This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History: May 27th, Jacob Brumfield and Three Obscure Pitchers

Four former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date.

Tanner Anderson, pitcher for the 2018 and 2021 Pirates. He was a 20th round draft pick out of Harvard in 2015 as a senior. He was a regular for all four years on the Harvard staff, but he pitched a total of just 143.1 innings during that time. It took Anderson three years to make his big league debut. He pitched for two short-season clubs in 2015 after signing, going 5-0, 2.83 in 28.2 innings over 15 relief appearances split between Bristol of the Appalachian League and Morgantown of the New York-Penn League. He had a 1.08 WHIP and a 25:2 SO/BB ratio. He split the 2016 season evenly between West Virginia of the Low-A South Atlantic League and Bradenton of the High-A Florida State League, with similar results at each level. He went 3-3, 3.58 in 88 innings that season, while mostly pitching in long relief, with three starts in 36 appearances. He had 50 strikeouts and a 1.23 WHIP. That fall he pitched in the Arizona Fall League, where he had a 3.76 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP in seven starts. He pitched just 26.1 innings, so it was a limited pitch count each game. He was a starter for Altoona of the Double-A Eastern League for most of the 2017 season. Anderson went 10-8, 3.38 that year, with 97 strikeouts and a 1.25 WHIP in 133.1 innings spread over 19 starts and 11 relief appearances. He spent most of 2018 with Indianapolis of the Triple-A International League, where he had a 2.64 ERA, 49 strikeouts, a 1.30 WHIP and six saves in 61.1 innings spread over 39 relief appearances. He came up to the majors for a short time in July, then returned to the Pirates in September. He pitched six games in relief for the 2018 Pirates, posting a 6.35 ERA and a 2.03 WHIP in 11.1 innings. Anderson was traded over the 2018-19 off-season to the Oakland A’s for minor league pitcher Wilkin Ramos.

Anderson made five starts for the A’s in 2019, going 0-3, 6.04 in 22.1 innings, with 18 strikeouts and a 1.66 WHIP. He had a 6.00 ERA in 96 innings at Triple-A that year, though that’s not as bad as it sounds. He was playing in the ultra hitter-friendly Las Vegas of the Pacific Coast League, where the team ERA was 5.20 that season. During the shortened 2020 season, Anderson played for Sioux Falls in the independent American Association on loan from the A’s. He was limited to 11 innings, partially due to a 10.64 ERA and a 2.46 WHIP. He was pitching for Las Vegas in 2021, until getting released in mid-June. That was despite a 3.60 ERA in 12 relief appearances. He actually had 12 walks and three strikeouts at the time. He signed with the Pirates a short time later, then went to Indianapolis, where he had a 2-4, 4.17 record and a 1.36 WHIP in 36.2 innings over four starts and 13 relief appearances. The Pirates called up Anderson on September 30th for one game, in which he allowed two runs over five innings. He finished the year on the injured list, though he was on the active roster for a total of four days. He played for Tijuana of the Mexican League for part of the 2022 season, going 2-5, 3.78 in 47.2 innings. He then played in China, where he went 1-1, 1.72 in 31.1 innings over six starts. He had a 1.31 ERA over five starts during the 2022-23 off-season in the Dominican. He returned to China for 2023, where he has allowed one earned run over 6.2 innings through mid-May. Anderson has a deceptive delivery with a high leg kick and he pitched with a lot of command and throws to contact, which limits his pitch counts. In 407.1 minor league innings between 2015-2019, he had 113 walks and 280 strikeouts. In his big league career, he is 1-3, 5.82 in 38.2 innings over five starts and seven relief appearances.

