Eight former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date, plus two trades of note.
On this date in 1998, the Pittsburgh Pirates traded pitcher Ricardo Rincon to the Cleveland Indians for outfielder Brian Giles. The 28-year-old Giles had an .856 OPS in 299 games with the Indians over four seasons, which was worth 7.6 WAR. Rincon, who was also 28 years old, had two seasons with the Pirates, in which he had a 3.17 ERA and 18 saves in 125 innings over 122 appearances. The trade was a one-sided win for the Pirates, as Giles was an all-star outfielder, while Rincon was a lefty specialist reliever. He pitched 207 games for the Indians, but only amassed 154.1 innings over four seasons. Giles had a .308 avergae, 501 runs scored and 506 RBIs in 715 games with the Pirates. His 1.018 OPS is the highest in team history. Giles was a two-time All-Star, who received MVP votes during four seasons with the Pirates. This trade paid off down the line as well, with Giles being traded for Jason Bay and Oliver Perez in 2003. Giles put up 26.1 WAR for the Pirates, while Rincon posted 3.0 WAR for the Indians.
Also on this date in 1947, the Pirates traded pitcher Al Lyons, outfielder Jim Russell and catcher Bill Salkeld to the Boston Braves in exchange for outfielder Johnny Hopp and infielder Danny Murtaugh. The Pirates had an edge in the production each team received after the trade, but it get a little more one-sided when you consider what Murtaugh did after the trade as a manager of the Pirates. That part may not have happened if he wasn’t acquired in this deal.
Lyons had played parts of four seasons in the majors prior to the trade, putting up a 6.08 ERA over 32 games. He had a 7.31 ERA over 13 games for the 1947 Pirates, after coming over from the New York Yankees in early August. Salkeld had a strong rookie season in 1945, when he put up a .311 average, 15 homers and a .966 OPS. He hit .294 in a backup role during the 1946 season, then really struggled in 1947, hitting just .213/.284/.246 over 47 games. Russell was the only significant player the Pirates traded away. He was a regular from 1943 through 1947, playing 723 games for Pittsburgh. He hit .277/.367/.407 during that time, with 414 runs scored and 288 RBIs.
The Pirates got a 31-year-old outfielder with a .297 career average in Johnny Hopp. He had a .288 average, 74 runs, 58 walks and a .734 OPS in 1947. He had three seasons with a .300+ average prior to the trade. Murtaugh was a big league regular for three seasons (1941-43), but he was unable to get a regular job in the majors after serving during the war. He played just nine games between the 1946 and 1947 seasons combined. He had two strong seasons for the Pirates, doing well in 1948 and 1950, though the true value from the trade was getting him into the organization. He worked his way to the Major League managerial role, winning two World Series titles for the Pirates, while picking up 1,115 regular season wins. Hopp hit .310/.379/.438 in 331 games over three seasons with the Pirates, before being sold to the Yankees during the 1950 season. Thosee two players combined for 11.2 WAR with the Pirates, while the three players Pittsburgh gave up in the deal had a combined 6.5 WAR after the trade. Nearly half of the latter total came from Russell during the 1948 season, which was a season that he played 89 games and had a .773 OPS.
Jameson Taillon, pitcher for the 2016-19 Pirates. He was the second overall pick in the 2010 draft out of high school by the Pirates. He signed too late to debut in 2010, so he started his pro career for West Virginia of the Low-A South Atlantic League during the 2011 season. He went 2-3, 3.98 in 92.2 innings over 23 starts, with 97 strikeouts and a 1.20 WHIP. He made 23 starts with Bradenton of the High-A Florida State League in 2012, when he had a 6-8, 3.82 record, 98 strikeouts and a 1.17 WHIP over 125 innings. He finished the season with three starts at Double-A Altoona of the Eastern League. He won all three of those games, putting up a 1.59 ERA, an 0.71 WHIP and 18 strikeouts over 17 innings. He had a total of 116 strikeouts in 142 innings that season. Taillon pitched most of the 2013 season at Altoona, going 4-7, 3.67 in 110.1 innings, with 106 strikeouts and a 1.34 WHIP. He also made six starts at Indianapolis of the Triple-A International League, where he had a 3.89 ERA, 37 strikeouts and a 1.27 WHIP in 37 innings. He pitched in the Arizona Fall League after the 2013 season, but he was removed from the league after one start due to a groin strain. Unfortunately for Taillon, things got worse much worse after that injury. An elbow injury during Spring Training of 2014 led to Tommy John surgery in April. He was pitching in Extended Spring Training during the 2015 season, but an ab strain led to a July surgery that ended his season early. He didn’t record a single regular season inning during the 2014-15 seasons. He returned at the start of 2016, and looked like he didn’t miss a beat. Taillon made ten starts in Indianapolis, posting a 2.04 ERA over 61.2 innings, with 61 strikeouts and an 0.81 WHIP. He joined the Pirates in early June, then made 18 starts before the year was over. He put up a 5-4, 3.38 record in 104 innings, with a 1.12 WHIP, 17 walks and 85 strikeouts.
