There have been five former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus one transaction of note.
On this date in 1985, the Pittsburgh Pirates signed 35-year-old right-handed pitcher Rick Reuschel as a free agent. He had pitched well earlier in his career, but he was coming off of a 5.17 ERA in 92.1 innings with the Chicago Cubs in 1984. He missed all of 1982 with rotator cuff surgery, and he struggled through the 1983 season, spending most of the year in the minors. So he was three years removed from a solid season in the majors. Reuschel turned things back around with the Pirates, going 14-8, 2.27 in 194 innings, while pitching for a team that lost 104 games. However, he actually began the year in the minors, where he pitched 54 innings before joining the big league team. His contract was a minor league deal, and he told the papers that he almost decided to retire because it took so long to find a team that showed interest. The Pirates said that he was competing for a spot as the team’s long reliever, but he ended up making 26 starts that season. He made another 89 starts for the Pirates before being traded late in the 1987 season to the San Francisco Giants. He was an All-Star during that final season, finishing third in the NL Cy Young voting, while leading the league in complete games, shutouts and WHIP. Reuschel won 214 games in his career. His career 69.5 WAR makes him one of the best eligible pitchers not in the Hall of Fame. He put 18.3 WAR with the Pirates/Giants to end his career.
Aaron Thompson, pitcher for the 2011 Pirates. He was a first round draft pick of the Florida Marlins in 2005, selected 22nd overall at 18 years old out of Second Baptist HS in Houston, Texas. He had an odd beginning to his career, pitching better that first year in the short-season New York-Penn League (3.10 ERA in 20.1 innings) against college players, than he did against players his own age in the Gulf Coast League (4.50 ERA in 32 innings). Thompson pitched at Low-A Greensboro of the South Atlantic League in 2006, where he had an 8-8, 3.63 record, a 1.30 WHIP and 114 strikeouts in 134 innings over 24 starts. He improved slightly to a 3.37 ERA in 115 innings in 2007 with Jupiter of the High-A Florida State League, though his strikeout rate dropped a little at the same time, while his WHIP went up slightly to a 1.36 mark. He struggled with the jump to Double-A Carolina of the Southern League in 2008, putting up a 5.62 ERA in 81.2 innings, while issuing more walks than either previous full season when he saw much more work. Along with a high opponent’s batting average, that led to a 1.85 WHIP. He also made two rehab starts mid-season back in the Gulf Coast League. Thompson missed a little time during that 2008 season, which led to him going to the Arizona Fall League after the season. He had a 6.00 ERA in 15 innings during his fall work. He made 20 starts with Jacksonville of the Southern League in 2009, posting a 5-9, 4.11 record in 114 innings, with 75 strikeouts and a 1.44 WHIP. He was traded to the Washington Nationals at the 2009 trade deadline in exchange for Nick Johnson. He made another six starts in Double-A with Harrisburg of the Eastern League after the deal, where he had a 3.31 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP in 32.2 innings.
Thompson spent the 2010 season in Harrisburg, where he had a 4-13, 5.80 record, 95 strikeouts and a 1.59 WHIP in 136.2 innings. He also pitched one game that season for Syracuse of the Triple-A International League. He was put on waivers in December of 2010, where the Pirates picked him up. He was sent to Altoona of the Eastern League to start the 2011 season. He posted a 4-7, 5.16 record in Altoona, with 51 strikeouts and a 1.43 WHIP in 83.2 innings over 28 games (12 starts). He moved up to Triple-A Indianapolis of the International League on August 10th, then allowed one run over 11.2 innings in three appearances. He got a call to the majors for his debut as a spot starter on August 24th. That day he pitched 4.1 shutout innings against the Milwaukee Brewers. Thompson returned to Triple-A to end the minor league season, then made three more September appearances for the Pirates, this time allowing six runs over 3.1 innings. He was allowed to leave via free agency in November of 2011, then signed a contract with the Minnesota Twins. After performing poorly in the Dominican winter league, he spent all of 2012 in Double-A with New Britain of the Eastern League, struggling along with a 5.23 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP in 86 inning. He moved to relief full-time in 2013, then put up great stats in a limited time at New Britain, allowing just one run over 14.2 innings. He then pitched 44 innings for Rochester of the International League, where he had a 3.48 ERA, a 1.41 WHIP, six saves and 42 strikeouts.
