Nine former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date, including a key member of a World Series winning club. Before I get into those, current outfielder Jared Oliva turns 26 today. He debuted with the 2020 Pirates and hit .188 in six games. He batted .175 in 20 games for the 2021 Pirates. He did not play in the majors in 2022, but he’s still a member of the Pirates system.
Dave Giusti, pitcher for the 1970-76 Pirates. The Pirates made the playoffs in five of his seven seasons with the team. He played a total of 15 years in the majors, winning exactly 100 games. Giusti signed with the expansion Houston Colt .45s in June of 1961 out of Syracuse University. That was ten months before they played their first official game. He mostly pitched that season with Jacksonville of the Class-A South Atlantic League, where he went 7-7, 2.29 in 118 innings over 14 starts. He also saw time with Houston of the Triple-A American Association, where he went 2-0, 3.00 in 18 innings. He was in the majors with Houston on Opening Day in 1962 and made five starts and 17 relief appearances during his rookie season, posting a 5.62 ERA in 73.2 innings. He spent a small part of that 1962 season in Triple-A with Oklahoma City of the American Association, going 2-3, 4.81 in 48 innings over six starts. He then spent all of 1963 and most of 1964 in Oklahoma City, which transferred to the Pacific Coast League in 1963. Giusti went 13-11, 2.72, with 165 strikeouts in 202 innings in 1963, then had a 10-6, 3.87 record in 149 innings in 1964, picking up 127 strikeouts that season. He made eight relief appearances for the Colt .45s in 1964, putting together a 3.16 ERA in 25.2 innings. Houston changed their name to the Astros in 1965 and Giusti had his big break that season, making 13 starts and 25 relief appearances. He went 8-7, 4.32 in 131.1 innings that year. He was in their starting rotation for the next three season and pitched 200+ innings each year.
Giusti went 15-14, 4.20, with 131 strikeouts in 210 innings in 1966. He set a career high in wins that year, playing for a club that finished 18 games under the .500 mark. He had nine complete games and four of his nine career shutouts. He had an 11-15, 4.18 record in 221.2 innings during the 1967 season, finishing with eight complete games, one shutout and 157 strikeouts. That was followed up by an 11-14, 3.19 record in 1968, when he set career highs with 251 innings, 12 complete games and 186 strikeouts. Giusti was traded to the St Louis Cardinals on October 11, 1968, in a four-player deal. Just three days later, he was drafted by the expansion San Diego Padres, but the Padres traded him back to the Cardinals in December. Giusti went 3-7, 3.61 in 99.2 innings over 12 starts and ten relief appearances in 1969. He spent just one year in St Louis before joining the Pirates on October 21, 1969 in a four-player deal, with two players going each way. The Pirates put him in the closer role, though at that time it involved multi-inning work. He averaged 62 appearances and 93 innings per season during his first six years in Pittsburgh.
Giusti went 9-3, 3.06, with 85 strikeouts in 103 innings in 1970, picking up 26 saves in 66 appearances. He finished fourth in the Cy Young voting that year and he ended up sixth in the MVP voting. He had a 2.93 ERA in 86 innings over 58 games during the 1971 season, while leading the league with 30 saves. During the 1971 playoffs, Giusti pitched a total of 10.2 shutout innings, with 5.1 each in the NLCS and World Series. He received mild MVP support that season, finishing 14th in the voting. His best year for ERA was 1972, when he put up a 7-4, 1.93 record in 74.2 innings over 54 games. His best overall year by WAR was 1973, when he had a 2.37 ERA and threw 98.2 innings. He had a 9-2 record that year, with 20 saves and 67 appearances. He was an All-Star that season and finished seventh in the Cy Young voting. In 1974, he went 7-5, 3.32 in 105.2 innings, which was his high for innings in a season with the Pirates. Giusti had 12 saves in 64 appearances that year, and he finished ninth in the Cy Young voting. He combined for just three runs allowed over 17 innings in five of his six playoff years. However, he gave up eight runs in 3.1 innings during the 1974 playoffs. He went 5-4, 2.95, with 17 saves in 91.2 innings over 61 outings in 1975. Giusti had a 5-4, 4.32 record in 58.1 innings in 1976, making 40 appearances, while picking up six saves.
