Six former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date.
Colin Moran, first baseman for the 2018-21 Pirates. He was a first round draft pick of the Miami Marlins in 2013, taken sixth overall out of the University of North Carolina. After signing, Moran went right to Low-A Greensboro of the South Atlantic League, where he hit .299 in 42 games, with 19 runs, 13 extra-base hits, 23 RBIs and a .796 OPS. He went to the Arizona Fall League after the season and hit .230/.323/.264 in 22 games. In 2014, Moran split the season between Jupiter of the High-A Florida State League and Corpus Christi of the Double-A Texas League. The split came from a mid-season trade with the Houston Astros, with Moran getting a bump in competition immediately after the deal. He had a .735 OPS at the lower level in 89 games, and a .760 OPS in 28 games at the higher level after the trade. While the improvement is a good sign, he was also going from a pitcher-friendly league to a league that favored hitters. He spent the entire 2015 season with Corpus Christi, where he hit .306 in 96 games, with 47 runs, 25 doubles, nine homers, 67 RBIs and an .840 OPS. In 2016, he played 117 games for Fresno of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, where he batted .259, with 50 runs, 18 doubles, ten homers, 69 RBIs and a .697 OPS. Those numbers were coming in a hitter-friendly league. Moran got a call to the Astros for a brief time in May, then returned in late September. He hit .130/.200/.174 in nine games.
In 2017, Moran had a .308 average and a .916 OPS in 79 games with Fresno. He got a chance with the Astros, hitting .364/.417/.818 in seven games, but his time ended early due to fouling a pitch off of his face. After the season ended, he was one of four players acquired by the Pirates from the Astros in exchange for pitcher Gerrit Cole. Moran took over the third base job for the Pirates in 2018 and played 144 games that season, hitting .277 with 49 runs, 19 doubles, 11 homers, 58 RBIs and a .747 OPS. He played 149 games in 2019, batting .277 with 46 runs, 30 doubles, 13 homers, 80 RBIs and a .751 OPS. During the shortened 2020 season, Moran moved over to first base, where he hit .247/.325/.472 in 52 games, 28 runs, ten doubles, ten homers and 23 RBIs. He missed almost two full months in 2021 due to a wrist injury, which limited him to 99 games. He batted .258, with 29 runs, 12 doubles, ten homers, 50 RBIs and a .724 OPS. The Pirates let him go after the season with one year still left before free agency would have kicked in. He signed with the Cincinnati Reds in March of 2022 and spent about the same time in Triple-A and the majors. Moran had a .724 OPS in 53 games with Louisville of the International League, and he hit .211/.305/.376 in 42 games with the Reds. He was released on September 8th, and at the time of this writeup, he has not signed elsewhere. In seven big league seasons, he’s a .265 hitter in 502 games, with 167 runs, 75 doubles, 50 homers and 239 RBIs. He has one big league steal in four attempts. Moran comes from a great big league family, with his brother Brian pitching parts of three seasons in the majors, his uncle Rich Surhoff pitching one year in the majors for two teams, and his other uncle BJ Surhoff playing 19 years in the majors.
Vance Law, infielder for the 1980-81 Pirates. He’s the son of all-time Pirates great Vern Law. The younger Law played parts of two seasons for the Pirates before they traded him to the Chicago White Sox prior to the 1982 season. The Pirates drafted him in the 39th round of the 1978 draft out of BYU. Despite the long wait in the draft, his wait to get to the majors was very short. Law debuted with the Pirates on June 1, 1980, not even two full years to the day that he was drafted. He played one game in the Gulf Coast League, then 60 games for Salem of the Carolina League during the 1978 season. He hit .319 with 22 extra-base hits, 42 walks and a .904 OPS in those 61 games. The Pirates had him in Triple-A Portland of the Pacific Coast League to start the 1979 season, where he batted .310 in 131 games, with 62 runs, 16 doubles, eight triples, 52 RBIs and a .772 OPS. Law batted .295 with 59 runs, 33 extra-base hits and 54 RBIs in 96 games at Portland in 1980, with more walks (43) than strikeouts (33). The Pirates had him up in early June, late July and mid-September, getting him into a total of 25 games during those three stints. He hit .230/.260/.311 in 78 plate appearances. Law saw slightly more time in the strike-shortened 1981 season, beginning the year with the Pirates before the strike, then rejoining them when the rosters expanded in September. That year he hit .134/.157/.164 in in 71 plate appearances over 30 games with the Pirates, while putting up an .802 OPS in 88 games with Portland. He hit .184 with 12 runs scored and six RBIs in 55 games for the Pirates over his two seasons. After the trade to the White Sox, Law started a string of eight straight seasons with 112+ games played. He spent three years in Chicago, the next three with the Montreal Expos, followed by two more with the Chicago Cubs.
