Ten former Pittsburgh Pirates players have been born on this date, including the center fielder from the Pirates first game in the National League. Before we get into them, current Pirates OF/Catcher Henry Davis turns 24 today.
Tom Brown, outfielder for the 1885-87 Alleghenys. Back on April 30, 1887, the Pittsburgh Alleghenys played their first game in the National League. Brown was batting second that day while playing center field. He played three years for Pittsburgh, the first two while the team was still in the American Association. After the 1884 season, the Alleghenys purchased almost the entire Columbus Buckeyes roster, an American Association team that was folding after the 1884 season. Brown was one of ten players purchased that day, then they as a group made up most of the 1885 Opening Day roster, transforming the Alleghenys from a bad team to a mediocre one overnight.
Brown was born in Liverpool, England. He debuted in pro ball at 17 years old in 1878. He was playing in San Francisco, where he remained through the 1882 season. San Francisco was the center of western baseball during that time, so there were plenty of semi-pro/amateur teams, as well as leagues that existed entirely in the city. He was first in the Pacific League (1878), then in the California League (1881-82). No stats are available from those early years, but Brown went right from San Francisco to Baltimore, where he debuted mid-season during the inaugural season of the American Association with the original Baltimore Orioles. He hit .289 in 45 games, with 28 runs scored, seven extra-base hits, 23 RBIs and a .662 OPS. He became a free agent after the season, then signed with Columbus for 1883. He batted .274 that year, with 69 runs scored, 24 extra-base hits, 32 RBIs and a .678 OPS in 97 games. Before joining the Alleghenys, Brown had a .273 average, 93 runs, nine doubles, 11 triples, five homers, 32 RBIs and a .690 OPS over 107 games in 1884. Brown hit .307 for the 1885 Alleghenys, with 81 runs scored, 16 doubles, 12 triples, four homers, 68 RBIs, 34 walks and a .792 OPS in 108 games. he hit .285 over 115 games in 1886, with 106 runs, 23 extra-base hits, 51 RBIs, 30 steals and a .728 OPS. That’s the first year that stolen base numbers are available.
Brown struggled with the jump to the National League in 1887, hitting .245 in 47 games before being released. He finished up his Pittsburgh time that year with 30 runs, seven extra-base hits, six RBIs, 12 steals and a .591 OPS. That turned out to be a bad decision because some of his best years were still ahead of him, though it looked like a wise move short-term. His hitting was getting worse as the season went along, so the Alleghenys took on outfielder Ed Beecher to replace him. Once they were satisfied with the work of Beecher, they gave Brown his unconditional release on August 15th. That allowed him to sign right away with any other team, as opposed to the normal ten-day waiting period. That latter scenario would have been one where he would have still technically been with Pittsburgh, just in case his services were needed during that time, then they still owned his rights during that ten-day period. The only catch to his free agency was that all of the National League teams had to pass on him, before he was allowed to sign with an American Association team. That was a moot point as it turned out. Brown signed right away with Indianapolis, the team playing the Alleghenys on the day he was released.
Brown hit .189/.228/.243 over 36 games, while finishing out the 1887 season with Indianapolis. He had a solid season in 1888, batting .248 in 107 games for the Boston Beaneaters, with 62 runs, 26 extra-base hits, 49 RBIs, 46 steals and a .668 OPS. His average slipped in 1889, though it was still the start of some big years ahead in his career. He hit .232 over 90 games, with 93 runs scored, 17 extra-base hits, 24 RBIs, 59 walks, 63 steals and a .645 OPS. It was the first of three straight seasons in which he scored more runs than games played. He jumped with most of his teammates to the Boston Reds of the Player’s League in 1890, where he hit .280 over 131 games, with 149 runs scored, 25 doubles, 14 triples, 67 RBIs, 87 walks, 80 steals and a .776 OPS. With the Player’s League done after just one season, Brown played the 1891 season with the Boston Reds in the American Association. During that three-year stretch of 1889-1891, he played for Boston in three different leagues. The 1891 season was a magical one for Brown. He scored 177 runs in 1891, which was a record at the time, and it still stands as the second highest single-season total in MLB history. He also led the league that year with 106 stolen bases, 21 triples and 189 hits, to go along with career highs of 72 RBIs and 30 doubles. His .865 OPS was 73 points higher than his second best season (1885 Alleghenys).
The American Association ceased operations after the 1891 season, so the National League was the only Major League left for the 1892 season. Brown joined the Louisville Colonels in 1892, where he hit .227 over 153 games, with 105 runs scored, 26 extra-base hits, 45 RBIs and 78 stolen bases. He had a .559 OPS that season, while also leading the league for a third straight season in strikeouts. Despite the poor stats, he set Major League records with 712 plate appearances and 660 at-bats that year. The plate appearances record stood until 1898, but the at-bats record wasn’t broken until 1921. Brown hit .240 during the 1893 season, with 104 runs, 27 extra-base hits, 54 RBIs, 56 walks, 66 steals (led the league) and a .642 OPS in 122 games. Offense was up all around baseball in 1894 due to the new pitching rules, but Brown only saw a mild increase. He hit .253 over 130 games, with 123 runs scored, 45 extra-base hits, 57 RBIs, 66 steals, 60 walks and a .727 OPS. Those sound like decent numbers, but the overall production was well below league average for that season, with an OPS 87 points lower than league average.