Giusti saw a slide in his results during his final season in Pittsburgh, then he was traded to the Oakland A’s on March 15, 1977 in a nine-player deal that brought Phil Garner to Pittsburgh. He split the 1977 season between the A’s and Chicago Cubs, who purchased his contract on August 5th. He had a combined 3.89 ERA and seven saves in 85.2 innings over 60 appearances that year, but he moved on from baseball after the season. He was released at the end of the year, which ended his career. Giusti had a 100-93, 3.60 record in 1,716.2 innings in the majors. He made 133 starts and 535 relief appearances, finishing with 35 complete games, nine shutouts and 145 saves. In seven seasons in Pittsburgh, he had a 47-28, 2.94 record in 618 innings over 410 appearances (three starts). He compiled 133 saves with the Pirates, which ranks four in team history. He also ranks eighth in games pitched. He turns 83 today.
Tim Laker, catcher for the 1998-99 Pirates. He was originally drafted in the 49th round by Kansas City Royals in 1987 out of high school, but didn’t sign. He attended Oxnard College and was eligible for the 1988 draft. He moved up 43 rounds in one year, with the Montreal Expos taking him in the sixth round. It took him four years to make the majors, debuting with the Expos in 1992. Laker began his pro career at 18 years old in 1988 with Jamestown of the short-season New York-Penn League, where he hit .224 with 14 runs, no homers, 17 RBIs and a .544 OPS in 47 games. He remained in Jamestown for 1989, though he also had a brief stint in A-Ball with Rockford of the Midwest League. He combined to hit .223 with 29 runs, 14 extra-base hits, 28 RBIs and a .577 OPS in 72 games. The 1990 season was spent with Rockford, where he batted .221 with 46 runs, 18 doubles, seven homers, 57 RBIs and a .600 OPS in 120 games. He also played two games with West Palm Beach of the High-A Florida State League that year, then returned there for almost all of 1991, while also seeing an 11-game stint with Harrisburg of the Double-A Eastern League. Laker hit .236 in 111 games, with 39 runs, 16 doubles, six homers, 38 RBIs and a .625 OPS. He spent most of 1992 in Harrisburg, where he hit .242 with 55 runs, 19 doubles, 15 homers, 68 RBIs and a .725 OPS in 117 games. The Expos jumped him to the majors in mid-August and he played 28 games over the rest of the season, hitting .217 with eight runs, three doubles, four RBIs and a .533 OPS.
Laker made the Expos Opening Day roster in 1993 and ended up spending half of the season in the majors, batting .198/.222/.244 in 43 games. A majority of his big league time came from mid-May through early July that season. The rest of the year was spent with Triple-A Ottawa of the International League, where he hit .230 with a .642 OPS in 56 games. He spent the entire 1994 season in the minors, despite batting .309 with 68 runs, 32 doubles, 12 homers and 71 RBIs in 118 games with Ottawa. That was followed by spending the entire 1995 season in the majors, where he batted .234 in 64 games, with 17 runs, eight doubles, three homers, 20 RBIs and a .675 OPS. Laker missed the entire 1996 season due to elbow surgery. The Baltimore Orioles picked him up on waivers in March of 1997 and he played just seven big league games that season, failing to collect a hit in 18 plate appearances. The rest of the season was spent in Triple-A with Rochester of the International League, where he hit .259 in 79 games, with 45 runs, 23 extra-base hits, 37 RBIs and a .760 OPS. He signed with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 1998, but he played just three big league games before being released in June. He was hitting .239 with Durham of the International League at the time, though that came with a .909 OPS in 40 games. The Pirates signed him two weeks later and he played 14 more games in the majors that year, hitting .375/.385/.542 in 26 plate appearances.
Laker was released by Pittsburgh after the season, and then he signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers on January 11, 1999. Before he could play a game with the Dodgers, they traded him to the Pirates on March 26, 1999 for a minor league player. He played 112 games for Triple-A Nashville of the Pacific Coast League in 1999, hitting .269 with 48 runs, 29 doubles, 12 homers, 65 RBIs and a .766 OPS. He saw just six big league games that season, all in September. He went 3-for-9 at the plate, with three singles. The 2000 season was spent entirely in Nashville, where Laker hit .247 with 70 runs, 28 doubles, 19 homers, 75 RBIs and a .796 OPS. After leaving the Pirates via free agency after the season, he signed with the Cleveland Indians, where he remained for four seasons. Most of 2001 and all of 2002 were spent in the minors. He played 86 games for Buffalo of the International League in 2001, hitting .247 with 45 runs, 13 doubles, 20 homers and 57 RBIs. He hit .182/.308/.273 in 16 games for the 2001 Indians. He was mostly in Buffalo in 2002, though he spent some time in Low-A rehabbing with Columbus of the South Atlantic League mid-season after missing time due to a liver infection. He hit .236/.327/.350 that season in 73 games.
