Six former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date, plus two transactions of note from 1950.
Will Craig, first baseman for the 2020-21 Pirates. He was originally a 37th round draft pick out of high school by the Kansas City Royals in 2013, but he decided to attend Wake Forest. The Pirates snapped him up in the first round (22nd overall) of the 2016 draft. Craig made his pro debut with Morgantown of the short-season New York-Penn League in 2016, where he helped them to a league title by putting up a .280 average, 28 runs, 14 extra-base hits, 23 RBIs, 41 walks and a .775 OPS over 63 games. He was a third baseman that year (and pitched some in college), then jumped to first base during the 2017 season. He skipped to Bradenton of the High-A Florida State League that year, where he batted .271 in 123 games, with 59 runs 26 doubles, six homers, 61 RBIs and 62 walks. He also got hit by 16 pitches, helping him to an impressive .373 OBP. He had a .744 OPS in the pitcher-friendly league. Craig moved up to Altoona of the Double-A Eastern League in 2018, where he hit .248 over 132 games, with 73 runs, 30 doubles, 20 homers, 102 RBIs and a .769 OPS. He went to the Arizona Fall League after the 2018 season, then put up a .304/.378/.570 slash line in 21 games, with 15 runs, three doubles, six homers and 18 RBIs.
Craig played for Indianapolis of the Triple-A International League during the 2019 season. He hit .249 over 131 games, with 69 runs, 23 doubles, 23 homers, 78 RBIs and a .769 OPS. He started playing some outfield during this time to add versatility. He was at the Pirates Alternate Training site in Altoona during the shortened 2020 season, which allowed him to play his first two big league games with the Pirates. He went 0-for-4 at the plate during that brief cup of coffee. He began 2021 back in Indianapolis, but he got a second shot with the Pirates in mid-May. He hit .217/.277/.300 in 18 games for the 2021 Pirates, with five runs, two doubles, one homer and three RBIs. He was sent back to the Indianapolis in early June, which ended his big league career. He wrapped up his time in the Pirates system by putting up a .287 average and a .916 OPS over 33 games for Indianapolis. The 26-year-old Craig was released in July of 2021, so he could finish the season playing in Korea. He hit .249/.322/.387 over 60 games in Korea during the 2021 season, finishing up with 25 runs, 12 doubles, six homers and 30 RBIs. He did not play during the 2022 season, calling an end to his pro career. He was an assistant coach at Wake Forest during the 2023 season.
Brandon Cumpton, pitcher for the 2013-14 Pirates. He was a ninth round pick by the Pirates in 2010 out of the Georgia Institute of Technology. His career was sidetracked by a pair of major injuries, but he still made it to the majors for parts of three season. He made his pro debut for State College of the short-season New York-Penn League, where he had a 2.53 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP in 10.2 innings over three starts and a relief appearance. Cumpton split the 2011 season evenly between West Virginia of the Low-A South Atlantic League and Bradenton of the High-A Florida State League. He made 12 starts and one relief appearance in both spots, pitching 67 innings with West Virginia and 66.1 innings with Bradenton. He combined to go 10-7, 3.98 in 133.1 innings, with 90 strikeouts and a 1.22 WHIP. The 2012 season was spent entirely with Altoona of the Double-A Eastern League, where he went 12-11, 3.84 over 27 starts, with 88 strikeouts and a 1.28 WHIP in 152.1 innings. He played in the Arizona Fall League after the 2012 season, where he had a 2.57 ERA, a 1.29 WHIP and a 7:6 BB/SO ratio over 14 innings. He made two poor starts for Altoona in 2013, yet he ended up pitching well during his big league time that same year. Cumpton reached the majors in mid-June for the first time, where he did well as a spot starter. He posted a 2.05 ERA, 22 strikeouts and a 1.01 WHIP in 30.2 innings for the Pirates, with five starts and one relief appearance. The majority of his season was spent with Indianapolis of the Triple-A International League, where he had a 6-7, 3.32 record, 90 strikeouts and a 1.30 WHIP in 122 innings. He had a 7.45 ERA during his brief time with Altoona.
