Five former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date, all of them were pitchers. Starting with the most recent first…
Gene Garber, pitcher for the 1969-70 and 1972 Pirates. He pitched briefly during each of his three seasons in Pittsburgh, before being traded to the Kansas City Royals. He won 96 games and picked up 218 saves during his 19-year career, all coming after he left Pittsburgh. The bulk of his big league success came in Atlanta, where he accumulated 141 saves over ten seasons. Garber was selected by the Pirates during the 20th round of the 1965 amateur draft out of high school in Elizabethtown, PA. . He made 137 starts in the minors for the Pirates, but he started just nine games total during his Major League career, which spanned 931 games over 19 seasons. At 17 years old in 1965, he went 4-3, 3.47 over 72.2 innings, with 42 strikeouts and a 1.43 WHIP. He split his time that year between two short-season teams, getting ten starts and one relief appearance with Batavia of the New York-Penn League, while pitching one game for Salem of the Appalachian League. Garber played his first of two full seasons with Raleigh of the Class-A Carolina League in 1966. He went 4-4, 4.60 during the 1966 season, with 76 strikeouts and a 1.43 WHIP in 94 innings. He then came back with a much improved 8-6, 1.89 record and a 1.09 WHIP over 138 innings in 1967, though he dropped down to 68 strikeouts. He completed six of his 18 starts that year, including three shutouts. He split the 1968 season between starting for York of the Double-A Eastern League, and pitching in relief for Columbus of the Triple-A International League. He combined for a 12-3, 1.88 record, a 1.06 WHIP and 118 strikeouts in 177 innings over 39 games (17 starts). Garber was a starting pitcher for both York and Columbus in 1969, posting similar stats between each stop. He ended up with a 3.08 ERA in 73 innings with York, and 3.07 ERA in 123 innings for Columbus. He finished with a 12-9, 3.08 record, a 1.30 WHIP and 131 strikeouts. He joined the Pirates briefly during that June, when he allowed three runs over five innings in two appearances.
Garber saw his most work for the Pirates in 1970, when he pitched 14 games after making the team out of Spring Training. He was sent down to the minors in early June, then did not return until 1972. He had a 5.24 ERA, 1 1.43 WHIP and a 10:7 BB/SO ratio in 22.1 innings with the 1970 Pirates. He also had a 4.74 ERA, a 1.41 WHIP and 75 strikeouts in 95 innings over ten starts and 20 relief appearances with Columbus during the 1970 season. Garber spent the entire 1971 season with the Pirates new Triple-A affiliate at Charleston of the International League. He posted a 14-6, 4.18 record, a 1.40 WHIP and 108 strikeouts in 170 innings over 24 starts. He was better with Charleston during the 1972 season, going 14-3, 2.26 over 163 innings, with 103 strikeouts and a 1.08 WHIP. He completed 13 of 18 starts that year, including three shutouts. He made one appearance with the Pirates in early June of 1972, and then three more outings in July. He allowed five runs over 6.1 innings for the 1972 Pirates. He played a total of just 20 games for the Pirates during his three seasons with the team, going 0-3, 5.61 in 33.2 innings. Garber was traded to the Kansas City Royals for pitcher Jim Rooker following the 1972 season.
