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11/16 From 1970: Jay GG; Wilson All-Rook; Kison Leaves; RIP Bucky; HBD Will, Brandon, Tim, Hector & Mark

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  • 1970 – RHP Hector Fajardo was born in Michoacan, Mexico. Fajardo was purchased by the Pirates from the Mexico City Red Devils in 1989 and worked his way through the system. He showed swing-and-miss stuff and when the Bucs called him up in 1991, he struck out eight batters in his 6-⅓ IP. Unfortunately, he also walked seven and gave up 10 hits and was traded to Texas in September as part of the Steve Buechele deal. He bounced back and forth between the show and the farm, nagged by injuries, and returned to the Mexican League in 1998. He retired and coaches in the ML now. Fajardo was nicknamed “Senor Lluvia” or “Mr. Rain” because of the freaky number of games he was scheduled to start that were rained out. 
  • 1974 – RHP Mark Corey was born in Coudersport, Pennsylvania. Corey tossed the final two years of a four-season run in the show at Pittsburgh in 2003-04, posting a line of 2-4/4.91 from the bullpen. He saved 112 games in 12 minor league campaigns, but never could close out a game in the majors, blowing his only MLB save opportunity in 2004. 
Mark Corey – 2004 photo Brad Mangin/Getty
  • 1979 – RHP Bruce Kison, 29, left the Pirates and signed a five-year/$2,465,000 contract with the California Angels. Kison had spent nine years with the Bucs and was one of three players (Willie Stargell and Manny Sanguillen were the others) left from both the ‘71 and ‘79 World Series clubs. He told the media he wanted to stay in Pittsburgh, but “the door was closing” and he chose the Halos’ offer over that of the NY Yankees. It ended up a tough transition; Buster had surgery in 1980 and ‘82 as an Angel for different physical issues. He went to Boston in 1985 and closed his career that season at age 35. 
  • 1982 – RHP Tim Wood was born in Tucson. After two years with Florida, Wood took a twisted trail that revolved around Pittsburgh. For 2011, he signed as a FA with Washington, was released, and inked a deal with the Bucs. He spent most of his time at Indy, was called up for 13 Pirates games with a line of 0-3/5.63 and then was sold to Texas. They released him at the end of the year and he re-signed with Pittsburgh, spending 2012 with Indianapolis. He was in the Twin system in 2013 and had late-season shoulder surgery, finishing his career. 
  • 1988 – RHP Brandon Cumpton was born in Augusta, Georgia. A depth starter, the Georgia Tech grad saw action as an injury replacement in 2013-14, going 5-5 with a 4.02 ERA. He was the ninth round pick of the Pirates in the 2010 draft, but his career was put on hold after various injuries starting with 2015 TJ surgery. He came back to work briefly in the minors in 2017 and then moved on to Toronto; he worked 2018-19 in the indie and Latin leagues. 
  • 1993 – SS Jay Bell broke Ozzie Smith’s 13-year Gold Glove reign by winning the Gold Glove; Dave Concepcion of Cincinnati in 1979 was the last senior circuit shortstop other than Smith to take the award. Bell won after leading MLB shortstops in fielding percentage (.986) and total chances (793) while making just 11 errors to Smith’s 19 during the season. Barry Bonds, in his first year as a Giant, won his fourth straight Golden Glove. 
  • 1994 – 1B Will Craig was born in Johnson City, Tennessee. He was the 2016 ACC Player of the Year for Wake Forest and drafted by the Bucs in that year’s first round (22nd overall). Will was a man without a settled position for a while before he settled in at first base, where he’s become a good glove man who shows 20-HR flashes of power at the plate. Craig got his first taste of the show in 2020. 
Craig Wilson – 2002 Topps Total
  • 2001 – After hitting .310 with 13 homers and tying a pinch hit record with seven long balls, the Pirates Craig Wilson was selected to the Topps All-Rookie team at first base, as voted on by the managers. It was a pretty solid squad – the pitchers were CC Sabathia & Roy Oswalt, the other infielders were Albert Pujols, Jimmy Rollins & Alfonso Siriano, and the outfield featured Suzuki. The honor was hard-won, as Wilson only got into 88 games with just 35 starts; he served time at first, both corner OF spots, catcher and DH. He followed the trail of 2B Warren Morris, who made the rookie all-star club in 1999. 
  • 2009 – Bucky Williams, who played black Pittsburgh baseball at virtually every level, passed away in Penn Hills at the age of 102. He took the field for the Keystone Juniors, Monarchs, Edgar Thompson, the Grays and the Crawfords along with many local sandlot teams, spending 22 years in the black major/minors. The infielder claimed a .340 BA over the different pro levels, and when his ball playing days finally wound down, he umpired in the East End Little League. He managed all that while employed at US Steel as a ladle liner, retiring from his day job in 1971.


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