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1/17: Jeff, Josh, Kip, Matt, Dixie Sign; King Size Arb Classes; January Drafts; RIP Jewel; HBD Jeff, Jack, Doc & Milt

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  • 1861 – 1B Milt Scott was born in Chicago. He played in the majors for four seasons, joining the Alleghenys late in June of 1885 after being purchased from the Detroit Wolverines and batted .248. He was then “traded” to Baltimore (actually the American Association settled a contract dispute over Sam Barkley’s rights with his transfer). He hit .190 in 1886 and was out of the majors after that, retiring after spending 1890 with Fort Wayne of the Indiana State League. 
  • 1882 – C/1B John “Doc” Kerr was born in Dellroy, Ohio. He accrued eight years in the minors to end up playing in 59 big league games, all in the Federal League, from 1914-15. His first 42 contests came as a Pittsburgh Rebel, batting .239. One and done: Doc played for 12 pro teams in 10 years and spent full back-to-back seasons with just one, Trenton. 
Jack Merson – 1952 Topps
  • 1922 - 2B Jack Merson was born in Elk Ridge, Maryland. Jack was with the Pirates from 1951-52, playing regularly during the second season until it ended prematurely when he broke his wrist. He hit .257 over that span, but he ended up with Boston the next season. In Beantown, the 31-year-old was blocked by bonus baby Billy Consolo and Mertson played just one game in 1953, going 0-for-4 to end his MLB days. He played for a few more seasons in San Diego (then a minor league club) and then remained there as a businessman and later a prison guard, raising his family. 
  • 1948 - OF Dixie Walker inked a $25,000 contract with the Pirates after coming over the month before from Brooklyn, where he had been an All-Star for four of the last five seasons, as part of the Billy Cox/Preacher Roe trade. The 38-year-old, in his 17th MLB season, hit .316 as the Bucco’s right fielder and would finish his career in Pittsburgh after the 1949 campaign. 
  • 1950 – Pirates player, coach and manager Jewel (his real first name) Ens died from an aortic aneurysm in Syracuse at age 60. Ens was with the Pirates as a utility infielder (1922–25; .290 career BA), player-coach (1923–25), F/T coach (1926–29; 1935–39) & manager (1929–31). He was a member of the 1925 World Series champs and coach of the 1927 NL titleists. After his Pittsburgh tours of duty, Jewel also coached for the Detroit Tigers, Cincinnati Reds, and Boston Braves before spending eight seasons as the field boss of the International League Syracuse Chiefs. He was elected to the IL Hall of Fame posthumously in 1950. 
  • 1964 – LHP Jeff Tabaka was born in Barberton, Ohio. Jeff got a cup of coffee with the Pirates in 1994, moved on and returned again in 1998, slashing 2-2/3.02 as a Bucco. Jeff had the usual itinerary of a journeyman lefty – in his six seasons in the majors he pitched for the Pirates, San Diego Padres, Houston Astros, Cincinnati Reds, and St. Louis Cardinals. Tabaka’s promising career was short circuited by injuries; he had a pair of TJ surgeries. At last look, he was tutoring at the Strike Zone Academy in North Canton, Ohio. 
Jeff Tabaka – photo 1998 David Seelig/Allsport
  • 1970 – The Pirates selected players through the 28th round of the January player draft, going nine rounds deeper than any other club, and came up with exactly no one who made it to the majors. LHP Alan Jackson of Northeastern State was their top pick (14th overall); he declined to sign and was instead selected by the Red Sox in the June draft. He topped out a Class AA. The January draft was a secondary feeder. Its pool consisted of high school players who graduated early, JC/community college athletes, and players who opted out of four-year colleges. 
