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11/27: Kendall Dealt; Sheltie Hired; Walker HS Athlete of the Year; Damaso, Walkie Sign; RIP Harold, Buck & Nick; HBD Jared, Moose, Tim, Dave, Bill, Bob, Bullet Joe, Marty, Jack & Shamus

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  • 1881 – 1B Jim “Shamus” (phonetic Irish for Seamus/James) Kane was born in Scranton. The big guy – he was 6’2”, 225 lb – got one shot in the show with the 1908 Pirates, hitting .241 in 166 PAs. Kane did have a fair opportunity to win the job as he was one of four different first basemen used that year along with Harry Swacina, Alan Storke and Warren Gill. But none played more than 50 games, none hit better than .258 and they combined for 29 errors; Bill Abstein was brought in for 1909 though he didn’t provide much of an upgrade from the old gang (.260, 1 HR). Shamus, for all his bulk, only banged out six extra-base hits (no homers) with a .303 slugging percentage and spent the next seven years in the Western League, playing for Omaha and Sioux City. 
  • 1884 – 1B Jack Kading was born in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Jack had a couple of cups of coffee in the majors; his longest stint was an eight-game September run for the 1910 Pirates. He did OK at the dish, going 7-for-23 (.304) with five walks, then spent the next three years in the minors before getting a final three-game shot with Chicago in the Federal League in 1914. He finished the year in the minors, ending his career at age 29. 
Marty O’Toole – 1915 Cracker Jack
  • 1888 – RHP Marty O’Toole was born in William Penn, Pennsylvania (Schuylkill County). A big-time minor league ace, the Bucs bought him from St. Paul in 1911 and he debuted on August 30th. In 1912, he pitched 37 games and 275 innings with a 15-17 record, 2.71 ERA and tied for the NL lead in shutouts with six. Alas, his arm was shot after that workload. He lasted just four seasons as a Pirate, from 1911-14 (his last MLB season), going 25-35/3.17. 
  • 1892 – RHP Leslie “Bullet Joe” Bush was born in Gull River, Minnesota. He spent two of his 17 MLB years in Pittsburgh (1926-27) posting a 7-8-3/3.61 line and won 196 games overall. According to his SABR bio, his nickname came about in the minors when the local media began to call him Joe Bullet because of his excellent fastball. He became Bullet Joe after Philadelphia teammate Eddie Collins spied a letter in the clubhouse that was addressed to “Joe Bullet” Bush. Collins turned the moniker around and “Bullet Joe” stuck for the rest of his baseball career. 
  • 1923 – LHP Bob Schultz was born in Louisville. The southpaw worked 11 seasons of organized ball beginning in 1946 with four stops in the majors, although 1952 was the only full year he spent in the show. He tossed in Pittsburgh for 11 games in 1953 with an 0-2/8.21 line. He got one more cup of coffee after that with Detroit in 1955 and retired at age 32 after spending the ‘61 campaign in Chattanooga of the Southern Association to close out a decade of farm time. 
  • 1937 – LHP Bill Short was born in Kingston, New York. Bill spent 16 years tossing pro ball and was a well-traveled lefty; he yo-yo’ed back and forth from the minors/majors in five of his six big league years while pitching for 14 different clubs. He got a taste in Pittsburgh in 1956, going 0-0-1/3.86 in six outings while spending most of his time at AAA Columbus as a starter. Bill did good work in the upper minors – in 1959, he was named the Most Valuable Pitcher of the International League and was inducted into the IL Hall of Fame in 2009. 
Dave Giusti – 1974 Pinback pin
  • 1939 – RHP Dave Giusti was born in Seneca Falls, New York. Giusti tossed 15 MLB seasons, with seven (1970-76) in Pittsburgh where the closer slashed 47-28-133/2.94, using the palmball as his out pitch. He led the National League with 30 saves in 1971, became the first pitcher to appear in every game of an NLCS, and earned a World Series save. He won the NL Fireman of the Year Award after the campaign, and following a couple of snubs was finally named an All-Star in 1973. Giusti also recorded the last out at Forbes Field in 1970 in the Pirates win over the Cubs during the park’s grand finale. After he retired, he became a sales manager but remained an active Pirates alum and booster from his Upper St. Clair home. 
  • 1954 – RHP Nick (Duffy) Maddox died of tuberculosis at Leech Farm Hospital in Lincoln-Lemington at the age of 68. Nick was a meteorite in the Pittsburgh pitching constellation, pitching just four years with one truly outstanding season, 1908 (23-8/2.28) and a slew of memorable performances. As a late season call-up in 1907, he won his first four starts, something no other Pirate would do until Gerrit Cole in 2013. His ERA was 0.83 and he only allowed 32 hits in 54 innings. In just his third major league start, he became the youngest pitcher ever to throw a no-hitter at 20 years & 10 months from the modern day distance, a mark he still holds. He took the ball in the 1909 World Series on a wet, raw day and beat the Detroit Tigers despite a bad glove day by his teammates to earn the Bucs their only non-Babe Adams win. And that marked the end; he had started the year with a sore arm and had rehabbed it, but after that outing he never had a good wing to work with again. Manager Fred Clarke kept him around, perhaps in gratitude, for one more season and then Nick tended to his family in Millvale, working for Fort Pitt Brewery. 
