Six former Pirates players born on this date, plus a trade of note. Before we get into those things, current Pirates pitcher JT Brubaker turns 30 today. He debuted in the majors in 2020 and made nine starts and two relief appearances. During the 2021 season, he went 5-13, 5.36 in 124.1 innings over 24 starts. He went 3-12, 4.69 in 28 starts in 2022, with 147 strikeouts in 144 innings. He missed the 2023 season due to Tommy John surgery. Also current reliever Hunter Stratton turns 27 today. He debuted late in the 2023 season, making eight appearances.
On this date in 1933, the Pittsburgh Pirates traded longtime left fielder Adam Comorosky and second baseman Tony Piet to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for pitcher Red Lucas and outfielder Wally Roettger. For the Pirates, who finished in second place with an 87-67 record during the 1933 season, it was their biggest move of the off-season going into 1934. The trade seemed fairly even at the time, but Lucas was the only one to put in significant time with his new team. In five seasons with the Pirates, he went 47-32, 3.77 in 684.1 innings. He was also known as one of the best hitting pitchers in baseball, getting occasional pinch-hitting at-bats throughout his career. He posted a 15-4 record during the 1936 season, while also getting used as a pinch-hitter in 43 games. Roettger played just 47 games in the fourth outfielder role with the 1934 Pirates, posting a .245 average in 109 at-bats. That was his last season in baseball. His numbers were actually slightly better than the previous season, improving his OPS by 13 points over his 1933 numbers.
Piet slumped down to a .259 average in 1934. He was not known as a strong fielder, so he needed the bat to be good. He played in the majors until 1938, but never approached the 154-game total he played with the 1932 Pirates. His .298 career average at the time of the trade was down to .277 by the time he retired. He had a .756 OPS with the Pirates, and a .644 mark with the Reds. Comorosky was a regular outfielder in 1934, hitting .258 in 127 games, with no homers and 40 RBIs. The 1935 season was his last in the majors, when he hit .248/.290/.328 in 137 at-bats. That’s a far cry from the player the Pirates gave up. He had 47 doubles, 23 triples and 12 homers during the 1930 season, making him the only player in Major League history to reach those three numbers in the same season. He had a .770 OPS with the Pirates, and a .625 mark with the Reds.
Elias Diaz, catcher for the 2015-19 Pirates. Diaz was a low-priced international signing out of Venezuela in 2008, joining the Pirates just a few days before his 18th birthday. He moved slowly through the lower levels of the minors, first reaching the big leagues as a September call-up in 2015. He debuted in the Venezuela Summer League during the 2009 season, where he hit .272 over 64 games, with 33 runs, 20 extra-base hits, 36 RBIs and a .769 OPS. He moved up to the rookie level Gulf Coast League in 2010, where he batted .218 over 41 games, with 20 runs, eight extra-base hits, 20 RBIs and a .590 OPS. His defense was advanced enough that he skipped to West Virginia of the Low-A South Atlantic League for the 2011 season. He batted .221 in 90 games, with 38 runs, 28 extra-base hits, 45 RBIs and a .607 OPS. He repeated West Virginia in 2012, when his offense actually took a step back. He hit .208/.262/.288 over 92 games, seeing a 58 point drop in his already low OPS. He had 32 runs, 18 extra-base hits and 26 RBIs over 347 plate appearance. Diaz finally broke out with the bat during the 2013 season, both during the summer and in winter ball. Playing in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League, he hit .279 over 57 games, with 30 runs, 16 extra-base hits, 15 RBIs, a 31:33 BB/SO ratio and a .781 OPS. He played Venezuelan winter ball in a league that was about the same level as Double-A. He held his own against mostly older/more advanced competition, finishing with a .256 average and a .698 OPS in 20 games. Diaz spent most of 2014 with Altoona of the Double-A Eastern League, though he also played ten games for Indianapolis of the Triple-A International League. He hit .328 over 91 games for Altoona, with 41 runs, 20 doubles, six homers, 54 RBIs and an .823 OPS. He struggled a bit during his brief Indianapolis time, posting a .425 OPS over 37 plate appearances. The Pirates sent him to the Arizona Fall League after the 2014 season, where he had a .763 OPS in 15 games. He also put in another 14 games that winter, though he had a .153 average and a .577 OPS over 53 plate appearances for Margarita of the Venezuelan league.
