Ten former Pittsburgh Pirates players have been born on this date, including the center fielder from the Pirates first game in the National League.
Tom Brown, outfielder for the 1885-87 Alleghenys. Back on April 30, 1887, the Pittsburgh Alleghenys played their first game in the National League and Brown was batting second that day while playing center field. He played three years for Pittsburgh, the first two while the team was still in the American Association. Back after the 1884 season, the Alleghenys purchased almost the entire Columbus Buckeyes roster, an American Association team that was folding after the 1884 season. Brown was one of ten players purchased that day and they made up most of the 1885 Opening Day roster, transforming the Alleghenys from a bad team to a mediocre one overnight.
Brown was born in Liverpool, England. He debuted in pro ball at 17 years old in 1878, playing in San Francisco, where he remained through the 1882 season, first in the Pacific League, then in the California League. No stats are available from those early years, but Brown went right from San Francisco to Baltimore, where he debuted mid-season during the inaugural season of the American Association with the original Baltimore Orioles. He hit .289 with 28 runs scored, seven extra-base hits, 23 RBIs and a .662 OPS in 45 games. He became a free agent after the season and signed with Columbus, where he batted .274 with 69 runs scored, 24 extra-base hits, 32 RBIs and a .678 OPS in 97 games. Before joining the Alleghenys, Brown had a .273 average, 93 runs, nine doubles, 11 triples, five homers, 32 RBIs and a .690 OPS in 107 games in 1884. With the Alleghenys in 1885, Brown hit .307 with 81 runs scored, 16 doubles, 12 triples, four homers, 68 RBIs, 34 walks and a .792 OPS in 108 games. In 1886, he hit .285 in 115 games, with 106 runs, 23 extra-base hits, 51 RBIs, 30 steals and a .728 OPS.
Brown struggled with the jump to the National League in 1887, hitting .245 with 30 runs, 12 steals and a .591 OPS in 47 games before being released. That turned out to be a bad decision because some of his best years were still ahead of him, though it looked like a wise move short-term. His hitting was getting worse as the season went along and the Alleghenys took on outfielder Ed Beecher to replace him. Once they were satisfied with the work of Beecher, they gave Brown his unconditional release on August 15th. That allowed him to sign right away with any other team, as opposed to the normal ten-day waiting period. That was where he would have still technically been with Pittsburgh, so just in case his services were needed during that time, they still owned his rights. The only catch to his free agency is that all of the National League teams had to pass on him, before he was allowed to sign with an American Association team. As it turned out, that was a moot point, because Brown signed right away with Indianapolis, the team playing the Alleghenys on the day he was released.
Finishing out the 1887 season with Indianapolis, Brown hit just .189/.228/.243 in 36 games. He had a solid season in 1888, batting .248 with 62 runs, 26 extra-base hits, 49 RBIs, 46 steals and a .668 OPS in 107 games for the Boston Beaneaters. His average slipped in 1889, it was still the start of some big years ahead in his career. He hit .232 with 93 runs scored, 17 extra-base hits, 24 RBIs, 59 walks and 63 steals in 90 games. It was the first of three straight seasons in which he scored more runs than games played. In 1890, he jumped with most of his teammates to the Boston Reds of the Player’s League, where he hit .280 in 131 games, with 149 runs scored, 25 doubles, 14 triples, 67 RBIs, 87 walks, 80 steals and a .776 OPS. With the Player’s League done after one season, Brown played the 1891 season with the Boston Reds in the American Association. During that three-year stretch of 1889-1891, he played for Boston in three different leagues. The 1891 season was a magical one for Brown. He scored 177 runs in 1891, which was a record at the time and still stands as the second highest single-season total in MLB history. He also led the league that year with 106 stolen bases, 21 triples and 189 hits, to go along with career highs of 72 RBIs and 30 doubles. His .865 OPS was 73 points higher than his second best season (1885 Alleghenys).
The American Association ceased operations after the 1891 season and the National League was the only Major League for the 1892 season. Brown joined the Louisville Colonels in 1982 and hit just .227 in 153 games, though he still contributed with 105 runs scored and 78 stolen bases. He had a .559 OPS that season and led the league for a third straight season in strikeouts. Despite the poor stats, he set Major League records with 712 plate appearances and 660 at-bats that year. The plate appearances record stood until 1898, but the at-bats record wasn’t broken until 1921. In 1893, Brown hit .240 with 104 runs, 27 extra-base hits, 54 RBIs, 56 walks, 66 steals (led the league) and a .642 OPS in 122 games. Offense was up all around baseball in 1894 due to the new pitching rules, but Brown only saw a mild increase. He hit .253 with 123 runs scored, 45 extra-base hits, 57 RBIs, 66 steals, 60 walks and a .727 OPS in 130 games. Those sound like decent numbers, but the overall production was well below league average for that season, with an OPS 87 points lower than league average.
