doubles, five homers, 45 RBIs and 62 walks in 127 games during the first year. Vazquez then followed it up with a .286 average in 124 games in 2000, with 58 runs, 25 doubles, eight homers, 59 RBIs, 52 walks and a .794 OPS, which was 72 points higher than the previous season.
Vazquez started he 2001 season at Triple-A Tacoma, where he hit .300 with 85 runs, 28 doubles, ten homers, 79 RBIs, 76 walks and an .827 OPS in 127 games. That was followed by 17 games with the Mariners, where he hit .229/.222/.229 in 37 plate appearances. He had no walks and one sacrifice fly, which led to a lower OBP than batting average. Vazquez was sent to the San Diego Padres in a six-player deal in December of 2001. He played 128 games for the Padres in 2002, moving around the infield, with 81 games at second base, 41 at shortstop and 20 at third base. He batted .274 with 50 runs, 28 extra-base hits, 32 RBIs, 45 walks and a .706 OPS that season. He mostly played shortstop in 2003, hitting .261 with 56 runs scored, 24 extra-base hits, 30 RBIs, ten steals and 52 walks in 116 games. He had more of a bench role in 2004 when he batted .235 in 52 games, with 12 runs, one homer, 13 RBIs and 11 walks, leading to a .619 OPS. Vazquez was traded to the Boston Red Sox prior to the 2005 season, then got traded to the Cleveland Indians during the season. He hit .212/.256/.271 with seven runs, five doubles, no homers and five RBIs in 39 games that year, while spending part of the season back in Triple-A Buffalo of the International League, which was the Indians affiliate. In 2006, he once again saw limited big league time, with two trips to Buffalo mid-year for 28 games. He batted .209/.267/.284 with one homer in 34 games for the Indians, who designated him for assignment in mid-August. He became a free agent and signed with the Texas Rangers in mid-November of 2006.
Vazquez hit eight homers with Texas in 2007, one more than he hit during his first six seasons in the majors combined. However, he was a .230 hitter in 104 games, and a low walk rate led to a .674 OPS. He had 42 runs scored, 13 doubles and 28 RBIs. The average went up significantly in 2008 when he had his best season in the majors, hitting .290 in 105 games, with 44 runs, 27 extra-base hits, 40 RBIs and a .795 OPS. Those numbers came with the huge caveat that Texas is a big-time hitter’s ballpark. After coming off his big season at 32 years old, Vazquez signed with the Pirates as a free agent in December of 2008. When he got to Pittsburgh the hitting numbers regressed back to his normal standards. He signed a two-year contract with the Pirates, but after hitting .230 with 17 runs, six doubles, one homer and 16 RBIs in 101 games in 2009, he was released with one year remaining on his deal. He played 14+ games at shortstop, second base and third base during his only season with Pittsburgh. Between the 2010-11 seasons, Vazquez played in the minors with five different organizations (Mariners, Houston Astros, St Louis Cardinals, Florida Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays), but he never returned to the majors. He played independent league ball in 2012, followed by winter ball in Puerto Rico, before retiring. In 696 Major League games, he was a .254 hitter with 244 runs, 86 doubles, 17 triples, 22 homers and 176 RBIs. After retiring as a player, he has held numerous coaching jobs throughout baseball with a few different organizations.
Lou Collier, shortstop for the 1997-98 Pirates. He was a 31st round draft pick in 1992 by the Pirates out of Kishwaukee College. There have been 46 players drafted from that school, but just three made the majors, and Collier is the last from that group. In 1991, he was taken in the 56th round by the Houston Astros out of high school. Collier was a draft-and-follow player, so he didn’t sign until the deadline in 1993. He spent that first season in the short-season New York-Penn League, where he hit .303 with 35 runs and 19 RBIs in 50 games with Welland. He split the 1994 season between Low-A Augusta of the South Atlantic League and High-A Salem of the Carolina League, hitting .275 with 73 runs, 21 doubles, 13 homers, 56 RBIs and 37 steals in 128 games, with extremely similar stats in both stops. The entire 1995 season was spent in High-A (Lynchburg of the Carolina League), where he hit .276 with 68 runs, 26 extra-base hits, 31 steals, 51 walks and a .734 OPS in 114 games. He moved up to Double-A Carolina of the Southern League in 1996 and hit .280 with 76 runs scored, 26 extra-base hits, 49 RBIs, 48 walks, 29 steals and a .714 OPS in 119 games.