Garber went 9-9, 4.24 for the 1973 Royals, with 11 saves, a 1.40 WHIP and 60 strikeouts in 152.2 innings over eight starts and 40 relief appearances. That was the last year that he made a start in the majors. He was sold to the Philadelphia Phillies in July of 1974. He combined between both stops that year to go 5-2, 3.08 in 76 innings over 51 games, with significantly better results in Philadelphia. He had a 1.55 WHIP and a 44:41 BB/SO ratio, though 24 of his walks were intentional walks, so he was not wild. The Phillies actually sent him to Toledo of the International League for three starts that year, where he allowed one earned run over 22 innings. Garber led the National League with 71 games pitched during the 1975 season, when he went 10-12, 3.60 in 110 innings, with 14 saves, 69 strikeouts and a 1.19 WHIP. He had a 9-3, 2.82 record, a 1.17 WHIP and 11 saves in 92.2 innings over 59 games for the 1976 Phillies. He had a career high 92 strikeouts that season, which was the only time he came close to recording an average of one strikeout per inning. He had an 8-6, 2.35 record during the 1977 season, with 78 strikeouts, a 1.02 WHIP and 19 saves in 103.1 innings over 64 outings. Garber was traded to the Atlanta Braves straight up for pitcher Dick Ruthven in the middle of the 1978 season. He pitched well for both teams that year, combining to go 6-5, 2.15 over 65 games, with 25 saves, 85 strikeouts and an 0.92 WHIP in 117 innings. Garber had a rough 6-16 record in 1979, to go along with a 4.33 ERA, 56 strikeouts and a 1.37 WHIP in 106 innings over 68 appearances. He picked up 25 saves, which was the third most in the National League. He made 68 appearances for a second straight season in 1980, when he had a 6-6, 3.83 record over 82.1 innings, with 51 strikeouts, a 1.45 WHIP and seven saves. During the strike-shortened 1981 season, Garber had a 4-6, 2.61 record, 34 strikeouts and a 1.18 WHIP in 58.2 innings. He saved two games that year, while making 35 appearances.
Garber went 8-10, 2.34 in 119.1 innings over 69 games for the 1982 Braves, with 68 strikeouts and a 1.11 WHIP. He picked up a career high 30 saves that year. That performance led to a seventh place finish in the Cy Young voting, as well as a 19th place finish in the MVP voting. That was the only time he got votes in either category. That strong season was followed up by his highest single-season ERA. Garber went 4-5, 4.60 over 43 appearances during the 1983 season, finishing the year with nine saves, 45 strikeouts and a 1.57 WHIP in 60.2 innings. He improved to a 3.06 ERA in 106 innings over 62 games for the 1984 Braves, winding up that year with 11 saves, 55 strikeouts and a 1.20 WHIP. He had just one save during the 1985 season, when he posted a 6-6, 3.61 record, 66 strikeouts and a 1.26 WHIP in 97.1 innings over 59 appearances. He was back in the closer role for the 1986 Braves, where he picked up 24 saves. He put up a 5-5, 2.54 record that year, with 56 strikeouts and a 1.23 WHIP in 78 innings over 61 games. Garber struggled a bit during the 1987 season, then was traded to the Kansas City Royals in late August. He had an 8-10, 4.41 record and ten saves before the deal, then posted a 2.51 ERA in 13 appearances to finish the season. He combined to go 8-10, 4.09 in 83.2 innings, with 51 strikeouts, 18 saves and a 1.54 WHIP. He played his final year in the majors with the 1988 Royals, finishing up with an 0-4, 3.58 record, six saves, 20 strikeouts and a 1.29 WHIP in 32.2 innings over 26 appearances. Garber went 96-113, 3.34 in 1,510 innings over 931 appearances, with 940 strikeouts and a 1.26 WHIP. He ranks 23rd all-time in games pitched and 46th in saves through the end of the 2023 season. He went by his middle name (Eugene). His first name is Henry.
Ted Wilks, pitcher for the 1951-52 Pirates. He made his pro debut at a high level as a 22-year-old in 1938. Wilks played for Rochester of the Double-A International League (highest level of the minors at the time) and Houston of the Class-A Texas League that year, combining for a 7-7, 3.39 record in 154 innings, with 81 strikeouts and a 1.34 WHIP. He remained in Houston for the next three seasons. Wilks went 14-15, 2.60 over 235 innings in 1939, while making 23 starts and 22 relief appearances. He had 146 strikeouts and a 1.24 WHIP. He then had a 13-10, 2.51 record and a 1.17 WHIP in 197 innings over 47 appearances during the 1940 season. His best year for Houston came in 1941, when he put together a 20-10, 2.50 record and a 1.22 WHIP over 248 innings. He moved up a level to Columbus of the American Association for the 1942 season, where he had a 12-9, 2.41 record, 78 strikeouts and a 1.07 WHIP in 164 innings over 20 starts and 12 relief appearances. Wilks remained in Columbus for the 1943 season, when he had a 16-8, 2.66 record, 132 strikeouts and a 1.18 WHIP in 240 innings over 26 starts and 12 relief appearances. That earned him his first big league shot with the St Louis Cardinals. As a 28-year-old rookie, he had a 17-4, 2.64 record over 207.2 innings for the 1944 Cardinals, leading the league in winning percentage (.810) and WHIP (1.07), which helped him gain mild MVP support (he finished 24th in the voting). He had 70 strikeouts, 16 complete games and four shutouts that season. He threw six complete games and one shutout over the rest of his big league career combined. Wilks helped the Cardinals to a World Series title that year, though he allowed four runs in 6.1 innings during the postseason.