Jacob Brumfield, center fielder for the 1995-96 Pirates. He was signed by the Chicago Cubs at 18 years old as a seventh round pick out of Hammond HS in Louisiana in the 1983 draft. That’s a school that has produced just three draft picks, and Brumfield is the only one to make the majors. He batted .257 during his first season of pro ball, with 17 runs, three homers, 15 RBIs and a .740 OPS in 42 games, while playing for Pikeville in the Appalachian League. He managed to go the whole year without a double. He missed all of the 1984 season due to injury, then was released in April of 1985. He didn’t sign with another team until August of 1986. Brumfield was picked up by the Kansas City Royals at that point, then spent six seasons in their system before becoming a free agent in October of 1991. He finished out the 1986 season with Fort Myers of the Class-A Florida State League, where he hit .317/.349/.512 in 12 games. Playing mostly for Fort Myers in 1987, he had a .254 average over 123 games, with 63 runs, 36 extra-base hits, 34 RBIs, 45 steals and a .732 OPS. Brumfield played nine of those games in 1987 for Memphis of the Double-A Southern League, then stayed there for the next two full season. He batted just .226 over 128 games with Memphis in 1988, but he had 70 runs scored and 47 steals in 54 attempts. He finished with 26 extra-base hits, 28 RBIs, 52 walks and a .633 OPS. He then hit .228 over 104 games in 1989, with 43 runs, 17 extra-base hits, 25 RBIs and 53 walks. He had a better OBP that the previous year due to a higher walk rate, but his slugging dropped to .289, giving him a lower OPS (.625) than in 1988. His stolen base total dropped to 28 that year, while he was caught stealing 12 times.

Brumfield ended up spending most of the 1990 season back in High-A with Baseball City of the Florida State League, where he hit .336 in 109 games, with 66 runs, 24 doubles, 40 RBIs, 60 walks and 47 stolen bases. He was promoted to Omaha of the Triple-A American Association, where he finished the season with a .325/.372/.507 slash line in 24 games. He finished with an .852 OPS over 133 games that year, with 76 runs, 36 extra-base hits and 57 steals. The 1991 season was his final year with the Royals. Brumfield spent it at Omaha, where he hit .267 in 111 games, with 62 runs, 24 extra-base hits, 43 RBIs, 36 steals and a .683 OPS. He signed with the Cincinnati Reds a month after reaching free agency, then made their 1992 Opening Day roster. He made his Major League debut on April 6, 1992. He spent three seasons in Cincinnati, playing a total of 195 big league games. As a rookie in 1992, he hit .133/.212/.133 in 24 games, getting just 33 plate appearances. The rest of the season was spent with Nashville of the Triple-A American Association, where he had a .284 average and an .801 OPS in 56 games. The next year saw Brumfield make it to the majors on May 19th, after putting up a .906 OPS over 33 games with Indianapolis of the American Association. He remained with the Reds for the rest of the season, hitting .268 in 103 games (63 starts), with 40 runs, 17 doubles, six homers, 23 RBIs, 20 steals and a .740 OPS. He was with Cincinnati for the entire strike-shortened 1994 season, hitting .311 in 68 games, with 36 runs, 16 extra-base hits, 11 RBIs, six steals, and a .906 OPS.

The Reds traded Brumfield to the Pirates on October 13, 1994, in exchange for minor league outfielder Danny Clyburn. Brumfield would step in and take over the center field job during that 1995 season, playing 116 games for the Pirates, during a season shortened to 144 games due to the strike from 1994. He finished that year with a .271 average, to go along with 64 runs, 23 doubles, four homers, 22 steals and a .708 OPS. He held that center field spot at the beginning of 1996, before he was traded in mid-May to the Toronto Blue Jays for minor league prospects, D.J. Boston. Brumfield was hitting .250 at the time, with 11 runs, nine doubles, two homers and eight RBIs in 29 games. He hit .256 that year for Toronto, with 52 runs, 19 doubles, 12 homers, 52 RBIs, 12 steals and a .764 OPS in 90 games. He played a career high 119 games that season. His 14 homers and 60 RBIs were more than double his totals from any other season in the majors, yet he didn’t set a career best with runs scored. That happened with the 1995 Pirates. He batted just .207 during the 1997 season, with 22 runs, two homers, 20 RBIs and a .550 OPS in 58 games. He began that year on the disabled list, but he wasn’t out for long, and he was mostly a part-time player that season.