After a rough 2013-14 winter in Venezuela (5.25 ERA in 12 innings), Thompson spent most of the 2014 season back with Rochester, going 3-3, 3.98 in 52 innings, with 51 strikeouts and a 1.44 WHIP. He was called up to the majors in late August in 2014, where he allowed two runs over 7.1 innings to finish the season. That performance helped lead to an Opening Day assignment in 2015. He had a 5.01 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP in 32.1 innings over 41 appearances through July 5th. At that point, he was sent to the minors for the rest of the season, which also marked the end of his big league career. He had a 3.71 ERA in 17 innings to finish the season with Rochester. Thompson was released by the Twins at the end of Spring Training in 2016, then played that season for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League. He posted a 9-5, 3.98 record in 133.1 innings, with 102 strikeouts and a 1.36 WHIP. He capped off his pro career playing winter ball in Mexico during the 2016-17 off-season, putting up a 5.52 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP in 44 innings over nine starts. Thompson finished his three-year big league career with a 1-3, 4.94 record in 52 games (one start), with a 1.52 WHIP and 24 strikeouts in 47.1 innings pitched.
Lil Stoner, pitcher for the 1930 Pirates. He played three seasons of minor league ball before making the 1922 Detroit Tigers team out of Spring Training. He debuted in pro ball with Oklahoma City of the Class-A Western League in 1919 at 20 years old, where he went 12-15, a 1.38 WHIP and he pitched 224 innings. His ERA isn’t available, but it’s known that he allowed 3.70 runs per nine innings that year. He had a 4-13 record in 199 innings during the 1920 season, allowing 4.61 runs per nine innings, while posting a 1.39 WHIP. His results got slightly worse in 155 innings with Oklahoma City in 1921. He went 5-6, with 1.38 WHIP and 4.82 runs per nine innings. He spent part of that year with Okmulgee of the Class-D Western Association. He ended up going 17-13 between both stops, finishing with a 1.19 WHIP and 4.09 runs per nine innings over 312.1 innings pitched. His performance at the lower level helped earn him a big league spot for 1922. Stoner pitched poorly in his first shot with the Tigers, posting a 7.04 ERA and a 1.77 WHIP in 62.2 innings through 17 games (seven starts). He was sent to the minors to finish the season after his final game for the Tigers on July 18th. He ended the year by going 7-6, 2.97 in 109 innings for Birmingham of the Class-A Southern Association. He was with Fort Worth of the Class-A Texas League in 1923, where he had a 27-11, 2.65 record and a 1.15 WHIP in 302 innings. He was back with the Tigers in 1924, and he lasted there through the 1929 season, switching between starting and relieving during that time.
Stoner set a career high with 215.2 innings in 1924, when he compiled an 11-10, 4.72 record over 25 starts and 11 relief appearances. He had ten complete games, one shutout and a 1.55 WHIP. That shutout ended up being the only one of his career. He went 10-9, 4.26 in 1925, with 152 innings pitched spread over 18 starts and 16 relief appearances. He had eight complete games and a 1.44 WHIP. He had a rough season in 1926, going 7-10, 5.47, with a 1.52 WHIP in 159.2 innings over 22 starts and ten relief outings. His best season came in 1927 when he had a 3.98 ERA in 215 innings, though he finished with a 10-13 record. His teammate Rip Collins had a 4.69 ERA that same season, yet he managed to post a 13-7 record, so there was some bad luck and poor support involved in Stoner’s win-loss total that year. Despite that improved ERA over the 1926 season, he actually had a 1.53 WHIP, along with a very poor strikeout rate, leading to a 77:63 BB/SO ratio. The 1928 season saw him go 5-8, 4.35 in 126.1 innings, with 11 starts and 25 relief appearances. He had four complete games, four saves (not an official stat at the time), a 42:29 BB/SO ratio and a 1.53 WHIP, leaving him very consistent in that category over the 1926-28 seasons. After going 3-3, 5.26 in 53 innings over 24 games(three starts) for the Tigers in 1929, he joined the Pirates for the 1930 season.