Brown was traded to the St Louis Browns prior to the 1895 season. He hit .220 that year, with 73 runs, 16 extra-base hits, 31 RBIs, 34 steals and a .598 OPS in 84 games, before being released late in the season. He signed with the Washington Senators to finish out the season, then remained there until his final big league game in 1898. The move was good for him, as he saw a spike in his average during the 1896-97 seasons. Brown hit 239/.329/.388 in 34 games for Washington to finishing out 1895. He then batted .294 during the 1896 season, with 87 runs, 25 extra-base hits, 59 RBIs, 58 walks and a .760 OPS in 116 games. He had lost a step by that year at 35 years old, but still managed to steal 28 bases. He hit .292 over 116 in 1897, with 91 runs, 24 extra-base hits, 45 RBIs, 52 walks, 25 steals and a .733 OPS. His final season lasted just 16 games before playing his last big league game on May 17, 1898. He hit .164/.233.182 over 60 plate appearances that year. He managed for parts of both seasons during those final two season in Washington, with his last managerial game coming after his final game as a player. He went to the minors as a player-manager in 1899, then saw sporadic playing/managing time after that point, with his last known pro records coming in 1906 for Williamsport of the Tri-State League. He batted .224 for Springfield of the Class-A Eastern League (highest level of the minors at the time) in 1899, finishing that year with 65 runs, 19 extra-base hits and 22 steals. He hit .191 over 19 games for Denver of the Class-A Western League in 1901. All nine of his hits were singles. No stats are available for his 1906 season.
Brown finished his career with 658 stolen bases. The interesting part about that is that they didn’t count steals during his first four seasons, so the total would have been much higher and put him in elite company as far as career totals. As it stands now, he ranks 13th all-time. Brown scored 1,521 runs during his career while playing just 1,791 games. Despite the success, he also led the league in strikeouts five times from 1890 until 1895. He was a .265 career hitter, with 240 doubles, 138 triples, 64 homers and 742 RBIs. He pitched at least once each year from 1882-86, including three appearances with the Alleghenys. In 12 games (one start), he had a 2-2, 5.29 record in 49.1 innings.
Sam McDowell, pitcher for the 1975 Pirates. He was a great pitcher during his day, who joined the Pirates at the very end of his career. He was a big lefty, who led the league in strikeouts five times. He was a six-time All-Star, who was born in Pittsburgh and attended Central Catholic HS in town. McDowell spent parts/all of five seasons in the minors, but he still got to the big leagues before his 19th birthday. He debuted at age 17 in 1960, going 5-6, 3.35 over 104.2 innings, with 100 strikeouts and a 1.58 WHIP for Lakeland of the Class-D Florida State League. He jumped to Salt Lake City of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League in 1961, leaping up five levels of the minor league chain in the process. McDowell went 13-10, 4.42 in 175 innings that season, picking up 156 strikeouts. He had a 1.69 WHIP that year, due in part to 152 walks. He debuted that September with the Cleveland Indians, making one start in which he threw 6.1 shutout innings. He was back in Salt Lake City for a brief time in 1962, but a majority of his season was spent in Cleveland. He went 3-7, 6.06 in 87.2 innings over 13 starts and 12 relief appearances for the Indians, with 70 walks, 70 strikeouts and a 1.72 WHIP. He had a 2.03 ERA, 34 strikeouts and a 1.28 WHIP in 40 innings with Salt Lake City that season. McDowell made 12 starts for Jacksonville of the Triple-A International League in 1963, while pitching 14 times (12 starts) that year with the Indians. His big league stats that season show a 3-5, 4.85 record, a 1.65 WHIP and 63 strikeouts in 65 innings. He had a 3.41 ERA, a 1.30 WHIP and 84 strikeouts in 87 innings with Jacksonville. The 1964 season was also split between the minors and majors, with McDowell pitching well at each level. He had an 8-0, 1.18 record, an 0.76 WHIP and 102 strikeouts in 76 innings with Portland of the Pacific Coast League. He had an 11-6, 2.70 record that year for the Indians, with 177 strikeouts and a 1.43 WHIP over 173.1 innings.
McDowell’s best season in the majors was 1965, when he went 17-11, 2.18 over 35 starts and seven relief outings, with a 1.14 WHIP and 325 strikeouts in 273 innings. He had 14 complete games, three shutouts and four saves. He led the league in ERA and strikeouts that year, though he also topped the league in walks and wild pitches. He was an All-Star for the first time that season, plus he received mild MVP support, finishing 17th in the voting. He had a 9-8, 2.87 record and a 1.19 WHIP in 194.1 innings during the 1966 season, while leading the league with five shutouts and 225 strikeouts. He completed eight of his 28 starts, while also making seven relief appearances. McDowell also made his second All-Star appearance that year. The 1967 season was a bit of a down year, as he finished with a 13-15, 3.85 record and a 1.37 WHIP in 236.1 innings over 37 starts. That was his first year with no relief appearances. He had 236 strikeouts, which was second in the league, but he also led the league with 101 earned runs allowed, 123 walks and 18 wild pitches. McDowell rebounded nicely in 1968, going 15-14, 1.81 in 269 innings, while leading the league with 110 walks and 283 strikeouts. He had a 1.08 WHIP, 11 complete games and three shutouts. His ERA was the second best in the league that year. He made his third All-Star appearance, which started a string of four straight All-Star games for him. McDowell went 18-14, 2.94 in 285 innings during the 1969 season, with a 1.44 WHIP and a league leading 279 strikeouts. He completed 18 of his 38 starts, including four shutouts. He came close to his 1965 success in 1970, when he finished with 20 wins and league leading totals of 305 innings and 304 strikeouts (he also led with 131 walks). McDowell finished third in the Cy Young voting that year, plus he received mild MVP support, finishing 16th in the voting.
