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12/23: JJ Signed; Sherlock & Osborn Hired; Bottom Bucs; '94 Strike; Clause Curtains; HBD Shawn, Rick, Dave, Sam, Cozy & Schoolmaster

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  • 1871 – RHP Sam “The Goshen Schoolmaster” Leever was born in Goshen, Ohio. He was a Pirate mainstay on the hill from 1898-1910, compiling a record of 191-100 with a 2.47 ERA, spending his entire career with Pittsburgh. Leever won 20 games or more four times and led the league with seven shutouts in 1903. Sadly for Sam, he went 0-2 in the 1903 World Series, trying to pitch through a shoulder injury, and didn’t appear in the 1909 World Series. Sam got his nickname not only because he did indeed teach for several years before he made it as a ballplayer, but also because of his serious, schoolmarmish disposition. 
  • 1882 – RHP Sam Frock was born in Baltimore. Sam spent five years in the majors, serving in 1909-10 as a Bucco. He went 2-1/2.58 before being traded to Boston for Kirby White in April of 1910. He won a dozen games for the Doves that year, then tossed 16 IP in 1911 to mark the end of his MLB road. 
  • 1889 - 3B Albert “Cozy” Dolan was born in Chicago. Dolan had a seven-year MLB run and spent 35 games of it with the Pirates in 1913, batting .203. His career ended on a dark note. As a Giants’ coach in 1924, Dolan was implicated in a botched attempt to throw a game during a close pennant race. Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis issued a lifetime ban from baseball on Dolan and another player. His nickname may have been a hand-me-down from Pat “Cozy” Dolan, a baseball contemporary who played from 1895-1906, just before our Cozy made his MLB debut. 
Cozy Dolan – 1913 photo via Find-A-Grave
  • 1949 - OF Dave May was born in New Castle, Delaware. He ended his 12-year career by going 0-for-4 in five games as a Bucco in 1978 after the Pirates purchased his contract in mid-September. A journeyman outfielder, May was included in a pair of deals involving a couple of baseball’s big names – in 1974, he was dealt to Atlanta by the Brewers in a swap that allowed Henry Aaron to end his career in Milwaukee, and in 1976 he was part of the mega-deal that brought 1974 MVP Jeff Burroughs from Texas to Atlanta. 
  • 1954 – Talk about your bad campaign: The NL announced the official end-of-season stats and Pittsburgh was, well… The Pirates finished last in the NL (53-101, 44 games behind the NY Giants), a sadly consistent position in 1954. They were also in the cellar for hitting (.248, & last in OBP/slugging %, too), pitching (4.92 ERA) and fielding (.971 FA) to hit the trifecta. 
  • 1957 – Don Osborn was hired away from the Phils’ Miami Marlins AAA club, which he was managing, to become a team consultant and the Pirates organizational pitching coach. He replaced Bill Burwell, who was bumped up to the Bucs big league pitching guru, a spot that Osborn would eventually fill off-and-on through 1978. 
  • 1968 - RHP Rick White was born in Springfield, Ohio. White, a 15th round draft pick of Pittsburgh in 1990, began his 12-year MLB career as a Buc in 1994-95, and made another Steel City stop in 2005. He went 10-15-8 with a 4.03 ERA as a Pirate, who used him as a swingman. He was converted full-time to the bullpen by Tampa Bay in 1998, and worked 12 years in the league. 
Rick White – 1995 Fleer Ultra
  • 1975 - MLB arbitrator Peter Seitz ruled in favor of pitchers Dave McNally and Andy Messersmith, deciding that MLB players were free agents after playing one year for their team without a contract and dealing a fatal blow to baseball’s reserve clause. MLB appealed the decision to the courts, but Seitz’s ruling was upheld. As a result, the MLB and the MLBPA signed a new agreement in 1976 allowing players with six years experience to become free agents. McNally never took advantage, retiring from baseball (as he had planned prior to the ruling) while Messersmith inked a three-year/$1M deal with the Atlanta Braves. 
  • 1977 - RHP Shawn Chacon was born in Anchorage, Alaska. Shawn worked in Pittsburgh toward the end of his eight-year career in 2006-07, coming over after a trade with the Yankees for Craig Wilson. Chacon went 7-7-1/4.44 as a reliever and starter in the Steel City, making 64 appearances. His MLB days ended on a nasty note when he was accused of dissing Astro’s GM Ed Wade and waived in 2008, never to return to the show. 
  • 1994 - Merry Christmas, indeed. The players, who struck in August rather than accept a hard salary cap, had their offer of a soft cap with a tax for overspenders rejected by the MLB, which then unilaterally imposed a salary cap and elimination of salary arbitration among other items. It was a mess that even DC intervention couldn’t smooth; federal mediators joined the sessions, ex-President Carter offered to chair the talks, and Congress introduced five different bills to resolve the situation to no avail. It lasted until camp, which was populated by replacement players, before now-Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayer slapped an injunction on MLB. Under it, the season started late and was played under the terms of the old CBA, with a 144-game schedule and replacement umpires; the MLB men in blue added to the churn by starting the season on strike. 
  • 1997 – In the first year of the luxury tax, the Pittsburgh Pirates had the lowest payroll of any MLB club at $16.6M. The next lowest club was Detroit at $23.5M. Each payroll had $5.1M in benefits included, so the Pirates paid out just $11.5M in straight salary. That rings about right; the Associated Press had the Bucs Opening Day payroll pegged at just $9,071,667. 
John Jaso – 2017 image via Positively Pittsburgh
  • 2015 – The Bucs signed 1B/OF John Jaso, 32, to a two year/$8M deal after Jaso hit .286 and produced a .380 OBP/.839 OPS in 70 games with the Tampa Bay Rays. JJ was primarily a catcher and DH in the show until the 2015 campaign, when concussion woes necessitated a switch of positions. He was converted to first base by the Pirates to replace Pedro Alvarez after he was non-tendered after the season. John played 1B and corner OF while running hot and cold at the plate, posting a 2016-17 slash of .245/.342/.409 in a platoon/bench role before retiring in 2018. 
  • 2019 – The Pirates announced the hire of coach Glenn Sherlock, 59, to Derek Shelton’s staff. His main focus was on coaching catchers and run prevention. He’s also tasked with game prep and in-game management; his position sounds like the ol’ quality control coach slot to us. He worked with the Yankees, D-Backs and Mets, serving as a minor league manager/coach, bullpen coach, bench coach, catching coach, first base coach and third base coach during his 30-year career.


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