Since nothing of significance happened on this date and no former Pirates players were born on February 29th(only 11 major leaguers have been born on this date) I decided to mention the list of the unknowns. These players won’t get a birthday mention for now in the This Date series because their actual birth dates are unknown at this time. While researchers are uncovering information about former major leaguers all the time, as of right now there are 33 former Pirates players whose birth dates haven’t been uncovered yet.
Most of the players on this list were with the team while they were in the American Association from 1882-1886, at a time major league baseball was still in it’s infancy. Another handful of the group played for the 1890 Pittsburgh team when they were willing to try anyone out who had any sort of baseball skill as the team was on it’s way to a 23-113 record. One player stands out from the group and that is Jerry Dorsey, the most recent unknown. He played 14 years after any of these other players and is the only 20th century player on the list. With almost all of these players, we have some sort of idea when they were born, either a year or even a month has been confirmed but for four of them, Chappy Lane, Conny Doyle, Jimmy Dee and Henry Jones, they don’t have any idea when they were born.
Since this list is a long one, I’m going to just include their Pirates stats and briefly mention any other information about them such as other major league experience. Most of these players as you will see did not play long, which is why information is hard to find on them. Some of them have minor league information available and while it might not be complete I will list the known dates for some players.
A note for reference. It was a common practice during the 19th century for teams to carry very few extra players and sometimes leave guys behind while on road trips just to save on travel expenses. That sometimes led to teams scrambling for players if multiple injuries occurred and they would sign a local player. There are players in baseball history who have been discovered to have given a false name to the official scorer for various reasons, possibly they were under contract to another team. If you look through a baseball encyclopedia you will find one game players listed only as “Smith” or “Murphy” with absolutely nothing known on the player. When you see some of these players who have just one or two games to their credit and no other information, realize that they were likely local semi-pro amateurs, sometimes college players, who were needed as an emergency fill in. They got their day in the sun and then moved on with their life.
This list of the unknowns is as follows:
1882: Chappy Lane, 1B – Hit just .178 in 58 games but led AA 1B in fielding %. Played in majors in 1884 as well. Played in minors as early as 1877. (birthday is still completely unknown).
1882: Harry Arundel, P- Went 4-10, 4.65 in 14 starts, 13 complete games. Also pitched one game in the National Association in 1875 (the first recognized major league) and another game in the NL in 1884. (birthday added as February 8, 1855)
1882: Jack Leary, 3B/OF- Hit .292 in 60 games with 35 runs scored. Played five years in the majors, playing in three different leagues, NL, AA and in 1884 in the Union Association. Played pro ball from 1877-1887. (birthday incomplete as July, 1857).
1882: Jake Seymour, P- Pitched a complete game 13-3 loss on September 23, the last day of the season. It was his only game in the majors and only known pro game. (born in 1854, but exact date is still unknown).
1882-83: Bill Morgan, SS/OF/C- Hit .194 over 49 games in his two seasons with Pittsburgh. Hit .173 in 45 games in 1884, his only other major league experience. (born in 1856, but exact date is still unknown).
1882-83: Billy Taylor, Utility Fielder- Went 4-8 5.80 in 20 games pitched. Hit .269 in 153 games with 20 triples. Possibly most amazing one year wonder ever, won 43 games in 1884 while hitting .323 over 73 games. Won just 50 games in his career. (born in 1855, but exact date is still unknown).
1882, 1885: Rudy Kemmler, C- Played eight years in majors. Hit .233 in 42 games for Pittsburgh. Hit .195 over 236 major league games. (birthday incomplete as January, 1860)
1883-84: George Creamer, SS- Hit .220 in 189 games for Pittsburgh. Played 500 major league games over seven seasons with a .215 average. Led AA 2B in fielding %(.937) in 1884. (born in 1855, but exact date is still unknown).
1883: Bob Barr, P- Went 6-18, 4.38 over 26 games in 1883. Went 49-98 over five seasons in majors. Played pro ball from 1883-1893. (birthday is incomplete as December, 1856).
1883: Wes Blogg,C/RF- Hit .147 in nine games over an 11 day span, his only major league experience. First played in minors in 1877 and last played in 1884. (born in 1855, but exact date is still unknown).
1883: Denny Mack, SS/1B- Hit .196 in 60 games for Pittsburgh. Played eight seasons in the majors, first appearing in 1871 in the National Association. He played until 1885, managed until 1887 and passed away just prior to 1888 season. (birthday added as March 14, 1850).