Diaz opened up 2015 in Indianapolis, where he hit .271 over 93 games, with 33 runs, 24 extra-base hits, 47 RBIs and a .711 OPS. He played just two games off of the bench during his first taste of the majors as a September call-up. He then went to Venezuela, where he had a .717 OPS in 30 games during the 2015-16 off-season. He played one July game with the 2016 Pirates, while missing most of the season with an elbow injury. Diaz was limited to 34 minor league games that year, which were spread over three levels. He had a .290 average, ten runs, three doubles, one homer, six RBIs and a .670 OPS between all three stops, while spending most of his time with Indianapolis. He got to make up for some missed time in Venezuela during the winter, though he wrapped up play after 12 games. Diaz hit .282/.310/.436 over 42 plate appearances during the 2016-17 off-season. He finally got his first real chance with the 2017 Pirates, where he hit .223 over 64 games, with 18 runs, 14 doubles, one homer, 19 RBIs and a .579 OPS. He played above average defense, finishing the year with an 0.7 dWAR. Diaz had his big season for the 2018 Pirates, hitting .286 in 82 games, with 33 runs, 12 doubles, ten homers, 34 RBIs and a .792 OPS. Once again he provided above average defense. He was sidelined by a severe illness during Spring Training of 2019, which not only kept him out of action for much of the early season, he also played poorly once he returned. He hit .241 over 101 games, with 31 runs, 14 doubles, two homers, 28 RBIs and a .603 OPS, while showing a dip in his defense, leading to a -1.1 WAR for the season.
Diaz was let go after the 2019 season, then signed with the Colorado Rockies for 2020. He hit .235/.288/.353 over 26 games during the shortened 2020 season, with four runs, two doubles, two homers and nine RBIs. He batted .246 for the 2021 Rockies, with 52 runs, 18 doubles, 18 homers, 44 RBIs and a .774 OPS in 106 games. He had a .228 average over 105 games in 2022, with 29 runs, 18 doubles, nine homers, 51 RBIs and a .648 OPS. He had an All-Star season for the first time at 32 years old in 2023. Diaz set numerous career highs that year, finishing with a .267 average, 48 runs, 25 doubles, 14 homers, 72 RBIs and a .725 OPS. He didn’t just make the All-Star team, he won the MVP award for the game. Through nine big league seasons, he has a .249 average in 628 games, with 215 runs, 103 doubles, 56 homers and 258 RBIs.
Ty Taubenheim, pitcher for the 2008 Pirates. He was originally drafted in the 44th round of the 2002 draft out of Edmonds Community College by the Oakland A’s. He decided to return to school for one more year, then he moved up to a 19th round pick by the Milwaukee Brewers. He debuted in pro ball with Helena of the short-season Pioneer League, where he had a 6-1, 2.05 record, an 0.99 WHIP and 44 strikeouts over 50.1 innings. He played with Beloit of the Class-A Midwest League during the 2004 season, where he had a 5-3, 3.61 record, 17 walks, 106 strikeouts, a 1.06 WHIP and 12 saves in 92.1 innings over 47 appearances. Taubenheim pitched in relief during his first two seasons of pro ball before switching to a starting role. He made 16 starts for Brevard County of the High-A Florida State League during the 2005 season, going 10-2, 2.63 in 106 innings, with 75 strikeouts and a 1.06 WHIP. He also made 11 starts for Huntsville of the Double-A Southern League, going 2-6, 4.36 in 64 innings, with a 1.38 WHIP and 44 strikeouts. He combined for 119 strikeouts that season, averaging four fewer strikeouts per nine innings compared to the 2004 season. He was traded on December 7, 2005 to the Toronto Blue Jays, where he made his big league debut in 2006. The Blue Jays had him at Triple-A to start the 2006 season, before coming up in mid-May for almost two months. He had a 2-4, 2.85 record, 48 strikeouts and a 1.23 WHIP in 75.2 innings with Syracuse of the International League that season. Taubenheim made seven starts and five relief appearances during his rookie season with Toronto, posting a 1-5, 4.89 record, 26 strikeouts and a 1.66 WHIP in 35 innings.