Law hit .281 with 40 runs, 20 doubles, five homers, 54 RBIs and a .712 OPS in 114 games in 1982 with the White Sox. He followed that up with .243 average in 1983, with 55 runs scored, 30 extra-base hits, 42 RBIs, 55 walks and a .673 OPS in 145 games. He was more of a utility player in 1982, but the 1983 season saw him get most of his time at third base. In 1984, he batted .252 in 141 games, with 60 runs, 18 doubles, a career high 17 homers, 59 RBIs and a .713 OPS. In December of 1984, he was traded to the Expos for pitcher Bob James. Law hit .266 with ten homers and 52 RBIs in 147 games in 1985, seeing most of his playing time at second base. That year he set career highs with 75 runs scored, 30 doubles, 86 walks and a .773 OPS. His stats dropped off greatly in 1986, as did his playing time. He posted a .623 OPS in 112 games, 150 points lower than the previous year. He batted .225 that season, with 37 runs, 17 doubles, five homers and 44 RBIs. In 1987, Law rebounded with a .273 average, 52 runs, 27 doubles, 12 homers, 56 RBIs and a .769 OPS. He became a free agent after the season and signed with the Cubs.
Law was an All-Star in 1988 when he hit .293 with 73 runs scored, 29 doubles, 11 homers and career high 78 RBIs, to go along with a .770 OPS. In 1989, he batted .235 in .130 games, with 38 runs, 22 doubles, seven homers, 42 RBIs and a .651 OPS. After spending the 1990 season in Japan, where he batted .313 in 122 games, with 69 runs, 24 doubles, 29 homers, 78 RBIs and a .931 OPS, he finished his career with the 1991 Oakland A’s. In that final season of pro ball, he batted .209 in 74 games, with 11 runs, seven doubles, nine RBIs and .579 OPS in 157 plate appearances. He also spent a brief time with Tacoma of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League that season, where he hit .200 with a .540 OPS in 18 games. Law was a .256 hitter in 1,212 games over 11 seasons in the majors, finishing with 453 runs, 193 doubles, 71 homers and 442 RBIs. He played 700 games at third base, 391 at second base, 109 at shortstop, 58 games at first base and 14 in the outfield, split over all three spots. He even pitched seven times in the majors, giving up three earned runs in eight innings.
Chuck Hiller, second baseman for the 1968 Pirates. He signed with the Cleveland Indians prior to the 1957 season as a 22-year-old amateur free agent. His first year was spent in Class-D, playing for Cocoa of the Florida State League, where he hit .293 with 99 runs, 41 extra-base hits, 51 RBIs, 78 walks and an .828 OPS in 133 games. The next year he moved up to Class-C, playing with Minot of the Northern League. He batted .281 with 89 runs, 43 extra-base hits, 58 RBIs, 90 walks and an .842 OPS in 120 games. After the season ended, the San Francisco Giants selected him in the minor league draft. Hiller played the 1959 season for Eugene of the Class-B Northern League. He hit .341 that year in 139 games, with 92 runs, 46 extra-base hits, 77 RBIs, 57 walks and a .918 OPS. He skipped a level to Double-A in 1960, playing for Rio Grande Valley in the Texas League, where he batted .334 in 144 games, with 89 runs, 47 doubles, 74 RBIs, 17 steals, 58 walks and an .848 OPS. He started and finished the 1961 season in the majors with the Giants, though he still spent 2 1/2 months in Triple-A with Tacoma of the Pacific Coast League during most of the second half of the season. Hiller had an .846 OPS in 73 games with Tacoma that year, and he batted .238 with 38 runs, 12 doubles, two homers, 12 RBIs and 32 walks in 70 games with the Giants.