1883: Frank McLaughlin, SS- Hit .219 in 29 games for Pittsburgh. Played 107 games over three major league seasons. Played pro ball from 1882-1891. His brother Barney played in majors for three seasons and also has an unknown birth date. (born in 1857, but exact date is still unknown. Brother’s exact birthday is still unknown).
1884: Gus Alberts, SS- Went 1-for-5 in two September 1884 games. Hit .197 in 120 major league games over three seasons. Played pro ball from 1883-1895. (born in 1860, but exact date is still unknown).
1884: Frank Beck, P- Went 0-5 in five major league starts, three for Pittsburgh. Played pro ball from 1883-1887. Birth name was Frank Hengstebeck. (born in 1858, but exact date is still unknown).
1884: Ed Colgan, C- Hit .155 in 48 games for Pittsburgh, his only season in the majors. Played minor league ball between 1883-1892. Passed away in 1895. (birthday is still completely unknown and he now goes as “Billy”)
1884: Fleury Sullivan, P- Went 16-35, 4.20 in only major league season. Played pro ball from 1883-1885. Was born in same hometown (East Saint Louis,IL) as his catcher Ed “Billy” Colgan, who was his minor league teammate in 1883. His 35 losses are a franchise single season record. (born in 1862, but exact date is still unknown).
1884: Jack Gorman, P/3B/OF- Hit .148 in eight games for Pittsburgh and went 1-2, 4.68 in 25 innings pitched. Played just 17 major league games over two seasons with three teams. Played pro ball from 1883-1889. (born in 1859, but exact date is still unknown).
1884: Conny Doyle, LF- Hit .293 in 15 games for Pittsburgh. Hit .221 in 16 games for Phillies in 1883, his only other major league time. Played in minors from 1883-1893. (born in 1862, but exact date is still unknown).
1884: Jimmy Dee, SS- Hit .125 in 12 games with no runs scored and eight errors in his only major league experience. Played in minors in 1887-88. Has no known biographical information except the fact he was born in Buffalo, NY. (birthday updated as December 27, 1864 and his hometown is now Safe Harbor, PA. Also known as “Jim” now).
1890: Henry Jones, P- Went 2-1 3.48 in five games, the only pitcher (out of 22 total) with a winning record on 1890 team. Played in minors as early as 1886 until 1892. Pittsburgh native. (one of the complete unknowns prior, his birthday was added as July 27, 1860).
1890: Charlie Gray, P- Went 1-4 7.55 in five games, his only major league season. Played for just one other pro team, also in 1890. (birthday incomplete as June, 1864)
1890: Frank McGinn, CF- Went 0-for-4 on June 9th, his only major league game. Has no other known pro ball experience. (born in 1869, but exact date is still unknown).
1890: Ed Sales, SS- Hit .228 in 51 games with 23 RBIs in only major league season. Played in minors from 1884-1897. (born in 1861, but exact date is still unknown).
1890: George Ziegler, P- Lost only major league start on June 19th. Played in minors from 1889-1896. (born in 1866, but exact date is still unknown).
1890: Fred Truax,LF- Went 1-for-3 with RBI and walk in only major league game on August 18th. His only known pro ball experience. (born in 1868, but exact date is still unknown).
1890: Fred Osborne, OF/P- Hit .238 in 41 games and went 0-5 in 58 innings as a pitcher. Played in minors 1889-92. (birthday incomplete as May, 1865)
1890: Fred Clement, SS- Went 0-for-1 with three errors in his only major league game on June 24th. Played in minors in 1889. (birthday added as May 21, 1867)
1892: Bobby Cargo, SS- Went 1-for-4 with four errors in two October games. Played in minors from 1887-1903. Pittsburgh native. (born in 1868, but exact date is still unknown).
1894: Jim Ritz, 3B- Went 0-for-4, HBP, walk on July 20,1894, his only major league game. Played in minors from 1894-96. Died at age 22 in 1896 off-season. (born in 1874, but exact date is still unknown).
1895: John Corcoran, 3B/SS- Hit .150 in six games with Pirates, his only major league team. Played three seasons in minors. (born in 1873, but exact date is still unknown).
1896: Joe Wright, CF- Hit .308 in 15 games with Pirates. Played 62 games with Louisville between 1895-96. Played in minors from 1890-1900. (born in 1869, but exact date is still unknown).
1897: Jesse Hoffmeister, 3B- Hit .309 in 48 games during his only major league season. Played nine years in the minors. (birthday has been added as March 17, 1877)
1911: Jerry Dorsey ,CF- Went 0-for-6 in his only two games in the pros. (Named changed to D’Arcy and birthday added as December 4, 1885).