Stoner was actually sent to Fort Worth of the Texas League in July of 1929, where he had a 2.00 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP over 81 innings to finish out the 1929 season. The Pirates purchased his contract on September 12th, and he was due to report to them during the following spring. Stoner had his share of troubles during Spring Training in 1930, suffering a bad cold, followed by a sore arm that bothered him into the regular season. He pitched just 5.2 innings in relief over five appearances for the Pirates (with three runs allowed), before he was sent outright back to Fort Worth on May 13th. Stoner finished out the season with Fort Worth by going 14-6, 3.19 in 186 innings. He pitched one more partial season in the majors with the 1931 Philadelphia Phillies, posting a 6.59 ERA in 13.2 innings, before returning to the minors in June. He split the remainder of the 1931 season between Fort Worth and Newark of the Double-A International League, which was the highest level of the minors at the time. Stoner went 8-3, 2.60 in 97 innings with Fort Worth, but he had a 5.34 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP in 32 innings with Newark. His final season in the minors was 1932, when he pitched for Fort Worth and Houston of the Texas League. He went 5-9, with 112 innings pitched over 18 starts and three relief outings. He played semi-pro ball at the age of 40 in 1939 in his hometown of Enid, Oklahoma. He had an average fastball according to reports, but his curveball was above average, and he had good control of his pitches. Stoner was not a strikeout pitcher, topping out at 66 during the 1924 season in Detroit. He finished with a 50-57, 4.76 record in 1,003.2 innings over 111 starts and 118 relief games. He had 45 complete games, along with a 374:299 BB/SO ratio. His real name was Ulysses Simpson Grant Stoner. The nickname “Lil” came from his younger sister who couldn’t pronounce Ulysses as a kid.
Terry Turner, third baseman for the 1901 Pirates. He had a 17-year big league career that started with two games for the 1901 Pirates. He began his minor league career in 1900 at 19 years old, playing for Greenville of the Interstate League (no stats available). He moved around a lot in 1901, first playing in an independent league, then playing for a team in Punxatawney. The Pirates picked him up in August of 1901, and gave him a brief trial while starting third baseman Tommy Leach was out of action for a week. He had three hits in seven at bats, but that wasn’t good enough for him to stick around. He had a nice showing during his debut that earned a spot in the local headlines. He collected three hits and handled all five chances in the field on August 25th against the Cincinnati Reds on the road. He had a bit of trouble in his second game, committing two errors and one misplay during a rundown play, while also going 0-for-3 at the plate. He was pinch-hit for in the ninth by light-hitting backup catcher George Yeager. During his brief time with Pittsburgh, he was referred to as Clarence, while the crowd called him Cotton Top, a nickname that stayed with him. He was also said to have been playing for the Punxsutawney team and the independent Ashtabula team from Ohio, so there was definitely some mystery surrounding his brief time with Pittsburgh. A quick look at the records shows that he played third base for Punxatawney just two days before his big league debut. According to Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss, Turner left the team after his second game, which was played at home in Exposition Park. It was said that he had trouble playing on the grass field because he was used to playing on an all dirt infield. It was later reported that he signed with Columbus of the Class-A Western Association (highest level of the minors at the time) on August 12th, making his contract with the Pirates no good, though owner Dreyfuss said that he wouldn’t give up his rights to Turner. Despite the objection, Columbus is where he ended up until his next trip to the show.