Wilks had a 4-7, 2.93 record, 28 strikeouts and a 1.34 WHIP over 98.1 innings in 1945, while making 16 starts and two relief outings. He pitched just twice over the last two months due to a bone chip in his pitching elbow. He was healthy during the entire 1946 season, though he moved to a relief role that year. He put together an 8-0, 3.41 record in 95 innings over 40 games (four starts), with 40 strikeouts and a 1.33 WHIP. The Cardinals won the World Series again that year, and this time he allowed one unearned run in one inning during his only postseason appearance. Wilks went 4-0, 5.01 in 50.1 innings over 37 relief appearances for the 1947 Cardinals, with 28 strikeouts and a 1.35 WHIP. While it wasn’t an official stat at the time, he picked up five saves that year. After that down year for his ERA, he rebounded in 1948 to go 6-6, 2.62 in 130.2 innings over 57 games, with 13 saves and a 1.16 WHIP. He set a career high with 71 strikeouts that season, which he would tie in 1949. Wilks lost his last appearance during the 1945 season, then his first in 1948, so his 12-0 record over the 1946-47 seasons was exactly a two-season streak without a loss. He went 10-3, 3.73 over 118.1 innings in 1949, finishing with 71 strikeouts and a 1.21 WHIP. He led the National League with 59 appearances and nine saves. Wilks finished 19th in the MVP voting that season. He missed a large part of the 1950 season due to a bone spur on his pitching elbow, then he was ineffective when he returned later in the year. He had a 2-0, 6.66 record in 24.1 innings over 18 games, with 15 strikeouts and a 1.48 WHIP. He was strong to start the 1951 season, posting a 3.00 ERA in 18 innings over 17 outings through two months. Wilks then came over to the Pirates in a seven-player trade with the Cardinals on June 15, 1951.
Wilks was used often in relief by the 1951 Pirates, pitching 82.2 innings over 48 games. He went 3-5, 2.83 for the 1951 Pirates with 12 saves, 43 strikeouts and a 1.13 WHIP. He compiled a total of 13 saves in 1951, which led the National League. He also led the league with 65 appearances. His 2.83 ERA was more than a full run lower than any other regular pitcher for the Pirates that season. Wilks made 44 relief appearances for the 1952 Pirates, going 5-5, 3.61 over 72.1 innings, before being traded to the Cleveland Indians in August to help with their playoff run. He went 8-10, 3.19 in 155 innings with Pittsburgh over 92 appearances during his two partial season. He started one game for the Pirates (during the 1951 season) in which pitched a complete game victory over the Chicago Cubs. He had a 3.86 ERA in 11.2 innings over seven games for the 1952 Indians. He pitched poorly in extremely limited use (four appearances) during the 1953 season, allowing four runs in 3.2 innings. Wilks was sold to the Indianapolis of the Triple-A American Association on August 7, 1953, where he stayed until the end of 1955. He finished his pro career in 1956 with Austin of the Double-A Texas League.