Taillon was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2017, which required mid-season surgery. Despite the timing, he ended up missing very little time. Along with making three minor league rehab starts, he had 25 starts for the Pirates that season. He finished his big league time with an 8-7, 4.44 record, 125 strikeouts and a 1.48 WHIP in 133.2 innings. He was healthy for all of 2018, where he posted a 14-10, 3.20 record, 179 strikeouts and a 1.18 WHIP in 191 innings over 32 starts. The injury bug returned in 2019 after seven starts, as he required a second Tommy John surgery. That one ended up costing him the rest of the 2019 season, as well as all of 2020. He had a 2-3, 4.10 record, a 1.13 WHIP and 30 strikeouts in 37.1 innings at the time of the injury. The Pirates traded Taillon to the New York Yankees on January 24, 2021 for four prospects. He made 29 starts during the 2021 season, rebounding slightly after a slow start to finish the year with an 8-6, 4.30 record, 140 strikeouts and a 1.21 WHIP in 144.1 innings. He made 32 starts during the 2022 season, going 14-5, 3.91 in 177.1 innings, with 151 strikeouts and a 1.13 WHIP. Taillon signed a four-year free agent deal with the Chicago Cubs prior to the 2023 season. He then went 8-10, 4.84 during the 2023 season, with 140 strikeouts and a 1.28 WHIP. During his four seasons with the Pirates, he went 29-24, 3.67 in 466 innings over 82 starts. His career numbers show a 59-45, 4.00 record over 942 innings, with 850 strikeouts and a 1.22 WHIP. Taillon was ranked as a top 30 prospect in baseball by multiple sources each year from 2011 through 2015.
Rocky Nelson, outfielder for the 1951 and 1959-61 Pirates. He was signed by the St Louis Cardinals in 1942. He played one season at 17 years old, before missing the next three years while serving in the U.S. Army. He would become a feared power hitter in the minors later in his career, but during that first year with Johnson City of the Class-D Appalachian League, he had a .253 average and 13 extra-base hits (no homers) in 53 games. After returning from the service, the 21-year-old Nelson spent the 1946 season with St Joseph of the Class-C Western Association, where he .319 in 135 games. He only had five homers, but the signs of power were there. He finished with 92 runs, 31 doubles, 23 triples, 93 RBIs, 26 steals and an .864 OPS. A large majority of his 1947 season was spent with Lynchburg of the Class-B Piedmont League. He had a big season there in 117 games, finishing with a .371 average, 100 runs scored, 38 doubles, 11 triples, 11 homers, 107 RBIs, 20 steals and a .966 OPS. Nelson played 11 games for Triple-A Rochester of the International League during the 1947 season, hitting just .056/.150/.056 over 20 plate appearances, with two runs, a single and a walk. He stole a total of 46 bases during the 1946-47 seasons, then had just 43 steals over his next 15 seasons of pro ball. He spent the entire 1948 season with Rochester, where he batted .303 over 142 games, with 68 runs, 48 extra-base hits, 63 RBIs, 70 walks and an .849 OPS.
Nelson made the Opening Day roster of the 1949 Cardinals. He hit .221 as a rookie, with 28 runs, 16 extra-base hits, 32 RBIs, 11 walks and a .594 OPS in 82 games. He split the 1950 season between the majors and Columbus of the Triple-A American Association, where he posted a .418 average, 25 extra-base hits, 40 RBIs and a 1.098 OPS in 48 games. He hit .247 for the 1950 Cardinals, with 28 runs, 15 extra-base hits (one homer) and 20 RBIs in 76 games. He managed to compile an impressive 26:9 BB/SO ratio, while posting a .661 OPS. He played just nine games for the 1951 Cardinals St Louis, before the Pirates acquired him in a trade for shortstop Stan Rojek. Nelson hit .267 for the 1951 Pirates, with 29 runs, 12 extra-base hits (one homer), 14 RBIs and a .661 OPS in 67 games, while splitting his time between first base and left field. He was lost on waivers to the Chicago White Sox in September of 1951. He went 0-for-5 with a walk in six games for Chicago. Between all three stops, he had a .257/.296/.344 slash line in 86 games, with 32 runs, 13 extra-base hits and 15 RBIs. Nelson played for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1952, seeing almost all of his sporadic playing time off of the bench. He received just 46 plate appearances in 37 games, while finishing the year with a .256/.370/.282 slash line. He spent all of 1953 in the minors with Montreal of the International League, where he had a .308 average, 117 runs, 33 doubles, nine triples, 34 homers, 136 RBIs, 106 walks and a 1.021 OPS. He played briefly for the 1954 Cleveland Indians, going 0-for-4 in four games. The rest of the year was spent back at Montreal, where he batted .311 in 141 games, with 107 runs scored, 26 doubles, 31 homers, 94 RBIs, 105 walks and a 1.023 OPS.
