This Date in Pirates History: January 6

Just like yesterday there are no major transactions on this particular date or big time player with birthdays so the lesser known players take the spotlight starting with a couple recent pitchers.

Jimmy Barthmaier (1984) Pitcher for the 2008 Pirates. He was drafted by the Houston Astros in 2003 and pitched for them in the minors until the Pirates selected him off waivers in November of 2007. He began the next year in the minors before getting called up for his big league debut, a spot start on June 27, 2008. Barthmaier returned to the minors, making 26 total starts between Indianapolis and Altoona before the Pirates recalled him in mid-September for two more starts. He went 0-2, 10.45 in 10.1 innings for the Pirates. In 2009 for Indianapolis, Barthmaier pitched to just two batters in his only start before he left the game, missing the rest of the season due to Tommy John surgery. He returned in early 2010, pitching seven games in the minors before being released by the Pirates. He signed with the Nationals shortly after and he pitched out of the bullpen for their AA affiliate in 2011. Barthmaier split the 2012 season between AA and High-A with the Nationals. He did not play in 2013.

Boyland hit 14 HR’s in AAA in 1980

Brian Bass (1982) Pitcher for the 2010 Pirates. He was a sixth round draft pick of the Royals in 2000, pitching for them in the minors until the end of the 2006 season when he was granted minor league free agency. He signed with the Twins, making it to the majors in 2008 for 44 relief appearances before they shipped him to the Orioles in September, where he made four starts. In 49 games that rookie season he posted a 4.84 ERA in 89.1 innings. He put up similar numbers out of the Baltimore pen in 2009, posting a 4.90 ERA in 86.1 innings. The Pirates signed him as a free agent in January 2010 and while he pitched decent in AAA that season, his four appearances in the majors resulted in a 12.27 ERA in 7.1 innings. The Pirates released Bass back into the free agent waters where he was caught by the Phillies, spending the entire season in AAA. He was still active up until recently, spending the 2013 season in Independent ball, though he had not appeared in the majors since leaving Pittsburgh.

Doe Boyland (1955) Member of the 1979 Pirates team that won the fifth World Series title in franchise history. Boyland was a 2nd round draft pick in the 1976 amateur draft by the Pirates. He was a tall lefty first baseman out of college when he hit .269 in 71 games with Salem of the Carolina League that year. In AA the following season Doe hit .330 with 11 homers and 30 stolen bases. He followed that up with a .291 average in AAA in 1978, earning a big league call-up in September for six games. He missed most of the 1979 season, playing just 30 games at AAA and four September games for the Pirates. He hit well in AAA each of the next two seasons, earning 11 more games with the Pirates before being traded away in December 1981 to the Giants for pitcher Tom Griffin. Doe played just one more season in the minors before retiring. He played 21 games for the Pirates altogether, all off the bench, hitting .105(2-for-19).

Lee Walls (1933) Outfielder for the 1952, 1956-57 Pirates. He was signed as an amateur free agent in 1951 and hit .342 with 16 triples and 14 homers that year in the minors. In 1952 he made the opening day roster but after a month of being used strictly as a pinch hitter he was sent to the minors, returning in August to finish his rookie season with a .188 average in 32 games and 80 at bats. Walls then spent three seasons in the Pacific Coast League, returning to the Pirates in 1956 after hitting .283 with 24 homers and 99 RBIs the previous season. In his first full season in the majors he hit .274 with 11 homers and 11 triples, playing a career high 143 games. Just eight games into the 1957 season, Walls was included along with Dale Long, in a four player deal with the Cubs that got the Pirates Dee Fondy and Gene Baker. Lee would have a career year in 1958, hitting .304 with 24 homers and he made his only all-star appearance. He played six more seasons in the majors, never coming close to those numbers, before he finished his playing career with one season in the Japanese League.

Phil Masi (1916) Catcher for the 1949 Pirates. Masi spent 11 seasons in the majors as a catcher for the Boston Braves before he was acquired by the Pirates in June of 1949 for minor league outfielder Ed Sauer. Masi was a three time all-star(1946-48) who started the 1949 season slow for the Braves, hitting just .210 with six RBIs in 37 games. With the Pirates he split the catching duties with another veteran, Clyde McCullough. Masi hit .274 in 48 games and ended up leading NL catchers in fielding % with a .994 mark. After the season he was sold to the White Sox, finishing his career with three seasons in Chicago. In 1229 major league games he hit .264 with 417 RBIs.

Chuck Workman (1915) Outfielder for the 1946 Pirates. Chuck began his pro career in the minors in 1937 and through the 1942 season he saw very limited major league action despite hitting over .300 four times in the minors. He played two games for the 1938 Indians then got in nine more games off their bench in 1941. When the war opened up major league spots for career minor leaguers, Workman took advantage of his chance, playing 432 games for the Braves from 1943-45. In 1946 he struggled to open up the season hitting .167 through 25 games when the Braves traded him to the Pirates in early June for Johnny Barrett, an outfielder with a very similar story to Workman. For the Pirates, Chuck hit .221 with 16 RBIs in 58 games to finish off the 1946 season. He returned to the minors in 1947, finishing out his playing career in 1951.

George Grant (1903) Pitcher for the 1931 Pirates. He made his major league debut at age 20, pitching parts of three season for the St Louis Browns, where he posted a 1-4, 6.13 record in 38 games. After spending the entire 1926 season in the minors he returned to the majors for three seasons with the Indians where he posted a 14-16, 5.39 record. He went 11-14, 4.58 in 39 minor league starts in 1930 before signing with the Pirates for 1931. He was used mostly in the mop-up role, making 11 relief appearances over a three month span before the Pirates sent him to the minors in July. Prior to the 1932 season the Pirates sold him to a minor league team from Fort Worth which would be his last team in the pros, retiring after the year ended to take up umpiring in the minors. He had an 0-0, 7.41 record in 11 games, covering 17 innings with the Pirates.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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For the Starling Marte skeptics, Boyland hit .330/.368/.477 with 11 homers, 30 stolen bases, 26 walks, 107 K’s in 119 games at AA at age 22. Marte hit .330/.370/.500 with ¬†with 12 homers, 24 stolen bases, 22 walks, 100 K’s in 129 games at AA at age 22. As you see above, Doe played just 21 major league games. It obviously doesn’t take defense into account, there is a big difference between the two in Marte’s favor, but based on hitting alone they are extremely similar at the same point in their lives. I’m not a skeptic by the way, just noticed the similarities while writing this article and thought it was interesting.

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