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11/27 Through the 1950s: RIP Duffy; HBD Dave, Bill, Bob, Bullet Joe, Marty, Shamus & Jack

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  • 1881 – 1B Jim “Shamus” (phonetic Irish for Seamus/James) Kane was born in Scranton. The big guy – he was 6’2”, 225 lb – got one stay in the show with the 1908 Pirates, hitting .241 in 166 PAs. Kane had a fair shot at the job as he was one of four different first basemen used that year along with Harry Swacina, Alan Storke and Warren Gill. None played more than 50 games, none hit better than .258 and they combined for 29 errors; Bill Abstein was brought in for 1909 though he didn’t provide much of an upgrade from the old gang (.260, 1 HR). Shamus, for all his bulk, only banged out six extra-base hits (no homers) with a .303 slugging % and spent the next seven years in the Western League, playing for Omaha and Sioux City. 
  • 1884 - 1B Jack Kading was born in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Jack had a couple of cups of coffee in the majors; his longest stint was an eight-game September run for the 1910 Pirates. He did OK at the dish, going 7-for-23 (.304) with five walks, then spent the next three years in the minors before getting a final three-game shot with Chicago in the Federal League in 1914. He finished the year in the minors, ending his career at age 29. 
Marty O’Toole – 1907 T207
  • 1888 – RHP Marty O’Toole was born in William Penn, Pennsylvania (Schuylkill County). A big-time minor league ace, the Bucs bought him from St. Paul in 1911 and he debuted on August 30th. In 1912, he pitched 37 games and 275 innings with a 15-17 record, 2.71 ERA and tied for the NL lead in shutouts with six. Alas, his arm was shot after that workload. He lasted just four seasons as a Pirate, from 1911-14 (his last MLB season), going 25-35/3.17. 
  • 1892 - RHP Leslie “Bullet Joe” Bush was born in Gull River, Minnesota. He spent two of his 17 MLB years in Pittsburgh (1926-27) posting a 7-8-3/3.61 line. According to his SABR bio, his nickname came about in the minors when the local media began to call him Joe Bullet because of his excellent fastball. He became Bullet Joe after Philadelphia teammate Eddie Collins spied a letter in the clubhouse that was addressed to “Joe Bullet” Bush. He turned it around and the nickname stuck for the rest of his baseball career. 
  • 1923 - LHP Bob Schultz was born in Louisville. The southpaw worked 11 seasons of organized ball beginning in 1946 with four stops in the majors although 1952 was the only full year he spent in the show. He tossed in Pittsburgh for 11 games in 1953 with an 0-2/8.21 line. He got one more cup of coffee after that with Detroit in 1955 and retired at age 32 after the ‘61 campaign spent in Chattanooga of the Southern Association. 
  • 1937 – LHP Bill Short was born in Kingston, New York. Bill spent 16 years tossing pro ball and was a well-traveled lefty; he yo-yo’ed back and forth from the minors/majors in five of his six big league years while pitching for 14 different clubs. He got a taste in Pittsburgh in 1956, going 0-0-1/3.86 in six outings while spending most of his time at AAA Columbus as a starter. Bill did good work in the upper minors – in 1959, he was named the Most Valuable Pitcher of the International League and was inducted into the IL Hall of Fame in 2009. 
Dave Giusti – photo via Mainline Autographs
  • 1939 – RHP Dave Giusti was born in Seneca Falls, New York. Giusti tossed 15 MLB seasons, with seven (1970-76) in Pittsburgh where the closer slashed 47-28-133/2.94, using the palmball as his out pitch. He led the NL with 30 saves in 1971, became the first pitcher to appear in every game of an NLCS, and earned a WS save. He won the NL Fireman of the Year Award after the campaign, and following a couple of snubs was finally named an All-Star in 1973. Giusti also recorded the last out at Forbes Field in 1970 in the Pirates win over the Cubs during the park’s grand finale. After he retired, he became a sales manager but remained an active Pirates alum and booster from his Upper St. Clair home. 
  • 1954 - RHP Nick (Duffy) Maddox died of tuberculosis at Leech Farm Hospital in Lincoln-Lemington at the age of 68. Nick was a meteorite in the Pittsburgh pitching constellation, pitching just four years with one truly outstanding season, 1908 (23-8/2.28) and a slew of memorable performances. As a late season call-up in 1907, he won his first four starts, something no other Pirate would do until Gerrit Cole in 2013. His ERA was 0.83 and he only allowed 32 hits in 54 innings. In just his third major league start, he became the youngest pitcher ever to throw a no-hitter at 20 years & 10 months from the modern day distance, a mark he still holds. He took the ball in the 1909 World Series on a wet, raw day and beat the Detroit Tigers despite a bad glove day by his teammates to earn the Bucs their only non-Babe Adams win. And that marked the end; he had started the year with a sore arm and had rehabbed it, but after that outing he never had a good wing to work with again. Manager Fred Clarke kept him around, perhaps in gratitude, for one more season and then Nick tended to his family in Millvale, working for Fort Pitt Brewery.


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