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12/29: Burghers To Buccos; Black & Gold Post--Season Blues; Many HBDs - Dustin, Chase, Kevin, Jack, Emil, Mike, George, Clyde & Franks

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  • 1882 – OF Frank Delahanty was born in Cleveland. He played two years in Pittsburgh, not as a Pirate but for the Rebels of the Federal League. Frank hit .239 from 1914-15, and that was the end of his pro career. Baseball was a sport that coursed through his family’s blood – his older brothers Ed, Jim, Joe and Tom also played in the majors; Tom made a brief Steel City stop in 1896. 
  • 1890 - The Burghers of the Players League gave up the ghost and became the National League Pirates in a Machiavellian maneuver. Though the PL only lasted a year, it had crippled the NL’s 1890 Alleghenys, who had lost most of their top guns to the upstart league and went through a disastrous NL campaign, finishing 23-113. Alleghenys owner Denny McKnight moved the franchise (on paper) to the American Association, then became part of the Burghers ownership. Next, the Burghers group repurchased the Alleghenys under a new corporate name to regain control of the player contracts, returned to the NL, snatched Lou Bierbauer from the Philadelphia Athletics and became known unofficially as the Pirates thanks to that personnel ploy. 
Denny did some dealin’ – Ars Longa
  • 1895 – OF Clyde Barnhart was born in Buck Valley, in Fulton County near the Maryland border. He spent his entire career (1920-28) with the Pirates, starting as a third baseman and moving to the outfield. In 814 games, he hit .295, batting over .300 in five of his nine campaigns. Barnhart played on two World Series teams and hit .273 with nine RBI in 11 Fall Classic matches. Clyde played his college ball at Cumberland Valley State Normal School, today known as Shippensburg University. His son Vic was a Buc infielder from 1944-46. 
  • 1930 – Umpire Frank Dezelan was born in Johnstown. After a decade in the minors, Frank was a NL fill-in ump before becoming full-time in 1969. He only worked the ‘69-70 seasons due to a brain tumor, though he did survive the operation and went on to live 40 more years. Dezelan had the honor of ejecting Earl Weaver when both were in the Northern League, and in the show he worked Willie Mays’ 600th home run game, the 1970 All-Star Game and the Three Rivers Stadium opener. He cited Roberto Clemente as one of his favorite players because he never griped (at least to Frank) about a call. 
  • 1937 - RHP George Perez was born in San Fernando, California. He was signed as an undrafted prep prospect from Verdugo Hill HS in 1956 and made his debut in 1958 at the age of 20. In four games, he was 0-1/4.50 and spent most of the year with AAA Salt Lake City. After a strong campaign there in 1959, he dropped off the record book for a season with a chronic bad wing, then in 1961 he had a brief and unsuccessful comeback with Asheville in the Sally League, ending his pro career. 
  • 1959 - OF Mike Brown was born in San Francisco. After three years with the Angels, he came to Pittsburgh in 1985 as part of the John Candelaria deal, was plugged into right field and delivered with a .332 BA in 57 games. But he fell to earth the following season, hitting just .218. Mike was released and mounted a brief comeback with the Halos in 1988, but he lasted just 18 more games before his MLB career ended. 
Mike Brown – 1987 Topps
  • 1974 – OF Emil Brown was born in Chicago. Brown started his career as a Pirate, playing in Pittsburgh from 1997-2001, but could never hit his way into the lineup, with a .205 BA as a Buc. Brown did breakout with the Royals from 2005-07 with a slash of .279/38/229, but after a so-so season with Oakland, he went to NY and was released by the Mets in 2009 after just six PA. 
  • 1977 - SS Jack Wilson was born in Westlake Village, California. He played SS for the Bucs from 2001-09, hitting .269, after coming over from the Cards for Jason Christiansen. He was named to the All-Star team and won a Silver Slugger in 2004. The slick fielder (he led MLB in PO, assists and DPs 2004-05) collected 201 hits that year, the franchise’s first player since Dave Parker (1977) and the first Pirate shortstop since Honus Wagner (1908) to reach the 200-knock mark. After Pittsburgh, he played for Seattle (part of a big deal w/Ian Snell for Ronny Cedeno, Jeff Clement, Brett Lorin, Aaron Pribanic and Nathan Adcock) and Atlanta, but a steady stream of nagging injuries led to his retirement after the 2012 season. He now coaches high school ball and is an instructor for a sports management outfit, also spending some time coaching up 2020 first rounder Nick Gonzales, creating training vids and working as a hitting coach in a summer college league. 
  • 1982 - RHP Kevin Hart was born in Cleveland. He came to Pittsburgh in 2009, along with Josh Harrison and Jose Ascanio, for Tom Gorzelanny and John Grabow. The Pirates threw him into the rotation, where he went 1-8/6.92. That line was probably due to a bum wing; he had labrum surgery that cost him the 2010-11 seasons, and he never made it back to the show. 
  • 1993 – RHP Chase De Jong was born in Long Beach, California. He was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2nd round of the 2012 draft from Woodrow Wilson HS and debuted in 2017 for Seattle, but only got 16 starts for three clubs in four years. The Bucs signed him as an FA in 2021 as part of their quest for pitching depth. After a solid AAA start, he was called up from Indy by the big team in late May. He went 1-4/5.77 in nine starts and was released in November. 
Dustin was part of the outfield merry-go-round/photo 2021 Pirates
  • 1994 – OF Dustin Fowler was born in Cadwell, Georgia. He was drafted by the Yankees in 2013. By the start of the 2017 season, he had nudged into the Top 100 Prospect list before tearing his patella in his only NYY game. He was traded to Oakland, hit .224 with six homers in 200 PAs in 2018 and was in the minors after that until being sold to the Buccos in February, 2021. He broke camp as the fourth outfielder, edging veteran NRI Brian Goodwin for the bench spot, but was returned to Indy after hitting .171. The Pirates released him in August and he was claimed by Miami. The Fish also let him go at the end of the season and he’s now a FA. 
  • 2013 – Black & Gold trivia: The Steelers missed playing in the postseason, marking the first year since 1991 that the Pirates made the playoffs but the Steelers didn’t. The streak began anew in 2014 and continued the next season, then reverted back to football-only (sometimes) playoffs in recent years.


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