Brown was traded to the St Louis Browns prior to the 1895 season. He hit .220 with 73 runs, 16 extra-base hits, 31 RBIs and 34 steals in 84 games before being released late in the season. He signed with the Washington Senators to finish out the season and remained there until his final big league game in 1898. The move was good for him, as he saw a spike in his average during the 1896-97 seasons. Brown hit 239/.329/.388 in 34 games in 1895 with Washington, then batted .294 with 87 runs, 25 extra-base hits, 59 RBIs and 58 walks in 116 games. He had lost a step by that year at 35 years old, but still managed to steal 28 bases. He hit .292 with 91 runs scored, 45 RBIs, 52 walks and 25 steals in 116 games in 1897. His final season lasted just 16 games before playing his last big league game on May 17, 1898. He hit .164/.233.182 in 60 plate appearances. During those final two season in Washington, he managed for parts of both seasons, with his last managerial game coming after his final game as a player. He went to the minors as a player-manager in 1899 and saw sporadic playing/managing time after that point, with his last known pro records coming in 1906 for Williamsport of the Tri-State League.
Brown finished his career with 658 stolen bases. The interesting part about that is that they didn’t count steals during his first four seasons, so the total would have been much higher and put him in elite company as far as career totals. As it stands now, he ranks 13th all-time. Brown scored 1,521 runs during his career while playing just 1,791 games. Despite the success, he also led the league in strikeouts five times from 1890 until 1895. He was a .265 career hitter, with 240 doubles, 138 triples, 64 homers and 742 RBIs. He pitched at least once each year from 1882-86, including three appearances with the Alleghenys. In 12 games (one start) he had a 2-2, 5.29 record in 49.1 innings.
Sam McDowell, pitcher for the 1975 Pirates. He was a great pitcher during his day, who joined the Pirates at the very end of his career. He was a big lefty who led the league in strikeouts five times. He was a six-time All-Star, who was born in Pittsburgh and attended Central Catholic HS in town. McDowell spent parts/all of five seasons in the minors, but he still got to the big leagues before his 19th birthday. He debuted at age 17 in 1960, going 5-6, 3.35 in 104.2 innings, with 100 strikeouts, while pitching for Lakeland of the Class-D Florida State League. He jumped to Salt Lake City of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League in 1961, leaping up five levels of the minor league chain in the process. McDowell went 13-10, 4.42 in 175 innings that season, picking up 156 strikeouts. He debuted that September with the Cleveland Indians and made one start in which he threw 6.1 shutout innings. He was back in Salt Lake City for a brief time in 1962, but a majority of his season was spent in Cleveland, where he went 3-7, 6.06 in 87.2 innings over 13 starts and 12 relief appearances, with 70 walks and 70 strikeouts. He had a 2.03 ERA in 40 innings with Salt Lake City that season. In 1963, McDowell made 12 minor league starts for Jacksonville of the Triple-A International League, and he pitched 14 times (12 starts) with the Indians. His big league stats that season show a 3-5, 4.85 record, with 63 strikeouts in 65 innings, while he had a 3.41 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 87 innings with Jacksonville. The 1964 season was also split between the minors and majors, and McDowell pitched well at each level. With Portland of the Pacific Coast League, he went 8-0, 1.18, with 102 strikeouts in 76 innings. With the Indians, he had an 11-6, 2.70 record in 173.1 innings, with 177 strikeouts.
McDowell’s best season in the majors was 1965 when he went 17-11, 2.18, with 325 strikeouts in 273 innings over 35 starts and seven relief outings. He had 14 complete games, three shutouts and four saves. . He led the league in ERA and strikeouts that year, though he also topped the league in walks and wild pitches. He was an All-Star for the first time and he received mild MVP support, finishing 17th in the voting. In 1966, he went 9-8, 2.87 in 194.1 innings, leading the league with five shutouts and 225 strikeouts. He completed eight of his 28 starts, and made seven relief appearances. McDowell also made his second All-Star appearance that year. The 1967 season was a bit of a down year, with a 13-15, 3.85 record in 236.1 innings over 37 starts. That was his first year with no relief appearances. He had 236 strikeouts, which was second in the league, but he also led the league with 101 earned runs allowed, 123 walks and 18 wild pitches. McDowell rebounded nicely in 1968, going 15-14, 1.81 in 269 innings, leading the league with 110 walks and 283 strikeouts. He had 11 complete games and three shutouts. His ERA was the second best in the league that year. He made his third All-Star appearance, which started a string of four straight All-Star games for him. In 1969, McDowell went 18-14, 2.94 in 285 innings, with a league leading 279 strikeouts. He completed 18 of his 38 starts, throwing four shutouts. He came close to his 1965 success in 1970 with 20 wins and league leading totals of 305 innings and 304 strikeouts (he also led with 131 walks). McDowell finished third in the Cy Young voting that year and he received mild MVP support, finishing 16th in the voting.
