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1/6: Jack, Neftali, Chris, Rocky Signed; Batters Eye; HBD Jimmy, Brian, Doe, Lee, Phil, George & Chuck

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  • 1903 - RHP George Grant was born in East Tallahassee, Georgia. He tossed for seven big league seasons, closing out his career in 1931 as a Pirate with a 0-0/7.41 line in 11 games. He was sent to Buffalo and then closed out his 10-year pro ball stint when he was 29 after spending the 1932 campaign with Fort Worth. 
  • 1914 - The first version of the “batter’s eye” in ballparks was mandated by baseball. Every park was required to have a plain, dark green center field wall (early ballyards had their fences plastered with colorful ads) so the hitters could pick up the ball out of the pitcher’s hand per Today In Baseball History
  • 1915 – OF/3B Chuck Workman was born in Leeton, Missouri. Chuck had a six-year career, starting in 1944-45 with the Braves. The Pirates traded OF Johnny Barrett for him in June of 1946 and Workman finished his showtime with the Pirates that summer, hitting .221 in 58 games. Chuck soldiered on in the minors afterward, retiring after 15 pro seasons in 1951 with Atlanta of the Southern Association. 
Chuck Workman – 1946 photo
  • 1916 - C Phil Masi was born in Chicago. He spent 48 games of his 14-year career in Pittsburgh, arriving via a June 1949 deal with the Braves. Phil hit .278, then was sold to the White Sox, where he closed his career in his hometown after three more campaigns. Masi began his MLB career with Boston, where he spent the first 11 years of his stint while earning four All-Star spots as a steady hitter and strong defensive player. 
  • 1933 - OF Lee Walls was born in San Diego. He played three years and all three outfield positions for Pittsburgh (1952, 1956-57) while putting up a .259 BA before being traded to the Cubs in May of 1957. Walls was a Cub starter for three years, earning an All-Star berth in 1958, then spent the back end of his career as a bench player. He later coached for Oakland and the NYY while also spending time as a minor league manager. 
  • 1955 – 1B Dorian “Doe” Boyland was born in Chicago. Boyland was drafted in the second round of the 1976 draft but would play in just 21 games with the Pirates in parts of 1978, 1979, & 1981, batting .105 and blocked at first base by Willie Stargell. Boyland was traded to the San Francisco Giants and never resurfaced in the show. He still made it big, though, in a different endeavor – at last look, his Dorian Boyland Auto Group had dealerships thriving in several western states. 
  • 1960 – After a good year in 1959 (he hit .291, and he and his wife adopted a son), 1B Rocky Nelson added the cherry on top by signing his Pirates contract for 1960. The salary was undisclosed, although the media guesstimated it was in the $15,000 range. Platooning with Dick Stuart, as he did in 1959, he had an even better campaign, batting .300 and winning a World Series ring. But old man time caught up to the Rock in 1961. That year was his swan song as the 36-year-old batted just .197 and was released. He played one more year in the minors, then retired to become a painter (homes, not canvases) to pay the bills. 
Rocky signs – 1/7/1960 Post Gazette
  • 1982 – RHP Brian Bass was born in Pinehurst, North Carolina. Bass spent parts of three seasons in the show, closing out with four 2010 appearances with the Pirates. He was a wild child, giving up 10 walks to go with nine hits in 7-1/3 IP, allowing 11 runs (10 earned), and was DFA’ed in mid-September. Brian signed on with the Phils and Astros after that campaign, then ended his baseball days with a season in Korea and another in the indie leagues. 
  • 1984 - RHP Jimmy Barthmaier was born in Atlanta. A waiver claim from Houston, Jimmy got his only taste of MLB in 2008 for the Bucs, going 0-2/10.45 in three starts. Still, he opened the next year as the Pirates #12 prospect, but required TJ surgery in 2009 and never came back; he last played in the 2012 season as a member of the Nats system. 
  • 2004 - The Pirates signed 31-year-old, eight-year vet Chris Stynes to a $750K deal. The Bucs were trying to plug a hole at third base, and Stynes unfortunately wasn’t the answer. He hit .216 in 74 games and was released in August. It was his last major league gig. 
  • 2005 - SS Jack Wilson avoided arbitration and signed a two-year/$8M contract ($3.4M – 2005; $4.6M – 2006), a nice jump over the $1.85M salary he had pocketed in 2004. He earned it by breaking out in ‘04: Wilson was an All Star after he sailed past his offensive doldrums (.246 BA from 2001-03) with a .308 campaign and was one of eight MLB players to collect over 200 hits. He remained with the Bucs until the FO broke up the club during the Neal Huntington takeover and Jack was moved to Seattle in a 2009 deadline deal. 
Jack Wilson – 2005 Donruss Studio
  • 2016 – Free agent RHP Neftali Feliz inked a one year/$3.9M deal plus incentives with the Bucs. He had suffered through a terrible 2015 season, but the Pirates bet on past performance as a closer and recovery from a variety of injuries, including TJ surgery, by adding Feliz to the pen. Neftali bounced back and put up a solid 4-2-2/3.52 slash with 61 K and 1.137 WHIP in 53-2/3 IP. He split 2017 between the Brewers and Royals, spent 2018 as a D-Back farmhand and then was with the Seattle organization. Feliz signed with the Phils in 2021, the Dodgers the following season and is now a FA.


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