There are no stats available for Turner’s brief time in Columbus at the end of the 1901 season. Columbus moved to the American Association in 1902, where he hit .293 in 127 games, with 37 extra-base hits. He batted .310 over 126 games in 1903, with 70 runs, 24 doubles, nine triples, three homers and 23 steals. Turner returned to the majors in 1904 with the Cleveland Indians (then called the Naps after manager/HOF’er Nap Lajoie). Before he left town, he would play a still-standing team record of 1,619 games. He played 15 seasons in Cleveland, before finishing his career in 1919 with the Philadelphia Athletics. Turner played 111 games in 1904 as the team’s starting shortstop, finishing with a .235 average, 41 runs scored, 16 extra-base hits, 45 RBIs and a .550 OPS. Turner played a career high 155 games in 1905. He put up a .265 average, to go along with 49 runs, 16 doubles, 17 steals, a .649 OPS, and career highs of 14 triples, four homers and 72 RBIs. He batted .291 over 147 games in 1906, with career bests of 85 runs, 170 hits and 27 doubles, to go along with 65 RBIs and 27 steals. His .709 OPS was the second best of his career, while keeping in mind that his entire career took place during the deadball era. He followed that up with a 130-point drop in his OPS in 1907, as he hit .242 in 140 games, with 57 runs, 20 doubles, seven triples, no homers, 46 RBIs, 27 steals and 19 walks. He saw limited time in more of a utility role in 1908, batting .239/.298/.304 in 60 games. He was then the starting shortstop in 1909, when a broken finger in July caused him to miss the rest of the year. He hit .250/.304/.322 in 53 games that year. Just two games after his season ended, Neal Ball completed the second unassisted triple play in Major League history, and the first one in 31 years (Paul Hines was first), playing in place of Turner.
Turner played 150 games in 1910, after getting into 113 games combined during the previous two years. He hit just .230 that season, with 71 runs, 20 extra-base hits, 33 RBIs, 31 steals, 53 walks and a .576 OPS. The stolen base total was his career high, while the walks were a career high at that time, but he would top that mark soon after. He batted .252 over 117 games in 1911, while splitting his time between third base, second base and shortstop. He had 59 runs, 16 doubles, nine triples, 28 RBIs, 29 steals and a .643 OPS. Turner hit a career best .308 in 103 games during the 1912 season, with 54 runs, 18 extra-base hits, 33 RBIs and 19 steals. His .731 OPS was a career best. An ankle injury that season cost him a month of time. He batted .247 in 1913, while seeing work at all three infield spots again. He finished with 60 runs, 17 extra-base hits, 44 RBIs, a .650 OPS and a career best 55 walks in 120 games. Turner hit .245 over 121 games in 1914, with 43 runs, 24 extra-base hits, 33 RBIs, 17 steals, 44 walks and a .646 OPS. He played just 75 games in 1915. He had a .252 average, with 35 runs, 14 doubles, 14 RBIs and a .642 OPS. Another broken finger cost him time that year, and it happened after going 0-for-9 in a 19-inning game. He reached triple digits in games for the final time in 1916, batting .262 in 124 games, with 52 runs, 15 doubles, 38 RBIs, 15 steals and a .636 OPS. Turner hit just .206 in 69 games during the 1917 season, finishing with 16 runs, seven doubles, 15 RBIs and a .507 OPS. He rebounded a bit in limited work in 1918, posting a .249 average and a .613 OPS in 74 games, during that season that was shortened a month due to the war. He had 24 runs, nine extra-base hits and 23 RBIs.
During his lone season in Philadelphia with the A’s, Turner batted .189/.220/.213 in 38 games. He actually began the year with Cleveland as a utility infielder, but quit in early June without playing any games. He finished his career back in Columbus in 1920 (then a Double-A team, which was the highest level of the minors at the time), hitting .212 in 19 games. Turner was a career .253 hitter in the majors, who finished with 699 runs scored, 1,499 hits, 207 doubles, 77 triples, 528 RBIs and 256 steals. He hit just eight homers his entire career, with only one his final 13 seasons, and that one was an inside-the-park home run. He is credited with being one of the best defensive players of all-time, putting up 20.1 dWAR during his career, which ranks 52nd best among all players/positions through 2022. His 5.4 dWAR in 1906 is rated as the best defensive season in baseball history. He was a shortstop that season, but he also did well at third base and second base during his career. Turner made 728 starts at shortstop, 589 at third base and 238 at second base.