  • 1961 – 1B Randy “Moose” (he was 6’1”, 230 lbs) Milligan was born in San Diego. He spent eight seasons in the show, notably with Baltimore. Moose hit .220 in 80 at bats for the Pirates after coming over as part of the Mackey Sasser deal with the Mets and then was moved to the O’s in a minor-league transaction after the year. 1994 was his last MLB season, and he’s now an Orioles scout. 
Moose Milligan – 1989 Fleer
  • 1969 – C Tim Laker was born in Encino, California. He spent 11 years as a reserve big league backstop (with 15 seasons in the minors, many being split campaigns). In 1998-99, he bounced between Pittsburgh and AAA Nashville. Tim hit well in 20 games with a .364 BA, mainly as a pinch hitter with some first base and catching outings. His last MLB appearance was in 2006, and since he’s managed and coached in the minors; Laker is now the hitting coach for Arizona. 
  • 1988 – The Pirates signed Bob Walk to a guaranteed three-year contract worth $2.5M after his 1988 All-Star campaign. “I’m thrilled,” the righty told Paul Meyer of the Post Gazette. “I got the length of contract I wanted from the team I wanted to play for. It’s kind of like winning the lottery.” The deal was a win for Walk, who was holding out for three years after the Bucs had reportedly offered him two years at $775K per season (Dave LaPoint also asked for three years and got it, but with the Yankees rather than the Bucs as Pittsburgh wouldn’t bend for him). Walkie went 29-17/4.00 over those three seasons, then inked a two-year deal to finish out both his Pirates and MLB career. 
  • 1995 – OF Jared Oliva was born in Santa Clarita, California. Jared was a high school teammate of Keston Hiura (Valencia HS) and college teammate of Kevin Newman (Arizona). The speedy centerfielder was taken in the seventh round of the 2017 draft and called up in late September of 2020, going 3-for-16 in six games. He got another call up in July, 2021, and hit .233 in 20 games. He was DFA’ed in 2022, made it through waivers and was assigned to Indy. 
  • 1997 – Buck Leonard, 90, passed away in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. He joined the Homestead Grays in 1934 and stayed there until his retirement in 1950. The team won nine league pennants in a row during that span with Leonard hitting cleanup behind Josh Gibson. He led the Negro League in batting average in 1948 with a mark of .395 and was one of the NL’s great power hitters, being called the “Black Lou Gehrig.” He and Gibson were elected to the Hall of Fame in 1972. 
Buck Leonard – 2003 Topps Gallery
  • 2000 – Harold Tinker passed away at the age of 95. Born in Birmingham, Alabama, his family moved north when he was 12 and Tinker played for several local teams, including the Edgar Thompson squad that merged with the Pittsburgh Crawfords, and he played center field for the Craws until 1930. He left after Gus Greenlee mandated the players give up their jobs and become full time ballers, opting to keep his year-round $25 per week job over GG’s $80/month salary. Good choice; he ended up working 52 years for his company while also becoming an assistant pastor at Central Baptist Church. He founded the Terrace Village Baseball Club in 1949, one of the city’s earliest, if not the first, integrated ballclub. As a final feather in his cap, Harold is also credited with discovering Josh Gibson back when Gibby was a youngster playing on the North Side. 
  • 2003 – Neil Walker was selected to the Post-Gazette’s High School Fabulous 22 Players squad for the second straight year – in football. The Pine-Richland grad was also named the “Male Athlete of the Year” by the paper. But his write-up was quick to note that “…his best sport is baseball. Considered one of the top five catchers in the country…(He) has a baseball scholarship to Clemson.” The Pittsburgh Kid passed on the Tigers when he became the Pirates first round pick in 2004 (11th overall; $1.95M bonus), and after bouncing from backstop to third to second, he made his MLB debut in 2009 and was starting the next season. In all, Neil played 12 years in the show, with seven of those campaigns spent as a Bucco. Now he’s a contributor in the Pirates broadcast booth. 
  • 2004 – The Pirates traded three-time All-Star C Jason Kendall to the Oakland Athletics for pitchers Mark Redman and Arthur Rhodes as Pittsburgh FO looked to shed the $34M still due to the catcher over the next three seasons. The Bucs flipped Rhodes to Cleveland for OF Matt Lawton two weeks later while Redman hurled one year for the Pirates before being dealt to Kansas City for Jonah Bayliss. Kendall played eight more seasons with four other clubs, ending up with 2,195 hits and a slash of .288/75/744. 
Damaso Marte – 2007 Upper Deck
  • 2006 – The Bucs inked LHP Damaso Marte to a two-year contract extension with a club option for 2009 worth $8.5M total overall for three years, with $4.75M of the amount guaranteed. The Yankees paid most of the bill when they traded for the lefty set-up man at the 2008 deadline. 
  • 2019 – The Pirates announced the hiring of Minnesota Twins bench coach Derek Shelton as their new manager to replace Clint Hurdle. It was the 49-year-old’s first shot as an MLB manager after coaching stints with the Twinkies, Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians following his first job in the New York Yankees’ farm system. Shelton was a hot item in the skipper candidate crowd; he had been a finalist for the NY Mets job and was highly regarded within baseball circles. Due to some internal churn, he had to make his case to a pair of Pirates GMs – Neal Huntington first, and then NH’s replacement, Ben Cherington.


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