Taubenheim made one big league start in June of 2007, allowing five runs over five innings. A majority of the 2007 season was spent in Syracuse, but he was doing so poorly at one point that he was sent back to Double-A (New Hampshire of the Eastern League) for five starts. He had a 6.37 ERA over 89 innings with Syracuse, and a 2.01 ERA in five starts with New Hampshire. He combined for a 6-8, 5.24 record over 120.1 innings, with 102 strikeouts and a 1.43 WHIP. The Pirates acquired Taubenheim on December 3, 2007 as a waiver pickup. He spent the year struggling with Indianapolis of the International League, posting a 4-9, 5.60 record, 66 strikeouts and a 1.44 WHIP in 98 innings over 19 starts. However, his year had one major highlight. He started for the Pirates on June 28, 2008 against the Tampa Bay Rays. He pitched six solid innings that day, allowing two runs on seven hits and three walks. The Pirates ended up winning the game in 13 innings. That was his only game with the Pirates, plus it was his last Major League game. Taubenheim spent all of 2009 with Indianapolis, where he put up a 7-9, 3.65 record, 63 strikeouts and a 1.37 WHIP in 106 innings over 19 starts and seven relief appearances. He pitched winter ball in Mexico during the 2009-10 off-season, posting a 4.66 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP in 29 innings over six starts. He finishing his pro career as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies system during the 2010 season. He saw a majority of his time in Double-A that year, going 4-2, 4.80 over 45 innings with Reading of the Eastern League. He also had a 2-4, 4.26 record in 38 innings with Lehigh Valley of the International League. He combined for a 6-6, 4.55 record, 58 strikeouts and a 1.42 WHIP in 83 innings. He signed with the Texas Rangers for 2011, but he was released right before the season started. Taubenheim had a 1-5, 5.09 record, 34 strikeouts and a 1.67 WHIP in 46 innings over nine starts and five relief appearances during his three big league seasons.
Jim Mann, relief pitcher for the 2003 Pirates. He signed as a 54th round draft pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in 1993 out of Massasoit Community College, though he was a draft-and-follow player back when draft rules allowed teams to use that process. He actually signed in May of 1994, shortly before the deadline to either sign or reenter the draft. He spent his first season of pro ball in the Gulf Coast League, where he went 3-2, 3.74 over 53 innings, with 41 strikeouts and a 1.51 WHIP. Mann pitched for Medicine Hat of the short-season Pioneer League during the 1995 season, where he had a 5-4, 4.29 record, a 1.48 WHIP and 66 strikeouts in 77.2 innings over 14 starts. He made 23 starts total during his first two seasons of pro ball, then had three more start over the final 12 seasons of his pro career. Mann was still in short-season ball during the 1996 season, playing for St Catharines of the New York-Penn League. He had a 3.62 ERA, a 1.17 WHIP, 37 strikeouts and 17 saves in 27.1 innings over 26 games. He finally made it to full-season ball in 1997, then split the year between Hagerstown of the Low-A South Atlantic League and Dunedin of the High-A Florida State League, with poor results at both levels. Mann combined to go 1-1, 5.44 over 31 appearances, with 43 strikeouts and a 1.77 WHIP in 44.2 innings. His 1998 season was spent back in Dunedin, where he had a 3.04 ERA, a 1.09 WHIP, 59 strikeouts and 25 saves in 50.1 innings over 51 games. He started off strong with Knoxville of the Double-A Southern League in 1999, allowing one run over 9.2 innings. The rest of the year was spent with Syracuse of the Triple-A International League, where he had a 6-5, 4.64 record in 66 innings over 47 games. He finished with 84 strikeouts and a 1.31 WHIP in 75.2 innings.
The Blue Jays lost Mann during the 1999 Rule 5 draft to the New York Mets, though the teams worked out a deal in March of 2000 for him to remain with New York. Mann pitched two games for the 2000 Mets, allowing three runs in 2.2 innings. The rest of the year was spent with Norfolk of the International League, where he went 3-4, 2.98 in 81.2 innings, with three saves, a 1.15 WHIP and 74 strikeouts. He became a free agent after the 2000 season, then signed with the Houston Astros, where he saw the majority of his big league time. He earned his big league shot during the 2001 season by posting a 2.51 ERA, a 1.01 WHIP, 81 strikeouts and 27 saves in 68 innings over 53 games with New Orleans of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. Mann gave up two runs over 5.1 innings in four July appearances with the 2001 Astros. He then posted a 4.09 ERA, 19 strikeouts and a 1.18 WHIP in 22 innings over 17 big league appearances for the 2002 Astros. He had 22 saves in the minors that season with New Orleans, though it came with a 4.15 ERA in 34.2 innings. He also had 29 strikeouts and a 1.18 WHIP for New Orleans. The Pirates acquired him via waivers just days after the 2002 season ended. He pitched two games for the 2003 Pirates, appearing on back-to-back days (July 31/August 1). He allowed four runs over 1.2 innings during that brief stint. His full time spent with the Pirates was five days, before he was designated for assignment on the same day he made his final appearance. He returned to the minors, where he had a 3-2, 3.06 record, 48 strikeouts and an 0.94 WHIP in 62.1 innings over 51 appearances with Nashville of the Pacific Coast League.