Moose McCormick, outfielder for the 1904 Pirates. McCormick debuted at an advanced level of pro ball in 1902, playing at 21 years old in the Class-A Eastern League, where he had a .308 average and eight extra-base hits in 44 games for Providence. Class-A was the highest level of the minors at the time (until 1912). He hit .363 in 1903, with 105 runs, 24 doubles, 15 triples, five homers, 116 RBIs and 25 steals in 122 games for Jersey City of the Eastern League. Moose (his real first name was Harry) was signed by the New York Giants for the 1904 season. He played there through early August, hitting .266/.323/.374 in 59 games, with 28 runs, 15 extra-base hits, 26 RBIs and 13 steals. The Pirates acquired him in a three-team deal on August 8th that saw them give up young right fielder Jimmy Sebring. McCormick finished the year in Pittsburgh, playing the corner outfield spots, where he hit .290 in 66 games, with 25 runs, 18 extra-base hits, 23 RBIs and a .740 OPS. On December 20, 1904, he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in a five-player deal. He retired from baseball for three seasons before ever reporting to the Phillies. His retirement from baseball wasn’t completely unexpected at the time. It was actually factored into the deal, which at first appeared to be a one-sided trade in favor of the Phillies. Despite announcing his retirement from baseball, he actually played during the 1905 season for an independent team, York of the Tri-State League, who paid him $300 for two weeks of work to help them try to win the league pennant. He also played for York for an even shorter time in 1906. He also played football and basketball during that time, which is one of the reasons the Pirates were said to have been eager to get rid of him, figuring he was going to get hurt at some point.
After not playing at all at any level during the 1907 season, McCormick agreed during the 1907-08 off-season to return to the Phillies, where he hit .091/.167/.091 in 11 games through early July of 1908. He was then sold to the New York Giants, where he was to be used as a pinch-hitter. He ended up being more than that by the end of the year, hitting enough to play corner outfield regularly over the final 40 games of the season. McCormick hit .302 for the Giants that year, with 32 runs, 16 doubles, 31 RBIs and a .704 OPS in 73 games. He batted .291 in 1909, with 68 runs, 32 extra-base hits, 27 RBIs, 49 walks and a .775 OPS in 121 games. Despite putting up solid numbers, he would then retired again for two more years. He returned to the Giants in 1912 for his final two seasons in the majors, seeing a limited bench role each year. He had a .909 OPS in 45 plate appearances over 42 games in 1912, then hit .275/.318/.375 in 1913, with nine runs, five extra-base hits and 15 RBIs in 86 plate appearances over 57 games. He was a good hitter at getting on base, but didn’t have any power or speed, and he played average defense. In his five seasons in the majors, which spanned a ten-year period, he was a .285 hitter over 429 games, with 165 runs, 94 extra-base hits and 132 RBIs. He finished his pro career with two seasons (1914-15) as the player-manager for the Chattanooga Lookouts of the Class-A Southern Association. McCormick batted .332 in 1914, with 67 runs and 36 extra-base hits in 113 games. He had a .244 average over 88 games in 1915, with 19 extra-base hits.