Cumpton spent more time with the Pirates during the 2014 season, switching between starting and relief, though he still spent half of the year in the minors. He had a 3.03 ERA, 37 strikeouts and a 1.25 WHIP in 71.1 innings with Indianapolis. He posted a 4.89 ERA, 46 strikeouts and a 1.43 WHIP in 70 innings with the Pirates, while making ten starts and six relief appearances. He required Tommy John surgery during Spring Training of 2015, which cost him the entire season. He then missed 2016 due to shoulder surgery. That injury spilled into the 2017 season, when he was only able to throw 37.1 innings of minor league ball split over six games with Bradenton, 13 games for Altoona and five games in Indianapolis. He finished with a 5-4, 3.86 record, 33 strikeouts and a 1.55 WHIP between all three stops. Cumpton became a free agent after the 2017 season, then signed with the Texas Rangers for 2018. He ended up getting released during Spring Training, then signed with the Blue Jays in July of 2018. He made one big league appearance that year on July 31st, allowing one run over 1.2 innings. The rest of the year was split with Buffalo of the International League and independent ball. He had a 6.15 ERA, 31 strikeouts and a 1.46 WHIP in 52.2 innings for Buffalo. He also made 11 starts for Southern Maryland of the Atlantic League, posting a 4.11 ERA, 44 strikeouts and a 1.31 WHIP in 65.2 innings.
Cumpton split 2019 between Mexico and Southern Maryland. He went 0-4, 15.53 in five starts and one relief appearance with Puebla of the Mexican League. He allowed 34 hits, 26 runs and nine walks in 13.1 innings. He also had a 5-8, 4.88 record, 73 strikeouts and a 1.65 WHIP in 83 innings over 15 starts with Southern Maryland. He pitched a total of 151.1 innings, when you include his winter ball stats. Cumpton had a 2.77 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP over 53 innings in Mexico during the 2019-20 off-season. His only game in the Dominican during that off-season saw him allow four earned runs over three innings. He played independent ball for Winnipeg during the 2020 season, going 2-3, 4.53 in 43.2 innings over nine starts, with 34 strikeouts and a 1.47 WHIP. He played for two different teams in Mexico during the summer of 2021, combining to go 0-6, 7.96 over 46.1 innings, with 34 strikeouts and a 1.99 WHIP. He split nine starts and eight relief appearances that year between the Mexico Red Devils (Diablos Rojos del Mexico) and Oaxaca. Cumpton’s career big league stats show a 5-5, 4.05 record in 102.1 innings over 15 starts and eight relief appearances, with 70 strikeouts and a 1.33 WHIP.
Tim Wood, pitcher for the 2011 Pirates. He was originally a 21st round draft pick out of high school in 2001 by the Montreal Expos, but he decided to attend Pima Community College to attempt to improve his draft stock. He slipped to the 44th round in 2002, when he decided to sign with the Florida Marlins. Wood began his career in short-season ball during the 2003 season, when he posted a 5.35 ERA, a 28:32 BB/SO ratio and a 1.86 WHIP over 38.2 innings for Jamestown of the New York-Penn League. He pitched the 2004-05 seasons with Greensboro of the Low-A South Atlantic League. He went 2-3, 4.22 over eight starts and 16 relief appearances during the 2004 season, finishing the year with 70 strikeouts and a 1.35 WHIP in 70.1 innings. He made just five starts in 2005, before requiring Tommy John surgery. He was not doing well at the time, going 1-2, 9.28 in 21.1 innings, with 15 walks, ten strikeouts and a 2.06 WHIP. He moved up to Jupiter of the High-A Florida State League for the first of two full seasons in 2006, though he wasn’t fully healthy during either year with his new team. He made 16 starts in 2006, seeing somewhat limited work that year due to his rehab from surgery. He had a 5.83 ERA, a 1.42 WHIP and 52 strikeouts in 63.1 innings during the 2006 season. A shoulder injury in 2007 led to Wood pitching just 17 games as a reliever over the entire season. He went 0-2, 3.81 in 26 innings, with 26 strikeouts and a 1.23 WHIP. He was finally healthy in 2008, when he did great with Jupiter. He posted a 1.80 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP in 40 innings of relief work that year, though he had just 22 strikeouts. He moved up to Carolina of the Double-A Southern League during the 2008 season, where he had a 5.75 ERA, 15 strikeouts and a 1.28 WHIP in 20.1 innings. Wood pitched in the Arizona Fall League after the 2008 season, where he had a 2.77 ERA, a 1.08 WHIP, no walks and nine strikeouts over 13 innings.