Despite seeing zero big league time in 2002, Laker spent the entire 2003 season in the majors. That year he hit .241 with 17 runs, 11 doubles, three homers, 21 RBIs and a .645 OPS in 52 games. The 2004 season was also spent entirely in the big leagues. Laker hit .214 with 12 runs, three homers, 17 RBIs and a .570 OPS in 44 games that year. He became a free agent after the season and signed with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, where he appeared in just one big league game in 2005, striking out as a pinch-hitter in an early season game. The rest of the year saw him back in Durham, where he hit .226 with 48 runs, 19 doubles, 11 triples and 44 RBIs. He finished his big league time back with the Indians in 2006, getting into four big league games before being released in June, which ended his career. He did well in that brief time, going 4-for-13 with a double, but his time back in Buffalo that year amounted to a .207 average and a .547 OPS in 54 games. He played a total of 1,341 minor league games and he hit 147 homers during that time. Laker saw parts of 11 seasons in the majors, hitting .226 in 281 games, with 66 runs scored, 28 doubles, 11 homers and 79 RBIs. He managed for two seasons in the minors after retiring as a player.
Randy Milligan, first baseman for the 1988 Pirates. Back when the draft had a January phase, Milligan was the third overall pick by the New York Mets in 1981 out of San Diego Mesa College, shortly after his 19th birthday. It took him seven seasons in the minors to make it to New York, and he played just three September games off of the bench for the Mets after he finally arrived. Milligan debuted in Low-A ball in 1981 with Shelby of the South Atlantic League, where he hit .283 in 130 games, with 90 runs, 29 extra-base hits, 58 RBIs, 98 walks, 49 steals and an .833 OPS. He moved to Lynchburg of the Class-A Carolina League in 1982 for the first of two full seasons. He hit .269 in 118 games, with 63 runs, 21 extra-base hits, 55 RBIs, a .714 OPS and 25 steals in 28 attempts. He batted .292 in 106 games for Lynchburg in 1983, finishing with 60 runs, 23 extra-base hits, 56 RBIs, 41 steals, 85 walks and an .831 OPS. He played mostly in the outfield during his first two seasons, but he saw a majority of his time in 1983 at first base, then took over the position permanently in 1984 with Jackson of the Double-A Texas League. He was limited to 62 games that year, but his .877 OPS was his best mark in the minors up to that point. He hit .275 that year with 32 runs, 14 extra-base hits, 34 RBIs and 15 steals. Milligan repeated Jackson in 1985 and hit .309 with 60 runs, 22 doubles,13 homers, 77 RBIs and an .870 OPS in 119 games. The 1986 season was split between Jackson and Tidewater of the Triple-A International League, where he really struggled. He had a .900 OPS in 78 games with Jackson that year, but in 21 games with Tidewater, he went 5-for-60 with all singles and nine walks, leading to a .286 OPS. He had a combined .791 OPS in 99 games.
Milligan had an incredible season with Tidewater in 1987, which led to his brief time with the Mets. He batted .326 with 99 runs scored, 28 doubles, 29 homers, 103 RBIs, 91 walks and a 1.033 OPS in 136 games. He batted two times in his three games in New York, with a walk and a strikeout to his credit. The Pirates acquired Milligan late in Spring Training of 1988, in a deal that sent Mackey Sasser to New York. Milligan stuck around until late June before he was sent to the minors for the rest of the season. He batted .220 with ten runs, five doubles, three homers and eight RBIs in 40 games for the Pirates, though his 20 walks in 103 plate appearances helped him to a solid .769 OPS. The Pirates went 14-9 in games that he started. He played 63 games with Triple-A Buffalo that year, putting together a .276/.373/.398 slash line. Shortly after the 1988 season ended, he was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for minor league pitcher Pete Blohm. Milligan had an immediate impact with the bat in Baltimore, putting up an .852 OPS in his first season with the Orioles. He hit .268 in 124 games, with 56 runs, 23 doubles, 12 homers, 45 RBIs and 74 walks. He then put up a .900 OPS in 1990, hitting .265 with 20 doubles and 20 homers, while drawing 88 walks in 109 games. He scored 64 runs and had 60 RBIs. He saw an 86-point dip in his slugging the next year, but still had decent overall results thanks to a .263 average, with 57 runs, 17 doubles, 16 homers, 70 RBIs and 84 walks. Milligan saw his power drop even more in 1992, but still managed to draw 106 walks and score 71 runs in 137 games. He batted .240 that season, with 21 doubles, 11 homers and 53 RBIs, leading to a .745 OPS.
