On a slow day for Pittsburgh Pirates transactions and birthdays, we have just three players born on this date today and no trades. We start off with a guy who didn’t live up to his nickname in the majors but he had an interesting minor league career and he also played for the first team in Pirates history to make the World Series. Joe “Home Run” Marshall (1876) made his major league debut with the 1903 Pirates as a September call-up. He had played in pro ball as early as 1897 and had spent the 1903 season playing in the Pacific National League for a team aptly named the San Francisco Pirates. That year for San Francisco his teammates hit a combined 22 homers, and that was a group of players that included nine other future or former major leaguers. Marshall hit 25 home runs on his own that year, earning a look with the Pittsburgh Pirates. In ten games he hit .261 with two triples and even played three games at shortstop, a position manned most of the year by Honus Wagner.
Marshall’s home run feats had started two years prior to his big 1903 season. In 1901 he hit 15 homers as the player/manager for Spokane of the Pacific Northwest League. After his stint with the Pirates, Joe returned to the minors in 1904 and hit ten homers in 83 games for the Boise Fruit Pickers, the only player with double figures in homers for the team. The following season he homered seven times for the Vancouver Veterans of the Northwestern League, a team that had just 16 total homers on the year. He spent the 1906 season with the St Louis Cardinals where he hit .158 over 33 games with no homers. It was his last season in the majors, finishing his big league career without hitting a home run in 125 plate appearances. Marshall played in the minors until 1913. During the 1911 season playing for the Butte Miners of the Union Association, he led the team with 37 doubles, 17 triples and 12 homers. No one else on that team hit more than five homers that season. Marshall’s manager that 1911 season was John McCloskey, who also managed him when he played in Butte, San Francisco,Boise and the 1906 Cardinals.
Other former Pirates players born on this date include:
Miguel Batista (1971) pitched one game for the 1992 Pirates. He signed as an amateur free agent in 1988 with the Montreal Expos and was taken by the Pirates in the December 1991 rule 5 draft. During the 1991 season, Miguel went 11-5, 4.04 in 23 starts in A-ball. For the Pirates he made his debut in relief of Doug Drabek during a 7-4 loss to the Phillies in the fifth game of the season. Batista pitched the last two innings of the game, allowing two runs on four hits and three walks. Just 12 days later, without making another appearance, the Pirates sent him back to the Expos.His next appearance in the majors was with the 1996 Florida Marlins. Since that season he his pitched for eight more teams plus he had two stints with the Diamondbacks and the Nationals franchise (he played with the Expos in 1998-2000). Miguel has a career record of 101-112, 4.48 in 623 games, 243 as a starter. He signed a 2012 contract with the New York Mets. With the retirement of Tim Wakefield, Batista is the now the last active player in the majors who has played on a winning Pirates team.
Chris Zachary (1944) pitcher for the 1973 Pirates. He was signed as an amateur free agent by the expansion Houston Colt .45’s and was in the majors as a teenager in 1963 before he ever played a minor league game. He pitched 22 games that rookie season, seven as a starter, going 2-2, 4.89 in 57 innings. The next four seasons he spent splitting the year between AAA and the majors with Houston. Following a 1968 season that he missed most of, making just eight AAA appearances, the expansion Kansas City Royals purchased his contract six months before their first game in franchise history. Zachary spent most of the next two years in the minors, during which time, the Royals traded him to the Cardinals on July 1, 1970. He spent 1971 in the majors with the Cardinals, then went 1-1 1.41 in 25 games for the Tigers in 1972. Just prior to the start of the 1973 season the Pirates traded catcher Charlie Sands to the Tigers in exchange for Zachary. He would spend most of the season in AAA, going 14-7, 3.18 in 25 starts. He pitched six September games for the Pirates, all in relief, posting a 3.00 ERA in 12 innings. After the season the Pirates traded him to the Phillies in exchange for Pete Koegel, a minor league catcher with 62 games of major league experience. Zachary spent the 1974 season at AAA before he retired as a player.