In 1971, McDowell began to see some drop-off in his performance, though that year was still a decent season for a 60-102 team. He went 13-17, 3.40 in 214.1 innings, with 192 strikeouts, which ranked seventh in the league (his last season in the top ten). He set a career high with 153 walks that year. He was traded to the San Francisco Giants for Gaylord Perry prior to the 1972 season. McDowell went 10-8, 4.33 in 164.1 innings that first season with the Giants, completing just four of his 25 starts, while also making three relief appearances. The next year was split between the Giants and New York Yankees. He went 6-10, 4.11 in 135.2 innings, with 18 starts and 16 relief appearances between both stops. In the year before he joined the Pirates, McDowell went 1-6, 4.69 in 48 innings over seven starts and six relief outings. The Yankees released him in December, four months before signing with Pittsburgh, though he agreed to attend Spring Training with the Pirates on January 18, 1975 in an attempt to make the roster. He signed that big league deal with the Pirates on April 2, 1975 and pitched 14 times (one start) for the team before being released on June 26th so they could call up Kent Tekulve from the minors. That short stint with the Pirates marked the end of his big league career. McDowell went 2-1, 2.86 in 34.2 innings in Pittsburgh. He went 141-134, 3.17 in 2,492.1 innings. He ranks 45th all-time in strikeouts and 30th all-time in walks. McDowell turns 80 today.
Max Butcher, pitcher for the Pirates from 1939 until 1945. During his time with the Pirates, he went 67-60, 3.34 in 1,171.2 innings. He had double-digit wins four times during his time with Pittsburgh, topping out at 17 victories in 1941. Butcher was not the best pitcher away from the Pirates. He went 28-46 during the rest of his ten-year career, seeing time with the 1936-38 Brooklyn Dodgers and 1938-39 Philadelphia Phillies. He debuted in pro ball in 1931 at 20 years old when he pitched briefly for two lower level teams. He pitched a total of 39.1 innings over five games each with York of the Class-B New York-Penn League and Clarksburg of the Class-C Middle Atlantic League. In 1932, he played for Beckley of the Middle Atlantic League, where he went 16-12, 3.29 in 235 innings. He moved up two levels to Atlanta of the Class-A Southern Association in 1933, posting a 10-13, 4.67 record in 189 innings that season. Butcher spent most of 1934 struggling with Baltimore of the Double-A International League (highest level of the minors at the time), where he had a 4-9, 6.48 record in 107 innings over 31 appearances. He didn’t do much better a level lower, posting a 5.29 ERA in 34 innings with Binghamton of the New York-Penn League. He pitched for Galveston of the Class-A Texas League in 1935 and had an incredible season, going 24-11, 2.21 in 317 innings over 36 starts and three relief appearances. That led to his first big league shot with the 1936 Dodgers.
Butcher went 6-6, 3.96 as a rookie in 1936, throwing 147.2 innings over 15 starts and 23 relief appearances. He had five complete games and two saves (not an official stat at the time). The next year he had an 11-15, 4.27 record in 191.2 innings, making 24 starts and 15 relief appearances, with eight complete games and his first career shutout. In 1938, he was 5-4, 6.56 in 72.2 innings before being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in early August. He finished the season strong for a bad team, going 4-8, 2.93 in 12 starts, with 11 complete games. Between both stops, he had a 4.47 ERA in 171 innings, with 14 complete games in 20 starts, in addition to 16 relief appearances. Butcher got off to a rough start in 1939, posting a 2-13, 5.79 record in 105.2 innings over 20 games (16 starts) for the Phillies. The Pirates acquired Butcher in an even up deal for aging first baseman Gus Suhr on July 28, 1939. As far as career performance to that point, it was a one-sided deal that favored the Phillies, but it became a one-sided deal in favor of the Pirates by the end. Suhr lasted just 70 games, while Butcher was a solid contributor for the Pirates for seven seasons. After the deal, he had a 4-4, 3.43 record in 86.2 innings for the 1939 Pirates.
