This Date in Pirates History: January 17

On this date in 1895, the Pittsburgh Pirates traded pitcher Red Ehret, along with cash to the St Louis Browns for pitcher Pink Hawley. Ehret was 26 at the time of the trade and had played for the Pirates for three seasons compiling a 53-59, 3.79 record. In 1894, he went 19-21, 5.14 in 346.2 innings. Hawley was just 22 years old and while he had a poor record at 30-58 in three years with St Louis, the team never finished higher than 9th place in any of those three seasons. In 1894 he went 19-27, 4.90 in 392.2 innings.

The trade worked out well for the Pirates, Ehret won just 35 more games after the trade and he was out of the majors by 1898. Hawley led the NL in innings pitched in 1895 with 444.1 IP and he won 31 games with a 3.18 ERA. That win total in the second highest in franchise history since the team moved to the National League in 1887. He went 40-39 between the 1896-97 seasons before he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds in November 1897. For more on Hawley please check out the article we posted here.

(Editor’s note: Recent research by John Dreker has determined that this trade was actually made on January 15th, so the widely accepted date of the deal is incorrect. We chose to leave it in this article.)

Hawley is one of three 30 game winners in franchise history

Born on this date in 1964 was pitcher Jeff Tabaka who played for the Pirates in 1994 and then again in 1998. He was a second round draft pick of the Montreal Expos in 1986 but it took him until 1994 to make the majors for the first time. The Pirates were his fifth organization and he signed with them just before the start of that 1994 season, one day after he was released by the Brewers. He pitched just five relief games before he was put on waivers by Pittsburgh, the last game being a 19-7 loss in which he allowed six runs in 1.1 innings. He was picked up by the San Diego Padres on May 12th and finished the 1994 season with them. After spending time with both the Astros and Reds, he signed with the Pirates as a free agent on December 10, 1997. In 37 relief games with the 1998 Pirates he had a 2-2 3.02 record in 50.2 innings. He injured his elbow during the 1999 spring training and missed the entire season. He left via free agency following the season. His only major league experience after that was eight games for the 2001 Cardinals.

Also born on this date, in 1922, was Jack Merson, a second baseman for the 1951-52 Pirates. He was originally signed by the Washington Senators in 1940 and lasted just 12 games, hitting .135, before he released. He then went six full seasons without playing organized pro ball, some of the time was spent serving in the military during WWII. He returned in 1947 as a member of the Pirates organization and hit .388 with 11 homers in the low minors. He moved up one level and hit .321 in 141 games the next season, then after spending two seasons in AA, he moved up to AAA where he hit .295 with 94 RBIs, earning a September call-up to the Pirates. In 13 games he hit .360 with 14 RBIs, earning a starting job with the 1952 team. In his only full season in the majors he hit .246 with 38 RBIs and 41 runs scored in 111 games. He was lost to the Boston Red Sox in the 1952 rule 5 draft and he would end up playing just one more major league game, which came in April 1953. He finished his playing career in the minors in 1956.

Finally, born on this date in 1861 was Milt Scott, who played first base for the 1885 Pittsburgh Alleghenys of the American Association. He played one game in the majors in 1882 with the Chicago White Stockings(Cubs) before spending the entire 1883 season in the minors. He played the 1884 season for the Detroit Wolverines, a defunct National League franchise. He hit .247 with 50 RBIs in 110 games that season. Milt started the 1885 season with Detroit and was hitting .264  in 38 games before they sold him to the Alleghenys on June 25th.  He played 55 games in a Pittsburgh uniform, hitting .248 with 18 RBIs. He was an above average first baseman defensively and for the Alleghenys he posted a .986 fielding percentage, 20 points over the league average. Just prior to the 1886 season the Alleghenys sent him to the Baltimore Orioles of the American Association, where he played his last Major League season that year.