It was said that Wilks loudly protested his sale to the minors because he was closing in on ten full Major League seasons, which came with extra benefits, such as denying sales to the minors without his consent. Then if he was released, he would be able to sign the best deal possible, instead of just accepting the salary of the team that acquired him. He never got to ten full years, retiring with a 59-30, 3.26 record, 403 strikeouts and a 1.22 WHIP in 913 innings over 385 appearances. He made 44 starts and saved 46 games during his big league career. He pitched just 14 games with Indianapolis after being sent down in 1953. His only available stat besides games pitched is his 2-0 record from that time. He had a 5-2, 2.66 record, 19 strikeouts and a 1.14 WHIP in 44 innings over 30 appearances for Indianapolis during the 1954 season. Wilks saw limited work during the 1955 season, going 1-4, 4.88 in 24 innings over 14 games, finishing with eight strikeouts and a 1.50 WHIP. His final season was limited a 1-0 record over five appearances with Austin. He did work as a coach during his later seasons, then stepped into that role once his playing career ended. He took a job coaching Wichita of the American Association in June of 1956.
Jack Hallett, pitcher for the 1942-43 and 1946 Pirates. He also pitched briefly for the 1940-41 Chicago White Sox and 1948 New York Giants. Between stints with the Pirates, he spent 30 months serving in the Navy during WWII. He made his pro debut in the Class-A Western League at 19 years old during the 1934 season, pitching briefly for St Joseph and Cedar Rapids. His limited stats show a 1-4 record in 54 innings over 17 appearances. Hallett dropped down three levels in 1935 to play for Crookston of the Class-D Northern League, where he posted a 9-14 record and a 1.65 WHIP over 184 innings. His ERA isn’t available for that year, but we know that he allowed 7.14 runs per nine innings. He also put in one inning that year for Milwaukee of the Double-A American Association, which was the highest level of the minors at the time. The 1936 season was spent mostly with Fieldale of the Class-D Bi-State League, where he had an 8-12 record in 34 appearances (stats are very limited from that league). He also spent part of the year with Clarksdale of the Class-C Cotton States League, going 1-5, 6.00 in 30 innings. Hallett was still in Class-D ball during the 1937 season, playing that year for Hopkinsville of the Kentucky-Illinois-Tennessee League. He went 11-9, 3.77 in 196 innings, with 37 walks and a 1.37 WHIP. He moved up to Bloomington of the Class-B Three-I League for the 1938 season, when he posted a 16-9, 4.25 record and a 1.41 WHIP in 237 innings. He had 111 strikeouts that season, which is the only year before he reached the majors that his full strikeout totals are available.
Hallett spent the 1939 season with Tulsa of the Class-A Texas League, where he had an 11-12, 2.52 record, 91 strikeouts and a 1.12 WHIP in 182 innings. He also saw time with Los Angeles of the Pacific Coast League, throwing a total of 14.1 innings over two starts and two relief outings. He had a 12-21 record in 244 innings over 38 appearances during the 1940 season, while seeing time with Tulsa and Shreveport of the Texas League. He joined the Chicago White Sox in September of 1940 for his big league debut. He made two starts, going 1-1, 6.43 over 14 innings, with nine strikeouts and a 1.50 WHIP. Hallett spent the entire 1941 season with the White Sox, making six starts and 16 relief appearances. He went 5-5, 6.03 in 74.2 innings, finishing with 38 walks, 25 strikeouts and a 1.79 WHIP. Hallett had an 11-16, 2.88 record, 187 strikeouts and a 1.11 WHIP over 219 innings for Toronto of the Double-A International League in 1942, before he made his debut with the Pirates on September 12, 1942. The Pirates purchased Hallett and outfielder Frank Colman from Toronto on September 7, 1942, in exchange for cash and what was called “several players to be named later”. Hallett went 11 innings in his debut with the Pirates, during a game that ended in an 11-inning tie. He made two more starts before the season ended, allowing five runs each time. One of those outings was a nine-inning complete game loss, while the other consisted of 2.1 innings in a no-decision. He finished with an 0-1, 4.84 record in 22.1 innings, with 16 strikeouts and a 1.39 WHIP.