Collier averaged over 30 stolen bases a year in the minors in his first three full seasons, though his breakout season came during a year in which he went 12-for-19 in steal attempts at Triple-A. In 1997, he hit .330 with 65 runs, 31 doubles, 48 RBIs and an .834 OPS in 112 games for Calgary of the Pacific Coast League. Pittsburgh called him up at the end of June, but he really struggled and was quickly sent back to the minors. He returned in September, finishing the year with a .135/.158/.135 slash line in 18 games for the Pirates. In 1998, Collier was the Pirates starting shortstop for much of the season, batting .246 in 110 games, with 30 runs scored, 21 extra-base hits, 36 RBIs and a .655 OPS. He attempted just four stolen bases all season, and he was successful twice. He was put on waivers at the end of the season, where he was picked up by the Milwaukee Brewers. Almost every one of his offensive stats in 1998 ended up being his career high for a season.
Collier played in the majors every season from 1999-2004, seeing time with four different teams, though he never spent a full season in the majors. He hit .259 with 18 runs, nine doubles, two homers and 21 RBIs in 74 games for the Brewers in 1999, seeing most of his time off of the bench. In 2000, he hit .219/.333/.344 in 14 games for the Brewers, while spending a majority of his minor league time playing in Double-A. Still with the Brewers in 2001, Collier batted .252 with 19 runs, 11 extra-base hits, 14 RBIs and a .718 OPS in 50 games. He received just 14 plate appearances over 13 games with the 2002 Montreal Expos, despite putting up a .316 average and an .893 OPS that year for Triple-A Ottawa of the International League. Collier then played just four games for the 2003 Boston Red Sox. He only batted once that year, yet he ended up playing defense at three different spots. During his Triple-A time that season with Pawtucket of the International League, he hit .293 with an .823 OPS in 105 games. In 2004, his last big league time was spent with the Philadelphia Phillies, where he had 42 plate appearances over 32 games. He had a .278 average and a .770 OPS in his limited work that year. He put up strong stats in Triple-A once again, hitting .326 with a .900 OPS in 101 games for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre of the International League.
Collier started 174 games during his big league time, mostly at shortstop, though he played all three outfield spots, as well as second base and third base. He hit .241 in his 315 career games, with 89 runs, 33 doubles, eight homers and 78 RBIs. He had just 12 stolen bases, never attempting more than six steals in a season once he reached the majors. Just three of those steals came with the Pirates. After 2004, he played two years of Korean baseball, before returning to the minors in 2007 for one last season, playing once again with Ottawa, though they were a Phillies affiliate at the time. Collier had a .304 average and an .863 OPS during his first season in Korea. He dropped down to a .271 average and a .750 OPS in his second season. He had 172 steals in the minors and another 25 in Korea, including 19 in his first season.
Murry Dickson, pitcher for the 1949-53 Pirates. His pro career began in 1937 at 20 years old when he played Class-D ball for Grand Island of the Nebraska State League. Dickson went 14-15, 4.87 in 233 innings that year. In 1938, he played for Decatur of the Class-B Three-I League, where he had a 16-14, 4.07 record and 151 strikeouts in 243 innings. In 1939, he spent the year with Houston of the Class-A Texas League, where he compiled a 22-15, 3.25 record in 263 innings. He pitched his first Major League game in 1939, making just one appearances for the St Louis Cardinals on September 30th, when he tossed 3.2 scoreless innings. He pitched another game for St Louis on May 9, 1940, giving up four runs in 1.2 innings, then spent the year with Columbus of the Double-A American Association (highest level of the minors at the time), where he had a 17-8, 3.33 record in 219 innings. He was back with Columbus for all of 1941, going 21-11, 3.30 in 259 innings. He was with the 1942 Cardinals for the entire season, where he pitched seven times as a starter and 29 times in relief. Dickson went 6-3, 2.91 in 120.2 innings in 1942. He followed that up with an 8-2, 3.58 record over 115.2 innings in 1943, with seven starts and 24 relief appearances. The next two years were lost to military service during WWII.