Wood split the 2009 season between New Orleans of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League and a stint with the Marlins. He actually did better in the majors, though he was coming up from a high-offense league in the minors. Wood posted a 3.18 ERA, a 1.49 WHIP and 37 strikeouts in 39.2 innings over 31 games with New Orleans. He had a 2.82 ERA, 16 strikeouts and a 1.43 WHIP in 22.1 innings over 18 appearances with the Marlins. He had the same type of team/time split during the 2010 season, though this time he struggled in both spots. He finished with a 6.43 ERA, a 1.64 WHIP and 12 strikeouts in 14 innings over 14 games with New Orleans. He also a 5.53 ERA and a 1.73 WHIP in 26 appearances with the 2010 Marlins. He had just ten strikeouts over 27.2 innings that year. Wood was granted free agency after the 2010 season, then signed with the Washington Nationals. They cut him at the end of Spring Training in 2011. He signed with the Pirates one day later, then went to Indianapolis of the Triple-A International League, where he posted a 2.84 ERA, 33 strikeouts, an 0.99 WHIP and 23 saves in 44.1 innings over 40 appearances. The Pirates recalled him in early June, then used him often during a 22-day stretch. He went 0-3, 5.63 in 13 relief appearances during that time, pitching a total of eight innings. He finished with two strikeouts and a 2.00 WHIP. After returning to the minors, he was sold to the Texas Rangers in mid-August. He pitched just four more times that season, while playing for Round Rock of the Pacific Coast League, where he allowed five runs and nine hits in 4.2 innings.
Wood became a free agent after the 2011 season, then pitched poorly during winter ball in the Dominican that off-season. He posted a 7.59 ERA, nine strikeouts and a 1.78 WHIP in 10.2 innings over 11 appearances. He re-signed with the Pirates on November 1, 2011, then spent all of 2012 in Indianapolis. He did outstanding work, posting a 6-6, 2.19 record, a 1.11 WHIP, 67 strikeouts and 21 saves in 70 innings over 54 appearances. Wood became a free agent after the 2012 season, then finished his career in the Minnesota Twins system during the 2013 season. He pitched poorly in limited work, giving up six runs over eight innings with Rochester of the International League. He also allowed three runs over 1.1 innings with Fort Myers of the Florida State League. He spent most of that year on the disabled list, before being released in late August. That decision ended his pro career. His finished his three-year big league career with a 1-4, 4.50 record in 58 innings over 57 appearances. He had one save, a 1.66 WHIP and a 33:28 BB/SO ratio.
Mark Corey, pitcher for the 2003-04 Pirates. He was selected in the fourth round of the 1995 draft by the Cincinnati Reds. He is the only player from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania to make it to the Major Leagues, and no one from the school has been drafted since him. Corey made his pro debut with Princeton of the short-season Appalachian League, where he had a 3.68 ERA, eight strikeouts and a 1.23 whip in 14.2 innings over three starts and one relief appearance. He didn’t play during the 1996 season because he needed a surgery on his elbow to alleviate numbness in his pitching hand. He returned to make 26 starts for Charleston of the Class-A South Atlantic League in 1997, where he went 8-13, 4.57 over 136 innings, with 97 strikeouts and a 1.55 WHIP. He made 20 starts for Burlington of the Class-A Midwest League during the 1998 season, where he had a 12-6, 2.44 record over 140 innings, with 109 strikeouts and a 1.15 WHIP. He also posted an 0-4, 8.20 record and a 1.82 WHIP in six starts for Chattanooga of the Double-A Southern League. He finished the year with one start for Indianapolis of the Triple-A International League, in which he allowed three runs over six innings. His time in Chattanooga included him walking 16 batters and picking up just six strikeouts in 26.1 innings.