The Orioles let Milligan go after the 1992 season, and then he split 1993 between the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians. The Reds signed him as a free agent, then traded him to the Indians in August. He combined to hit .299 with 37 runs, 25 extra-base hits, 36 RBIs and 60 walks in 102 games. Milligan had a 1.132 OPS in Cleveland after the trade, giving him an .857 OPS for the season. The Indians traded Milligan to the Montreal Expos in December of 1993 and his big league career ended with the strike that wiped away the World Series that year. He was seeing limited work that season, getting 98 plate appearances in 47 games. He put up a .232/.337/.329 slash line that year. He became a free agent after the season and didn’t play in 1995. He attempted a comeback in Mexico in 1996, but that ended up being his final season. In 703 big league games, he had an .810 OPS and more walks (447) than strikeouts (431). He batted .261 with 305 runs scored, 106 doubles, 70 homers and 284 RBIs. Despite going 115-for-130 in steals during his first three seasons in the minors, Milligan had just 16 steals in 34 attempts in the majors.
Bill Short, lefty pitcher for the 1967 Pirates. He was signed by the New York Yankees prior to the 1955 season out of high school in New York. At 17 years old that season, he pitched for Bristol of the Class-D Appalachian League, where he went 2-3, 3.92 in 62 innings, with 53 strikeouts. He spent 1956 with Monroe of the Class-C Evangeline League, posting a 9-11, 3.40 record in 167 innings, with 178 strikeouts. The 1957 season was spent mostly with Peoria of the Class-B Three-I League, while also making a brief stop with Binghamton of the Class-A Eastern League. He went 7-5, 3.22 in 123 innings with 115 strikeouts for Peoria that year, while his Binghamton stats only show an 0-1 record in three games. Short stayed in Binghamton in 1958, going 7-6, 3.44 in 124 innings, with 110 strikeouts. The 1959 season was spent with Richmond of the International League, where he went 17-6, 2.48 in 178 innings, with 133 strikeouts. Short made 12 starts for Richmond in 1960, but the majority of the season was spent in the majors. He was 6-2, 2.28 in 79 innings for Richmond. His best season in the majors as far as workload was that rookie year for the 1960 Yankees, when he made ten of his 16 career big league starts. He went 3-5, 4.79 in 47 innings for the Yankees that year. He had two complete games and a 30:14 BB/SO ratio. Despite the time he put in during the 1960 season with the Yankees, he didn’t pitch in the World Series against the Pirates, and he also didn’t pitch in the majors in 1961.
Short spent 1961 back in Richmond, where he put together a 1-1, 3.21 record in 42 innings over eight starts and five relief appearances. He missed three months of the season due to an elbow injury in April, which required surgery. After the season, he was selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the 1961 Rule 5 draft. Short made five relief appearances in 1962 and allowed seven runs in four innings. He wouldn’t appear in the majors again until 1966. Most of that time between big league shots was spent with Rochester of the International League, the Triple-A affiliate of the Orioles. He went 3-4, 4.29 in 65 innings with Rochester to finish out the 1962 season. Short had some success in the minors between big league appearances. He went 13-8, 3.38, with 113 strikeouts in 189 innings in 1963. Despite an 8-11 record in 1964, his ERA was .01 higher than the previous year, while throwing 154 innings over 22 starts and five relief appearances. He went 13-4, 2.92 in 1965, with 132 strikeouts in 179 innings over 23 starts and eight relief appearances. He had an 8-5, 2.78 record in 94 innings for Rochester in 1966, then spent half of the year in the majors.
Short split the 1966 season between two big league clubs and two roles, serving as a starter for the Orioles and a reliever for the Boston Red Sox. He went 2-3, 3.13 in 46 innings over six starts and eight relief appearances between the two stops. The Pirates purchased his contract from Boston just a few days after the 1966 season ended. Short pitched in six of the first 20 games of the 1967 season for the Pirates, then was sent to the minors, where he won 14 games and threw 173 innings in a starter role for Columbus of the International League. He made six relief appearances in his brief time in Pittsburgh, throwing a total of just 2.1 innings. He allowed one run on one hit and one walk. After the season, he was sold to the New York Mets. He tossed 34 games for the 1968 Mets, and had a 4.85 ERA in 29.2 innings. He then finished his career with the 1969 Cincinnati Reds, spending most of his time with Indianapolis of the Triple-A American Association, where he had a 3.86 ERA and 145 strikeouts in 161 innings. During his big league time that year, he gave up four runs over 2.1 innings in four appearances. As a 5’9″ pitcher, he lived up (or is it down?) to his last name. He went 5-11, 4.73 in 131.1 innings over 16 starts and 57 relief appearances in his six-year big league career.