Hiller was an average player during his career, who had one big season. In 1962, he helped the Giants to the World Series by hitting .276 with 94 runs scored, 27 extra-base hits, 48 RBIs, 55 walks and a .675 OPS in 161 games. That season was worth 2.8 WAR, while the rest of his career combined had him at -0.1 WAR. In his only postseason appearance during his career, he batted .269 in the World Series, with three doubles, a homer, five RBIs and an .845 OPS. In 1963, he hit .223 with 44 runs, 18 extra-base hits, 33 RBIs and a .561 OPS in 111 games. His playing time really dropped in 1964 when he hit .180 in 80 games, with a 21 runs, ten extra-base hits, 17 RBIs and a .487 OPS. Hiller was sold to the New York Mets one month into the 1965 season. He was just 1-for-7 with a homer in seven games before the trade. He batted .235 with 25 runs, 11 doubles, six homers, 21 RBIs and a .610 OPS in 107 games that year. He spent all of 1966 in New York, seeing more time off of the bench than as a starter. He hit .280 with 25 runs, 12 extra-base hits and 14 RBIs in 108 games. The Mets traded Hiller to the Philadelphia Phillies during the 1967 season. He combined to hit .186 that year, but he did much better with the Phillies (.302 average in 31 games) than the Mets (.093 average in 25 games).
Hiller’s stay in Pittsburgh was brief. He joined the Pirates as a Rule 5 draft pick in the winter of 1967, despite the fact that he already had seven seasons of big league experience. He batted .385/.385/.462 in 11 games, which were spread out from mid-April to early June, and it included just one start. That ended up being his last stint in the majors. Hiller finished the 1968 season in the minors with Columbus of the Triple-A International League, where he hit .275 with 33 runs, 15 extra-base hits and 36 RBIs in 87 games. The Pirates dropped him from the 40-man roster on October 22nd by assigning his contract to Columbus, but he then retired from baseball as a player. He went right to managing, spending the 1969 season at the helm of Salem, the High-A affiliate of the Pirates. In 1970 he moved on to a job with the New York Mets and ended up managing off and on in the minors until 1986. He left the Pirates due to a disagreement in pay, saying that he was promised a promotion/raise, but the Pirates had a policy at the time that all minor league managers under Triple-A made $10,000 a season. So he left to a Triple-A job with the Mets. In his eight seasons in the majors, he hit .243 with 253 runs, 76 doubles, 20 homers and 152 RBIs in 704 games.
Jim Russell, outfielder for the Pirates from 1942 until 1947. The Pirates acquired him via the minor league draft in 1941, and they traded him for a key piece to two of their World Series championships in 1947. Russell began his minor league career in 1938 at 19 years old, playing for two teams in the Class-D Pennsylvania State Association, Beaver Falls and Butler. His stats are incomplete from that year, but he’s credited with a .320 average and 31 extra-base hits in 77 games. He stayed in Class-D in 1939, playing for Mayfield of the Kentucky-Illinois-Tennessee League, where he hit .333 in 115 games, with 32 doubles, nine triples and seven homers. The next year he played 109 games total for two teams in different leagues, Youngstown of the Middle Atlantic League and St Joseph of the Michigan State League, both classified as Class-C teams. Russell hit .266 with 20 doubles and 17 homers that year. He spent most of the 1941 season with Meridian of the Class-B Southeastern League, where he hit .363 with 52 doubles, eight triples and ten homers in 125 games. He also played 24 games for Memphis of the Class-A Southern Association that year and hit .383 with 14 more extra-base hits, finishing the year with 62 doubles.