Corey was traded to the New York Mets prior to the 1999 season. He spent the year with Binghamton of the Double-A Eastern League,where he posted a 7-13, 5.40 record, a 1.54 WHIP and 111 strikeouts in 155 innings, though those numbers were a bit deceiving. He worked with pitching coach Bob Stanley to turn around a very poor season later in the year. It was said that he was tipping his changeup, which was considered to be his best pitch, plus he learned to keep the ball down in the zone better. The 2000 season was split between Binghamton and Norfolk of the International League. He had a 3-7, 5.14 record, 62 strikeouts and a 1.51 WHIP in 89.1 innings over 13 starts and 21 relief appearances, with much better results at the lower level. He had the same season split in 2001, except he pitched much better at Norfolk. Corey had a 1.80 ERA in 35 innings with Binghamton, and a 1.47 ERA in 36.2 innings with Norfolk. He combined for a 1.63 ERA, a 1.13 WHIP, 27 saves and 92 strikeouts in 71.2 innings. He had a rough big league debut in October of 2001, after joining the Mets late in the year. He gave up three runs on five hits and three walks in 1.2 innings over two appearances. His debut saw him allow three runs over one inning during a one-sided loss to the Pirates. Corey did better in his brief time in New York in 2002, posting a 4.50 ERA, nine strikeouts and a 1.80 WHIP in ten innings over 12 appearances. He spent most of the year dominating with Norfolk, where he had a 1.03 ERA, an 0.80 WHIP, seven saves and 37 strikeouts in 26.1 innings. He was sent to the Colorado Rockies at the trading deadline that year, where he gave up 16 runs in 12 innings over 14 appearances. He was granted free agency after the 2002 season, then signed with the Pirates in December of 2002.
Corey split the 2003 season between the Pirates and Nashville of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. He had a 4.34 ERA in 45.2 innings with Nashville, though that slightly high ERA came with a 1.20 WHIP, 30 saves and 63 strikeouts. He made 22 relief appearances for the Pirates that year, posting a 5.34 ERA, 27 strikeouts and a 1.32 WHIP in 30.1 innings. He had the same split between the Pirates and Nashville during the 2004 season, while seeing slightly more time in the majors. He had a 4.42 ERA, a 1.42 WHIP, 16 saves and 39 strikeouts in 38.2 innings with Nashville. He made 31 appearances for the Pirates that season, finishing with a 4.54 ERA, a 1.63 WHIP and 28 strikeouts over 35.1 innings. Corey became a free agent after the 2004 season, though he eventually re-signed with the Pirates for 2005. He spent the entire year at Triple-A (affiliate moved to Indianapolis of the International League that year), where he had a 5-5, 4.02 record over 61 appearances, with 28 saves, a 1.31 WHIP and 60 strikeouts in 65 innings. He spent all of 2006 at Triple-A for the New York Yankees, where he put up a 7-4, 4.44 record, 68 strikeouts and a 1.32 WHIP in 81 innings for Columbus of the International League. Corey rejoined the Pirates system for the 2007 season, which ended up being his last year of pro ball. He had a 4.13 ERA and a 1.90 WHIP in 32.1 innings over 23 appearances that year for Indianapolis, while walking more batters (26) than he struck out (23). He went 2-7, 6.02 during his four-year big league career, with a 1.72 WHIP and 79 strikeouts in 89.2 innings over 81 relief appearances. He had 117 minor league saves, but none in the majors.
Hector Fajardo, pitcher for the 1991 Pirates. He was playing in his home country of Mexico when the Pirates purchased his contract at 18 years old in early 1989. He rose quickly through the minors, debuting in the majors at 20 years old on August 10, 1991. He pitched in the rookie level Gulf Coast League for the Pirates during the 1989 season, going 0-5, 5.97 in 34.2 innings, with six starts and four relief appearances. He had a 1.67 WHIP, 20 walks and 19 strikeouts that year. Fajardo had a 3.86 ERA over 21 innings back for the Gulf Coast League Pirates in 1990, while also making seven starts that season for Augusta of the Low-A South Atlantic League. He duplicated that 3.86 ERA while in Augusta, this time doing it over 39.2 innings. He significantly improved his walk rate, finishing with a 45:23 SO/BB ratio, which led to an improved 1.43 WHIP. He began the 1991 season back with Augusta, then ended up playing at all four full-season levels of the minors that year. He had a 2.69 ERA, a 1.13 WHIP and 79 strikeouts in 60.1 innings over 11 starts with Augusta. He went 3-4, 4.13 in 61 innings over ten starts for Carolina of the Double-A Southern League. His time with Salem of the High-A Carolina League amounted to one start, while his work at Buffalo of the Triple-A American Association was all out of the bullpen, where he made eight appearances. He combined that year to go 8-8, 3.19 over 30 games (22 starts), with 151 strikeouts and a 1.16 WHIP in 138.1 innings. Fajardo made two late season starts for the 1991 Pirates that did not go well, allowing seven runs over 6.1 innings. He was traded to the Texas Rangers on September 6, 1991, as the player to be named later in the Steve Buechele trade, which was made one week earlier. Fajardo pitched parts of four seasons for Texas, making a total of 28 appearances. A majority of his time came during the 1994 season, before baseball shut down that year due to the strike.