Bob Schultz, pitcher for the 1953 Pirates. He served in WWII before signing his first pro deal at 22 years old in 1946. He spent most of that 1946 season with Fulton of the Class-D Kentucky-Illinois-Tennessee League, where he went 19-10, 3.62 in 221 innings, with an incredible total of 361 strikeouts, though he also had 148 walks. He also put in six wild innings with Gadsden of the Class-B Southeastern League, where he had 14 walks and eight strikeouts. He moved to Class-C in 1947 with Greenville of the Cotton States League. He went 15-11, 2.02 in 232 innings, with 115 walks and 274 strikeouts. While the walks were still high that year, it was a significant improvement over his debut season, when he had 47 more walks in five fewer innings. Schultz pitched for Memphis of the Double-A Southern Association in 1948, where he had an 11-11, 5.09 record in 161 innings, with 118 walks and 95 strikeouts. He struggled for part of the 1949 season in Memphis, but spent the majority of the year one level lower with Muskegon of the Central League. He combined to go 9-15, 3.83 in 181 innings, with 108 walks and 114 strikeouts. The Cubs picked him up in the minors from the Chicago White Sox system just prior to the 1950 season, then watched him go 25-6, 2.68 in 222 innings for Nashville of the Southern Association. His strikeout total isn’t available for that year, but he issued 101 walks. He debuted in the majors with the Cubs in 1951 and made ten starts and seven relief appearances, posting a 3-6, 5.24 record in 77.1 innings. He spent part of that year with Springfield of the Triple-A International League, where he went 2-4, 5.14 in 49 innings.
Schultz pitched in more of a relief role for the Cubs in 1952, making five starts and 24 relief appearances. He had a 4.01 ERA in 74 innings. He had a 5.40 ERA in 11.2 innings through early June of 1953 when the Pirates acquired him as part of the large return in the Ralph Kiner trade. Schultz lasted 11 appearances in Pittsburgh, and they all came between June 7th and July 6th in 1953. He went 0-2, 8.20 in two starts and nine relief appearances with the Pirates. He spent the rest of 1953 in the minors with New Orleans of the Southern Association, where he went 9-4, 2.74 in 128 innings. He remained in New Orleans for 1954, where he had an 18-11, 3.52 record in 261 innings, with 174 strikeouts. After the 1954 season, he was sold to the Detroit Tigers. He played just one more big league game after leaving the Pirates, giving up three runs over 1.1 innings for the 1955 Tigers. The rest of the year was spent with Buffalo of the International League, where he went 10-14, 5.75 in 177 innings. He remained in baseball through the end of the 1956, pitching for three different minor league teams during his final season. His stats are limited from that year, but his paper trail has him pitching two games with Buffalo, 17 games back with Nashville, and another 20 games with Chattanooga of the Southern Association. He was hampered by control issues during his career, with a 125:67 BB/SO ratio in 183 big league innings. He had a 9-13, 5.16 record in 19 starts and 46 relief outings during his four seasons in the majors. In 1,891 innings as a pro, he walked a total of 1,059 batters. He’s credited with 126 minor league wins.
Joe Bush, pitcher for the 1926-27 Pirates. His time with the Pirates lasted just under a full year, but Bullet Joe had a long career in the majors. He won 196 games over 17 seasons and once led the league with 24 losses, despite a 2.57 ERA. He had a total of nine seasons with 15+ wins. He was on a World Series winner with three different teams and played in a total of five World Series. Bush debuted in pro ball with Missoula of the Class-D Union Association, where he went 26-16, 3.49 in 350.1 innings over 50 appearances, including 40 starts. The 19-year-old Bush was in the majors by the end of the year with the Philadelphia A’s, where he made his debut on September 30th, exactly 16 years before he played his final big league game. He struggled during his debut, but it was enough to keep him in the majors. Bush allowed ten runs on 14 hits and seven walks in eight innings, getting a no-decision in the game. He made 16 starts and 23 relief appearances for the A’s in 1913, going 15-6, 3.82 in 200.1 innings. He won his lone World Series start that year and the A’s won the series. He made 23 starts and 15 relief appearances in 1914, posting a 17-13, 3.06 record in 206 innings. He lost his only World Series start this season, though not due to poor pitching. He took a 5-4 complete game loss in the 12th inning of game three, with the winning run coming as a result of an error. He slumped a bit in 1915, putting together a 5-15, 4.14 record in 145.2 innings. That ERA doesn’t sound too high now, but that was part of the deadball era, and the league had a 2.93 ERA. Bush rebounded in 1916 to go 15-24, 2.57 in 286.2 innings, with 157 strikeouts. The A’s finished 36-117 that year, so he had nearly half of their wins. He was sixth in the league in innings and fourth in strikeouts. He had eight shutouts that year, which ranked second in the league, and 25 complete games, which ranked third.