McDowell began to see some drop-off in his performance in 1971, though that year was still a decent season for a 60-102 team. He went 13-17, 3.40 in 214.1 innings, with a 1.46 WHIP and 192 strikeouts, which ranked seventh in the league (his last season in the top ten). He set a career high with 153 walks that year. He was traded to the San Francisco Giants for Gaylord Perry prior to the 1972 season. McDowell had a 10-8, 4.33 record, 122 strikeouts and a 1.47 WHIP in 164.1 innings during his first season with the Giants. He completed just four of his 25 starts, while also making three relief appearances. The 1973 season was split between the Giants and New York Yankees. He went 6-10, 4.11 in 135.2 innings between both stops, with 110 strikeouts and a 1.56 WHIP over 18 starts and 16 relief appearances. McDowell went 1-6, 4.69 in 48 innings over seven starts and six relief outings during the 1974 season. He had a 1.73 WHIP, 41 walks and 33 strikeouts. The Yankees released him in December of 1974, four months before officially signing with Pittsburgh. He agreed to attend Spring Training with the Pirates on January 18, 1975, in an attempt to make the roster. He signed that big league deal with the Pirates on April 2, 1975, then pitched 14 times (one start) for the team before being released on June 26th, so they could call up Kent Tekulve from the minors. That short stint with the Pirates marked the end of his big league career. McDowell went 2-1, 2.86 in 34.2 innings in Pittsburgh, with 29 strikeouts and a 1.44 WHIP. He posted a 141-134, 3.17 record and a 1.31 WHIP in 2,492.1 innings over his 15-year career. He ranks 45th all-time with 2,453 strikeouts, while also placing 30th all-time in walks with 1,312. He put up 41.8 WAR in his career. McDowell turns 81 today.
Max Butcher, pitcher for the Pirates from 1939 until 1945. During his time with the Pirates, he went 67-60, 3.34 in 1,171.2 innings. He had double-digit wins four times in Pittsburgh, topping out at 17 victories in 1941. Butcher was not the best pitcher away from the Pirates. He went 28-46 during the rest of his ten-year career, seeing time with the 1936-38 Brooklyn Dodgers and 1938-39 Philadelphia Phillies. He debuted in pro ball in 1931 at 20 years old, when he pitched briefly for two lower level teams. He put in a total of 39.1 innings over five games each with York of the Class-B New York-Penn League and Clarksburg of the Class-C Middle Atlantic League. Limited available stats show a combined 3-3 record, along with a 2.13 WHIP during his time in York. He played for Beckley of the Middle Atlantic League in 1932, where he went 16-12, 3.29 in 235 innings, while posting a 1.29 WHIP. He moved up two levels to Atlanta of the Class-A Southern Association in 1933, where he had a 10-13, 4.67 record and a 1.65 WHIP in 189 innings. Butcher spent most of 1934 struggling with Baltimore of the Double-A International League (highest level of the minors at the time), where he had a 4-9, 6.48 record and a 1.73 WHIP in 107 innings over 31 appearances. He didn’t do much better a level lower, posting a 5.29 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP in 34 innings with Binghamton of the New York-Penn League. He pitched for Galveston of the Class-A Texas League in 1935, where he had an incredible season. He went 24-11, 2.21 in 317 innings over 36 starts and three relief appearances, while finishing with a 1.09 WHIP. That led to his first big league shot with the 1936 Dodgers.
Butcher went 6-6, 3.96 as a rookie during the 1936 season, with 55 strikeouts and a 1.44 WHIP in 147.2 innings over 15 starts and 23 relief appearances. He had five complete games and two saves (not an official stat at the time). He followed that up with an 11-15, 4.27 record, 57 strikeouts and a 1.45 WHIP in 191.2 innings, while making 24 starts and 15 relief appearances. He had eight complete games and his first career shutout. He was 5-4, 6.56 in 72.2 innings during the 1938 season, before being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in early August. He finished the season strong for a bad team, going 4-8, 2.93 in 12 starts, with 11 complete games. He had a 4.47 ERA, 50 strikeouts and a 1.57 WHIP in 171 innings between both stops, with 14 complete games in 20 starts, while also making 16 relief appearances. Butcher got off to a rough start in 1939, posting a 2-13, 5.79 record in 105.2 innings over 20 games (16 starts) for the Phillies. The Pirates acquired Butcher in an even up deal for aging first baseman Gus Suhr on July 28, 1939. As far as career performance to that point, it was a one-sided deal that favored the Phillies. It became a one-sided deal in favor of the Pirates by the end. Suhr lasted just 70 games in Philadelphia over the 1939-40 seasons, while Butcher was a solid contributor for the Pirates for seven seasons. He had a 4-4, 3.43 record in 86.2 innings for the 1939 Pirates, to finish the year with a combined 6-17, 4.73 record in 192.1 innings, with 48 strikeouts and a 1.62 WHIP.
Before he become a solid contributor, Butcher pitched very poorly for the 1940 Pirates, so it was lucky that they held on to him. He had an 8-9, 6.01 record, 40 strikeouts and a 1.52 WHIP that year in 136.1 innings, with 24 starts and 11 relief appearances. He had six complete games, two shutouts and two saves. That was followed up by a 17-12, 3.05 record and a 1.33 WHIP in a career high 236 innings during the 1941 season. His career high 19 complete games that season ranked as the fifth highest total in the National League. He was never much of a strikeout pitcher, so his 61 strikeouts that season stood as his career high. His record dropped to 5-8 during the 1942 season, but he still had a 2.93 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP in 150.2 innings, which were spread over 18 starts and six relief appearances. That was the only year that he had more strikeouts (49) than walks (44). Butcher went 10-8, 2.60 in 193.2 innings during the 1943 season, with 21 starts and 12 relief appearances. He had 45 strikeouts, a 1.28 WHIP, ten complete games and two shutouts. He saw a bit more work as starter in 1944, when he went 13-11, 3.12 over 199 innings, with 27 starts and eight relief outings. He had 43 strikeouts, a 1.32 WHIP and 13 complete games, including a career best five shutouts. In his final season in Pittsburgh, Butcher had a 10-8, 3.03 record in 169.1 innings, with 37 strikeouts and a 1.36 WHIP. He completed 12 of his 20 starts (including two shutouts), while also pitching eight times in relief.