The Pirates selected Russell in the October 1941 minor league draft and he spent most of the 1942 season with Toronto of the Double-A International League (highest level of the minors at the time), where he hit .295 with 54 runs, 23 extra-base hits, 40 RBIs and a .790 OPS in 99 games. He played five games with the Pirates that season after joining the club in September. Despite going 1-for-14 at the plate during his first big league trial, he was a regular for the next five seasons. In 1943, he hit .259 with 79 runs, 34 extra-base hits, 44 RBIs, 77 walks and a .712 OPS in 146 games, spending most of his time in left field. He received mild MVP support in 1944 (finished 29th in the voting) when he set career highs with a .312 average, 109 runs scored, 34 doubles, 14 triples, 79 walks and an .859 OPS. He also had eight homers and 66 RBIs in 152 games. In 1945, he hit .284 with 88 runs, 24 doubles, 71 walks and career highs with 12 homers and 77 RBIs, leading to an .810 OPS in 146 games. The next year Russell batted .277 with 68 runs, 29 doubles, six triples, eight homers, 50 RBIs, 67 walks and a .765 OPS in 146 games. In his last year with the Pirates, he hit .253 with 68 runs, 39 extra-base hits, 51 RBIs, 63 walks and a .723 OPS in 128 games.
After the 1947 season, Russell was part of the five-player deal with the Boston Braves that brought Danny Murtaugh (the player) back to Pittsburgh. In his six years in Pittsburgh, Russell hit .277 with 414 runs, 127 doubles, 47 triples, 40 homers, 288 RBIs and 358 walks in 723 games. He hit .264 over 89 games in his first year in Boston, with 44 runs, 18 doubles, nine homers, 54 RBIs and a .771 OPS. He played 130 games in 1949, the only time he broke the century mark in games outside of Pittsburgh. He hit .231 with 57 runs, 22 doubles, eight homers, 54 RBIs, 64 walks and a .684 OPS. He was traded to the Brooklyn Dodgers on Christmas Eve in 1949. During the 1950 season, Russell hit .229 with 37 runs, eight doubles, ten homers, 32 RBIs, 31 walks and a .755 OPS in 77 games. He was in the minors for most of 1951, putting up a .286 average and an .880 OPS in 110 games for Montreal of the Triple-A International League. He then served as a bench player late in the year for the Dodgers, getting just one start one start. He went 0-for-13 with four walks in 16 games. Russell played a total of ten seasons in the majors, hitting .267 with 554 runs, 175 doubles, 51 triples, 67 homers and 428 RBIs in 1,035 games. Despite having just 59 stolen bases in his big league career, he led the National League in caught stealing three times with the Pirates. After his final big league game, he spent another two years in the minors with Portland of the Pacific Coast League before retiring. He had a .710 OPS in 142 games in 1952, and a .709 OPS in 142 games in 1953. Russell was featured here in an Obscure Pittsburgh Pirates article that covers his career in detail.
Carmen Hill, pitcher for the Pirates for parts of eight years from 1915 until 1929. In his first five seasons with the Pirates, he pitched a total of 26 games, then broke out for 22 wins during the 1927 season, helping the Pirates to the World Series. That was followed up by a 16-win season in 1928. In his other eight seasons in the majors, he won a total of 11 games. He is known for being one of two players to wear glasses during his early time in the majors. He debuted in pro ball at 18 years old in 1914, where he is credited with six games for Warren of the Class-D Interstate League. On March 3, 1915, the Pirates purchased his contract and had him report to Spring Training, where he made a great impression, but was still sent to the minors on April 3rd. It was said during Spring Training that Hill possessed a very deceptive curveball, along with good velocity on his fastball and a solid changeup. He moved up to Youngstown of the Class-B Central League, where he had a 19-12, 2.29 record in 291 innings during the 1915 season. He was going to remain with that team until the end of the season, but the Pirates were desperate for pitching and recalled him on August 20th. Hill debuted in the majors four days later at 19 years old, making three starts and five relief appearances for the 1915 Pirates. It was an outstanding first look, as he posted a 1.15 ERA in 47 innings. Despite the success, it didn’t guarantee him anything for the following season.