Bush went 11-17, 2.47 in 233.1 innings in 1917. He complete 17 of 31 starts, tossed four shutouts, and he finished sixth in the league with 121 strikeouts. The A’s traded him to the Boston Red Sox in December of 1917 in a deal that included six players and a large amount of cash. Bush went 15-15, 2.11 in 272.2 innings in 1918. He was fifth in innings pitched, fifth in ERA, and third with 125 strikeouts. He also ranked third with seven shutouts and fourth with 26 complete games. He took the loss in his World Series start that year, allowing three runs over eight innings, but the Red Sox won the series, and he picked up a save in game four. An arm injury limited him to two games in 1919, a relief appearance in mid-May, and a start on July 4th, that did not go well. The Red Sox ended up using him three more times after that day, twice as a pinch-runner and once as a pinch-hitter. Bush was healthy again in 1920 and he pitched 243.2 innings over 32 starts and three relief appearances. He went 15-15, 4.25 that season, throwing 18 complete games. Bush went 16-9, 3.50 in 254.1 innings in 1921, with 32 starts, 21 complete games and three shutouts. After the season, the Red Sox sent three players (including Bush) to the New York Yankees for four players and $100,000.
Bush helped the Yankees to the World Series in 1922 by going 26-7, 3.31 in 255.1 innings, with 20 complete games. He finished fourth in the MVP voting, but he lost both of his World Series starts and the Yankees lost the series to the New York Giants. The Yankees went back to the postseason in 1923, and Bush helped them to their first championship by allowing just two runs over 16.2 innings in the World Series. During the regular season, he went 19-15, 3.43 in 275.2 innings, with 22 complete games and three shutouts. He finished second in the league with 125 strikeouts. He went 17-16, 3.57 in 252 innings in 1924. He had 19 complete games and three shutouts in 31 starts, while also throwing eight times in relief. He led the league that year with 109 walks. In December of 1924, he was one of two players sent to the St Louis Browns for pitcher Urban Shocker. In his only season with St Louis, Bush went 14-14, 5.09 in 208.2 innings, with 15 complete games and two shutouts in 30 starts. He was traded to the Washington Senators in February of 1926 in a two-for-two deal.
Bush was signed by the Pirates from the Senators on July 1, 1926. Washington released him days earlier, after he went 1-8, 6.69 in 71.1 innings. He had 15 years in the majors at the time, which allowed him to become a free agent and negotiate his own transfer from Washington to the Pirates. Players with less time back then would have had a waiver fee attached to them, or had to accept a minor league assignment, unless they were unconditionally released. Bush went 6-6, 3.01 in 110.2 innings over the rest of 1926 with the Pirates. He had 12 starts, seven relief appearances, nine complete games, two shutouts and three saves (not an official stat at the time). He made three starts and two relief appearances for the 1927 Pirates before being released unconditionally on June 15th. In his three starts, he lasted a total of 1.2 innings. Bush joined the New York Giants and struggled there as well, though he allowed one run in a complete game victory in his debut. He gave up 24 runs in 18.2 innings that season between both stops. He finished his big league career with a 5.09 ERA in 35.1 innings for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1928, but he stayed around for three more seasons in the minors, though the last two years were as a player-manager, with much more time spent on the bench.
Bush went 3-3, 4.93 in 42 innings for Newark of the Double-A International League in 1929 (highest level of the minors at the time). He spent those final two seasons with Allentown of the Class-A Eastern League, where he had three appearances each year and also finished with eight innings pitched both seasons. He was an outstanding hitter for a pitcher, batting .253 with seven homers and 140 RBIs in 1,239 at-bats. He was used as a pinch-hitter occasionally and also took some turns in the outfield during his career, playing a total of nine games spread over the three positions. During those final two years of pro ball, he was mostly playing outfield, where he hit .346 with 37 extra-base hits for Allentown in 93 games in 1930. He batted .253 with 21 extra-base hits in 85 games in 1931. As you may have guessed from his nickname, he threw very hard, and he was recognized as having one of the best fastballs of his day. He had 1,318 career strikeouts, which was a decent career total for his era. He never led the league in strikeouts, but he did finish in the top ten in the league six times. His final career stats show a 196-184, 3.51 record in 3,085.1 innings, with 488 games pitcher, 370 starts, 225 complete games and 35 shutouts.