Nelson spent all of 1955 in Montreal, where he hit .364 over 154 games, with 118 runs scored, 36 doubles, 37 homers, 130 RBIs, 118 walks and a 1.150 OPS. Montreal wasn’t exactly a hitter-friendly park (it was neutral if anything), so his impressive season really stood out. He had an OPS that was 266 points higher than any of his teammates that year. Nelson split the 1956 season between the Dodgers and Cardinals, while also putting up a .394 average, 42 runs, 14 doubles, 12 homers, 37 RBIs and a 1.195 OPS in 49 games with Montreal. He hit .208/.235/.354 in 31 games for the 1956 Dodgers, where he had four homers and 15 RBIs. He batted .232/.307/.482 in 38 games for the Cardinals, with three homers and eight RBIs. He combined for a .217 average over 69 games, with 13 runs, seven doubles, seven homers, 23 RBIs and a .664 OPS Nelson spent the 1957-58 seasons with Toronto of the International League, where he had a .294 average, 91 runs, 26 doubles, 28 homers, 102 RBIs and an .899 OPS over 152 games in 1957. He then topped that performance with a .326 average, 104 runs, 27 doubles, seven triples, 43 homers, 120 RBIs, 92 walks and a 1.018 OPS over 148 games in 1958. The Pirates took him in the Rule 5 draft that winter, then he became a key bench player on the 1959-60 squads. He hit .291 during the 1959 season, with 31 runs, 11 doubles, six homers, 32 RBIs and an .836 OPS in 98 games. He made 34 starts at first base and one in the outfield. He hit .300 during the 1960 season, with 34 runs, 11 doubles, seven homers and 35 RBIs, to go along with a career best .852 OPS. He went 3-for-9 during the World Series that year, including a two-run homer in game seven. That season was a high point with the Pirates. Nelson hit .197 during the 1961 season, with 15 runs, five doubles, five homers, 13 RBIs and a .672 OPS in 75 games. He then returned to the minors for his final season of pro ball.
The Pirates sold Nelson outright to Toronto on October 12, 1961. He split the 1962 season between Toronto and Denver of the American Association, hitting .239 in 112 games, with 68 runs, 21 doubles, 19 homers, 63 RBIs and a .746 OPS. Nelson hit a total of 234 homers in the minors. He was a .270 hitter in 337 games for the Pirates, with 109 runs scored, 34 doubles, 19 homers and 94 RBIs. He batting .249 during his nine-year big league career, with 186 runs scored, 61 doubles, 31 homers, 173 RBIs, seven steals and a 130:94 BB/SO ratio. His .763 OPS with the Pirates was 67 points higher than his career mark. His actual first name was Glenn. Nelson was elected to the International League Hall of Fame in 1960, two years before he played his final game in the league.
Mark Petkovsek, relief pitcher for the 1993 Pirates. He played nine years in the majors, starting and ending his career with the Texas Rangers. He was a first round pick of the Rangers out of the University of Texas in 1987, taken 29th overall. Petkovsek debuted in the rookie level Gulf Coast League that year, where he allowed two runs over 5.2 innings. He was quickly promoted to Port Charlotte of the Class-A Florida State League, where he went 3-4, 4.02 in 56 innings, with 23 strikeouts and a 1.50 WHIP. He remained in Port Charlotte for all of 1988, where he posted a 10-11, 2.97 record over 175.2 innings. He had an impressive 1.13 WHIP that year, but it came with a low strikeouts rate (4.9 per nine innings). He made 21 starts for Tulsa of the Double-A Texas League in 1989, where he had an 8-5, 3.47 record, 66 strikeouts and a 1.28 WHIP over 140 innings. He finished the year with Oklahoma City of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, where he posted an 0-4, 7.34 record, a 1.86 WHIP and an 18:8 BB/SO ratio in 30.2 innings. Petkovsek remained at Oklahoma City for all of 1990, where he went 7-14, 5.25 over 28 starts, with 81 strikeouts and a 1.52 WHIP in 151 innings. A majority of the 1991 season was spent back at Oklahoma City, where he had a 9-8, 4.93 record in 149.2 innings, compiling 67 strikeouts and a 1.34 WHIP. Petkovsek made the majors in June of 1991, though he got roughed up during his four outings that season. He had a 14.46 ERA and a 2.68 WHIP in 9.1 innings. He became a free agent after the 1991 season, then signed with the Pirates in January of 1992. He spent the entire 1992 season in Triple-A, but still re-signed with the Pirates for 1993. He went 8-8, 3.53 in 22 starts and ten relief appearances for Buffalo of the American Association during the 1992 season. He ended that year with 49 strikeouts and a 1.29 WHIP in 150.1 innings.