Six years after he made his Major League debut, Dickson had just 14 career wins, but that slow pace all changed when he returned in 1946 from the war effort. That first season back, he went 15-6, 2.88 in 184.1 innings, leading all National League pitchers with a .714 winning percentage. He made 19 starts and 28 relief appearances, throwing 12 complete games and two shutouts. That season began a string of 11 straight years of 10+ wins. In 1947 he went 13-16, 3.07 in 231.2 innings, making 25 starts and 22 relief appearances. He had 11 complete games, four shutouts and three saves. He had 111 strikeouts that season, good for sixth in the National League, which was his highest finish in that category. His 1948 season was not strong, going 12-16, 4.14 in 252.1 innings, while leading the league in earned runs and home runs allowed. He finished ninth in the league with 113 strikeouts. He was a workhorse pitcher, taking the ball often as a starter and pitching in relief, so he had value even when he wasn’t at his peak. The Pirates purchased Dickson from the Cardinals on January 29, 1949 for $125,000.
Pittsburgh was a very bad team during his five-season stint with the club, never winning more than 71 games in a year. Dickson felt that in his first year, with a 12-14 record, despite a 3.29 ERA in 224.1 innings. He made 20 starts and 24 relief appearances, finishing with 11 complete games and two shutouts. His 112 strikeouts were good for tenth in the league. In 1950, he had a 10-15, 3.80 record in 225 innings, making 22 starts and 29 relief appearances. Dickson had a remarkable 1951 season, going 20-16 for a team that finished 64-90 in seventh place. What is most impressive about that record for a bad team is that his ERA went up to 4.02 in 288.2 innings. He actually led the league in hits allowed, earned runs and home runs allowed. He completed 19 of his 35 starts, throwing three shutouts, while also pitching ten times in relief. That season performance led to a ninth place finish in the MVP voting. The Pirates lack of support got to him the next two years, leading the National League in losses each season, a total of 40 defeats, with 24 wins to show for his effort. In a twist from the previous season, he went 14-21 in 1952 with a 3.57 ERA in 277.2 innings. He threw a career high 21 complete games that year, and despite the losing record, he finished 13th in the MVP voting. His 1953 record/ERA was more in line, as he went 10-19, 4.53 in 200.2 innings. He made 26 starts and 19 relief appearances. Dickson was selected to his only All-Star game that season.
On January 13, 1954, the Pirates traded Dickson to the Philadelphia Phillies for pitcher Andy Hansen, infielder Jack Lohrke and cash. His first season in Philadelphia had to remind him of Pittsburgh, a 3.78 ERA in 226.1 innings, but it came with a 10-20 record, leading the league in losses for a third straight season. Four of those ten wins were shutouts. He finally had some luck in 1955 to break that string, going 12-11, 3.50 in 216 innings over 28 starts and eight relief appearances. Dickson completed 12 games and he tossed four shutouts. That positive record continued on in his later years, as he had a 13-11, 3.28 record in 219.1 innings, with a large majority of that coming after a May trade that also included Harvey Haddix, returned him to the Cardinals. That was his last of ten straight seasons with 200+ innings pitched. He saw limited time in 1957, going 5-3, 4.14 in 74 innings over 14 games (13 starts) before being released by St Louis. His last two seasons were split between the New York Yankees and Kansas City A’s. He went 10-7, 3.70 in 119.1 innings in 1958, making 11 starts and 20 relief appearances. He joined the Yankees in late August of 1958 and returned to the A’s in early May of 1959. Dickson pitched strictly in relief during his final year, posting a 4.94 ERA in 71 innings over 38 games. He had a 66-85, 3.83 record in 1,216.1 innings over 228 games with Pirates, 137 of those games coming as a starter. In his 18-year career, he went 172-181, 3.66 in 625 games, 338 as a starter, with 3,052.1 innings pitched. Dickson tossed 149 complete games, finishing with 27 shutouts and 23 saves. He was a decent hitting pitcher, batting .231 in his 638 games.