Butcher’s time with the Pirates came to an end when he held out of Spring Training in 1946, because the Pirates tried to cut his salary from $11,000 to $8,000 that season. He was released on March 20th, then ended up playing for two minor league teams that year, which was his last season in pro ball. He dropped well down in competition that year, playing for Raleigh of the Class-C Carolina League and Welch of the Class-D Appalachian League. He had a combined 6-5 record, 1.43 WHIP and 46 strikeouts over 96 innings. He had a 2.37 ERA during his time for Welch (Raleigh ERA is unavailable). The were multiple references to him playing in 1947 for a lower level team (one said Hot Springs of the Cotton States League and another said a small league in Virginia), but there are no stats for him from that season. His final career record stood at 95-106, 3.75 in 1,787.2 innings over 229 starts and 106 relief appearances, with a 1.41 WHIP, 104 complete games and 14 shutouts. As mentioned, he was a major pitch-to-contact pitcher, finishing with 583 walks and just 485 strikeouts. His single game high strikeout mark with the Pirates was seven in one contest, which he did once. His actual first name was Albert. Max (Maxwell) was his middle name.
Jason Christiansen, pitcher for the 1995-2000 Pirates. He is known now for being the player who was traded even up to the St Louis Cardinals for Jack Wilson, but he spent six seasons with the Pirates before that deal. Christiansen pitched 278 games (all in relief) for the Pirates, posting a 4.13 ERA in 274.2 innings. He was a non-drafted free agent signing in June of 1991 at 21 years old, after going undrafted out of two colleges. He debuted in short-season ball, where he had a 1.84 ERA, a 1.09 WHIP and 25 strikeouts over 29.1 innings in 1991, splitting his time between Welland of the New York-Penn League and the rookie level Gulf Coast League. The next year was split between Augusta of the Low-A South Atlantic League and Salem of the High-A Carolina League, with most of his time at the higher level. He combined to go 4-1, 2.83 over 48 appearances, with 80 strikeouts and a 1.27 WHIP in 70 innings. Christiansen spent all but two games at Salem during the 1993 season, when he went 1-1, 3.15 over 57 games, with 70 strikeouts and a 1.01 WHIP in 71.1 innings. He also had two scoreless appearances for Carolina of the Double-A Southern League. The 1994 season was split fairly evenly between Carolina and Buffalo of the Triple-A American Association, with similar results at both levels. He combined for a 5-2, 2.24 record, a 1.09 WHIP and 82 strikeouts in 72.1 innings over 62 appearances. Christiansen picked up a total of 11 saves over those four seasons. He made it to the majors at the start of the 1995 season, then pitched 63 games during his rookie year. It was a season slightly shortened due to the carryover from the 1994 strike. He had a 4.15 ERA, a 1.47 WHIP and 53 strikeouts in 56.1 innings.
Christiansen stumbled in 1996, posting a 6.70 ERA, a 1.69 WHIP and 38 strikeouts in 44.1 innings over 33 outings. He was sent to Calgary of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League in mid-July, where he pitched just two games before being shutdown due to elbow pain, which required surgery. He spent the start of the 1997 season back in Double-A Carolina for eight games, but bounced back in the majors when he got called up in mid-June. He posted a 2.94 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 39 games. Despite the success, he had a 1.60 WHIP over 33.2 innings pitched that year. He was even better in 1998, posting a 2.51 ERA, a 1.21 WHIP and 71 strikeouts in 64.2 innings over 60 outings. He set a high that year in saves, picking up six of his 16 total saves for his career. His stats slipped in 1999, when he made three trips to the disabled list. He finished the year with a 2-3, 4.06 record, 35 strikeouts, a 1.27 WHIP and three saves in 37.2 innings over 39 appearances. He struggled even more in 2000 prior to the deal to the Cardinals for Jack Wilson on July 29th, going 2-8, 4.97 in 38 innings over 44 games. He played another five seasons in the majors after the trade, mostly spent with the San Francisco Giants. He finished off 2000 with 5.40 ERA in 21 games with the Cardinals. He was being used as a lefty specialist during that time, which led to him pitching a total of ten innings. He finished the year with a 5.06 ERA, 53 strikeouts and a 1.42 WHIP over 48 innings.
Christiansen started the 2001 season in St Louis, then finished with the Giants after a July 31st trade. He had a 4.66 ERA in 30 games before the deal, then a 1.59 ERA in 25 appearances after the trade. He pitched a total of 36.1 innings that season, finishing with a 3.22 ERA, 31 strikeouts and a 1.21 WHIP. He was limited to just five innings and six appearances during the 2002 season. He missed the rest of the year with Tommy John surgery in late May. He was back in the majors almost exactly one year after his surgery, returning on June 4, 2003 to pitch 40 times over the rest of the season. Christiansen had a 5.19 ERA, 22 strikeouts and a 1.38 WHIP over 26 innings in 2003, with no wins, losses or saves. He went 4-3, 4.50 over 36 innings in 2004, while making 60 appearances. He had 22 strikeouts and a 1.67 WHIP that year. His final season in the majors was split between the Giants and Los Angeles Angels. He went 6-1, 5.36 in 56 games for the 2005 Giants, followed by a 2.45 ERA in 12 appearances for the Angels. That’s a little misleading because he was an extreme lefty specialist in Los Angeles, facing a total of 20 batters in those 12 games. He finished the year with a 5.12 ERA, 21 strikeouts and a 1.58 WHIP in 45.2 innings. Christiansen had a career 27-26, 4.30 record in 528 games, with 384 strikeouts and a 1.44 WHIP over 433.2 innings.