Before he become a solid contributor, Butcher pitched very poorly for the 1940 Pirates, so it was lucky that they held on to him. He had an 8-9, 6.01 record that year in 136.1 innings, with 24 starts and 11 relief appearances. He had six complete games, two shutouts and two saves. That was followed up by a 17-12, 3.05 record in a career high 236 innings. His career high 19 complete games that season ranked as the fifth highest total in the National League. He was never much of a strikeout pitcher, and his 61 strikeouts that season stood as his career high. His record dropped to 5-8 in 1942, but he still had a 2.93 ERA in 150.2 innings, spread over 18 starts and six relief appearances. In 1943, Butcher went 10-8, 2.60 in 193.2 innings, with 21 starts and 12 relief appearances. He threw ten complete games and two shutouts. He saw a bit more starting work in 1944 when he went 13-11, 3.12 in 199 innings, with 27 starts and eight relief outings. He had 13 complete games, including a career best five shutouts. In his final season in Pittsburgh, Butcher had a 10-8, 3.03 record in 169.1 innings, completing 12 of his 20 starts (including two shutouts), while also pitching eight times in relief.
Butcher’s time with the Pirates came to an end when he held out of Spring Training in 1946 because the Pirates tried to cut his salary from $11,000 to $8,000 that season. He was released on March 20th and played for two minor league teams that year, which was his last season in pro ball. That year he dropped well down in competition, playing for Raleigh of the Class-C Carolina League and Welch of the Class-D Appalachian League. The were multiple references to him playing in 1947 for a lower level team (one said Hot Springs of the Cotton States League and another said a small league in Virginia), but there are no stats for him from that season. His final career record stood at 95-106, 3.75 in 1,787.2 innings over 229 starts and 106 relief appearances, with 104 complete games and 14 shutouts. As mentioned, he was a major pitch-to-contact pitcher, finishing with 583 walks and just 485 strikeouts. His single game high strikeout mark with the Pirates was seven in one contest, which he did once. His actual first name was Albert. Max (Maxwell) was his middle name.
Jason Christiansen, pitcher for the 1995-2000 Pirates. He is known now for being the player who was traded even up to the St Louis Cardinals for Jack Wilson, but he spent six seasons with the Pirates before that deal. Christiansen pitched 278 games (all in relief) for the Pirates, posting a 4.13 ERA in 274.2 innings. He was a non-drafted free agent signing in June of 1991 at 21 years old after going undrafted out of two colleges. He debuted in short-season ball and had a 1.84 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 29.1 innings in 1991, splitting his time between Welland of the New York-Penn League and the Gulf Coast League. The next year was split between Low-A Augusta of the South Atlantic League and High-A Salem of the Carolina League, with most of his time at the higher level. He combined to go 4-1, 2.83, with 80 strikeouts in 70 innings over 48 appearances. In 1993, Christiansen spent all but two games at Salem, where he went 1-1, 3.15, with 70 strikeouts in 71.1 innings over 57 games. He also had two scoreless appearances for Carolina of the Double-A Southern League. The 1994 season was split fairly evenly between Carolina and Triple-A Buffalo of the American Association, with similar results at both levels. He combined on a 5-2, 2.24 record and 82 strikeouts in 72.1 innings over 62 appearances. He made it to the majors at the start of the 1995 season, pitching 63 games during his rookie year in a season slightly shortened due to the carryover from the 1994 strike. He had a 4.15 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 56.1 innings.
Christiansen stumbled in 1996, posting a 6.70 ERA over 44.1 innings and 33 outings. He was sent to Triple-A Calgary of the Pacific Coast League in mid-July, where he pitched just two games before being shutdown due to elbow pain, which required surgery. He actually spent the start of the 1997 season in Double-A Carolina for eight games, but bounced back in the majors when he got called up in mid-June, posting a 2.94 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 39 games and 33.2 innings pitched. He was even better in 1998, posting a 2.51 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 64.2 innings over 60 outings. He set a high that year in saves, picking up six of his 16 total saves for his career. His stats slipped in 1999 when he made three trips to the disabled list, going 2-3, 4.06, with three saves in 37.2 innings and 39 appearances. He struggled even more in 2000 prior to the deal to the Cardinals for Jack Wilson on July 29th, going 2-8, 4.97 in 38 innings over 44 games. After the trade, he played another five seasons in the majors, mostly spent with the San Francisco Giants. He finished off 2000 with 5.40 ERA in 21 games with the Cardinals. He was being used as a lefty specialist and he pitched a total of ten innings.
In 2001, Christiansen started the year in St Louis and finished with the Giants after a July 31st trade. He had a 4.66 ERA in 30 games before the deal and a 1.59 ERA in 25 appearances after the trade. He pitched a total of 36.1 innings that season. In 2002, he was limited to just five innings and six appearances. He missed the rest of the year with Tommy John surgery in late May. He was back in the majors almost exactly one year after his surgery, returning on June 4, 2003 to pitch 40 times over the rest of the season. Christiansen had a 5.19 ERA in 26 innings in 2003, with no wins, losses or saves. In 2004, he went 4-3, 4.50 in 36 innings, while making 60 appearances. His final season in the majors was split between the Giants and Los Angeles Angels. He went 6-1, 5.36 in 56 games for the 2005 Giants, followed by a 2.45 ERA in 12 appearances for the Angels. That’s a little misleading because he was an extreme lefty specialist in Los Angeles, facing a total of 20 batters in those 12 games. Christiansen had a career 27-26, 4.30 record in 528 games and 433.2 innings.