Marty O’Toole, pitcher for the 1911-14 Pirates. Despite a 3.17 ERA in 550.1 innings with the Pirates, he was considered to be a major disappointment to the team. They paid $22,500 to purchase his contract during the 1911 season, which was a huge sum of money at the time. At the time, the reported second highest paid price for a player was $11,000 for Hall of Fame pitcher Rube Marquard in 1908. Despite that hefty price tag, O’Toole was out of the majors by age 25, finishing his career with four years in the minors following his last big league game. O’Toole debuted in pro ball in 1906 at 17 years old, pitching for Manchester of the Class-B New England League, where he went 19-14 in 38 games (full stats from that league are unavailable). He remained in the same league with Brockton in 1907, where he put together a 20-11 record. He stayed with Brockton for 1908 and he’s credited with a 31-11 record, though his online stats also say that he pitched just 38 games. Newspaper clippings from when he was already with the Cincinnati Reds late in the season show him with a 30-9 record. O’Toole briefly made the majors in 1908 with the Reds at 19 years old, and he finished his career with the 1914 New York Giants, but the bulk of his career came with the Pirates. He had a 2.40 ERA in 15 late-season innings for the Reds, yet they still returned him to his Brockton team, where he spent the 1909 season posting a 26-12 record.
O’Toole moved up to Class-A ball in 1910 to play for Sioux City of the Western League. That was the highest level of the minors at the time, with Double-A being created two years later. He posted a 19-5 record over 30 games for Sioux City. He then joined St Paul of the Class-A American Association for the 1911 season. It was there that he got a ton of attention. O’Toole was built up in the newspapers before joining the Pirates. He was purchased on July 22nd for that record price, but didn’t report to the team until a month later. The papers presented a game-by-game breakdown of his 1911 minor league season right before his arrival, which included a 15-10 record and 202 strikeouts in 204 innings. The Pirates also purchased his catcher Billy Kelly, who stayed around for three seasons in Pittsburgh. At the time, Kelly was actually being sought by more teams than O’Toole, but both were getting a lot of notice in St Paul. Things went south quickly in Pittsburgh for O’Toole. After his third big league start (he won and completed all three games) he saw a doctor about an arm injury and believed his season was over. However, he ended up making two more starts after a short time off and pitched poorly in both games, so it was likely a bad decision to return. He brief first season in Pittsburgh showed a 2.30 ERA in 38 innings.
While the record didn’t show it in 1912, O’Toole had a strong season for the Pirates, going 15-17, 2.71 in 275.1 innings over 36 starts (and one relief outing). He led the league with six shutouts that year, but also led the league with 159 walks, compared to 150 strikeouts. That work seemed to take a toll on him and he dropped down to a 3.30 ERA in 144.2 innings in 1913. He made 16 starts and ten relief appearances that year. He then had a 4.68 ERA in 94.1 innings in 1914 before he was sold to the New York Giants in August. He lasted just 34 innings in New York, before finishing his career in the minors. O’Toole still had plenty left in the tank, but if never led to another big league opportunity. He had a 14-15, 3.71 record in 235.1 innings for Columbus of the Double-A American Association in 1915. He dropped down a level, returning to the Class- A Western League, where he pitched his final three seasons with Omaha. He went 15-7, 3.04 in 219 innings in 1916. He was a workhorse in 1917, going 19-17, while throwing 318 innings. O’Toole pitched just 69 innings during his final season and had a 5-2 record. He still played some baseball after 1919, but only for semi-pro teams. He finished with a 25-35, 3.17 record in 550.1 innings with the Pirates over 66 starts and 21 relief appearances. His 36 starts in 1912 represented nearly 50% of his career starts (73), but his six shutouts that year were the only shutouts of his big league career. His purchase price was still getting occasional mentions in the local Pittsburgh papers into the 1960s.