Ben Shelton, outfielder for 1993 Pirates. Shelton was second round draft pick out of high school by the Pirates in 1987. He debuted in the rookie level Gulf Coast League at 17 years old, when he hit .286 over 38 games, with 22 runs, 15 extra-base hits, 16 RBIs, seven steals and an .862 OPS. The 1988 season was split between Princeton of the short-season Appalachian League and Augusta of the Class-A South Atlantic League. He combined to hit .211 in 101 games, with 59 runs, 23 extra-base hits, 11 steals, 40 RBIs, 72 walks and a .708 OPS. He also had 154 strikeouts in that somewhat brief time. Shelton played the entire 1989 season back in Augusta, where he batted .246 over 122 games, with 67 runs, 28 extra-base hits, 50 RBIs, 87 walks, 18 steals and a .758 OPS. He also cut his strikeouts down to 132, while batting 63 more times than the previous year. He hit .206/.333/.344 in 109 games at Salem of the High-A Carolina League during the 1990 season, finishing the year with 44 runs, ten doubles, ten homers, 36 RBIS, 55 walks and only one stolen base. The 1991 season was split between Salem and Carolina of the Double-A Southern League, with much better results at the lower level. He had a .944 OPS in 65 games for Salem, compared to a .686 OPS in 55 games for Carolina. He finished the year with a .247 average, 56 runs, 18 doubles, five triples, 15 homers, 75 RBIs, 74 walks and an .827 OPS.
Shelton spent all of 1992 in Carolina, where he struggled with a .234 average in 115 games, though his 17 doubles, ten homers and 68 walks gave him a .362 OBP and a .724 OPS. He had 57 runs scored and 51 RBIs. He was suspended at the end of the season due to a verbal clash with the coaching staff. He hit .253 over 38 games for Buffalo of the Triple-A American Association in 1993, before joining the Pirates on June 16, 1993. The Pirates were down two outfielders when Andy Van Slyke broke his collarbone and Glenn Wilson was designated for assignment. The Pirates added William Pennyfeather and Shelton to the roster at the same time. His stint with the club lasted just over a month, playing his last game on July 25th, before returning to the minors. He hit .250/.333/.542 in 15 games for the 1993 Pirates, with three runs, a double, two homers and seven RBIs in 24 at-bats. That ended up being his only big league experience. Shelton finished up the season at Buffalo, where he hit .278/.375/.422 in 65 games, with 25 runs, eight doubles, five homers and 22 RBIs. He was released after the 1993 season, then missed all of 1994 due to off-season knee surgery. He then finished his career in the minors in 1995, playing with the Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox. Despite that being his final season, he set a career high that year with 18 homers, while playing just 100 games. He had a .220 average, 67 runs, 27 extra-base hits, 49 RBIs, 73 walks and a .785 OPS, with a majority of his time being split between Trenton and Hardware City of the Double-A Eastern League. He was a pitcher/first baseman in high school, then played strictly at first base during his first four seasons of pro ball, before adding outfielder to his resume in 1991. He played six games in left field and two at first base during his brief time with the Pirates.
Del Lundgren, pitcher for the 1924 Pirates. He debuted in pro ball in 1922 at 22 years old, playing for Salina of the Class-C Southwestern League. He went 9-21, 3.92 in 271 innings that year, with a 1.39 WHIP over his 41 appearances. He struggled in two appearances for Salina in 1923, then spent the rest of the season with the Flint Vehicles of the Class-B Michigan-Ontario League. He did much better with Flint, posting an 18-15, 2.71 record and a 1.45 WHIP in 256 innings. He was acquired by the Pirates in September of 1923, as part of a working agreement with Flint. If he didn’t make the Pirates out of Spring Training in 1924, he would have been returned to Flint. He actually worked out with the Pirates at the end of the 1923 season, but didn’t appear in a game during the final three weeks of the season. Lundgren had a 6.48 ERA, a 1.68 WHIP and four strikeouts in 16.2 innings over seven relief appearances and one start for the 1924 Pirates. His lost his lone start on April 27th, giving up four runs in 5.1 innings. He made seven relief outings in May, and allowed runs in six of those games. Lundgren was sent to the minors after making his last appearance with the Pirates in June of 1924 during an exhibition game. Pittsburgh sent him to Birmingham of the Class-A Southern Association, where he had a 7-14, 5.32 record and a 1.77 WHIP in 176 innings that season. On September 4th, the Pirates announced that Lundgren was released outright to Williamsport of the New York-Penn League. Before he went anywhere, Birmingham decided to purchase his contract from the Pirates.
Lundgren had a 14-15, 3.77 record and a 1.50 WHIP in 289 innings for Birmingham during the 1925 season. He was taken in the Rule 5 draft by the Boston Red Sox after the 1925 season. He went on to pitch for the 1926-27 Red Sox, where he got hit hard during those two season, posting a 6.51 ERA in 167.1 innings. He had a 7.55 ERA, 11 strikeouts and a 2.03 WHIP in 31 innings over 18 appearances (two starts) during the 1926 season. He saw the majority of his Boston time during the 1927 season, when he went 5-12, 6.27 in 136.1 innings over 17 starts and 13 relief appearances. He finished with a 1.81 WHIP and a rough 87:39 BB/SO ratio. He went to Nashville of the Southern Association in 1928, where he had a 3-14, 6.64 record and a 1.96 WHIP over 126 innings. Lundgren then made a remarkable turnaround in 1929 while still with Nashville. He had an 18-10, 3.70 record and a 1.30 WHIP in 243 innings. That was a one-year outlier, as he posted a 1-6, 7.67 record and a 2.02 WHIP over 61 innings for Minneapolis of the American Association in 1930, which turned out to be his last pro experience. It was said that he had a sore arm, which led to his poor results. Minneapolis sent him to Des Moines of the Western League. They then released him back to Minneapolis in February of 1931, saying that he didn’t show enough to warrant a Spring Training tryout. He was sold in April of 1931 to Little Rock of the Southern Association, but an injury caused him to be sent home. He was playing semi-pro ball in Kansas by July of 1931. He was doing well at that time, but he never returned to pro ball. His actual first name is Ebin, but he went by his middle name Delmer, which was often misspelled as Delmar and shortened to Del.