Ben Shelton, outfielder for 1993 Pirates. Shelton was second round draft pick out of high school by the Pirates in 1987. He debuted in the Gulf Coast League at 17 years old and hit .286 with 15 extra-base hits, seven steals and an .862 OPS in 38 games. The next year was split between Princeton of the short-season Appalachian League and Class-A Augusta of the South Atlantic League, as he combined to hit .211 with 59 runs, 23 extra-base hits, 11 steals, 72 walks and a .708 OPS in 101 games. He also had 154 strikeouts in that somewhat brief time. Shelton played the entire 1989 season back in Augusta, where he batted .246 with 67 runs, 28 extra-base hits, 50 RBIs, 87 walks, 18 steals and a .758 OPS in 122 games. He also cut his strikeouts down to 132, while batting 63 more times than the previous year. In 1990, he hit .206/.333/.344 in 109 games at High-A Salem of the Carolina League, with ten homers, 55 walks and only one stolen base. The 1991 season was split between Salem and Double-A Carolina of the Southern League, with much better results at the lower level, where he had a .944 OPS in 65 games, compared to a .686 OPS in 55 games at Double-A. He finished the year with 56 runs, 18 doubles, five triples, 15 homers, 75 RBIs, 74 walks and an .827 OPS.
Shelton spent all of 1992 in Carolina, where he struggled with a .234 average in 115 games, though his 17 doubles, ten homers and 68 walks gave him a .362 OBP and a .724 OPS. He was suspended at the end of the season due to a verbal clash with the coaching staff. He hit .253 in 38 games in Triple-A Buffalo of the American Association in 1993 before joining the Pirates on June 16, 1993. The Pirates were down two outfielders when Andy Van Slyke broke his collarbone and Glenn Wilson was designated for assignment. The Pirates added William Pennyfeather and Shelton to the roster at the same time. His stint with the club lasted just over a month, playing his last game on July 25th, before returning to the minors. For the Pirates, he hit .250/.333/.542 in 15 games, with two homers and seven RBIs in 24 at-bats. That ended up being his only big league experience. Shelton finished up the season at Buffalo, where he hit .278/.375/.422 in 65 games. He was released after the 1993 season and missed 1994 due to off-season knee surgery. He then finished his career in the minors in 1995, playing with the Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox. Despite that being his final season, he set a career high with 18 homers, while playing just 100 games. He had a .785 OPS, though a majority of his time was spent with Trenton and Hardware City of the Double-A Eastern League. He was a pitcher/first baseman in high school, then played strictly at first base during his first four seasons of pro ball, before adding outfielder to his resume in 1991. With the Pirates, he played six games in left field and two at first base.
Del Lundgren, pitcher for the 1924 Pirates. He debuted in pro ball in 1922 at 22 years old, playing for Salina of the Class-C Southwestern League. He went 9-21, 3.92 in 271 innings that year. He pitched twice for Salina in 1923, then spent the rest of the season with the Flint Vehicles of the Class-B Michigan-Ontario League. Despite moving up a level that year, he had better results, going 18-15, while throwing 266 innings. There’s no ERA available, but it’s known that he allowed 3.97 runs per game, compared to 4.75 during the previous season. He was acquired by the Pirates in September of 1923 on a working agreement with Flint. If he didn’t make the Pirates out of Spring Training in 1924, he would have been returned to Flint. He actually worked out with the Pirates at the end of the 1923 season, but didn’t appeared in a game during the final three weeks of the season. While in Pittsburgh in 1924, Lundgren had a 6.48 ERA in 16.2 innings over seven relief appearances and one start. His lost his lone start on April 27th, giving up four runs in 5.1 innings. He made seven relief outings in May and allowed runs in six of those games.