Petkovsek had two separate stints with the 1993 Pirates, one in May/June and another one from late July until the end of the season. He had a 3.75 ERA during the first trial, then that number ballooned to 8.86 in the second stint. A big portion of the damage came on August 24th, when he allowed seven runs in one inning. He had a 3-0 record over 26 appearances for the 1993 Pirates, despite posting a 6.96 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP in 32.1 innings. The rest of the year was spent back in Buffalo, where he 4.33 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP in 70.2 innings, while striking out just 27 batters. He left the Pirates via free agency after the 1993 season. Petkovsek spent the 1994 season in the minors with the Houston Astros, where he went 10-7, 4.62 over 138.1 innings for Tuscon of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. He had 69 strikeouts and a 1.56 WHIP. He threw a no-hitter May 16th, after which he said that he was the last person you would expect to throw a no-hitter because he pitched to contact and induced a lot of ground balls. He also noted that he threw a no-hitter in college. He became a free agent after the 1994 season, then quickly signed with St Louis Cardinals, where he had some big league success. Petkovsek went 6-6, 4.00 in 137.1 innings over 21 starts and five relief appearances for the 1995 Cardinals, finishing with 71 strikeouts and a 1.25 WHIP. He moved to relief for the 1996 season, then posted an 11-2, 3.55 record, 45 strikeouts and a 1.33 WHIP in 88.2 innings over 48 games (six starts). He went 4-7, 5.06 in 96 innings over 55 games (two starts) during the 1997 season, with 51 strikeouts and a 1.46 WHIP. He saw a bit of starting time in 1998, when he had a 7-4, 4.77 record, 55 strikeouts and a 1.58 WHIP in 105.2 innings. He made ten starts and 38 relief appearances that year.
Petkovsek was traded to the Anaheim Angels on December 14, 1998. He spent two seasons as a reliever for the Angels before hitting free agency. He threw 64 games each year in Los Angeles. He went 10-4, 3.47 in 83 innings during the 1999 season, with 43 strikeouts and a 1.28 WHIP. He followed that up by going 4-2, 4.33 over 81 innings in 2000, with 31 strikeouts and a 1.35 WHIP. Petkovsek finished up his career with the 2001 Rangers, where he had a 1-2, 6.69 record, 42 strikeouts and a 1.71 WHIP in 76.2 innings over 55 appearances. During his nine-year career, he had 46-28, 4.74 record in 710 innings over 390 appearances (41 starts). He finished with 358 strikeouts and a 1.44 WHIP. His strikeout rate surprisingly increased in the majors, going from 4.2 strikeouts per nine innings over 1,134 minor league innings, to 4.5 strikeouts per nine innings in the majors. He has been in coaching at the college/high school level since retiring as a player. Petkovsek was a sinkerball pitcher, who threw about 87-88 MPH. He once noted that he could throw slightly harder, but when he did his sinker would straighten out, so he had to keep it in that happy zone (upper 80s).
Jim Shellenback, pitcher for the 1966-67 and 1969 Pirates. He was signed out of high school by the New York Yankees in 1962, but he didn’t stay with them for long. The Pirates selected Shellenback during the 1962 First Year draft in November of 1962. It would take the 6’2″ lefty four years to make it to the majors, debuting in September of 1966 with two relief appearances. His pro debut saw him post a 1-5, 4.05 record, a 40:57 BB/SO ratio and a 1.78 WHIP in 49 innings during the 1962 season. He split that first year between two low level teams, playing with Harlan of the Class-D Appalachian League and Idaho Falls of the Class-C Pioneer League. After joining the Pirates, he went to Gastonia of the Class-A Western Carolina League for the 1963 season. He had a 17-3, 2.03 record over 182 innings that year, with 181 strikeouts and a 1.17 WHIP. Shellenback posted an 8-14, 3.53 record and a 1.51 WHIP in 181 innings for Asheville of the Double-A Southern League during the 1964 season. His strikeouts dropped to 132 that season, despite putting in the same amount of work as the previous year. That drop in strikeouts became a trend, as he had 109 strikeouts over 181 innings in 1965, while splitting his season between Asheville and Columbus of the Triple-A International League. Despite that downward trend, he finished with a 14-6, 3.33 record and a respectable 1.34 WHIP. Shellenback spent the 1966 season with Columbus, going 11-13, 3.09 in 195 innings, with 120 strikeouts, a 1.30 WHIP and four shutouts. He appeared in two games as a reliever for the Pirates that season, allowing three runs over three innings.