Brumfield spent 1998 with Charlotte of the Triple-A International League, as a member of the Florida Marlins. He hit just .167/.285/.264 in 95 games, with 24 runs, 13 doubles, three homers and 25 RBIs. Despite that rough season in the minors, he spent the 1999 season in the majors, splitting his time between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Blue Jays. He batted .241/.306/.358 in 80 games total that year, winding up with 29 runs, 14 extra-base hits and 20 RBIs. Brumfield returned to the minors to finish his career in 2001. He played in the Chicago White Sox system in 2000, splitting the year between Charlotte (after an affiliate switch) and Birmingham of the Southern League. He also played 11 games for Syracuse of the International League, which was an affiliate of the Blue Jays. Between all three stops, he had a .213 average in 80 games, with 36 runs, 18 doubles, three homers and 22 RBIs. He was in independent ball in 2001, splitting the year between Camden and Nashua of the Atlantic League. Brumfield hit .229 over 76 games, with 33 runs, ten doubles, five homers, 35 RBIs and a .629 OPS. He was a .257 career hitter in 568 Major League games, with 260 runs, 91 doubles, 14 triples, 32 homers, 162 RBIs and 74 stolen bases. He played 1,570 games of pro ball, while finishing with a total of 351 stolen bases.

Ross Baumgarten, pitcher for the 1982 Pirates. He was a 20th round draft pick of the Chicago White Sox in 1977. Despite the late draft status, it took him just over a year to make the majors. He went right to full-season ball after the draft, posting a 3-6, 3.75 record, 65 strikeouts and a 1.42 WHIP in 84 innings for Appleton of the Class-A Midwest League. Baumgarten started the 1978 season back in Appleton, going 9-1, 1.82 in ten starts, with 73 strikeouts and an 0.91 WHIP in 74 innings. He was moved to Knoxville of the Double-A Southern League that season, then it took just 25 innings before the White Sox promoted him again. He had a 3.24 ERA, 14 strikeouts and a 1.16 WHIP during that brief time. He then made nine more starts for Iowa of the Triple-A American Association, going 5-4, 3.27 in 66 innings, with 54 strikeouts and a 1.21 WHIP. That led to his third promotion of the season, joining the White Sox in mid-August. He went 2-2, 5.87 in 23 innings over four starts and three relief appearances over the final six weeks of the big league season. He had 15 strikeouts and a 1.65 WHIP. He threw a total of 188 innings across four levels in 1978. He was a regular in the Chicago starting rotation during the 1979 season, going 13-8, 3.54 in 190.2 innings over 28 starts, with a 1.35 WHIP and an 83:72 BB/SO ratio. He threw four complete games, including three shutouts. That performance led to him finishing fourth in the AL Rookie of the Year voting.  His ERA dropped to 3.44 over 136 innings in 1980, but his record suffered due to the poor play of Chicago. They finished 70-90, while Baumgarten had a 2-12 record. He won his first start of the year, so it was pretty much downhill from there, even though he had a solid ERA and a 1.32 WHIP that was better than league average. The White Sox scored 0-3 runs in 21 of his 23 starts that year.

Baumgarten had a 5-9, 4.07 record during the strike-shortened 1981 season, finishing with 52 strikeouts and a 1.39 WHIP in 101.2 innings over 19 starts. The Pirates acquired him on March 21, 1982, along with pitcher Butch Edge, in exchange for pitcher Ernie Camacho and infielder Vance Law. Baumgarten made ten starts and two relief appearance for the 1982 Pirates, going 0-5, 6.55 in 44 innings, with a 1.98 WHIP and a 27:17 BB/SO ratio. He missed part of the early season with two fractured fingers on his throwing hard. He was released at the end of Spring Training in 1983. Baumgarten signed with the Detroit Tigers, where he had a 12.10 ERA and a 3.00 WHIP in seven outings for Evansville of the of the Triple-A American Association. His career finished later that 1983 season while pitching with Tacoma of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League for the Oakland A’s. He had a 5.63 ERA and a 1.88 WHIP in 24 innings for Tacoma over three starts and nine relief appearances. He retired after the season to take up a job in financial management. His time in Pittsburgh had a bit of a controversial ending. He filed a grievance (along with infielder Jim Morrison) against the club looking to be reimbursed for some flights that he took without the team during the season. At the time, certain clubs (including the Pirates) had a rule that said players had to pay for their own flights if they decided not to travel with the team. As far as I can tell, the decisions on the grievances were never announced. Baumgarten finished his big league career with a 22-36, 4.00 record in 495.1 innings over 88 starts and six relief appearances. He had ten complete games and six shutouts. He had 211 walks, 222 strikeouts and a 1.42 WHIP.