The Pirates let Mann go at the end of the 2003 season, but they signed him again in June of 2004, after he was released by the New York Yankees. His second stint with the team lasted until he became a minor league free agent in October of 2004. He had a 3-1, 5.97 record, 25 strikeouts and a 1.67 WHIP in 37.2 innings over 25 appearances for Columbus of the International League while with the Yankees. He struggled mightily after rejoining Nashville, going 1-3, 11.47 in 24.1 innings over 20 games, with 25 strikeouts and a 2.01 WHIP. After his second stint for the Pirates, Mann spent a brief time with the 2005 Boston Red Sox at Portland of the Double-A Eastern League. He also put in three years of independent ball. He had a 1.80 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP, 12 saves and 34 strikeouts in 25 innings with Portland. He spent the rest of 2005 with Nashua of the Atlantic League, where he had a 1.50 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP, 16 saves and 37 strikeouts in 30 innings. Mann played for Long Island of the Atlantic League in 2006, where he posted a 11.57 ERA and a 2.23 WHIP over 11.2 innings. He finished up at Nashua again during the 2007 season, though this time they were in the Canadian-American League. He went 1-2, 5.49 over 20 games, with 24 strikeouts and a 1.32 WHIP in 19.2 innings. He had an 0-1, 4.83 record, 25 strikeouts and a 1.45 WHIP in 31.2 innings over 25 relief appearances during his four partial big league seasons. He pitched 499 games and compiled 136 saves during his time in the minors/independent ball.
Tom Dettore, pitcher for the 1973 Pirates. He was drafted three times by the Pirates, finally signing as a third round pick in the 1968 draft. He was a 26th round pick out of high school (Canonsburg, PA) in 1965, then went in the ninth round out of Juniata College during the 1967 draft. He made his pro debut in 1968 as a catcher, hitting .244 over 73 games for Gastonia of the Class-A Western Carolinas League, with 23 runs, 13 extra-base hits, 27 RBIs and a .654 OPS. He pitched twice that season, giving up two runs over six innings. He then took up pitching full-time and had immediate success during the 1969 season. He went 12-3, 1.91 over 141 innings for Gastonia in 1969, with 115 strikeouts and a 1.19 WHIP. Dettore still did some hitting when he wasn’t on the mound that year. He put up some interesting numbers considering that he was giving up hitting, finishing with a .319 average and an .823 OPS in 90 plate appearances over 42 games. He also got a brief trial with Columbus of the Triple-A International League during that 1969 season, where he allowed three runs over seven innings of work. The Fall Instructional League was more organized in 1969 than it is now. It involved more advanced players, plus they kept stats. Dettore had a 4.03 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP in 29 innings that fall, with 16 walks and 12 strikeouts. He was at Waterbury of the Double-A Eastern League for all of 1970, where he posted a 6-11, 5.04 record in 125 innings over 22 starts and one relief appearance. He finished with a 61:58 BB/SO ratio and a 1.62 WHIP that year. He repeated Waterbury in 1971, when he had a 9-8, 2.40 record in 154 innings, with 12 complete games in 21 starts. He improved to 98 strikeouts and a 1.16 WHIP. He walked four fewer batters than the previous year, while throwing 29 more innings.
Dettore was back at Triple-A for the first time in three years (Pirates affiliate moved to Charleston of the International League for the 1971 season). He went 11-7, 3.06 over 22 starts during the 1972 season, with 108 strikeouts and a 1.13 WHIP in 159 innings. His big league debut came in early June of 1973, though he finished the season back at Charleston, after spending five weeks with Pittsburgh. Dettore had a 9-5, 2.16 record, 72 strikeouts and a 1.13 WHIP in 129 innings with Charleston during the 1973 season. He posted an 0-1, 5.96 record, a 2.07 WHIP and a 14:13 BB/SO ratio in 22.2 innings over one start and 11 relief appearances for the 1973 Pirates. That turned out to be his only season with the Pirates. Pittsburgh traded Dettore to the Chicago Cubs for veteran infielder Paul Popovich prior to Opening Day in 1974. Dettore bounced between Triple-A and the majors during the 1974-76 seasons. He had a 3-5, 4.18 record, 43 strikeouts and a 1.47 WHIP in 64.2 innings for the 1974 Cubs, while making nine starts and seven relief appearances. He improved his strikeout rate at Wichita of the Triple-A American Association that season, finishing the year with 5-6, 3.95 record, a 1.23 WHIP and 104 strikeouts in 132 innings.