Fajardo went 0-2, 5.68 in 19 innings over three starts and one relief appearance for the 1991 Rangers. A shoulder injury during Spring Training in 1992 limited him to 61 minor league innings spread over four levels. He did well during that time, mostly split between Port Charlotte of the High-A Florida State League and Tulsa of the Double-A Texas League. He posted a combined 5-4, 2.51 record, 53 strikeouts and a 1.20 WHIP in 61 innings. He tried to pitch winter ball, but the shoulder injury resurfaced, which caused him to miss most of 1993. He ended up pitched eight times (seven starts) in the minors on rehab during the 1993 season, posting a 1.80 ERA, 30 strikeouts and an 0.91 WHIP in 35 innings. He then appeared once with the Rangers at the end of the 1993 season, retiring the only two batters he faced that day. He made eight successful starts for Oklahoma City of the Triple-A American Association in 1994, going 5-1, 2.45 over 51.1 innings, with 43 strikeouts and a 1.09 WHIP. He then spent the rest of the year with the Rangers, where he had a 5-7, 6.91 record, 45 strikeouts and a 1.45 WHIP in 83.1 innings. He made 12 starts and six relief outings that year, before the strike ended the season in mid-August. Fajardo had a 7.80 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP in 15 innings over five relief appearances for the 1995 Rangers. He was traded to the Montreal Expos during the 1995 season, but never appeared with them in the majors. He made 11 appearances for Ottawa of the Triple-A International League, putting up a 4.11 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP in 15.1 innings. After his brief stint in the Expos system, Fajardo returned to Mexico, where he pitched the final three seasons of his pro career. He has no stats available for his time in Mexico, including a partial season in 1989 with the Mexico City Reds before joining the Pirates. Fajardo compiled a 5-9, 6.95 record over 124.1 innings in the majors, with 17 starts and 13 relief outings. He finished with 78 strikeouts and a 1.54 WHIP.
Joe Quest, infielder for the 1884 Alleghenys. He played ten years in the majors, split between seven teams. He made his pro debut at 18 years old in 1871. That was the first year of Major League baseball, when he was playing for the Cleveland Forest Citys of the National Association. He went 3-for-14 with a double and two RBIs over three games that season, then made his next big league appearance in 1878 for the Indianapolis Blues of the National League. There was no minor league level of play until 1877, so the New Stanton, Pa. resident was playing amateur/semi-pro ball for most of that time between big league games. Quest played in Pittsburgh during the 1876 season for a semi-pro team called the Allegheny (no S at the end), signing for $90 a month. That was after playing for the Meadville Mutuals in 1875. He played for Indianapolis of the League Alliance in 1877, during the first year of minor league ball (no stats available). He remained at Indianapolis for the 1878 season, but this time he was back in the majors. Despite batting just .205 that season in 62 games, Quest led the National League with 290 plate appearances. He had 45 runs, five extra-base hits, 13 RBIs and a .468 OPS. He moved on to the Chicago White Stockings (Cubs) for four seasons, where he stayed there more for his glove at second base (technically his hands, since they didn’t use gloves then). Quest hit .207 over 83 games in 1879, with 38 runs scored, 17 extra-base hits (including a career high 16 doubles), 22 RBIs and a .488 OPS. He improved to a .237 average over 82 games during the 1880 season, with 37 runs, 12 doubles, 27 RBIs and a .540 OPS. He hit a career best .246 in 1881, finishing with 35 runs scored, six doubles, 26 RBIs and a .527 OPS over 78 games. He hit just one home run in his career, which came off of Hall of Famer John Ward on June 27, 1881. Quest hit .201 in 42 games during the 1882 season, with 24 runs scored, seven extra-base hits, 15 RBIs and a .497 OPS.