Hill pitched twice in relief for the Pirates early during the 1916 season, allowing ten runs in 6.1 innings, then spent the rest of the year in the minors, where he went 14-16, 1.92 in 258 innings for Rochester of the Double-A International League (highest level of the minors at the time). He was sold to Rochester on May 20th, though the Pirates still held an option on him. On January 6, 1917, the Pirates released Hill outright to Birmingham of the Class-A Southern Association as partial payment for Hall of Fame pitcher Burleigh Grimes. Hill spent the entire 1917 season with Birmingham, where he won 26 games (with 12 losses) and had a 2.19 ERA in 320 innings. He was reacquired by the Pirates on August 15th and allowed to stay in Birmingham until the end of the season. He reported to Pittsburgh with 17 games left on the schedule, but didn’t appear in any games. Hill went to Spring Training with the Pirates in 1918, but a back injury sidelined him for a month, so he was sent back to Birmingham on April 5th. He stayed for two months, going 7-9 in 130 innings, before finishing his minor league season with Kansas City of the Double-A American Association, where he made five appearances and had a 3-1 record. He rejoined the Pirates on July 27th and spent the last two months of the war-shortened 1918 season in Pittsburgh, where he posted a 1.44 ERA in 43.2 innings. Despite the success, he was used sparingly as a reliever in 1919. He got into four games total for the Pirates between May and early July, giving up six runs and 12 hits in five innings. He spent the rest of the year going 14-9, 2.92 in 182 innings for Indianapolis of the American Association.
Hill played in an outlaw league in 1920, then served a one-year suspension (the entire 1921 season) before he was allowed back into pro ball. He went 15-12, 3.26 in 210 innings with Indianapolis. The New York Giants purchased his contract from Indianapolis in late August of 1921, and he pitched 28.1 big league innings that season, posting a 4.67 ERA. That was followed by three full seasons back in Indianapolis, as well as most of the 1926 season, before rejoining the Pirates. From 1922-26 in the minors, Hill won 81 games. Despite that win total, he had a rough 1923 season that helps explain his absence from the majors. He went 12-21, 4.93 in 263 innings that year. In 1924, he had a 17-14, 3.97 record in 213 innings. That was followed in 1925 by a 16-15, 3.91 record in 251 innings. Before joining the Pirates in 1926, Hill had a 21-7, 3.24 record in 264 innings. On August 31, 1926, the Pirates paid $40,000, plus added two players to be named later, to acquire Hill again. He made six starts for the 1926 Pirates, going 3-3, 3.40 in 39.2 innings, then had a his first full-time big league job in 1927 and responded in a big way.
Hill went 22-11, 3.24 in 277.2 innings in 1927, finishing seven in the league with his career high 95 strikeouts. He made 31 starts, 12 relief appearances and he pitched 22 complete games, picking up two shutouts and three saves (not an official stat at the time). He received mild MVP support, finishing 23rd in the voting. Hill started game four of the 1927 World Series against the all-time great New York Yankees club. He left after six innings with a 3-3 tie, in what ended up as his only postseason game of his career. Hill had a strong 1928 season as well, going 16-10, 3.53 in 237 innings, with 31 starts and 16 complete games. His effectiveness quickly dropped off in 1929 and the Pirates lost him on waivers in August to the St Louis Cardinals. In 87.2 innings over 30 games (four starts) that season, he had a 4.41 ERA. Most of that came with the Pirates, where he had a 3.99 ERA in 79 innings. Hill played until 1930 in the majors, pitching 14.2 innings over the first month of that season with the Cardinals, then finished his pro career two years later in the minors. He had a rough go to finish out the 1930 season, putting up a 6.05 ERA in 128 innings with Minneapolis of the American Association. In 1931, he rejoined Rochester of the International League, 15 years after first playing there. He went 18-12, 3.03 in 220 innings in 1931. In his final season, he split the year between Minneapolis and Columbus of the American Association, posting a combined 12-13 record in 183 innings. He won 190 games in the minors, not including his outlaw league stats. His final big league stats show a 49-33, 3.44 record in 787 innings over 85 starts and 62 relief appearances, with 47 complete games, five shutouts and eight saves.