Dettore had a 5-4, 5.38 record, 46 strikeouts and a 1.39 WHIP in 85.1 innings for the 1975 Cubs, while making five starts and 31 relief appearances. He impressed at Wichita that year, going 7-1, 2.83 over 70 innings, with 50 strikeouts and a 1.36 WHIP. His time in the majors during the 1976 season was limited to seven innings over four appearances. He allowed eight runs during that brief time, while posting a 1.86 WHIP. He went 8-10, 5.10 over 157 innings over three seasons in Chicago, which was his only other big league time outside of Pittsburgh. He was released by the Cubs in early 1976, then signed with the San Diego Padres. The rest of the year was spent at Hawaii of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, where he went 11-15, 4.33 in 210 innings over 28 starts, with 16 complete games, 105 strikeouts and a 1.42 WHIP. His final time in pro ball was spent at New Orleans of the American Association, which was the affiliate for the St Louis Cardinals during the 1977 season. Dettore had a 3-4, 5.34 record, 39 strikeouts and a 1.66 WHIP in 59 innings during his final season. He played in Italy for a time after his minor league career was over. After his playing days were over, he took up a second career as a pitching coach, which began in 1985, then ran into the 2012 season. It included time back with the Pirates (1989-98), spending time with five different affiliates before taking an organizational overview role for the final four years.
Orlando Pena, reliever for the 1970 Pirates. He spent 14 years in the majors pitching for eight different teams. He won 56 games and picked up 40 saves during his big league career. His pro career lasted 21 seasons, starting in 1955 when the Cincinnati Reds signed him out of Havana, Cuba at 21 years old. He dominated at Class-D ball during his first pro season, going 21-8, 1.96 for Daytona Beach of the Florida State League, with 172 strikeouts and a 1.14 WHIP in 253 innings. He moved up two levels in 1956 to play for High Point-Thomasville of the Class-B Carolina League, where he went 19-12, 2.46 in 286 innings, with 176 strikeouts, a 1.24 WHIP and 26 complete games. The Reds had their Triple-A affiliate in Pena’s hometown (Havana of the International League), which is where he spent the 1957-58 seasons. He went 12-10, 2.76 during the 1957 season, with 94 strikeouts and a 1.21 WHIP in 140 innings. He put in 113 innings of Cuban winter ball during the 1957-58 off-season, where he had a 6-6, 1.83 record. He then had an 11-10, 3.27 record, 120 strikeouts and a 1.30 WHIP in 154 innings during the 1958 season. Pena during his first chance at the majors with the 1958 Reds, allowing one run in 15 innings over nine relief appearances. He then pitched a ton of winter ball over the 1958-59 off-season in Cuba, posting a 15-5 record, while throwing 177 innings. He saw plenty of big league time in 1959, but didn’t have the same success as his first big league trial. Pena had a 5-9, 4.76 record, 76 strikeouts and a 1.39 WHIP in 136 innings for the 1959 Reds, while making eight starts and 38 relief appearances. While it wasn’t an official stat until later in his career, he was credited with five saves that season. His big league time in 1960 was limited to four September relief appearances, in which he allowed three runs over 9.1 innings. He spent the rest of the year back with Havana, though the team also played in Jersey City for part that year. Pena had a 13-11, 3.30 record, a 1.27 WHIP and 127 strikeouts in 207 innings for Havana/Jersey City.