Gil Britton, shortstop for the 1913 Pirates. Britton was signed by the Pirates on August 15, 1913 by scout Howard Earle, who recommended him to manager Fred Clarke. At the time, it was said that he would join the Pirates on September 9th, though he showed up for the first time on September 12th. He was hitting .270 at the time of the purchase from Houston of the Class-B Texas League, where he was considered to be one of the top base runners in the league. He finished with a .283 average, 14 doubles and three triples in 155 games for Houston before heading to Pittsburgh. The report said that he could play third base or shortstop. His entire big league career consisted of three games in late September for those 1913 Pirates. Two of those games were during a September 20th doubleheader against Brooklyn. His other game came three days later, and it was also against Brooklyn. He went 0-for-12 and committed three errors, going 0-for-4 with one error in each game. When he joined the Pirates, manager Fred Clarke said that he was anxious to see him play, so he would probably give Honus Wagner off during game two of the doubleheader to see Britton play. Wagner ended up getting both games off instead. Wagner had a bit of a leg injury at the time, so it opened up a chance for the rookie. Britton was praised for his defensive player by Clarke, despite the errors. Britton was from Kansas, so after the team played a game in St Louis on September 27th, he was allowed to go home for the winter. The Pirates wrapped up their season in Chicago a week later.
It was said when Britton signed with the Pirates for the 1914 season that he would compete for the starting third base job with veteran Mike Mowrey. Britton nearly made the team as a backup, but he was sold on April 7th to St Joseph of the Class-A Western League. He played a total of nine seasons in pro ball (1909-17), debuting at 17 years old, then playing his final game right around his 26th birthday. His first two seasons were spent with Abilene of the Class-D , where he hit .242 in 1909, followed by a .246 average during the 1910 season (available stats are limited to at-bats, hits and average). Most of 1911 was spent in the Central Kansas League with a team from Clay Center, where he hit .348 in 71 games. The rest of the season was spent two levels higher with Houston, where he put up a .283 average and six extra-base hits in 27 games. He remained in Houston up until his time with the Pirates. Britton hit .254 in 1912, with 12 doubles and two triples over 143 games. While some of his minor league stats are incomplete, he has just three homers to his credit in pro ball. Those came after his time in Pittsburgh. He hit .288 over 161 games with St Joseph in 1914, with 116 runs, 36 doubles, 14 triples, one homer, 18 steals and a .692 OPS. He played his first of two years with Wichita of the Western League during the 1915 season. Britton hit .306 in 1915, with 24 doubles and five triples over 142 games. He batted .285 over 150 games in 1916, with 40 doubles, five triples and two homers. He finished up back in Houston during the 1917 season, where he had a .234 average and 13 extra-base hits in 150 games. His career ended when he was called into service during WWI in late August of 1917. His first name was Stephen. Gil (Gilbert) was his middle name.
Danny Cox, relief pitcher for the 1992 Pirates. He was drafted in the 13th round of the 1981 draft out of Troy University by the St Louis Cardinals. His debut in pro ball was strong, finishing the year with a 9-4, 2.06 record, a 1.06 WHIP and 87 strikeouts in 109 innings, while racking up ten complete games in 13 starts for Johnson City of the short-season Appalachian League. The 1982 season was spent at Springfield of the Class-A Midwest League, where he had a 2.56 ERA, a 1.32 WHIP and 68 strikeouts in 84.1 innings over 15 games (13 starts). The 1983 season was a crazy ride that started with St Petersburg of the Class-A Florida State League, while ending in the majors, with stops at Arkansas of the Double-A Texas League and Louisville of the Triple-A American Association along the way. Cox went 10-5, 2.37 during his minor league time that year, with 103 strikeouts and a 1.04 WHIP in 129.1 innings. His best results and the majority of his time came with Arkansas. He made 12 starts for the Cardinals that year, going 3-6, 3.25 in 83 innings, with 36 strikeouts and a 1.39 WHIP. Most of 1984 was spent in the majors, except for six starts in Louisville, where he had a 2.13 ERA and an 0.97 WHIP in 42.1 innings. Cox went 9-11, 4.03 in 156.1 innings for the Cardinals, with 27 starts and two relief appearances. He had 70 strikeouts and a 1.44 WHIP. He had just one complete game, though that was his first career shutout. That was just a warm-up for his best season.
Cox had a 18-9, 2.88 record and a 1.20 WHIP in 241 innings for the 1985 Cardinals, helping them to the World Series. He picked up a career high 131 strikeouts that season, while completing ten of his starts, including four shutouts. He made three starts that postseason, in which he allowed four runs over 20 innings of work, though St Louis still lost the World Series to the Kansas City Royals. Cox had a nearly identical ERA during the 1985-86 seasons, but his record suffered along with his team. The Cardinals finished 79-82 that year, while he had a 12-13, 2.90 record and a 1.13 WHIP in 220 innings. He completed eight starts and had 108 strikeouts. He didn’t pitch as well in 1987, but St Louis still went back to the World Series. Cox went 11-9, 3.88 in 199.1 innings that year over 31 starts, with two complete games, a 1.48 WHIP and 101 strikeouts. He did well in the NLCS that year with a 2.12 ERA in 17 innings, but the World Series saw him take two losses and post a 7.71 ERA in 11.2 innings. An elbow injury during the 1988 season limited him to a 3.98 ERA, 47 strikeouts and a 1.33 WHIP in 86 innings over 13 starts. He also made three rehab starts for Louisville. Cox took a 20% pay cut in 1989, though his deal had performances bonuses that could have earned him a total of $800,000 that season. He ran into trouble with his elbow in an early Spring Training game that year, then assaulted a cameraman on his way to get the elbow examined. He needed elbow surgery, which cost him the entire 1989 season. It also limited him to 23 innings of minor league rehab work in 1990.
