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1/22: Sixto, Leyland Sign; Red-Pink Churn; HBD Jimmy, Diomedes, Fred, Warren & Huck

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  • 1876 – LHP Warren McLaughlin was born in Plainfield, New Jersey. He had an 11-game MLB career over three seasons; the middle one (1902) spent briefly with the Pirates. The Bucs took him from New Haven in the Connecticut League, where he had tossed a no-hitter, for an audition as they were evaluating pitching to build a B List of arms during the days of inter-league raids. He did well, going 3-0/2.76 with three starts in 11 days, all complete games, and Pittsburgh inked him to a deal. The club did lose a couple of guys to American League marauders, but still had nine pitchers under contract for 1903 and so sold McLaughlin to Philadelphia. He had back woes there and fizzled, ending his big league days. He worked in the minors until 1908 and semi-pro leagues for a while longer before returning home to become a tin knocker. 
  • 1895 – In a little blowback from the Red Ehret-Pink Hawley pitcher swap made the week before, a newspaper article claimed that Pirates hurler Ad Gumbert was taking bets that Ehret would win two games for St. Louis to every one that Hawley won for Pittsburgh. But Gumbert cried foul and claimed that he wasn’t throwing shade at his club but was instead the victim of a frame-up. He contacted the Pittsburgh Press the next day and asked to “Kindly deny the statement…the story was originated by a mischief-maker to hurt me with all Pittsburgh people…” Even after the denial, he was traded to Brooklyn four days later for reserve C Tom Kinslow. Pink, btw, won 31 games in 1895; Red won six.
Huck Geary – January 1943 Post Gazette
  • 1917 – SS Eugene “Huck” Geary was born in Buffalo. His MLB career was spent as a Pirate reserve from 1942-43, as Huck could only muster a .160 BA in 55 games. A takeout slide may have had more to do with his short career than his stick, though. The Cubs’ Eddie Stanky made a hard slide at second and cut Geary down, breaking his leg. There was some doubt that Geary would ever play again, and that was the last season that he spent in the majors. Mike Buczkowski, Huck’s grandson & minor league executive, says Geary got his nickname as a kid because of his Huck Finn-like habit of hanging his glove from a bat propped on his shoulder as he walked to the Buffalo ball fields. 
  • 1919 - LHP Diomedes Olivo was born in Guayubin, Dominican Republic. He was the second oldest rookie to pitch MLB when in 1960 he got a September call-up at age 41 after being plucked from the Mexican League (Satchel Paige made his debut as a 42-year-old). He spent the following season in AAA, then all of 1962 in Pittsburgh, going 5-1-7/2.78 in his 66 big league games with Pittsburgh. He was traded to St. Louis in 1963 and retired after the season at age 44. He scouted for the Cardinals afterward and later held a position in the Dominican Ministry of Sports until his death from a heart attack at age 58. 
  • 1948 – RHP Fred Cambria was born in Queens, New York. A Pirates third-round pick in 1969 out of St. Leo College, he tossed a perfect game for the AA York Pirates in 1969 and debuted with the Bucs in 1970. Fred was 1-2/3.51 during his five-start audition, but that would be his only MLB line. Bursitis ended his career after the 1973 campaign; even an altered submarine delivery didn’t help. Since he’s retired, he’s coached for San Diego and college while also serving as the executive director of a couple of indie leagues. 
  • 1976 – LHP Jimmy Anderson was born in Portsmouth, Virginia. After being drafted in the ninth round of the 1994 draft, he pitched the first four years (1999-2002) of his six-season career in Pittsburgh, going 24-42 with a 5.17 ERA, working later for the Reds, Cubs and Red Sox. The southpaw then made minor league stops with the Twins, Astros, Cubs, Devil Rays and Marlins before he retired in 2006. Now he runs the Jimmy Anderson Baseball Training Academy and coaches a traveling team, the Mid Atlantic Pirates, that play out of his facility. 
Jimmy Anderson – 2001 Topps Heritage
  • 1985 – The Pirates signed free agent OF Sixto Lezcano, 31, to a two-year/$925K contract. Pittsburgh was one of seven teams after Lezcano, but his contract ended up a Pyrrhic victory. Lezcano hit just .207 in 1985 and was released at the start of the 1986 season, ending his MLB career after 12 seasons. The Bucs ate $500K of his deal, part of $3M in dead money spent that year for players no longer with the club. Lezcano then played a bit in Japan and in the Florida-based Senior League before beginning a run as a Braves minor league coach. 
  • 1992 – Jim Leyland agreed to a three-year contract extension worth $3.1M (it included restructuring of his remaining two years) that tied him to Pittsburgh through 1996. The deal was his last in the Steel City – he jumped to the Marlins in 1997 after the Bucco ship had been effectively scuttled by the losses of Barry Bonds, Doug Drabek, Bobby Bonilla and company.


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