Pena spent all of 1961 in the minors, split between Jersey City and Toronto of the International League. He went 12-8, 3.75 over 41 games, with a 1.30 WHIP and 131 strikeouts in 211 innings. He joined the Kansas City A’s in 1962, then spent parts of four seasons with the team. He began the 1962 season back in Toronto, going 9-9, 3.12 over 153 innings, with 137 strikeouts and a 1.05 WHIP. He debuted with the A’s in early August, then had a 6-4, 3.01 record, 56 strikeouts and a 1.09 WHIP over 89.2 innings, while making 12 starts and one relief appearance. Pena led the American League with 20 losses during the 1963 season, despite putting up a 3.69 ERA over 217 innings. He had 12 wins, nine complete games, three shutouts, a 1.25 WHIP and 128 strikeouts. The 1964 season saw him set career highs with 219.1 innings and 184 strikeouts. He allowed 40 homers, which led the National League. It’s a total that has been topped just 16 times in baseball history through the 2023 season (at the time it was the fourth highest total ever). He finished that 1964 season with a 12-14, 4.43 record and a 1.39 WHIP in 32 starts and eight relief appearances. Pena would play for the Detroit Tigers during the 1965-67 seasons, pitching strictly in relief the entire time. He began the 1965 season with the A’s, where he went 0-6, 6.88 in 35.1 innings. The Tigers selected him off of waivers in June of 1965. He went 4-6, 2.51 during his first season in Detroit, with four saves, a 1.29 WHIP and 55 strikeouts in 57.1 innings over 30 outings. He pitched 54 times in 1966, going 4-2, 3.08 over 108 innings, with seven saves, a 1.30 WHIP and 79 strikeouts. He gave up three runs over two innings for the 1967 Tigers, before he was sold to the Cleveland Indians on May 6th. Pena had a 3.36 ERA, a 1.01 WHIP, 72 strikeouts and eight saves in 88.1 innings over 48 games during his only season with Cleveland.
Pena was in the minors for all of 1968 and 1969, before joining the Pirates. He was a member of the Seattle Pilots for two months during the 1968 season, but the actual big league team didn’t play until the 1969 season. Pena had a 7-6, 2.70 record, 99 strikeouts and a 1.24 WHIP in 132 innings over 56 games during the 1968 season, while splitting his time between Seattle and Portland of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. He then had a 9-3, 4.34 record, a 1.34 WHIP and 67 strikeouts over 87 innings for Omaha of the American Association in 1969. Pena was signed by the Pirates as a free agent on June 9, 1970 at 36 years old. He was released just over two months later. Right before he signed with the Pirates, he was serving as the batting practice pitcher for the Kansas City Royals. The two clubs played a mid-season exhibition game on June 8th, then he signed the next day. He had a 2-1, 4.78 record, a 1.19 WHIP and 25 strikeouts in 37.2 innings over 23 relief appearances during his only season with Pittsburgh. After he left Pittsburgh, Pena played for the 1971 and 1973 Baltimore Orioles in 1971, the 1973-74 St Louis Cardinals and the 1974-75 California Angels. His time with the 1971 Orioles was limited to five appearances, and he wasn’t around when Baltimore played the Pirates in the World Series. He had a 3.07 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP in 14.2 innings with the Orioles, then split the rest of the year between Rochester of the Triple-A International League and Miami of the Class-A Florida State League. He dominated the younger players, posting an 0.70 ERA, 106 strikeouts and an 0.87 WHIP in 115 innings with Miami. He had a 2.45 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP over 22 innings for Rochester. Pena played for Rochester and Miami again during the 1972 season, combining to go 22-3, 1.25 in 180 innings, with 187 strikeouts and an 0.85 WHIP.
Pena had a 4.03 ERA in 44.2 innings with the 1973 Orioles, while making two starts and nine relief appearances. He then improved greatly with his move to the Cardinals mid-season, where he had a 2.18 ERA in 62 innings to finish out the 1973 season. He combined to go 5-5, 2.95 over 106.2 innings, with 61 strikeouts and a 1.11 WHIP. Pena had a strong 1974 season with St Louis and California, posting a 5-2, 2.21 record, 28 strikeouts, a 1.36 WHIP and four saves in 53 innings over 46 games between both stops. His work with the Angels was limited to eight innings that year, but he threw shutout ball over that time. His big league time at 41 years old in 1975 was brief, but he still had a 2.13 ERA in 12.2 innings. That was more luck that anything else, as he had a 1.68 WHIP and an 8:4 BB/SO ratio. He finished the 1975 season with the Oakland A’s Triple-A affiliate, posting a 2-6, 6.27 record, a 1.64 WHIP and 42 strikeouts in 56 innings over 21 games for Tucson of the Pacific Coast League. Pena then pitched one game in 1979 with Miami of the Inter-American League, which was his final pro outing. He allowed one earned run over six innings that day. Including his minor league stats and a season in Cuba, he threw over 3,000 innings during his pro ball, while winning 223 games. His big league stats over 14 seasons show a 56-77, 3.71 record in 1,202 innings over 427 games, with 818 strikeouts and a 1.27 WHIP. Pena made 93 starts and picked up 40 saves in the majors. He had 21 complete games and four shutouts. He turns 90 years old today.