  • 1984 – The Pirates drafted pitcher Gil Heredia first in the January draft, but the righty from Pima CC didn’t sign. He went pro three years later, albeit as a ninth-round pick of the Giants, and carved out a 10-year MLB career. Light hitting OF Alex Cole was also selected that year. The best pick was in the secondary phase when the Bucs took OF Jay Buhner, who ended up swatting 310 HR in 15 big league seasons after being traded to the Yankees. They also chose C Tom Prince in the fourth round of the secondary draft, and he hung with the Bucs from 1987-93 as a reserve backstop, later rejoining the club as a minor league manager and big league coach. He moved to Detroit in 2020, managing the AAA Toledo club. 
  • 1990 - The Pirates had 11 players eligible for arbitration; all 11 filed for February hearings. OF John Cangelosi was the first to give in before judgment day, agreeing to a one-year/$220K deal after bringing home $150K the season prior. Cangelosi told the Post-Gazette that “The offer was fair. I didn’t want to make anybody mad.” The Buccos also re-signed minor leaguer LHP Scott Ruskin, who had a good start to the year and was subsequently flipped to the Expos in August as part of the Zane Smith trade. The big guns took a split decision: Doug Darbek won a $1.1M payday, but Barry Bonds ($850K) and Bobby Bonilla ($1.25M) lost their cases. 
John Cangelosi – 1989 Topps
  • 2003 - RHP Matt Herges agreed to a one-year/$825K deal. The 33-year-old Expo reliever, who the Bucs had recently acquired as a setup man, came to Pittsburgh for pitcher Chris Young. Young went on to some success as a starter before injuries dropped the curtain on his career while Herges was in the fifth year of an 11-season MLB tour of duty. He pitched for six teams from 2003 forward, but Pittsburgh wasn’t one of them; they cut him in March. 
  • 2005 – RHP Josh Fogg inked a one-year/$2.15M deal with the Bucs to avoid his first year of arbitration. Fogg went 6-11/5.05 during the ’05 campaign and was non-tendered, ending up with Colorado in 2007. Craig Wilson agreed to a one year/$3M contract the next day and also avoided arb. He ended up playing only 59 games during the year as a result of hand injuries that landed him on the DL twice.
  • 2006 - The Bucs signed RHP Kip Wells to a one-year, $4.15M contract, avoiding arb. Kip only lasted to the deadline, going 1-5 with a 6.69 ERA before being dealt away to the Texas Rangers for RHP Jesse Chavez. Wells, a former first round draft pick of the White Sox in 1998, pitched for nine teams in 12 seasons with a career slash of 69-103-2/4.78 ERA. 
  • 2013 - The Pirates signed vets RHP Jeff Karstens, who was non-tendered in arb, to a reported one-year/$2.5M contract as a FA and 1B/OF Brad Hawpe to a minor league deal. Karstens, who had missed two months of 2012 due to injury, never returned to the hill. He underwent rotator cuff/labrum surgery in early June that eventually led to his 2015 retirement. Hawpe was on the comeback trail but was cut in camp, played briefly for the Angels and was done with MLB ball by late July after hitting .185. 
Jeff Karstens – 2013 Topps
  • 2014 – The Pirates signed five players to one-year deals (2B Neil Walker, 3B Pedro Alvarez, RHP Mark Melancon, 1B Gaby Sanchez and RHP Vin Mazzaro) to avoid arbitration. They had previously reached agreements with arb-eligible RHP Charlie Morton, OF Travis Snider and C Chris Stewart, and non-tendered 1B Garrett Jones, C Mike McKenry and OF Felix Pie to close out their 2014 arbitration class. 
  • 2015 – The Pirates had a MLB-high dozen players eligible for arbitration: Pedro Alvarez, Neil Walker, Mark Melancon, Josh Harrison, Tony Watson, Francisco Cervelli, Jared Hughes, Travis Snider, Antonio Bastardo, Chris Stewart, Vance Worley and Sean Rodriguez, after previously releasing arb-eligible players Ike Davis, Gaby Sanchez, John Axford, Jeanmar Gomez and Chaz Roe. Nine signed one-year deals; Walker, Alvarez, and Worley opted to take the arbitration route. Walker lost his case (asked for $9M and got $8M) while Alvarez ($5.75M awarded after being offered $5.25M) and Worley ($2.45M salary; he was offered $2M) won their hearings.



Source: https://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2022/01/117-jeff-josh-kip-matt-dixie-sign-king.html



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