Bobby Cargo, shortstop for the 1892 Pirates. His minor league records are spotty before his brief big league time. They show that he played two games in 1887 at 18 years old for Steubenville of the Ohio State League. His next minor league game was just that, one game for Easton of the Eastern Interstate League in 1890. He pitched against the 23-113 1890 Alleghenys in a postseason exhibition game on October 15, 1890 and lost 16-2. He played for the East End Gym team in Pittsburgh in 1891, which was a great non-pro team at the time, with many future/former MLB players seeing time with the team over the years. Cargo joined the Pirates in October of 1892 after playing for the Wilkes-Barre/Pittsburgh team of the Pennsylvania State League. He also spent part of that year with Missoula of the Montana State League. His only records show a .333 average, one double and two triples in 87 at-bats during his time with Wilkes-Barre/Pittsburgh. Before Cargo’s first game, Pirates manager Al Buckenberger said that he had received numerous requests and recommendations to give Cargo a tryout, so he did just that. The Pirates were short-handed with starting shortstop Frank Shugart being suspended at the end of the season after asking for some time off.
Cargo played just two games with the Pirates and showed some rookie jitters during his second game. His debut on October 6th was in the second game of a doubleheader that was called after seven innings due to darkness. Cargo only got to play at the end of that game because Duke Farrell suffered a hip injury in the sixth inning and Cargo went in to play shortstop, while shortstop Doggie Miller moved over to cover third base. Cargo had one chance in the field and didn’t get to bat. Farrell started the next day, but the injury he suffered the previous day forced him out of the game in the second inning. Cargo replaced him in the batting order, once again going to shortstop while Miller slid over to third base. Cargo went 1-for-4 at the plate with a single, while making a total of four errors in ten chances (one source says five errors in 11 chances). He’s currently credited with 12 innings in the field, but all records from the day show that he played nine innings on defense total. In fact, those nine innings that Cargo played were the only nine innings all season that Duke Farrell didn’t play. It was announced on October 17, 1892 that Cargo signed an 1893 contract with the Pirates, but then he was released during Spring Training on April 11, 1893, just 16 days before Opening Day. He was reportedly set to receive $175 per month salary for the season. That same day he was signed to an 1893 deal, the Pirates played an exhibition game against a picked nine of current/former big league player in a benefit for Pud Galvin, who was retiring from baseball that season. Cargo played shortstop for the Pirates and had three hits and no errors against former Pittsburgh pitching great Ed Morris.
The ironic part about his fielding woes in the majors was that he was known for his strong glove. Despite being just 23 years old, the Pittsburgh, PA. native never played in the majors again. Outside of his minor league play, he was well-known in Pittsburgh for his play with local amateur/semi-pro teams. He lasted until 1903 in the minors and was scheduled to play in Atlanta for the 1904 season, but shortly before Opening Day, he contracted pneumonia and passed away at the age of thirty-five. Until recent research solved the mystery, his actual birthday was unknown. He now has an October 1, 1868 birthday listed.
Cargo played for three teams in 1893, seeing time with Buffalo of the Eastern League and Altoona and Johnstown in the Pennsylvania State League. He had a combined .331 average in 74 games, with 74 runs, 25 doubles, seven triples and five homers. He has no 1894 pro records, playing instead with Oil City of the Iron and Oil League. He came back in 1895 with Carbondale and Lancaster of the Pennsylvania State League, which was a Class-B league that season. The limited stats say that he hit .299 with 53 runs in 68 games that year. Cargo played for five teams in 1896, not staying anywhere for more than 39 games. He saw time back in Carbondale and Pottsville in the same league, as well as Newark and Wilmington of the Class-A Atlantic League (highest level of the minors at the time) and Millville in the Class-D New Jersey League. He only played for two teams in 1897, hitting .256 in 42 games with Newark, while also playing for Canandaigua of the Class-C New York State League (no stats available). The next three seasons have no stats available, as he played with Canandaigua in 1898 and New Castle of the Class-B Interstate League in 1899-1900. He was back at the highest level in 1901, hitting .250 with 33 extra-base hits in 138 games for Toledo of the Western Association. Cargo’s last two seasons were spent with Nashville of the Class-A Southern Association, where he hit .285 with 27 extra-base hits in 1902 and .256 in 114 games in 1903.