Hallett started off well in 1943, posting a 1.70 ERA and an 0.99 WHIP in 47.2 innings over four starts and five relief appearances, before he put his career on hold to serve during WWII. He was called into service in late June of 1943, though a letter he sent to the Pirates a month later said that he was able to do a lot of pitching while he was gone. The various bases had baseball teams during the war years. He missed the entire 1944-45 seasons, then returned to the Pirates for the 1946 season. He went 5-7, 3.29 in 115 innings over 35 games (nine starts) during his first year back, with 64 strikeouts and a 1.27 WHIP. Despite the solid season during his return, Hallett spent almost all of 1947-49 in the minors. He briefly made a two-game return with the 1948 Giants, which marked the end of his Major League career. The Pirates cut him on the final day of Spring Training in 1947, sending him to Indianapolis of the Triple-A American Association, where he spent the entire year. He went 10-11, 3.79 in 152 innings that season, with 136 strikeouts and a 1.40 WHIP. The Giants selected him during the Rule 5 draft in November of 1947. Hallett pitched four innings over two relief appearances for New York in April of 1948, then returned to Indianapolis for the rest of the season. He allowed three runs (two earned) on three hits and four walks for the Giants. He went 11-5, 4.91 over 132 innings for Indianapolis, with 91 strikeouts and a 1.42 WHIP. He finished his career with Oklahoma City of the Double-A Texas League in 1949, posting an 8-9, 4.07 record over 126 innings, with 108 strikeouts and a 1.69 WHIP. Hallett went 6-10, 3.06 in 185 innings with the Pirates over 31 starts and 16 relief appearances. His big league records over six seasons show a 12-16, 4.05 record in 277.2 innings, with 128 strikeouts, a 1.39 WHIP, 24 starts, 49 relief appearances, 11 complete games and two shutouts.
Ray Steineder, pitcher for the 1923-24 Pirates. His online records show that he never played minor league ball, but he actually had quite a track record before joining the Pirates. He played in the Eastern Maryland League in 1916, the moved to the Atlantic League in 1917. After serving in the military during the 1918 season/WWI, he spent the 1919 season in the Virginia League. There are no records available, but it was said in a May of 1920 article that he went 37-5 during the 1919 season, which drew the attention of Pirates scout Billy Murray, as well as the interest of two other big league teams. He was at Spring Training with the Pirates in 1920 at 25 years old, where he was referred to as the “New Jersey semi-pro”. He was signed by the Pirates for the 1920 season, but he jumped the team to play independent baseball, when he found out he would either be a bench player, or possibly sent to the minors. Steineder later said that the salary/bonus offered to him to play independent ball was too lucrative to pass up. He played for a team from Oil City, Pa., where he stayed until mid-August, when he quit to return home to his restaurant business. He had suffered an ankle injury and wasn’t playing at the time.
Steineder was suspended from baseball for his actions, but was reinstated for the 1923 season when he re-signed with the Pirates. There are no record of him playing in 1921,though it was said that he played semi-pro ball. He starred for a semi-pro team in Mt Holly, NJ during the 1922 season. Steineder was reinstated by Commissioner Judge Landis on March 16, 1923, then returned to the Pirates on May 3rd after a salary holdout. He didn’t debut until July 16th. He went 2-0, 4.75 in 55 innings over two starts and 13 relief appearance for the 1923 Pirates, with 23 strikeouts and a 1.38 WHIP. He went 7-for-15 at the plate, giving him a .467 average and a 1.033 OPS. He was allowed to pitch for local independent teams during those two months between signing with the Pirates and making his debut, so he could get in work first before seeing big league action. He also appeared in an exhibition game for the Pirates on July 8th, pitching a complete game victory against a team from Paterson, NJ. Steineder was used out of the bullpen and struggled badly for the 1924 Pirates, making three (out of five total) appearances in which he didn’t retire a single batter. After posting a 13.50 ERA on six hits, five walks and no strikeouts over 2.2 innings, the Pirates sold him to the Philadelphia Phillies. He pitched nine more games during the 1924 season, finishing his Philadelphia time with a 4.40 ERA, 16 walks, 11 strikeouts and a 1.64 WHIP in 28.2 innings. He batted .300 with the Phillies, giving him a career .400 batting average in 25 at-bats. Steineder did not pitch in pro ball before or after his brief 29-game Major League career. The Phillies planned to send him to the minors, but he signed to play semi-pro ball instead. He was opposed to playing minor league ball, claiming he would rather play close to home if he wasn’t in the majors.