Cox signed with the Philadelphia Phillies as a free agent for the 1991 season, when he had a 4-6, 4.57 record, 46 strikeouts and a 1.34 WHIP in 102.1 innings over 17 starts and six relief appearances. He began the 1992 season as a starter for the Phillies, before being released in early June. Cox had a 5.40 ERA, 30 strikeouts and a 1.70 WHIP in 38.1 innings at the time. He signed with the Pirates 12 days after being released, then pitched 16 games in relief over the rest of the season. He had a 3.33 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP and 18 strikeouts in 24.1 innings, while finishing with three wins and three saves. He tossed 1.1 scoreless innings over two appearances during the NLCS that year. Cox left via free agency after the 1992 season, then signed with the Toronto Blue Jays. He had a solid 1993 season as a reliever, going 7-6, 3.12 in 83.2 innings over 44 appearances, with 84 strikeouts and a 1.22 WHIP. He had tendinitis going into 1994, so was limited to ten appearances during the strike-shortened season. He had a 1.45 ERA, 14 strikeouts and an 0.75 WHIP in 18.2 innings that year. Cox posted a 7.40 ERA, a 2.00 WHIP and 38 strikeouts in 45 innings over 24 games during the 1995 season, which turned out to be his final season of pro ball. In 11 big league seasons, he went 74-75, 3.64 in 1,298 innings, while making 174 starts and 104 relief appearances. He had 723 strikeouts, a 1.33 WHIP, 21 complete games, five shutouts and eight saves. He had a 3.24 ERA in 58.1 postseason innings. Cox is one of just five players born in England to play in the majors since 1971.
Antonio Bastardo, pitcher for the 2015-17 Pirates. He signed with the Philadelphia Phillies as an international free agent at 19 years old in 2005 out of the Dominican Republic. He debuted in the Gulf Coast League in 2006, where he had a 3.91 ERA in 23 innings, with 27 strikeouts and a 1.48 WHIP. The 2007 season was spent as a starter with Lakewood of the Low-A South Atlantic League, where he went 9-0, 1.87 in 91.2 innings over 15 games, with 98 strikeouts and a 1.15 WHIP. He won his only start that season with Clearwater of the High-A Florida State League, striking out 12 batters, despite allowed four runs over five innings. He pitched very briefly in the Dominican winter league that off-season, which was the first of nine off-seasons in which he played winter league ball. He dominated in five starts with Clearwater to start 2008, posting a 1.17 ERA, an 0.98 WHIP and 47 strikeouts in 30.2 innings. He then had a 3.76 ERA, a 1.39 WHIP and 62 strikeouts in 67 innings over 14 starts with Reading of the Double-A Eastern League. He made eight starts that winter in the Dominican, where he had a 2.63 ERA over 37.2 innings. Bastardo missed a little time with injury during the 2009 season, but he still ended up pitching in the majors after playing at four different levels in the minors. He actually debuted in the majors in June for five starts, then came back in October for a relief appearance. He went 2-3, 6.46 in 23.2 innings for the Phillies, with 19 strikeouts and a 1.48 WHIP. His combined minor league record that year shows a 3-2, 2.15 record in 54.1 innings over nine starts and eight relief appearances, with 56 strikeouts, an 0.94 WHIP and three saves. He pitched seven games of relief during the 2009-10 winter in the Dominican, with one run allowed over six innings.
Bastardo pitched strictly as a reliever while in the majors during the 2010 season, putting up a 4.34 ERA, a 1.50 WHIP and 26 strikeouts in 18.2 innings over 25 appearances. He made 23 relief appearances in the minors that year, mostly with Lehigh Valley of the Triple-A International League. He posted a 1.77 ERA, a 1.03 WHIP and 33 strikeouts in 20.1 innings during that time. His winter league time during the 2010-11 off-season saw him allow one unearned run over nine innings. He spent all of 2011 in the majors, going 6-1, 2.64 over 64 games, with eight saves, an 0.93 WHIP and 70 strikeouts in 58 innings pitched. Bastardo made 65 appearances during the 2012 season, when he had a 2-5, 4.33 record, a 1.27 WHIP, one save and an incredible total of 81 strikeouts over 52 innings, averaging 14.0 strikeouts per nine innings. His limited winter ball time during the 2012-13 off-season saw him allow three runs in 2.1 innings. He posted his best ERA in 2013, when he pitched 42.2 innings over 48 appearances. He finished that year with a 3-2, 2.32 record, a 1.27 WHIP, two saves and 47 strikeouts. He followed that with a strong winter, posting a 1.93 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP and 24 strikeouts in 14 innings. Bastardo saw a dip in his stats in 2014, when he had a 5-7, 3.94 record, a 1.20 WHIP and 81 strikeouts in 64 innings over 67 games. He was acquired by Pittsburgh over the 2014-15 off-season in exchange for pitcher Joely Rodriguez. In 66 appearances for the 2015 Pirates, he went 4-1, 2.98 in 57.1 innings, with 64 strikeouts, a 1.13 WHIP and one save.
Bastardo was granted free agency after the 2015 season. He then signed with the New York Mets, where his performance fell off. He had a 4.74 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP in 43.2 innings over 41 appearances for the 2016 Mets. He was reacquired by the Pirates in exchange for Jon Niese in July of 2016, then went on to post a 4.13 ERA, 28 strikeouts and a 1.25 WHIP in 24 innings over 28 appearances for the 2016 Pirates. His 69 appearances that season set a career high, as did his 67.2 innings. Bastardo pitched just nine games for the 2017 Pirates, putting up a 15.00 ERA and a 2.78 WHIP in nine innings. He was released in July of 2017, which ended his big league career. In nine big league seasons, he had a 27-20, 4.01 record in 393 innings over 419 appearances, with 470 strikeouts and a 1.26 WHIP. He had a 4.48 ERA in 90.1 innings over 103 appearances with the Pirates. Between the 2009-11 Phillies and the 2015 Pirates, he made six scoreless appearances in postseason play, though he totaled just 2.2 innings in that time. After his final big league game, Bastardo played three partial seasons in the Dominican winter league. He made a total of 13 appearances between the 2017-18 and 2018-19 winter seasons and didn’t allow a single hit in 11.2 innings during that time. He pitched two games during the 2019-20 off-season, allowing one run on three hits in one inning of work.