George O’Donnell, pitcher for the 1954 Pirates. He spent five seasons in the minors before having his contract purchased by the Pirates in October of 1953. He was originally a member of the St Louis Browns organization, signing in 1949, before moving on to the Pirates four years later. He played for three different Class-D clubs during his first two seasons of pro ball. That was the lowest level of the minors at the time. He had a 3.49 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP over 188 innings for two teams in 1949, pitching 133 innings for Mayfield of the Kentucky-Illinois-Tennessee League, and 55 innings for Olean of the Pennsylvania-Ontario-New York Leagues (Those leagues are more famously known as the KITTY and PONY leagues). He’s credited with 70 strikeouts for Mayfield, but his online stats are clearly wrong for Olean, where they show two strikeouts over his 15 appearances (four starts). He was with Appleton of the Wisconsin State League in 1950, where he went 12-12, 2.50 in 241 innings. O’Donnell went 22-10 for Waco of the Class-B Big State League in 1951, while posting a 3.67 ERA, 97 strikeouts and a 1.42 in 243 innings. He split the 1952 season between Charleston of the Class-A South Atlantic League and New Orleans of the Double-A Southern Association. He had a combined 14-10, 2.71 record and a 1.28 WHIP in 209 innings, with similar results in both spots.

O’Donnell had a 20-12, 3.61 record, a 1.29 WHIP and an 86:67 BB/SO ratio over 281.1 innings for the Hollywood Stars of the Pacific Coast League in 1953. That league was classified as an Open level at the time, but it was basically the same thing as Triple-A. His big league career lasted just three months of the 1954 season. He saw plenty of action for the Pirates over that time, making ten starts and eleven relief appearances. He went 3-9, 4.53 in 87.1 innings, with a 1.44 WHIP. He walked 21 batters, which wasn’t a bad percentage, but he was only able to pick up eight strikeouts. O’Donnell never had more than one strikeout in any game. He pitched a complete game on May 29th against the Philadelphia Phillies without a strikeout. He still pitched in bad luck, despite the inability to miss bats. The Pirates were shut out in five of his nine losses. He was sent to Hollywood on July 30th on option, where he finished the season by going 3-1, 2.64 in 58 innings, with a 1.24 WHIP and 13 strikeouts over seven starts and 11 relief appearances. O’Donnell was recalled by the Pirates without reporting in early September, which was a common paper move back then to keep players on the team roster. However, he was traded to Hollywood on September 26th as part of a five-player deal with cash. It was a deal in which the Pirates landed three outfielders.

O’Donnell would end up pitching another seven seasons in the minors before retiring, finishing with a 127-93 record in 530 games, while throwing 1,840 innings. He pitched almost exclusively in relief after the 1954 season. He remained in Hollywood for all of the 1955-56 seasons. He went 9-7, 3.42 in 1955, with 33 strikeouts and a 1.39 WHIP in 129 innings. That was followed by a 10-5, 3.16 record during the 1956 season, with 33 strikeouts and a 1.27 WHIP in 94 innings over 51 relief appearances. He split 1957 between Hollywood and Columbus of the Triple-A International League, which was another affiliate of the Pirates. He had a 2.92 ERA, 44 strikeouts and a 1.27 WHIP in 114 innings with Columbus that season, while posting a 1-1 record over 20 appearances with Hollywood (limited stats are available from that stint). That solid Columbus ERA jumped to 4.25 in 146 innings with the team in 1958, when he had 56 strikeouts and a 1.29 WHIP. The 1959 season was his last with Pirates affiliates, splitting the year between Columbus and Salt Lake City of the Pacific Coast League. He also saw brief time with Spokane of the Pacific Coast League that year. His combined stats show a 5-7 record in 126 innings over 51 appearances. Only his Columbus stats are completely available. They show a 2-3, 4.21 record and a 1.19 WHIP in 47 innings. He spent the entire 1960 season with Spokane, putting up a 5.11 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP in 74 innings over 40 appearances (one start). His pro career wound up in 1961 with a 6.75 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP in 16 innings with Syracuse of the International League. O’Donnell is the only pitcher in Pirates history who has 4+ losses, with more career losses than strikeouts. When he signed with the Pirates, it was said that he threw a sidearm knuckleball, using it more than half of the time. He mixed a sinker and curve, but rarely threw four-seam fastballs, as he didn’t have strong velocity.