Jack Easton, pitcher for the 1894 Pirates. He played three seasons in the minors prior to making his Major League debut with the Columbus Solons of the American Association in September of 1889. At 22 years old, Easton went 14-10, 2.35 in 222 innings spread over three teams in the Ohio State League in 1887, seeing equal amounts of time with Zanesville and Sandusky, while pitching one game for Wheeling. He spent part of 1888 playing for Sandusky in the Tri-State League (no stats available). He also played in that same league for Lima in 1888, then stayed in league for the 1889 season with Springfield. While no stats are available for that season, the newspapers reported that he was considered to be the most promising pitcher in the Tri-State League when he accepted contract terms from Columbus on September 19, 1889 to finish out the season. That was later extended to agreeing to a deal for the following season as well. Easton made one start and three relief appearances in his first big league trial, pitching a total of 18 innings, while posting a 3.50 ERA. Despite that success, he walked 21 batters during that time, while picking up just seven strikeouts. It was still enough to keep him around, especially with more MLB jobs available in 1890 thanks to the addition of the Player’s League. Easton went 15-14, 3.52 in 255.2 innings in 1890 with the Solons, striking out a career high 147 batters. He threw 23 complete games and also finished off eight games in relief. He then had an 8-14, 4.59 record over 198 innings in 1891, while pitching for two different teams, splitting his time between the Solons and the St Louis Browns of the American Association. He was actually released by Columbus in late July, then signed with St Louis about a week later, where he posted a 5.10 ERA in 47.2 innings. The Browns released him after a month, and then he finished the season back in Columbus for two more starts.
The 1891 season proved to be the final year of the American Association, but Easton followed the Browns to the National League after he was transferred from the Columbus roster following the team folding. St Louis wasn’t planning on keeping him, but pitcher John O’Brien, who was expected to be one of their top starting pitchers, died on March 11, 1892 of pneumonia at 24 years old. Easton was signed to fill his place. He won both of his decisions in 1892, going 2-0, 6.39, while starting twice and pitching three times in relief. He finished with 26 walks and four strikeouts, before he was cut from the team in June. Easton returned to the minors for the rest of 1892 after being released, playing briefly for Minneapolis of the Class-A Western Association (highest level of the minors at the time), while also seeing time in the Wisconsin-Michigan League with Green Bay. He then spent the entire 1893 season with Chattanooga of the Class-B Southern Association, where he had a 5-3 record and pitched 15 games, including 12 starts and eight complete games (stats are limited from that season). He also batted .155 in 38 games, seeing some outfield and infield starts as well. He returned to the majors with the Pirates for the 1894 season. Just days before he signed with the Pirates, it was announced that he was going to play second base and occasionally pitch for Grand Rapids of the Western League. However, he was signed and practicing with the Pirates on May 29th, showing a strong fastball during that first day. He pitched just three games with Pittsburgh, losing his only start on June 19th. Three days earlier, the Pirates (who actually went by the name “Braves” in 1894) let Easton pitch for a local amateur team from Climax, PA. His final game with the team came on July 7th, when he pitched the last seven innings, allowing seven runs in a 12-0 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. He was released on July 14th, as one of three pitcher let go by the Pirates/Braves that day. Easton pitched a total of 19.2 innings for Pittsburgh, in what would be his last time in the majors. He had a 4.12 ERA and just one strikeout.
Easton returned to the minors for three more years before retiring from baseball, playing for four teams in three leagues/levels during that time. No stats are available for any of those years, which were spent with Oil City of the Class-C Iron and Oil League in 1895, Springfield and Rochester of the Class-A Eastern League in 1896, and Wheeling of the Class-B Interstate League in 1897. An 1894 article said that he was retired and working as a motor man in Oil City, so it’s no surprise that he played there the next season. His final big league stats in five seasons show a 26-29, 4.12 record in 522.1 innings. He completed 46 of his 57 starts, and also made 19 relief appearances. You can find his references back in the day mostly under his given name, John. Records now don’t know if he was a left-handed or right-handed pitcher, but that almost certainly means that he was right-handed, because lefties were always noted in articles, either as a lefty or as a southpaw. You can actually find mentions of Easton in articles where the opposing pitcher is identified as a southpaw and his throwing hand isn’t mentioned. According to Baseball-Reference’s similarity scores, the most similar pitcher all-time to Easton is Mike Dunne who came over from the Cardinals in the Tony Pena trade and went 13-6, 3.03 as a rookie for the Pirates in 1987.