Lundgren was sent to the minors after making his last appearance with the Pirates in June during an exhibition game. Pittsburgh sent him to Birmingham of the Class-A Southern Association, where he had a 7-14, 5.32 record in 176 innings that season. On September 4th, the Pirates announced that Lundgren was released outright to Williamsport of the New York-Penn League, but before he went anywhere, Birmingham purchased his contract from the Pirates. In 1925, he had a 14-15, 3.77 record in 289 innings for Birmingham. After the season ended, he was taken in the Rule 5 draft by the Boston Red Sox. Lundgren went on to pitch for the 1926-27 Red Sox and got hit hard, posting a 6.51 ERA in 167.1 innings. He had a 7.55 ERA in 18 appearances (two starts) in 1926, then saw the majority of his time in 1927, when he went 5-12, 6.27 in 136.1 innings over 17 starts and 13 relief appearances. He went to Nashville of the Southern Association in 1928 and had a 3-14, 6.64 record, then made a remarkable turnaround in 1929 while still with Nashville, when he had an 18-10, 3.70 record in 243 innings. That was a one-year outlier, as he went 1-6, 7.67 in 61 innings for Minneapolis of the American Association in 1930, which turned out to be his last pro experience. It was said that he had a sore arm and that led to his poor results. Minneapolis sent him to Des Moines of the Western League, and then they released him back to Minneapolis in February of 1931, saying that he didn’t show enough to warrant a Spring Training tryout. In April, he was sold to Little Rock of the Southern Association, but an injury caused him to be sent home. By July he was playing semi-pro ball in Kansas and doing well, but he never returned to pro ball. His actual first name is Ebin, but he went by his middle name Delmer, which was often misspelled as Delmar and shortened to Del.
Gil Britton, shortstop for the 1913 Pirates. Britton was signed by the Pirates on August 15, 1913 by scout Howard Earle, who recommended him to manager Fred Clarke. At the time, it was said that he would join the Pirates on September 9th, though he showed up for the first time on September 12th. He was hitting .270 at the time of the purchase from Houston of the Texas League, and was considered one of the top base runners in the league. He finished with a .283 average, 14 doubles and three triples in 155 games before heading to Pittsburgh. The report said that he could play third base or shortstop. His entire big league career consisted of three games in late September for those 1913 Pirates. Two of those games were during a September 20th doubleheader against Brooklyn. His other game came three days later and was also against Brooklyn. He went 0-for-12 and committed three errors, going 0-for-4 with one error in each game. When he joined the Pirates, manager Fred Clarke said that he was anxious to see him play and he would probably give Honus Wagner off during game two of the doubleheader to see Britton play, but Wagner ended up getting both games off instead. Wagner had a bit of a leg injury and it opened up a chance for the rookie, who was praised for his defensive player by Clarke, despite the errors.
Britton was from Kansas, and after the team played a game in St Louis on September 27th, he was allowed to go home for the winter, while the Pirates wrapped up their season in Chicago a week later. He signed with the Pirates for 1914 and it was said that he would compete for the starting third base job with veteran Mike Mowrey. Britton nearly made the team as a backup, but he was sold on April 7th to St Joseph of the Class-A Western League. He played a total of nine seasons in pro ball (1909-17), debuting at 17 years old and playing his final game right around his 26th birthday. His first two seasons were spent with Abilene of the Class-D Central Kansas League, where he hit .242 in 1909 and .246 the next season (available stats are limited to at-bats, hits and average). Most of 1911 was spent in the same league with a team from Clay Center, where he hit .347 in 71 games. The rest of the season was spent two levels higher with Houston, where he put up a .283 average and six extra-base hits in 27 games. He remained in Houston up until his time with the Pirates. Britton hit .253 with 12 doubles and two triples in 143 games in 1912. While some of his minor league stats are incomplete, he has just three homers to his credit in pro ball. Those came after his time in Pittsburgh.
Britton hit .288 in 161 games with St Joseph in 1914, with 116 runs, 36 doubles, 14 triples, one homer and 18 steals. In 1915, he played his first of two seasons with Wichita of the Western League. Britton hit .306 with 24 doubles and five triples in 142 games in 1915. He batted .285 in 150 games in 1916, with 40 doubles, five triples and two homers. He finished up with a .234 average and 13 extra-base hits in 150 games back in Houston in 1917. His career ended when he was called into service during WWI in late August of 1917. His first name was Stephen. Gil (Gilbert) was his middle name.
Danny Cox, relief pitcher for the 1992 Pirates. He was drafted in the 13th round of the 1981 draft out of Troy University by the St Louis Cardinals. His debut in pro ball was strong, with a 9-4, 2.06 record and 87 strikeouts in 109 innings, with ten complete games in 13 starts for Johnson City of the short-season Appalachian League. The next year was spent in A-Ball, where he had a 2.56 ERA and 68 strikeouts in 84.1 innings over 15 games (13 starts) for Springfield of the Midwest League. The 1983 season was a crazy ride that started in the Class-A Florida State League with St Petersburg, and ended in the majors, with stops at Double-A Arkansas of the Texas League and Triple-A Louisville of the American Association along the way. Cox went 10-5, 2.37, with 103 strikeouts in 129.1 innings in the minors, with his best results and most of his time coming with Arkansas. He made 12 starts for the Cardinals that year, going 3-6, 3.25 in 83 innings. Most of 1984 was spent in the majors, except for six starts in Louisville, where he had a 2.13 ERA in 42.1 innings. He went 9-11, 4.03 in 156.1 innings for the Cardinals, with 27 starts and two relief appearances. He had just one complete game, though that was his first career shutout. That was just a warm-up for his best season.