Wally Hebert, pitcher for the 1943 Pirates. He made his pro debut in 1930, pitching for Springfield of the Class-C Western Association, where he went 15-16 and pitched 241 innings. Hebert then pitched for the St Louis Browns for three seasons (1931-33) before going to the minors for nine years, all spent in the Double-A Pacific Coast League, which was the highest level of the minors at the time. At 23 years old in 1931, he had a 6-7, 5.07 record in 103 innings, making 13 starts and ten relief appearances. The Browns went 63-91 in 1932 and his record suffered along with the team, though he also pitched poorly at times, finishing 1-12, with a 6.48 ERA in 108.1 innings. He made 15 starts and 20 relief appearances. While working in more of a relief role in 1933, Herbert had a 4-6, 5.30 record in 88.1 innings. He went 11-25, 5.65 in 299.2 innings over 91 games for the Browns, making 38 starts during that three-year stretch.
Hebert threw 170 innings in 1934 for Hollywood of the PCL, then pitched at least 219 innings in each of the next eight seasons, throwing a high of 319 frames during the 1942 season. He had an 11-11 record and a 4.24 ERA in 1934. That ERA went up to 4.93 in 219 innings the next season, which led to a 10-17 record. For the next seven seasons, he played for San Diego of the PCL, where he showed immediate improvements. Herbert went 18-12, 3.03 in 229 innings in 1936. He completed 19 games that season, nearly double the ten complete games he had in three years with the Browns. He also tossed five shutouts. He followed that up with a 17-14, 3.02 record in 244 innings in 1937. He basically had the same season in 1938, posting a 3.11 ERA in 243 innings, but he finished with a 12-16 record. Things would turn around the next year, as he went 20-10, 3.13, while throwing 299 innings. The 1940 season didn’t go as well, with a 15-18, 3.92 record in 280 innings.
Herbert came back strong in 1941, going 22-10, 3.00 in 279 innings, completing 25 of his 35 starts. The workhorse effort in 1942 got him back to the majors. He went 22-15, 2.37 in 319 innings, completing 33 of his 39 starts, including five shutouts. His minor league record stood at 162-139 after ten seasons, with three 20-win campaigns. In November of 1942, Herbert was taken by the Pirates in the Rule 5 draft. That 1943 season marked the end of a ten-year absence from the majors. Hebert went 10-11, 2.98 in 184 innings with the Pirates, making 23 starts and 11 relief outings. He had 12 complete games and one shutout. He decided to retire from baseball after the season and take a wartime job, rather than return to the Pirates, who held his contract rights. He was initially given permission to report to Spring Training no later than April 1st, but four days before that deadline he told manager Frankie Frisch that he planned to stay at his job and retire from baseball. The Pirates waited until May 4th to place him on the voluntarily retired list. There was talk of him returning two years later, but he never did. He finished 21-36, 4.63 in 483.2 innings in the majors. He had 61 starts, 64 relief appearances, 22 complete games, one shutout and one save. He won a total of 183 games in pro ball, while pitching 3,006.2 innings. He had more walks than strikeouts in all four of his big league seasons, finishing with a 168:115 BB/SO ratio.
Cobe Jones, shortstop for the 1928-29 Pirates. He debuted in pro ball in 1925, playing 11 games in which he had a .290 average for Sacramento of the Double-A Pacific Coast League, which was the highest level of the minors at the time. At 18 years old in 1926, he hit .224 with six extra-base hits (all doubles) in 66 games for Corsicana of the Class-D Texas Association. Pirates scout Chick Fraser was tipped off about Jones after he played some college ball and then saw time in 1926-27 playing semi-pro ball in Fort Bayard, New Mexico. The Pirates signed him on February 8, 1928, and announced that if he played well, they would find a suitable place for him to develop as a player in the minors. He went to Spring Training that year with the Pirates and remained with the club through mid-April, though he didn’t play any regular season games (April 11th was Opening Day that year). He spent the 1928 season playing for Bridgeport of the Class-A Eastern League, where he hit .306 with 30 doubles, five triples and four homers in 150 games. He rejoined the Pirates on September 17th, but didn’t make his Major League debut until the very last game of the season ten days later, getting into the second game of a doubleheader against Brooklyn. He came into the game off of the bench, as Brooklyn took a big early lead. Jones went 1-for-2 at the plate with a single, and he handled the only play hit his way.