Pete Meegan, pitcher for the 1885 Alleghenys. Back before Pittsburgh moved to the National League, Meegan was a starting pitcher during the 1885 season in the American Association. He was the third pitcher on a team that had Ed “Cannonball” Morris, who is the franchise leader in numerous single-season categories, and Hall of Fame pitcher James “Pud” Galvin. Meegan pitched 14 complete games in 16 starts that year, while also appearing twice in relief. He had a 7-8, 3.39 record in 146 innings, with 58 strikeouts and a 1.26 WHIP. His only other big league time was 22 starts for the 1884 Richmond Virginians of the American Association, where he’s the all-time wins leader for the short-lived franchise. That year he went 7-12, 4.32 in 179 innings over 22 starts, with 106 strikeouts and a 1.15 WHIP. Meegan did some umpiring during his career as well, though never in the majors. He made his pro debut during the 1881 season, playing in California, where he spent most of his baseball playing days from 1881-1892. It was said in 1883 that he first went east to pitch due to the strong salary he was offered, but after a few years, he turned down a larger salary from the Detroit Wolverines (National League) to remain out west to pitch. While the teams he played for during that time are known, there are almost no minor league records available for his career,
The only minor league pitching stats available for Meegan came from early in the 1884 season, when he was pitching for Reading of the Eastern League. He had a 15-14, 2.07 record, 198 strikeouts and a 1.25 WHIP over 252 innings, before joining Richmond in August. Meegan threw 431 innings and struck out 304 batters between both stops in 1884. His first big league win came against the Alleghenys on August 27, 1884, one day after he pitched a complete game in a 4-4 tie in six innings against Pittsburgh. That was one of three ties he pitched complete games in during that season. An 1886 article claimed that he discovered a new curveball that was very effective that he called a “rise-drop”. A short time later, a report of his pitching said that he had one of the best “up-curves” in the country, and he threw it with little effort.
He threw a shutout against Baltimore 5-0 on July 15, 1885, while striking out 15 batters. It was noted back then in multiple papers that it was the highest Major League total on record, though the record was actually 19 at the time, set a year earlier. His pitching hand is unknown at this time. I tried to confirm it, but came up with nothing definitive. However, that strikeout fact could be important for team history. There are two photos of Meegan in which he is set up like a right-handed pitcher. Also, numerous newspapers referred to other southpaw pitchers often in articles that also included his name, but with all of the press that he got in California at that same time, he never got that tag. It seems unlikely that he was a lefty, as no one ever mentioned it during his career, despite it being a popular practice in newspapers to mention when a left-handed pitcher was throwing. Assuming then that he was a right-handed pitcher (which feels like a safe assumption), then his strikeout total in that July 15th game is a Pirates record for right-handed pitchers in a game. Right now the recognized record is 14 by Bob Moose and Jose DeLeon.
Meegan played his first three seasons of pro ball for teams in San Francisco, which was the center of the west coast baseball universe at the time. He was an amateur player for many teams before his pro debut. He played for the Mystics in the New California League in 1881, then joined the Nationals in the California League in 1882. That was followed by the Haverlys of the California League in 1883. After his two big league seasons, he returned to San Francisco and the California League to finish out 1885, playing for the Haverlys and the Occidental. He doesn’t have 1886-87 teams listed online, but he was a player/manager for a team in San Francisco in 1886 called the Knickerbockers, while also seeing time with a club called the Altas (playing against the Haverlys), before rejoining the Haverlys in September. He played for the Haverlys in 1887 as well, after turning down a deal to play with Milwaukee of the Northwestern League. The Alleghenys tried to sign him during the 1888 season, but got no response, so they signed a California lefty named Phil Knell instead. He lasted all of three starts in Pittsburgh. Meegan played for the Haverlys in 1888, 1889 and 1892, with the team playing in the Central California League during that last season. He was with Oakland of the California League in 1890, and the oddly named San Francisco Friscos in 1891. There are no pitching/hitting stats available from his west coast time.