Zach Phillips, pitcher for the 2016 Pirates. He was a 23rd round draft pick of the Texas Rangers in 2004 out of high school, but he didn’t sign right away. As a draft-and-follow pick, he attended college in 2005, then inked a deal right before the deadline for 2004 picks to sign. Phillips debuted in the majors seven years after being drafted, shortly after the Rangers traded him to the Baltimore Orioles. His pro debut was in short-season ball, where he posting a 3.93 ERA, a 1.29 WHIP and 73 strikeouts in 50.1 innings for the rookie-level Arizona League Rangers. His first season ended with four innings for Clinton of the Low-A Midwest League. He then spent the entire 2006-07 seasons with Clinton. Phillips went 5-12, 5.96 over 142 innings in 2006, with 126 strikeouts and a 1.72 WHIP. The next year saw him improve to 11-7, 2.91 in 151.2 innings, with 157 strikeouts and a 1.20 WHIP. The 2008 season was spent playing with Bakersfield in the high-offense High-A California League, where he went 8-9, 5.54 in 144.2 innings, with 117 strikeouts and a 1.62 WHIP. He repeated the level at the start of 2009, but he moved to relief that year, then saw a promotion to Frisco of the Double-A Texas League for half of the season. Between the two stops, he had a 1.39 ERA, 75 strikeouts and an 0.98 WHIP in 77.2 innings over 36 outings. The 2010 season saw him post a 1.08 ERA in 16.2 innings with Frisco, and a 3.22 ERA in 50.1 innings at Oklahoma City of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. Between both stops, he had a 2.69 ERA, a 1.39 WHIP and 63 strikeouts in 67 innings. He played winter ball in Puerto Rico during the 2010-11 off-season, allowing four runs on six hits and five walks in 6.2 innings over eight appearances.
Phillips had a 4.43 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP over 44.2 innings at Round Rock of the Pacific Coast League in 2011, before being dealt mid-season to the Orioles. After the deal, he had a 2.63 ERA in 14 games at Norfolk of the Triple-A International League. He had a 4.01 ERA, a 1.54 WHIP and 45 strikeouts in 58.1 innings over 47 appearances that season. Phillips pitched ten games with the 2011 Orioles, allowing one run in eight innings. He spent most of the 2012 season back in Norfolk, going 2-2, 3.17 in 54 innings, with seven saves, 45 strikeouts and a 1.44 WHIP. He made six appearances for Baltimore that season, allowing four runs over six innings. He was granted free agency after the season, then signed with the Miami Marlins, who got him into three games in 2013. He allowed one run in 1.2 innings during that third big league cup of coffee. The rest of the year was spent New Orleans of the Pacific Coast League, where he went 4-2, 2.44 in 59 innings over 50 games, with 74 strikeouts and a 1.24 WHIP. Phillips spent the 2014 season in Japan, posting an 0.98 ERA, an 0.87 WHIP, 17 saves and 51 strikeouts in 46 innings. The 2015 season was spent in the Chicago White Sox organization, going 1-1, 3.13 in 46 games, with 12 saves, a 1.23 WHIP and 64 strikeouts over 54.2 innings for Charlotte of the International League.
Phillips was back in Norfolk again with Baltimore during the 2016 season, when he had a 4.45 ERA, a 1.48 WHIP and 84 strikeouts in 60.2 innings over 49 appearances. The Pirates acquired him for pitcher Kyle Lobstein on August 31, 2016. Phillips joined the Pirates in September after making two scoreless relief appearances for Indianapolis of the International League He made eight relief appearances for the 2016 Pirates, allowing two runs in 6.2 innings. It ended up being his last big league time, though he is still actively playing in Mexico. He spent part of 2017 with Memphis of the Pacific Coast League for the St Louis Cardinals, where he had a 5.04 ERA and a 1.71 WHIP over 30.1 innings. He then went to Mexico, where he has played six seasons of summer ball and one year of winter ball. Phillips allowed one earned run over 19 innings for Monclova in Mexico to finish out 2017. He had 17 strikeouts and an 0.74 WHIP. He played winter ball during the 2017-18 off-season, allowing four runs over four innings in six appearances for Culiacan. He returned to Monclova in 2018, where he went 1-2, 4.00 over 18 innings, with 21 strikeouts and a 1.33 WHIP. He went 3-4, 4.71 for Monclova during the 2019 season, finishing with 35 strikeouts and a 1.51 WHIP in 36.1 innings. After not playing in 2020, Phillips returned to Monclova in 2021, where he had a 7.16 ERA, 18 strikeouts and a 1.35 WHIP over 16.1 innings. He struggled with Monclova in 2022, then allowed one earned run over ten innings with Aguascalientes of the Mexican League. He combined that year to go 4-4, 5.97 in 31.2 innings, with 42 strikeouts and a 1.86 WHIP. His 2023 stats show a 4-3, 3.78 record split between Monclova and Aguascalientes, with 19 strikeouts and a 1.38 WHIP in 33.1 innings. Phillips pitched 27 games in the majors, going 0-1, 3.22 in 22.1 innings, with a 1.48 WHIP and 20 strikeouts. He has pitched a total of 684 games over all levels of pro ball in his 18-year career.