Cox had a 18-9, 2.88 record in 241 innings for the 1985 Cardinals, helping them to the World Series. He picked up a career high 131 strikeouts that season, while completing ten of his starts, including four shutouts. He made three starts that postseason and allowed four runs over 20 innings of work, but St Louis still lost the World Series to the Kansas City Royals. In 1986, Cox had a nearly identical ERA, but his record suffered along with his team. The Cardinals finished 79-82 that year and he had a 12-13, 2.90 record in 220 innings. He completed eight starts and had 108 strikeouts. He didn’t pitch as well in 1987, but St Louis went back to the World Series. Cox went 11-9, 3.88 in 199.1 innings that year over 31 starts, with two complete games and 101 strikeouts. He did well in the NLCS, with a 2.12 ERA in 17 innings, but the World Series saw him take two losses and post a 7.71 ERA in 11.2 innings.
After dealing with an elbow injury during the 1988 season that limited him to a 3.98 ERA in 86 innings over 13 starts, Cox took a 20% pay cut in 1989, though his deal had performances bonuses that could have earned him a total of $800,000 that season. Instead, he ran into trouble with his elbow in an early Spring Training game, then assaulted a cameraman on his way to get the elbow examined. He needed elbow surgery, which cost him the entire 1989 season and limited him to 23 innings of rehab work in the minors in 1990. He signed with the Philadelphia Phillies as a free agent for the 1991 season, and had a 4-6, 4.57 record in 102.1 innings over 17 starts and six relief appearances. Cox began the 1992 season as a starter for the Phillies before being released in early June. He had a 5.40 ERA in 38.1 innings at the time. Just 12 days after being released, he signed with the Pirates and pitched 16 games in relief over the rest of the season. In 24.1 innings, he had a 3.33 ERA, with three wins and three saves. In the NLCS that year, he tossed 1.1 scoreless innings over two appearances. Cox left via free agency after the season and signed with the Toronto Blue Jays. He had a solid 1993 season as a reliever, going 7-6, 3.12 in 83.2 innings over 44 appearances. He had tendinitis going into 1994 and was limited to ten appearances, though he had a 1.45 ERA in 18.2 innings. During the 1995 season, Cox posted a 7.40 ERA in 45 innings over 24 games, which turned out to be his final season. In 11 big league seasons, he went 74-75, 3.64 in 1,298 innings, making 174 starts and 104 relief appearances. He had 21 complete games, five shutouts and eight saves. He had a 3.24 ERA in 58.1 postseason innings. Cox is one of just five players born in England to play in the majors since 1971.
Antonio Bastardo, pitcher for the 2015-17 Pirates. He signed with the Philadelphia Phillies as an international free agent at 19 years old in 2005 out of the Dominican Republic. He debuted in the Gulf Coast League in 2006 and had a 3.91 ERA in 23 innings, with 27 strikeouts. The next year was spent as a starter in Low-A with Lakewood of the South Atlantic League, where he went 9-0, 1.87 in 91.2 innings over 15 games. He won his only High-A start that season with Clearwater of the Florida State League, and he pitched briefly in the Dominican winter league that off-season. He dominated in five starts with Clearwater to start 2008, posting a 1.17 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 30.2 innings. He then had a 3.76 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 67 innings over 14 starts in Double-A with Reading of the Eastern League. In 2009, Bastardo missed a little time with injury, but still ended up pitching in the majors after playing at four different levels in the minors. He actually debuted in the majors in June for five starts, then came back in October for a relief appearance. He went 2-3, 6.46 in 23.2 innings for the Phillies, and his combined minor league record that year showed a 3-2, 2.15 record in 54.1 innings over nine starts and eight relief appearances, with 56 strikeouts and three saves.
In 2010, Bastardo pitched strictly in relief while in the majors, putting up a 4.34 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 18.2 innings over 25 appearances. He made 23 relief appearances in the minors that year, mostly with Triple-A Lehigh Valley of the International League, posting a 1.77 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 20.1 innings. He spent all of 2011 in the majors, going 6-1, 2.64 in 64 games, with eight saves and 70 strikeouts in 58 innings pitched. Bastardo made 65 appearances and pitched 52 innings in 2012, going 2-5, 4.33 with one save and an incredible total of 81 strikeouts, averaging 14.0 per nine innings. He posted his best ERA in 2013 when he made 48 appearances and threw 42.2 innings. He went 3-2, 2.32 with two saves and 47 strikeouts. Bastardo saw a dip in his stats in 2014, going 5-7, 3.94, with 81 strikeouts in 64 innings over 67 games. He was acquired by Pittsburgh over the 2014-15 off-season in exchange for pitcher Joely Rodriguez. In 66 appearances for the 2015 Pirates, he went 4-1, 2.98 in 57.1 innings, with 64 strikeouts.