Quest played for both the Detroit Wolverines (National League) and the St Louis Browns (American Association) in 1883. He batted .234 in 37 games with Detroit to start the year, then finished with a .256 average, 12 runs scored and ten RBIs over 19 games with the Browns. Combined he had a .242 average, 34 runs, 11 doubles, three triples, 25 RBIs and a career best .600 OPS. Most of 1884 was spent with St Louis, where he hit .206/.257/.268 over 81 games, with 46 runs scored, nine doubles and five triples. He was signed by the Alleghenys on September 21st to play shortstop, though he ended up seeing more games at second base, which is where he spent a large majority of his big league time. Quest played 12 games for the 1883 Alleghenys, batting .209/.227/.279 over 44 plate appearances, with two runs and three doubles. His totals of 48 runs scored and five triples that year were both career highs. He played for Detroit again in 1885 after leaving Pittsburgh. He hit .195 over 55 games that year, with 24 runs, ten extra-base hits, 21 RBIs and a .503 OPS. He also saw brief time that season with London of the Canadian League, where he had a .357 average and 12 runs scored in seven games. He finished his big league time with the Philadelphia Athletics of the American Association in 1886, where he batted .207 over 42 games, with 14 runs, five extra-base hits, ten RBIs and a .547 OPS.
Quest played his last season of pro ball in the minors during the 1892 season. He batted .340 over 309 at-bats with Eau Claire of the Northwestern League in 1887. He had 52 runs, 16 extra-base hits and 25 steals that year. He played for Lowell of the New England League in 1888, where he hit .233 over 41 games, with 23 runs, four doubles, three homers and eight steals. He had a .198 average, nine runs and one double over 21 games with Toledo of the International League in 1889. He then next/last appeared with Ishpeming-Negaunee of the Wisconsin-Michigan League in 1892 (no stats available). Quest finished his big league career as a .217 hitter in 596 games, with 300 runs scored, 96 extra-base hits and 161 RBIs, though RBI totals for the 1884 season in the American Association are unavailable. He umpired in 1886-87, but did such a poor job that he was suspended for three weeks without pay on June 5, 1887, which actually ended his big league umpiring career. He was found playing semi-pro ball in the Chicago area during the 1890 season. He did umpiring in the Illinois-Iowa League during the 1891 season, where he was actually doing some scouting work for his old teammate Cap Anson at the same time. There was a long tribute article about Quest in 1912 that got passed around to the newspapers, which stated that he was very ill and likely wouldn’t last long. He ended up living until 71 years old in 1924.
On this date in 1950, the Pittsburgh Pirates picked up first baseman Dale Long and center fielder George Metkovich in the Rule 5 draft. Long had a good run with the Pirates in the late 50s, but his stint with the 1951 Pirates lasted just ten games before he was put on waivers. He was picked up by the St Louis Browns on June 1st. He returned to Pittsburgh in December of 1951, after they purchased him back from the Browns. Metkovich was a bit different than Long. He already had six big league seasons in at that point. He was taken off the roster of a Pacific Coast League club. He played three seasons in the outfield for the Pirates, hitting .276 over 271 games, with 97 runs, 38 doubles, 11 homers and 88 RBIs.
Long played the next three years in the minors after returning to the Pirates organization. He was back in the majors with the 1955 Pirates, when he had a .291 average and a league leading 13 triples, to go along with 16 homers and 79 RBIs. He led the Pirates in RBIs that season, and even garnered some MVP attention, finishing 19th in the voting. Long set a still standing record during the 1956 season by homering in eight straight games from May 19 – May 28. He finished the year with 27 homers and 91 RBIs, which earned him the only All-Star appearances of his career. Just seven games into the 1957 season, The Pirates traded away the big first baseman after just seven games during the 1957 season. He was sent to the Chicago Cubs, along with Lee Walls, in exchange for Gene Baker and Dee Fondy.