11/25: Dickerson - Mikolas/Decker Swap; Simon Deal; Roberto - 12 Straight GG's; HBD (especially Jims) Octavio, Mike, Cholly, Jim, Ben, Big Jim, Frank & Jimmy
- 1859 – OF Jimmy Woulfe was born in New Orleans. Woulfe was part of NOLA’s early wave of ballplayers, with six players from the Big Easy hitting the show ( then consisting of the National League and the American & Union Associations) in 1884. It was Jimmy’s only MLB campaign, split between Cincinnati and the Alleghenys, as he hit .113 for Pittsburgh and .126 overall. The record book is mum on him afterward; he returned to his home base and played for New Orlean’s oldest team, the RE Lee’s, the following season and then his stat sheet dried up completely. He did remain a hometown kid, passing away in the Crescent City in 1924.
- 1877 – RHP Frank Moore was born in Portsmouth, Ohio. He got one appearance in the show, tossing three scoreless innings for the Pirates in 1905, giving up two hits and fanning one. Moore played in the minors through 1912, twice winning 20+ games, and was later a minor league manager.
- 1903 – RHP Big Jim Weaver was born in Obion County, Tennessee. He spent the middle of his six-team, eight-year MLB career in Pittsburgh (1935-37) posting a 36-21/3.76 line while splitting his slab time between starting and the pen. Big Jim earned his nickname honestly: he was 6’6″ and weighed 230 pounds (and that may be on the light side).
|Big Jim – undated photo via Out of the Ballpark Developments|
- 1922 – RHP Ben Wade was born in Morehead City, North Carolina. Ben closed out a five-year MLB stint in 1955 for the Pirates, getting into 11 games and going 0-1-1/3.21 after the Bucs swapped Lefty LaPalme for Wade with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Wade also worked 16 seasons in the minor leagues. After his playing career ended at age 38, following his 1961 tour of duty with San Diego of the PCL, Wade spent 30 years as a scout and then director of scouting for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
- 1933 – RHP Jim Waugh was born in Lancaster, Ohio. His big league days lasted just two seasons (1952-53), both with the Bucs, with a slash of 5-11/6.43. After getting his feet wet out of the pen, Waugh became the youngest pitcher at age 18 to win a game in the history of the Pittsburgh Pirates when he went the distance at Forbes Field in a 4-3 victory over the Cubs in August of 1952, in the first start of his MLB career. Unfortunately, he came to the show already with arm problems and that sore wing eventually derailed his career.
- 1934 – RHP Lazaro “Cholly” Naranjo was born in Havana, Cuba. Branch Rickey had him on the radar from an exhibition game and plucked him from the Washington Senators organization in 1954. In 1956 he was called up with his eventual roomie, Bill Mazeroski, and put up a line of 1–2/4.46 in 34-1/3IP (17 outings, three starts). However, he had a sore arm in the minors that he kept quiet so that he wouldn’t hurt his chances at a MLB gig, and it caught up to him. With that and a beef regarding his contract, he didn’t break camp with the team in the spring and had a so-so year. He went to Cincy organization in 1959 and finished in the Cub system in 1961. His nickname came from his grandmother who called him “Cholito,” a Latino term of endearment. Fun fact: while a member of the Senator’s system, he sat with President Eisenhower and his guests on Opening Day in 1954. Ike had tossed the ceremonial first pitch and stayed for the game, with Cholly’s job making sure the president and his party didn’t get bopped by a foul ball while occupying the railing seats.
|Mike Ryan – 2016 photo Indiana Trib Democrat|
- 1941 – C Mike Ryan was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts. Mike closed out his 11-year MLB stay in 1974 with Pirates, getting into 17 games and going 3-for-30 (.100) after signing on as a FA during the off season. After his playing career, Ryan managed/coached in the Pirates & Phillies minor leagues from 1975-79, then coached for the Phillies for 16 seasons, from 1980 until 1995.
- 1972 – Roberto Clemente won his 12th straight Sporting News Golden Glove award, a string of recognition dating back to 1961. He and “Say Hey” Willie Mays are tied for the most GG’s earned by an outfielder with a dozen apiece. In his 2,433 games career, Roberto handled 5,102 chances with a .973 fielding %, threw out 266 runners and put fear of the Lord into countless others. He was such a versatile fielder that in 1956 he actually subbed at third base for a game and at second for two more. Clemente also played center field 63 times.
- 1973 – RHP Octavio Dotel was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Dotel tossed for 15 years in the show and got his last gig as closer in 2010 at age 37 for the Pirates after signing a FA deal for $3.25M. He went 2-2-21/4.28 with 48 K in 40 IP and the Bucs flipped him to the Dodgers for James McDonald and Andrew Lambo. Dotel worked into the 2013 season and appeared in two World Series after leaving Pittsburgh. J-Mac showed early promise and won 27 games in four years before fading while Lambo couldn’t overcome a series of injuries.
- 2002 – Detroit sent 1B Randall Simon to the Pirates for LHP Adrian Burnside and a player to be named later (RHP Roberto Novoa.) Novoa pitched three MLB seasons; Burnside went to Japan to play. Simon ended up better at swatting sausages (his “Sausagegate” escapade in Milwaukee cost him a $432.10 Milwaukee city fine for disorderly conduct while MLB suspended him for three games and fined him $2,000) than baseballs, hitting .245/13 HR in 152 games as a Bucco between 2003-04.
|Jaff Decker – photo Pirates/MLB|
- 2013 – In a prospects depth deal, the Bucs acquired OF Jaff Decker and RHP Miles Mikolas from San Diego for 1B/OF Alex Dickerson. All three have since had cups of coffee in the show, with Dickerson on the verge of becoming an everyday player before he underwent back surgery in June of 2017; he’s now a free agent after stints with San Diego and San Francisco. Decker has gotten short calls to the show through 2017; his last stop was with the Nats in 2018. Miles went to Japan for the 2015 season and came back loaded for MLB bear in 2018, winning 18 games for St. Louis and nine more during the following campaign before undergoing arm surgery in 2020. He returned to duty in August of ‘21, and in 2022 worked over 200 IP to announce he was back.
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