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1/14: Adam, Dock Sign; '17 Arb Class; Moises Drafted; RIP Pep; Many HBD Wishes to Steve, Gary, Terry, Joe, Chet, Hank, Billy, Brode, Art & John

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  • 1868 – 3B John Newell was born in Wilmington, Delaware. He got an MLB cup of coffee with the Pirates in 1891, going 2-for-18 in five games during a 10-day audition. John spent a decade toiling in the minors for teams in the Western, Southern and Atlantic leagues, playing his last pro game in 1898 as a 30-year-old. 
  • 1871 - IF Art Madison was born in Clarksburg, Massachusetts. Art was a minor league lifer, spending a dozen years on the farm, mainly in the Eastern and New York leagues. He did pay a couple of brief visits to the show, getting into 11 games for the 1895 Phillies and coming back four years later to make his major league swan song with Pittsburgh, entering 42 games and batting .271 while playing second, short and third. Madison was part of the big trade with Louisville in 1899; the Bucs later got his contract back and sent him to the minors, where he finished out his playing days. 
  • 1891 – 2B John “Brode” Shovlin was born in Drifton, Pennsylvania, in Luzerne county in the Pocono Mountains area. He got a wham-bam look with Pittsburgh in 1911, getting into two games and going 0-for-1 while scoring a run; he got into another 16 games in 1919-20 with the St. Louis Browns. He had a split career; he spent from 1910-20 mostly in the minors before going dark, then pops up again in the record books from 1928-31 with the Binghamton Triplets of the NY-PA League before going to work in the coalfields at the age of 40. 
Billy Meyer – 1949 Eureka Sports Stamp
  • 1893 - Manager Billy Meyer was born in Knoxville, Tennessee. After his playing days and a long minor-league managing career, he became the Bucco skipper from 1948-52, with a dismal 317-452 record after a promising fourth place finish in his first year. But the Yankees thought so highly of him that they asked if they could hire him after that season to replace Bucky Harris. NY was rebuffed and had to settle for Casey Stengel instead. After managing, Meyer scouted for the Bucs until 1955, and later had his jersey #1 retired. 
  • 1907- RHP Chet Brewer was born in Leavenworth, Kansas. While he pitched for a couple of dozen teams in the black leagues and Central America, the pitcher never earned a check from Pittsburgh until his playing days were done. Brewer was a Pirates scout based in LA from 1957 to 1974 (he signed Dock Ellis) and later worked for the Major League Scouting Bureau, discovering players like Willie Crawford, George Hendrick, Eddie Murray, Reggie Smith and Roy White. His Chet Brewer Rookies program was the forerunner of MLB’s RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) project. 
  • 1911 - RHP Hank Gornicki was born in Niagara Falls, NY. He pitched his final three seasons (1943-44, 1946) for the Bucs, with a two-year break when he served during WW2. His slate as a Pirate was 14-19/3.38, and he was used primarily as a spot starter. He had a notable week in August of 1943. Gornicki won both ends of a doubleheader against Boston on the 17th, then lost both games of a twinbill on the 22nd against Brooklyn. 
  • 1952 – LHP Terry Forster was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He came over in the Richie Zisk deal and like his trademate, Goose Gossage, worked one season in Pittsburgh and was released after slashing 6-4-1/4.43. The FO may have given up on him too soon; the 25-year-old never became a closer like Goose, but did pitch nine more seasons and put up a lifetime ERA of 3.70, mainly as a set-up guy. And you didn’t have to worry about replacing him with a pinch hitter; he posted a .397 career BA, albeit in 98 lifetime plate appearances. 
Joey Redfield – 1992 Score
  • 1961 – 3B Joe Redfield was born in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Joe played 10 minor league campaigns after being drafted by the Mets in 1982; he got into a couple of games for the Angels in 1988 and got a month’s stay with Pittsburgh in 1991, called up from AAA Buffalo to replace an injured Jeff King. He went 2-for-18 in 11 games, spent the next season with the Bisons and retired at age 31. 