Bastardo was granted free agency after the 2015 season and signed with the New York Mets, where his performance fell off. In 41 appearances, he had a 4.74 ERA in 43.2 innings. He was reacquired by the Pirates in exchange for Jon Niese in July and went on to post a 4.13 ERA over 28 appearances over the rest of the season. His 69 appearances that season set a career high, as did his 67.2 innings. With the 2017 Pirates, Bastardo pitched just nine games and put up a 15.00 ERA in nine innings. He was released in July, which ended his big league career. In nine seasons, he had a 27-20, 4.01 record in 419 appearances and 393 innings, with 470 strikeouts and a 1.26 WHIP. He had a 4.48 ERA in 90.1 innings over 103 appearances with the Pirates. Between the 2009-11 Phillies and the 2015 Pirates, he made six scoreless appearances in postseason play, though he totaled just 2.2 innings in that time. After his final big league game, Bastardo played three partial seasons in the Dominican winter league. He made a total of 13 appearances between the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons and didn’t allow a single hit in 11.2 innings. He played nine seasons of winter ball in the Dominican.
Zach Phillips, pitcher for the 2016 Pirates. He was a 23rd round draft pick of the Texas Rangers in 2004 out of high school, but he didn’t sign right away. As a draft-and-follow pick, he attended college in 2005 and signed right before the deadline for 2004 picks to sign. Phillips debuted in the majors seven years after being drafted, shortly after the Rangers traded him to the Baltimore Orioles. He debuted in pro ball in short-season ball, posting a 3.93 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 50.1 innings for the rookie-level Arizona League Rangers, before getting four innings in Low-A with Clinton of the Midwest League. He then spent the entire 2006-07 seasons with Clinton. Phillips went 5-12, 5.96 in 142 innings in 2006, with 126 strikeouts. The next year saw him improve to 11-7, 2.91 in 151.2 innings, with 157 strikeouts. The 2008 season was spent in High-A, playing with Bakersfield in the high-offense California League, where he went 8-9, 5.54 in 144.2 innings, with 117 strikeouts and a 1.62 WHIP. He repeated the level in 2009, but he moved to relief and saw a promotion to Double-A Frisco of the Texas League for half of the season. Between the two stops, he had a 1.39 ERA, 75 strikeouts and an 0.98 WHIP in 77.2 innings over 36 outings. The 2010 season saw him post a 1.08 ERA in 16.2 innings with Frisco, and a 3.22 ERA in 50.1 innings at Triple-A Oklahoma City of the Pacific Coast League. Between both stops, he had 63 strikeouts in 67 innings.
Phillips had a 4.43 ERA in 44.2 innings at Triple-A Round Rock of the Pacific Coast League in 2011, before being dealt to the Orioles. After the deal, he had a 2.63 ERA in 14 games at Triple-A Norfolk of the International League. He had 45 strikeouts that season in 58.1 innings over 47 appearances. Phillips pitched ten games with the 2011 Orioles, allowing one run in eight innings. In 2012, he spent most of the year back in Triple-A Norfolk, going 2-2, 3.17 with seven saves in 54 innings. In his brief time with Baltimore that season, he went six innings over six games, giving up four runs. He was granted free agency after the season and signed with the Miami Marlins, who got him into three games in 2013. In that third big league cup of coffee, he allowed one run in 1.2 innings. The rest of the year was spent New Orleans of the Pacific Coast League, where he went 4-2, 2.44 in 59 innings over 50 games, with 74 strikeouts.
Phillips spent the 2014 season in Japan, posting an 0.98 ERA, 17 saves and 51 strikeouts in 46 innings. The 2015 season was spent in the minors with the Chicago White Sox, going 1-1, 3.13 in 46 games, with 12 saves and 64 strikeouts in 54.2 innings. He was back with Baltimore in 2016, pitching in Norfolk again, where he had a 4.45 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 60.2 innings over 49 appearances. The Pirates acquired him for pitcher Kyle Lobstein on August 31, 2016. Phillips joined the Pirates in September and he made eight relief appearances, allowing two runs in 6.2 innings. It ended up being his last big league time, though he is still actively playing in Mexico. He spent part of 2017 in Triple-A with Memphis of the Pacific Coast League for the St Louis Cardinals, then went to Mexico, where he has played five seasons of summer ball and one year of winter ball. Phillips pitched 27 games in the majors, going 0-1, 3.22 in 22.1 innings. He has pitched a total of 652 games over all levels of pro ball in his 17-year career.