Shellenback pitched six games (two starts) for the 1967 Pirates, making three appearances in April, then three more in late September. He had a 2.70 ERA, a 1.50 WHIP and a 12:11 BB/SO ratio over 23.1 innings. Most of that season was spent at Columbus, where he put up a 7-10, 3.16 record, a 1.27 WHIP and 111 strikeouts in 154 innings. He did well for Columbus during the 1968 season, finishing with a 9-8, 2.85 record, 90 strikeouts and a 1.09 WHIP in 140 innings over 18 starts and seven relief appearances. Despite those stats, he did not appear in a big league game that season. He started the 1969 season with the Pirates, but after posting a 3.24 ERA in 16.2 innings over eight appearances, he was traded to the Washington Senators for veteran pitcher Frank Kreutzer. Shellenback spent three seasons in Washington, then moved with the team to Texas in 1972 for three seasons. He went 4-7, 4.04 in 84.2 innings over 11 starts and 19 relief appearances for the 1969 Senators. His combined stats for that season show a 4-7, 3.91 record, 57 strikeouts and a 1.51 WHIP in 101.1 innings. He had the same reliever/occasional starter role over the next two seasons. He went 6-7, 3.68 in 117.1 innings during the 1970 season, with 14 starts and 25 relief appearances. He finished that year with 57 strikeouts and a 1.35 WHIP. Shelleback had a 3-11, 3.53 record, a 49:47 BB/SO ratio and a 1.43 WHIP over 120 innings in 1971, when he made 15 starts and 25 relief outings. His big league time became sporadic once the team moved to Texas.
Shellenback had a 2-4, 3.47 record, 30 strikeouts and a 1.09 WHIP in 57 innings over six starts and 16 relief appearances for the 1972 Rangers. He pitched just two big league games in 1973, though he retired all five batters he faced. The rest of the year was spent with Spokane of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, where he went 13-7, 4.31 in 167 innings, with 88 strikeouts and a 1.44 WHIP. He had 11 appearances for the 1974 Rangers, while posting a 5.84 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP in 24.2 innings. He went 4-4, 3.78 in 69 innings for Spokane that season, with 42 strikeouts and a 1.58 WHIP. Shellenback spent the 1975-76 seasons with Hawaii of the Pacific Coast League. He had a 10-6, 4.50 record, 91 strikeouts and a 1.46 WHIP in 160 innings over 23 starts and nine relief appearances during the 1975 season. He followed that up with 7-5, 3.88 record, 49 strikeouts and a 1.36 WHIP over 109 innings in 1976, when he made 11 starts and 16 relief appearances. His last appearance in the majors came with the 1977 Minnesota Twins as a September call-up. He pitched five games in relief, allowing seven runs over 5.2 innings. The rest of that season was spent Orlando of the Double-A Southern League, where he had a 3.90 ERA, 23 strikeouts and a 1.23 WHIP in 30 innings. He actually began that final year as a pitching coach in the Twins minor league system. He was released after the 1977 season ended, though he stayed with Minnesota as a coach. He went 16-30, 3.81 in 454 innings over his nine big league seasons, with 222 strikeouts and a 1.42 WHIP. He had 117 relief appearances, 48 starts, eight complete games and two shutouts. During his three partial seasons for Pittsburgh, he went 1-1, 3.35 in 43 innings over two starts and 14 relief outings. His uncle Frank Shellenback pitched two seasons in the majors, playing one of those year for the 1919 Chicago White Sox team known as the Black Sox.
Curt Raydon, right-handed pitcher for the 1958 Pirates. During his first year of pro ball at 19 years old in 1953, he went 11-7, 3.50 over 20 starts and 12 relief appearances for Jacksonville of the Class-A South Atlantic League. He finished that year with 108 strikeouts and a 1.48 WHIP in 162 innings. He came to the Pirates organization from the Milwaukee Braves as part of a six-player and cash deal for Danny O’Connell following the 1953 season. Raydon spent a total of eight seasons in the minors, the last seven as a member of the Pirates organization. He had a 4-6, 5.96 record for New Orleans of the Double-A Southern Association during the 1954 season. He had 47 strikeouts and a 1.72 WHIP in 83 innings over 11 starts and 12 relief appearances. He was back with New Orleans again for the 1955 season, when he had a 14-11, 4.43 record and a 1.54 WHIP in 203 innings over 37 games (30 starts). It was the only season in which he topped 200 innings. He also set a career high with 139 strikeouts that year. Raydon split the 1956 season between New Orleans and Hollywood of the Pacific Coast League (classified as an Open level at the time, but it was basically Triple-A). He combined to go 8-12, 3.83 in 162 innings, with 109 strikeouts and a 1.46 WHIP. He put up much better results that year during his shorter stint with New Orleans. He was at Hollywood for all of 1957, when he had a 10-10, 3.30 record, a 1.21 WHIP and 137 strikeouts in 169 innings over 24 starts and eight relief appearances. The Pirates purchased his contract from Hollywood on October 16, 1957.