  • 1962 - IF/coach Gary Green was born in Pittsburgh and played at Allderdice HS. He went on to play college ball at Oklahoma State University, and was the starting shortstop for Team USA in the 1984 Olympics. He was a first-round pick (27th overall) of the San Diego Padres in the 1984 draft, playing parts of five seasons in the majors. Green then was a coach/manager in the Detroit organization until 2004. He came home to the Pirates organization, managing Class A teams from 2006 to 2010, and in 2011 he became the Pirates minor league infield coordinator. He has good MLB bloodlines as the son of former pitcher Fred Green, who spent four of his five MLB years with the Bucs. 
  • 1962 – IF Pep (real name: Floyd Lemuel) Young passed away in his hometown of Jamestown, New York, at age 54. Pep spent the first eight years (1933-40) of his 10-season MLB run with the Pirates, playing regularly from 1935-38 while compiling a .262 BA. Young was regarded as among the elite glovemen at second base, leading the National League in assists in 1938. Pep, nicknamed for his energizer-bunny style of play, stayed involved by playing in his hometown semi-pro leagues after leaving pro ball in 1946 at age 38, and is a member of the Guilford County Sports Hall of Fame. 
  • 1964 - The Pirates signed RHP Dock Ellis (it was a year before the amateur draft began) shortly before he turned 19. He played on a sandlot team managed by Chet Brewer, a black baseball ace and mentor turned Pirates scout, and after several minor brushes with the law, agreed to a deal ($500/monthly salary and a $2,500 bonus) while pitching for Los Angeles CC. He made his MLB debut in 1968, slashing 96-80/3.16 in his nine-year Bucco career while adding several colorful chapters to the Pirates history book.
Steve Cooke – 1995 Fleer
  • 1970 - LHP Steve Cooke was born in Lihue-Kauai, Hawaii. A 35th round draft pick in 1989, he spent five years with the Pirates (1992-97), going 26-36/4.31. 1993 looked like a breakout year when he went 10-10 with a 3.89 ERA and he was named to the Topps All-Star Rookie Team. But he had shoulder problems that surfaced in 1994, missed the 1995 season, and never again matched his rookie performance, toiling two more years in Pittsburgh before bowing out in 1998 with the Cincinnati Reds. 
  • 1986 – The Pirates selected OF Moises Alou as the second overall pick in the January draft, behind pitcher Jeff Shaw. He played two games for the Pirates in 1990 before being shipped to Montreal for Zane Smith. Moises went on to have a 17-year-career, with six All-Star berths and a lifetime .303 BA. He’s the nephew of former Pirate Matty Alou and the cousin of former Bucco farmhand Mel Rojas, Jr. 
  • 1993 – RHP Dovydas Neverauskas was born in Vilnius, Lithuania. Dovy is a neat little story. He was signed out of the European Academy in 2009 by the Pirates as the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player to sign a pro baseball deal. The only other Lithuanian to play in the majors was OF Joe Zapustas, who was raised in Boston and played just two games for the Philadelphia A’s back in 1933. In 2015, the Bucs converted the hard thrower into a reliever, and he played for the All-World Futures team in 2016. He made his debut in the show in 2017, and in four seasons slashed 1-4/6.81, with the long ball his nemesis (20 in 80-2/3 IP). He was released after the 2020 season and signed on with the Hiroshima Carp of the Japanese League for the ’21 campaign. 
  • 2008 – The Pirates re-signed 1B Adam LaRoche to a 1-year/$5M contract. He hit .270 with 25 homers, and was sent to Boston the following year. Baseball runs in his blood – literally. He’s the son of former MLB pitcher Dave and older brother of Andy, who is still bumping around in the minors. 
Tony Watson – 2014 Topps Update
  • 2017 – The Bucs settled with all their arb-eligible players but LHP Tony Watson (he asked for $6M & the Bucs countered with $5.6M; the team won the hearing). Reaching one-year deals before the filing deadline were SS Jordy Mercer ($4.325M), RHP Gerrit Cole ($3.75M), RHP Juan Nicasio ($3.65M), RHP Jared Hughes ($2.825M), RHP Drew Hutchison ($2.3M) and LHP Wade LeBlanc ($800K), who agreed to his contract earlier in the off season. LHP Jeff Locke was non-tendered and signed off on a $3M agreement with Miami in December.


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