Jim Kane, first baseman for the 1908 Pirates. He debuted in pro ball in 1907 with the Utica Pent-Ups of the New York State League at age 25. He was playing amateur ball in his early years, and then was in independent ball before joining Utica in late August of 1907 to finish out the season. Kane, a Scranton, PA native, played basketball before and after the 1908 season. His winter team in 1908-09 was in Pittsburgh. Despite barely having a month of pro ball to his name, he was drafted from Utica on October 19, 1907 under the recommendation of a trusted source of Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss. The Pirates had almost no information on him, and none of their scouts saw him play before Spring Training in 1908. The Pirates were weak at first base, so they had four players compete for the job in Spring Training that year. Kane saw most of his time with the Pirates in June and early July, then played just 11 games after July 8th, with only one start during that stretch. In his only big league season, he batted .241 with 16 runs, three doubles, three triples, 22 RBIs and a .603 OPS in 55 games. He was with the Pirates for the first seven games of the 1909 season without appearing in a game, before being sent to Omaha of the Class-A Western League (highest level of the minors at the time) on April 23rd. The Pirates retained his rights at that time, though he never returned to the majors. On August 23rd, he was sold to the Boston Doves of the National League. He was supposed to join the Doves at the conclusion of his minor league season, but Omaha played into October and he hit a walk-off homer in the final game of the season, which decided the pennant race (the team Omaha beat lost the pennant by .002 in the winning percentage column).
Kane played a total of seven seasons in the Western League after his season with the Pirates, batting .318 in 1,097 games, but he never got another big league shot. His first five years were spent with Omaha. He hit .315 with 27 doubles and 16 triples in 153 games in 1909. He hit .283 in 158 games in 1910, with 21 doubles, 15 triples and three homers. He had a .340 average in 171 games in 1911, with 36 doubles, 16 triples and eight homers. Kane was just as good the next season, hitting .332 with 37 doubles, five triples and a career best 14 homers in 152 games. In his final season with Omaha in 1913, he batted .298 in 165 games, with 31 doubles, 13 triples and four homers. He moved on to Sioux City of the Western League in 1914 and batted .336 in 167 games, with 118 runs scored, 39 doubles, ten triples, 11 homers, 24 steals and 61 walks, leading to an .868 OPS. In his final season of pro ball in 1915 for Sioux City, he hit .318 with 43 extra-base hits (36 doubles) in 131 games. He went to Spring Training with Sioux City in 1916, but they released him just before Opening Day, then watched his replacement at first base (Art Mueller) break his leg in the first inning of the season. Kane sued the Western League after being released and won his case, then played out his career in semi-pro ball.
Jack Kading, first baseman for the 1910 Pirates. He played eight games with Pittsburgh and hit .304 with five runs, two doubles, a triple and four RBIs. His only other big league experience was three pinch-hit appearances in the Federal League for Chicago in 1914. Kading debuted in pro ball with Eau Claire of the Class-D Minnesota-Wisconsin League in 1909. He hit .251 with 13 doubles, four triples and no homers in 121 games as a 24-year-old that year. The next season he batted .271 with 21 doubles, three triples and four homers in 126 games. Pirates scout Howard Earl purchased Kading on July 11, 1910 for $1,500, though they allowed him to stay with his Eau Claire team until the end of the season. He joined the Pirates on September 11, 1910 and was in the starting lineup the next day. He didn’t play again until September 22nd, then started seven games in a row. Kading was left behind to train at Forbes Field during a team road trip east, but a minor injury to Honus Wagner caused the Pirates to send for Kading to join the team in Philadelphia. Wagner played first base when he returned, moving Kading to the bench. During his first day with the Pirates on that road trip, Kading went 3-for-4 with two doubles and a walk. He didn’t play in any of the final ten games of the season. On February 18, 1911, the Pirates released him to Seattle of the Class-B Northwestern League.
Kading hit .207 with three extra-base hits in 30 games with Seattle, but he spent the majority of the 1911 season back in Eau Claire (which was reclassified to Class-C that season), where he hit .243 with 19 extra-base hits in 92 games. He played for Wausau of the Class-C Wisconsin-Illinois League in 1912, where he actually started his baseball career back in 1908 before it was considered to be a minor league. There are no stats available for that 1912 season. He was then the starting first baseman for Chicago of the Federal League in 1913, which was an independent league that season. Kading hit .339 in 119 games, with 67 runs scored, 36 extra-base hits and 15 steals. The Federal League gained Major League status in 1914, but he lasted just three early season games with the team, going 0-for-3 at the plate. He finished that year in the minors with St Thomas of the Class-B Canadian League, where he hit .265 with 34 runs, 26 extra-base hits and 11 steals in 101 games. Kading played briefly for South Bend of the Class-B Central League in 1916, but he lost his job to first baseman George Beall, who played 134 games that year. Kading ended up playing semi-pro ball that year in Indiana, then took over that team’s managerial spot and played/managed through at least 1920. At 6’3″, he was tall for the era and had the nickname “Big John” in the minors.