Raydon played just one big league season, putting up an 8-4, 3.62 record, 85 strikeouts and a 1.33 WHIP in 134.1 innings over 20 starts and 11 relief appearances for the 1958 Pirates. He moved to a starting role at the end of May, then remained in that role for the rest of the season, though he saw limited work during September. Raydon was almost traded after the 1958 season to the Cincinnati Reds, in which he would have been part of a deal that helped the Pirates to the 1960 World Series. The Pirates and Reds had the outline of a deal in December of 1958 that would send Don Hoak, Smoky Burgess and Harvey Haddix to the Pirates for Frank Thomas and pitcher Bennie Daniels. The Pirates balked at including Daniels, offering Raydon instead. When the Reds wouldn’t do that trade, it ended the talks at that point. Eventually the Pirates sent three other players instead of Daniels to the Reds, which still worked out great for the Pirates. Raydon had a 7-4, 2.92 record, 51 strikeouts and a 1.03 WHIP over 77 innings for Columbus of the International League during the 1959 season. He was limited that year due to arm soreness in May/June, then a surgery on his index finger in February. At one point in the season, he was pitching batting practice as part of his rehab work. He also battled arm troubles during the 1961 season, which ended up being his last season in pro ball. He had a decent showing with Columbus in 1960, going 7-5, 3.75 in 84 innings over 15 starts and two relief appearances, with 58 strikeouts and a 1.69 WHIP. He also pitched 21 innings that season with Savannah of the Class-A South Atlantic League, where the only other available stats show a 1-0 record over three appearances. His final season saw him put up a 4.73 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP in 40 innings, while pitching for Asheville of the South Atlantic League. His career ended in June of 1961, when he refused to report to Burlington of the Class-B Three-I League.
Gene Mauch, middle infielder for the 1947 Pirates. He made his pro debut in 1943 at 17 years old, playing 32 games for Durham of the Class-B Piedmont League and 31 games with Montreal of the Double-A International League (highest level of the minors at the time). He hit .322/.431/.383 at the lower level, while struggling with a .169 average and a .455 OPS at the higher level against much older competition. He combined for a .260 average over 63 games, with 24 runs, seven extra-base hits, 18 RBIs and a .671 OPS. He started at shortstop for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the first five games of the 1944 season. Mauch was sent back to Montreal 13 days later without playing another game. He played just 14 games for Montreal before being called into service during WWII. He went 2-for-15 with a double, two RBIs and two walks during his brief big league time. He had a .283 average and a .660 OPS over 63 plate appearances with Montreal. He would miss the rest of 1944 and the entire 1945 season as well. He came back in 1946 to spend the entire year with St Paul of the Triple-A American Association (Triple-A was a new level for the 1946 season). He hit .248 in 149 games that season, with 74 runs, 19 doubles, 55 RBIs, 91 walks and a .688 OPS. He hit six homers that year, after hitting none prior to his service during the war. Mauch was involved in two big trades with the Pirates and Brooklyn Dodgers. The first one in mid-May of 1947 consisted of five players coming to Pittsburgh for outfielder Al Gionfriddo and cash. Then in December of that same year, he was sent back to Brooklyn as part of a six-player deal, with three players going each way. Despite those two trades with the Dodgers, he played a total of 17 games for Brooklyn over two season, which was slightly more time than he saw in Pittsburgh.
Mauch hit .300/.432/.300 in 16 games for the 1947 Pirates, with eight runs, no extra-base hits, one RBI and seven walks over 37 plate appearances. The rest of the season was spent with Indianapolis of the Triple-A American Association, where he also batted .300 in 58 games, with 37 runs, 13 doubles, four triples, 16 RBIs and an .803 OPS. He made five starts at shortstop and three at second base while with the Pirates. Mauch played 12 games with the 1948 Dodgers, before he was lost on waivers to the Chicago Cubs. He hit .199 between both stops that year, with 19 runs scored, six extra-base hits, seven RBIs and a .585 OPS in 65 games. He hit .247 for the 1949 Cubs, with 15 runs, nine extra-base hits, seven RBIs and a .673 OPS in 72 games. He was traded to the Boston Braves on December 14, 1949, where he saw limited work during the 1950-51 seasons, playing a total of 67 games (35 starts). Most of that time came during the 1950 season, when he had a .231/.316/.298 slash line in 137 plate appearances over 48 games. He finished that year with 17 runs, five doubles, one homer and 15 RBIs. Mauch had a .100 average, five runs, one RBI, seven walks and a .433 OPS in 19 games with the 1951 Braves. He spent the rest of the season at Milwaukee of the Triple-A American Association, where he hit .303/.445/.349 in 37 games, with 30 runs, three extra-base hits and 16 RBIs. He was lost to the New York Yankees in the November 1951 Rule 5 draft, but the Yankees lost him on waivers to the St Louis Cardinals during Spring Training of 1952. He played seven games for the Cardinals, all off of the bench. He went 0-for-3 with a walk, before being released in May. He re-signed with the Braves on the same day he was released, but he didn’t make it back to the majors until 1956.
