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2/16 Through the 1980s: #33 Retired; No Go Robby; HBD Jorge, Jerry, Luis, Ray, Kip & Mike

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  • 1873 – C John Sullivan was born in Chicago. John had a 14-game showing with the Tigers in 1905 and then settled in with the minor league Kansas City Blues; he got one more call to the majors sandwiched inside that KC stint by the Bucs, catching for three frames in 1908. He gave up a stolen base, committed an error and went 0-for-1 before returning to KC, and he retired from pro ball in 1910 at age 37 after 11 years behind the plate. 
  • 1889 – RHP James “Kip” Dowd was born in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Dowd, out of Holy Cross, got into one game for the Pirates in 1910, his only big league outing, and gave up four runs in two innings, although in his defense they were all unearned, to leave him with a spotless career ERA. Aside from getting his name on a major league scorecard, he can also add to his resume that he worked against HoF hurler Mordecai “Three Fingers” Brown on that day. He tossed in the minors for five campaigns (1911-15) afterwards. Kip is the grandfather of Emmy-winning actress Ann Dowd. 
  • 1912 – RHP Ray Harrell was born in Alexandria, Louisiana. He tossed for the Bucs in 1940, getting into three games (3-1/3 IP) with an ERA of 8.10. Ray spent a total of six years in the show, returning in 1945 to take a final bow with the wartime NY Giants after working the intervening seasons in the PCL. He retired in 1950 after an 18-year pro career.
Honus Wagner – 1948 Leaf
  • 1952 – Carnegie’s Honus Wagner’s #33 was retired after he bid farewell as a Pittsburgh coach at the age of 77 following 39 years with the team. The Bucs also honored him by giving him a lifetime pension at full pay. Hans’ number was the first the Pirates retired; other Buccos to join him in the honor were Billy Meyer (1), Ralph Kiner (4), Willie Stargell (8), Bill Mazeroski (9), Pie Traynor (20), Roberto Clemente (21) and Danny Murtaugh (40). The Flying Dutchman finished his career with a .329 average and won eight NL batting titles, ranking among the Pirates’ top 10 in 11 offensive categories. He was a coach with the Pirates between 1933 and 1951. Honus was also part of the first Hall-of-Fame class ever selected, along with Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson and Babe Ruth. 
  • 1952 – Jerry Hairston was born in Birmingham, Alabama. He was sold to the Pirates by the White Sox in June of the 1977 campaign, and in 51 games he hit .192, mostly as a pinch hitter. Jerry played parts of 14 MLB seasons, all spent with the White Sox except for his brief Bucco stint. Hairston was a baseball legacy link – his dad Sam, brother Johnny and son Jerry were all big league players. 
  • 1974 – IF Luis Figueroa was born in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. After playing for the Puerto Rican national team, he was signed by the Bucs in 1997 and played four games with the club in 2001, going 0-for-2. Luis was waived and claimed by the Mets. In 2006-07, he got in 14 games for the Blue Jays and Giants, his only other outings as an MLB player. But he had a long career, playing 16 years of pro ball and spending numerous campaigns in Puerto Rico, both in the winter league and with their international squad. Since 2014, he’s been a fielding coach in the Yankee organization. 
  • 1980 – The Pirates announced that five-and-10-year veteran OF’er Bill Robinson was traded in principle to Houston for pitcher Joaquin Andujar, but the deal hit a bump a couple of days later when the Astros wouldn’t rework Robinson’s contract and he vetoed the trade. It’s hard to project how the swap would have worked out. Robinson had a strong 1980 campaign and then faded while Andujar wouldn’t hit his prime until 1982, winning 61 games and two All-Star berths between then and 1985 as a St. Louis Cardinal, who got him early in 1981 for Tony Scott. 
Jorge Rondon – 2016 photo Pirates
  • 1988 – RHP Jorge Rondon was born in Calabozo, Venezuela. Jorge has spent small parts of three seasons in MLB, with two of his 16 big league outings coming with the Pirates in 2016 after a solid stint at AAA Indianapolis. It didn’t work out so well, with a 17.18 ERA/2.727 WHIP in 3-2/3 IP. He was DFA’ed five days after his call-up and signed with the Chisox, then took his services to Japan for the 2017 campaign.


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