Don Flinn, outfielder for 1917 Pirates. He played pro ball from 1914 until 1926, but his big league career consisted of just one month with the 1917 Pirates. He debuted in the Class-D Western Association at 21 years old during the 1914 season, where he split his time between Muskogee and Joplin-Webb City. He had a .328 average, 58 runs scored, 42 extra-base hits and 15 steals in 101 games. The 1915 season had an interesting split, as he played at three different levels, while doing much worse the higher he went up the minor league ladder. He batted .358 in 58 games for Newnan of the Class-D Georgia-Alabama League. He hit .259 in 54 games for Norfolk of the Class-C Virginia League. He also batted .182 in 18 games with Atlanta of the Class-A Southern Association. He combined to hit .295 in 128 games, with 26 doubles, one triple and 21 homers. It was reported that he would be given a trial with the New York Yankees late in the year, but he never made an appearance for them. In fact, it was falsely reported that he was sold to the Yankees for $1,500, but weeks later it was corrected to say his rights still belonged to Newnan. Flinn hit .365 in 68 games for Newnan during the 1916 season, while also seeing time with two teams in the Class-B Texas League, Waco and San Antonio. Individual stats aren’t available for those two stops, but he’s credited with hitting .313 that year between all three stops in 101 games. He had six extra-base hits during his 33 games in the Texas League.
Flinn spent the 1917 season in the Texas League, where he hit .300 over 109 games, with 24 doubles, five triples, ten homers and 24 stolen bases. He split his season between San Antonio and Shreveport. He also had a 4-3 record over 56 innings pitched that year, but didn’t see any mound time with the Pirates. Flinn was purchased by the Pirates on August 10th from the Shreveport Gassers, though he was allowed to finish his minor league season first before reporting to Pittsburgh. He joined the Pirates on September 2nd, then got into that day’s game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning. He ended up playing 14 games for the Pirates, hitting .297/.316/.378 in 38 plate appearances, with one run, a double, a triple and one RBI. Shortly after the 1917 season ended, the newspapers reported that Flinn would likely return to the minors. Despite the high average during his big league stint, it was said that he showed very little during his time with the Pirates. It didn’t take long for that report to become official. The season ended on October 1st, then the rights to Flinn were returned to his Shreveport club exactly one week later.
Flinn is credited with playing just eight games with Shreveport in 1918. He missed the rest of the season while serving in the military in WWI, for which he received a Purple Heart. He had a .393 average and two doubles in 28 at-bats during his shortened season. He joined Dallas of the Texas League in 1919, where he hit .341 over 79 games, with 19 doubles, three triples and eight homers. He also had a 3-4, 1.39 record and a 1.05 WHIP over 84 innings. He struggled with Dallas in 1920, batting .241 over 30 games, with nine extra-base hits. He did some pitching that year as well, going 3-7, 1.74 over 88 innings, with an 0.95 WHIP. That would be his last pro pitching. The 1921-22 seasons were spent playing independent/semi-pro ball, before he rejoined the professional ranks at the lower levels. He played for Waco and Austin in the Class-D Texas Association during the 1923 season, combining to hit .354 over 93 games, with 20 doubles, nine triples and 22 homers. Flinn then saw action with three teams in 1924, including Springfield of the Class-C Western Association, a return trip to Austin, plus a stint for Marshall of the Class-D East Texas League. He ended up with a .332 average and 31 extra-base hits in 69 games that season, playing at least 22 games with all three teams. After playing semi-pro ball in 1925, he finished his pro career with two Class-D clubs during the 1926 season. He had a .393 average and 30 extra-base hits in 55 games, which were split between Jonesboro of the Tri-State League and Gulfport of the Cotton States League. He could be found playing semi-pro ball during the 1927 season, which appears to be his final time playing organized ball. The Texas newspapers often referred to him in print as the “Wild Irishman”. During his time in Pittsburgh, and for most of his career, he was called “Flynn”.