1869 – 3B Jud Smith was born in Green Oaks, Michigan. He played off-and-on in the show for four seasons, spending 1896 and 1901 with the Pirates. He hit .268 but only got into 16 games over those two campaigns, though he was a part of the Pirates 1901 championship squad. It was Jud’s destiny to be a minor league depth player; he toiled for 15 years on farm clubs, batting over .300 several times.
1880 – OF John “Goat” Anderson was born in Cleveland. He only played one year, 1908, in MLB, hitting .206 for the Pirates. But he was the regular RF’er and led off, with a .343 OBP and good baserunning skills. It wasn’t the lack of reaching base that did in the 27-year-old rookie; Goat developed arm problems and played his remaining ball in the minors through 1913. His nickname’s origin we can only speculate on, but we suspect it was because Anderson was small (his vitals aren’t listed, but he was compared to 5’4” Wee Willie Keeler, due to both hitting style and physique) aggressive (both on the bases and in the field) and stubborn, as he’d argue with anyone from umpires to his own manager.
Fred Schulte 1936 (photo Conlon Collection/Getty Images)
1901 – OF Fred Schulte was born in Belvidere, Illinois. He was an 11-year MLB vet, and spent his last two campaigns in Pittsburgh in 1936-37, batting .248 (his lifetime BA was .291) and then released by the club at the age of 36. He managed and coached afterward in the minor leagues until 1946. Fred was also a scout for the Reds, White Sox, Indians, and Braves from 1947-64.
1909 – Charles “Spades” Wood was born in Spartanburg SC. The lefty twirled for two years in Pittsburgh, from 1930-31, mostly as a starter, and went 6-9, 5.61. He had a little problem with the strike zone, walking 78 in 122 IP while fanning just 56. JC Bradbury of SABR explained his moniker: “Wood earned his nickname from a 13 spades bridge hand he was dealt on a Sunday, which resulted in his expulsion (from his school, Wofford College) – playing bridge on Sunday was not allowed.”
1953 – RHP Odell Jones was born in Tulare, California. Jones had several stints with the Bucs, starting out in 1975, spending a year in the minors and returning from 1977-78, then coming back via trade in 1981. He went 9-12/4.28, splitting his time between the pen and starting. The fastballer last pitched in the show in 1988; his final hurrah was in 1992 when he finished in the Mexican League.
1954 – The Pirates traded workhorse P Murry Dickson, a 1953 NL All-Star, to the Phils for P Andy “Swede” Hansen, IF Jack “Lucky” Lohrke and cash estimated in the $70-80,000 range. Dickson won 62 more games until he retired in 1959, while neither Hansen or Lohre ever suited up for Pittsburgh (or any other MLB club); both were sent to the top Bucco farm team, the Hollywood Stars. Dickson was a victim of a Branch Rickey payroll dump; both he and Ralph Kiner were traded, trimming $115,000 of Bucco salary. Swede’s moniker was because of his Scandinavian heritage (he was actually a Dane). Lucky came by his nickname honestly; by the time he was 22, he had at least six close calls with the Reaper. Several were in WW2 combat, another in a plane wreck and yet another in a bus crash.
1971 – RHP Elmer Dessens was born in Hermosillo, Mexico. He started out with the Bucs, pitching from the bullpen from 1996-98 with a 2-8/6.12 slash. He went to Japan the following year, then came back to toss in the MLB through the 2010 season, wearing eight different uniforms, including two stops with the Mets.
2004 – The Padres and Bucs had a deal set up that would send C Jason Kendall to San Diego for C Ramon Hernandez and 3B Jeff Cirillo. While SD GM Kevin Towers was a big Kendall fan (this was the fourth different proposal he offered during the off season to get him in the Padre fold), Friar ownership had a late change of heart and killed the proposed swap, leery of taking on the $42M still owed to Kendall over the next four seasons. Jason was moved after the season to the Oakland A’s.
Craig Wilson 2005 Topps Cracker Jack
2006 – OF Craig Wilson avoided arbitration by signing a $3.3M contract in what would be his last Bucco season as he was dealt to the Yankees at the 2006 deadline. He played for the Pirates from 2001-06, hitting .268 with 94 HR.
2010 – Ryan Church inked a $1.5M, one-year deal with the Bucs. The 31-year old outfielder was expected to be the Bucs' fourth outfielder, behind Brandon Moss, Andrew McCutchen, and Lastings Milledge. Instead, Church hit .182 and was traded to Arizona at the deadline in what was his final MLB season.