Mauch spent the majority of the 1952 season with Milwaukee, where he batted .324 in 102 games, with 58 runs, 31 extra-base hits, 60 RBIs, 58 walks and an .882 OPS. He was a player/manager for Atlanta of the Double-A Southern Association in 1953, where he hit .268 in 111 games, with 65 runs, 35 extra-base hits, 51 RBIs, 71 walks and an .832 OPS. He played for Los Angeles of the Pacific Coast League during the 1954-56 seasons. Mauch hit .287 over 153 games in 1954, with 81 runs, 29 extra-base hits, 58 RBIs and a .760 OPS. He batted .296/.360/.414 over 155 games in 1955, while collecting 93 runs, 37 doubles, eight homers and 49 RBIs. He had 22 steals, which was easily his career high. He set another high in 1956 with 20 homers. He had just 47 homers total during his other 15 seasons of pro ball. Mauch hit .348 over 146 games that year, with 123 runs, 29 doubles, 84 RBIs, 70 walks and a .940 OPS. He made it back to the majors with the Boston Red Sox in September of 1956, where he hit .320/.393/.320 over seven games. He hit .275 for the 1957 Red Sox, with 23 runs, ten doubles, two homers, 29 RBIs and a .704 OPS in 72 games. He was released after the 1957 season. He played in the minors during the 1958-59 seasons before retiring as a player. Mauch batted .243/.326/.362 over 65 games for Minneapolis of the American Association in 1958, with 25 runs, 17 extra-base hits and 29 RBIs. He then went 4-for-8 over eight games for Minneapolis in 1959. He was the team manager during both of those seasons.
Mauch is more famous now for the baseball time he put in after his playing career. He managed for 26 seasons in the majors. He won 1,902 games, with two first place finishes to his credit. His managerial career consisted of 5+ years with the Philadelphia Phillies, Montreal Expos, Minnesota Twins and California Angels. He led the Angels to American League West titles in 1982 and 1986. He was the first manager of the Expos. He also managed for three seasons in the minors. He ranks 15th all-time in wins as a manager, while placing first among both wins for non-Hall of Famers (for eligible candidates) and first among managers without a World Series title. He also ranks fifth with 2,037 losses. Mauch hit .239 over nine big league seasons, with 93 runs, 25 doubles, five homers and 62 RBIs in 304 games. His brother-in-law Roy Smalley played 11 seasons in the majors (they were teammates in 1948-49), and his nephew Roy Smalley played 13 years in the majors, including five seasons (1976-80 Twins) with Mauch as his manager.
Roy Wise, pitcher for the 1944 Pirates. Before joining the Pirates, he was pitching at Illinois Wesleyan University. It was said that he had an 18-1 record in his last year of college. The Pirates got their first look at him during an exhibition game in 1943, when he threw four no-hit innings against them. He went to Spring Training with the Pirates in 1944, but left on April 8th after he couldn’t reach a contract agreement with the team. The Pirates said that they made a strong salary offer and bonus to entice him to sign. After a short stay at home, the two sides agreed to a deal on April 21st (three days after Opening Day), so he returned to the club the next day. Wise said that both the Philadelphia Athletics and St Louis Browns made him offers during his time away from the Pirates. Wise threw a three-hit shutout over seven innings in an exhibition contest for the Pirates on May 1st against a minor league teams from Zanesville. Prior to his exhibition debut, he was throwing batting practice for the Pirates. He made just two regular season appearances for the Pirates, coming on back-to-back days in mid-May of 1944 against the Boston Braves. He tossed two shutout innings during his debut on May 12th. He then allowed three runs in the ninth inning of his second game on May 13th. Those runs didn’t matter much at the time because the score was already 13-2 in favor of the Braves. The 20-year-old right-hander also played briefly for Albany of the Class-A Eastern League during that 1944 season, joining them on May 26th on option from the Pirates (no stats available). He remained with Albany until he was released unconditionally by the Pirates on June 29th.
That 1944 season was Wise’s only year of pro baseball, although he went to Spring Training with the Chicago White Sox in 1945. He was not with the team long, joining them a little late in Spring Training due to having a wartime job. He reported to White Sox camp on March 25th, then he was released unconditionally on April 8th. He went by his middle name (Ogden) during his brief time with the Pirates. In fact, he was being called Ogden Wyse in the newspapers when he was first announced as signing. By the time he joined the White Sox, they were spelling his last name correctly. He also had the nicknames “Fuzzy” and “Fluffy” (due to his wild hairstyle). It was said that he didn’t exactly give the best effort, plus he had a carefree attitude that annoyed the coaches, but he had a fastball and sinker combo that impressed the team.