Jones began the 1929 season with the Pirates, lasting through June, before finishing the season (and his career) in the minors. In 25 games with the 1929 Pirates, he started ten times at shortstop, hitting .254 with six extra-base hits, four RBIs and a .631 OPS in 64 at-bats. On June 18, 1929 he was sent to Wichita of the Class-A Western League, along with cash, in exchange for infielder Stu Clarke. Jones played 96 games that season for Wichita, hitting .314 with 27 extra-base hits. The next season saw him return to Bridgeport, where he batted .228 in 28 games, with three extra-base hits (all doubles). Jones played off-and-on in the minors until 1941, occasionally serving as a player/manager. After retiring as a player, he served as a scout for three different teams. Cobe (full name was Coburn Dyas Jones) was a long-time coach outside of baseball, and it is said that his playing career was cut short by diabetes. He attended two colleges, the University of Colorado, which has produced just six Major League players, and Colorado College, a school that is represented in Major League history by just Jones himself. Much of his minor league stats are incomplete due to the common surname. His time with Wichita in 1929 is missing from his online records. He also played 65 games for Wichita in 1932 when they were short on players, but that too is missing from his career records. He did well in that second stint, hitting .283 with 13 doubles and two homers.
Jim Mosolf, pinch-hitter/outfielder for the 1929-31 Pirates. He played college ball at the University of Washington, as well as two years of semi-pro ball before signing to play pro ball. He debuted in pro ball at 22 years old in 1928, playing most of the year for Class-C Pocatello of the Utah-Idaho League, while also seeing time at the start of the year with Los Angeles of the Pacific Coast League, a team three levels higher. Despite the difference in quality between the two levels, Mosolf hit .328 in 113 games with Pocatello and .326 in 35 games with Los Angeles. Between both stops he combined for 26 doubles, 17 triples and 16 homers. In his second season of pro ball in 1929, he hit .362 with 205 hits and 60 extra-base hits for Wichita of the Class-A Western League. On September 1, 1929, the Pirates purchased his contract from Wichita. He debuted with the Pirates on September 9th and hit .462 (6-for-13) with two RBIs in eight games, with two starts in left field. Mosolf was with the Pirates for all of 1930, but he received just six starts (all in right field) all year, batting a total of 60 times in 40 games, with a .333 average, eight walks, 16 runs scored, nine RBIs and an .835 OPS. Over the off-season, there was talk of moving him to the mound (he pitched once in 1930 in a mop-up role), but he never pitched that next season for the Pirates. When Mosolf originally signed with the Pirates, his scouting report said that he also excelled at pitching and occasionally played first base.
Mosolf held the same role as a pinch-hitter/seldom used outfielder in 1931. In 39 games, he started four times, finishing the year with a .250 average, one homer, eight RBIs and a .706 OPS in 53 plate appearances. On February 4, 1932, he was released on option to Mission of the Double-A Pacific Coast League (highest level of the minors at the time), though he played just four games there before spending most of the 1932-34 seasons with Kansas City of the Double-A American Association. Mosolf hit .297 with 17 doubles, eight triples and four homers in 100 games in 1932. During the first half of the 1933 season with Kansas City, he hit .387 with 16 doubles, nine triples and a homer in 63 games. He returned to the majors for three months with the 1933 Chicago Cubs and batted .268/.326/.390 in 31 games to finish out the season. He returned to the minors in 1934 and played until 1937 before retiring. Mosolf hit .284 with 30 extra-base hits in 133 games for Kansas City in 1934. His last three seasons were spent with Dallas of the Class-A Texas League and he hit over .300 each year. In 1935, he batted .316 in 127 games, with 38 extra-base hits. The next season saw him bat .318 in 154 games, with 114 runs, 55 extra-base hits (46 doubles), 63 RBIs, 17 steals and 63 walks. That’s his only minor league season with complete stats available. In his final season, he batted .302 with 39 doubles and ten triples in 158 games. Mosolf was a career .321 hitter in 1,025 minor league games. He hit .315 with 26 runs, four doubles, two triples, one homer and 19 RBIs in 87 games with the Pirates. In an odd coincidence (maybe?), he lived out his life in Dallas, Oregon and playing out his career in Dallas, Texas.