Bill Hughes, pitcher for the Pirates on September 15, 1921. Not too many men could claim to be a 300-game winner by 1939, and none could do it with as little fanfare as Hughes. He won 302 career games, all of them in minor league ball. He played 20 years of pro ball, while picking up two 20-win seasons during that time. Hughes threw over 4,800 innings as a pro. Only 17 pitchers have thrown more than 4,800 innings in the majors. His big league career consisted of one late-season relief appearance for the Pirates, in which he allowed one run over two innings. That came during his second season in pro ball, 18 years before he retired. Hughes made his pro debut with Raleigh of the Class-D Piedmont League at 23 years old in 1920. He had a 19-13, 1.76 record in 271 innings, with 177 strikeouts and an 0.99 WHIP. He had a 26-7 record and a 1.13 WHIP over 260.2 innings for Raleigh in 1921 (Piedmont League was a Class-C level that year). His ERA isn’t available for that season, but it’s known that he allowed 3.59 runs per nine innings. The Pirates purchased his rights for $3,500 on August 15, 1921, though they said that he could stay with Piedmont until their season ended on September 13th. However, the Pirates called him up a few days earlier because they lost their division lead on September 9th, so they wanted as much help as possible. Hughes came recommended to the Pirates by a scout and an umpire in the Piedmont League, who tipped off Pittsburgh owner Barney Dreyfuss. It was said that he had thrown six shutouts at the time, plus another seven games in which he allowed just one run. Hughes appeared in his lone game for the Pirates on September 15th, duing a 6-3 loss to the Boston Braves. He came in with a 5-1 deficit, then allowed one run on three hits and a walk over two innings.
Hughes was sent to Birmingham of the Class-A Southern Association by the Pirates on October 15, 1921, in order to clear roster space for the Rule 5 draft. He ended up pitching the 1922 season with Rochester of the Double-A International League (highest level of the minors at the time), where he posted an 18-16, 2.85 and a 1.29 WHIP in 262 innings. The Pirates traded Hughes as part of a large package sent to Sacramento of the Double-A Pacific Coast League in December of 1922 for pitcher Earl Kunz. Hughes spent the next 3 1/2 seasons in Sacramento, where he won a total of 53 games during the 1923-25 seasons, while averaging 324 innings per year. He had a 14-13, 3.91 record and a 1.36 WHIP in 292 innings over 46 games during the 1923 season. The next year saw him post a 20-19, 4.28 record and a 1.48 WHIP in 355 innings over 53 games. He then put up a 19-16, 3.78 record and a 1.40 WHIP in 326 innings during the 1925 season, while once again pitching 53 games. He split the 1926 season between Sacramento and Portland of the Pacific Coast League, combining for 17 wins, a 1.32 WHIP and 317 innings pitched. He compiled a career high 21 losses that season. Hughes had a 15-15, 4.26 record and a 1.50 WHIP in 262 innings over 52 games for Portland during the 1927 season. That was followed by an 11-12, 3.93 record for Mission of the Pacific League in 1928, when he had 1.51 WHIP over 220 innings. The next seven seasons were split evenly between Birmingham and Little Rock of the Southern Association. He won 104 games during that time, finishing between 10-18 wins each year.
Hughes had a 14-18, 3.98 record and a 1.42 WHIP over 235 innings for Little Rock in 1929. He posted a 15-14, 3.80 record and a 1.44 WHIP over 249 innings pitched at 33 years old in 1930. He had a 17-9, 4.26 record and a 1.45 WHIP during the 1931 season, while throwing 228 innings over 29 starts and four relief appearances. The 1932 season was split between Little Rock and Birmingham. He went 15-16 in 35 games, with a 1.40 WHIP over 248 innings pitched. Hughes spent the 1933-35 seasons with Birmingham. He had a 16-13, 4.17 record and a 1.34 WHIP over 246 innings in 1933. He pitched 246 innings again during the 1934 season, finishing that year with an 18-11, 3.70 record and a 1.33 WHIP in 34 games. He had a 10-15, 4.16 record and a 1.40 WHIP over 214 innings in 1935. That was his last of 16 straight seasons over 200 innings. Hughes kept his career going at 39 years old in 1936 by dropping back down to the Piedmont League, which was then considered to be a Class-B League. He went 13-4, 3.61 that year in 182 innings, with 74 strikeouts and a 1.34 WHIP. He dropped down another level in 1937, when he played for Muskogee of the Western Association. He had a 16-7, 4.30 record, 109 strikeouts and a 1.30 WHIP. He just missed the 200 innings mark, finishing with 199 innings in 31 games. His final two seasons saw him play for three different teams in three different league, while seeing time with Knoxville of the Southern Association each year. He had 12 games back with Durham in 1938, though there are no available pitching records attached to that time. Hughes also had a 4-4, 3.14 record, 13 strikeouts and a 1.35 WHIP in 63 innings with Knoxville that season. His 300th win came with Meridian of the Class-B Southeastern League in 1939 at 42 years old. At the time, he was in his third year as a player-manager. He had an 0-2 record that year at Knoxville, while going 5-3, 4.34 in 85 innings for Meridian, with 33 strikeouts and a 1.40 WHIP.