On this date in 1992 the Pittsburgh Pirates traded pitcher Neal Heaton to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for outfielder Kirk Gibson. Heaton was 32 at the time, he had played three years in Pittsburgh, two as a starting pitcher but he spent the 1991 season in the bullpen. He had a 4.33 ERA in 42 appearances and 68.2 innings that year. Gibson was just shy of his 35th birthday and had hit .236 with 16 homers in 132 games for the Royals in 1991. Gibson had asked for a trade once the Royals told him he would serve in a backup role for 1992. Just 16 games into the season with the Pirates Gibson was placed on waivers and said he would likely retire. He didn’t play again in 1992 but returned for three more seasons with the Tigers from 1993-95. Heaton was released in late July by the Royals after 31 relief appearances. He pitched one game for the Brewers later that year and 18 games for the Yankees in 1993 before retiring.
Former Pirates players born on this date include:
Tike Redman (1977) outfielder for the Pirates from 2000-01 and 2003-05. He was a fifth round draft pick of the Pirates in the 1996 amateur draft. Tike never hit for a high average above rookie ball as he was working his way through the minors towards Pittsburgh, but he was known as a center fielder with good speed. He hit .333 during a mid-season nine game stint in the majors in 2000, yet it took him until the next May to make it back. Redman hit .224 in 37 games for the Pirates in 2001 then spent all of 2002 at AAA. He was finally recalled on August 1, 2003 and would hit .330 over the last 56 games of that season, earning a full-time job for 2004. In his best year in the majors, Tike hit .280 with 65 runs scored and 18 stolen bases in 155 games. He was unable to repeat the performance in 2005, his average dropped to .251 with just 19 walks in 135 games and he stole only four bases all year. Following the season the Pirates sold him to the Mets and since then his only big league experience was 40 games with the 2007 Orioles. As of the end of last season, he was still playing pro ball in the Mexican League. He has played 1432 minor league games. His brother Prentice played in the majors with the 2003 Mets.
John Cangelosi (1963) outfielder for the Pirates from 1987 until 1990. The Pirates acquired him from the White Sox at the end of spring training 1987 in exchange for relief pitcher Jim Winn. Cangelosi played his first full season in the majors in 1986, hitting just .235 but he had 71 walks and 50 stolen bases. He was used mostly as a pinch hitter during his four seasons in Pittsburgh, playing 349 total games but getting just 663 plate appearances. He hit .275 his first season, then watched his average drop each of the next three years, down to .197 in 1990. John stole 48 bases while in Pittsburgh. The Pirates released him following the 1990 season. He spent 1991 in the minors, 1992 with the Rangers, 1993 in the minors, then spent parts or all of the next seven seasons in the majors with four different teams. He played 1038 major league games, hitting .250 with 154 stolen bases.
Art Herring (1906) pitcher for the 1947 Pirates. He pitched six seasons in the majors from 1929 to the beginning of 1934 before going to the minors. Then from late June 1934 until August of 1944, a ten year and two month time span, he spent a total of just one month in the majors, early 1939 for the White Sox. Once he did get back at age 38 in 1944, he managed to get another four seasons of major league service including 1947 for the Pirates. Pittsburgh purchased his contract from the Dodgers in October of 1946. Herring made 11 appearances out of the bullpen for the Pirates, pitching a total of 10.2 innings with an 8.44 ERA. He allowed runs in three of his last four outings before being released in late June. He signed with the Cardinals organization and finished his career in AAA later that season. He won 162 minor league games and had a 34-38 4.32 record in 199 major league games, 56 of them as a starter.
Jack Mercer (1889) pitcher for the Pirates on August 2, 1910. He was just 21 at the time, having already played four seasons in the minors, but that one appearance for the Pirates would be the last game of his big league career. He threw one inning, allowing no runs on two walks and one strikeout. He was a project of Pirates manager Fred Clarke, who believed he had a natural ability that could lead to him being a great pitcher if he had the ambition to work on his control. Mercer was once credited as pitching for Fort Wayne of the Central League in 1912, and a long time ago his records included an appearance for the 1912 Cardinals, but both have been changed over the years. The 1912 player was a man named John Mercer.
Judge Nagle (1880) pitcher for the 1911 Pirates. He began his major league career with the Pirates on April 26, 1911 after spending the first six seasons of his pro career in the minors. He pitched in relief that first game and picked up the win, then pulled off the same feat the next game. Three innings into his major league career he had two wins to his credit. A week later he started his first game and while he allowed 10 hits, he pitched a complete game giving up just one run, collecting his third career victory. He lost his next start five days later but picked up his fourth and final win with the Pirates on May 15 when he allowed five runs during a three inning relief appearance. After going 4-2 3.62 in eight games, he was sold to the Boston Red Sox on June 21,1911. He pitched five games for Boston before returning to the minors for two seasons, retiring after a sore arm left him unable to pitch. From 1908-1910, pitching for the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League, he won at least 20 games each year, with 69 total wins over that period.
Edward “Dad” Lytle (1862) second baseman/outfielder for the 1890 Pittsburgh Alleghenys. He has no known minor league records before the age of 27 in 1889 and he played just 16 major league games, all in 1890. He began the 1890 season in the minors, making his major league debut on August 11th with the Chicago Colts playing the Alleghenys. Lytle played right field and went 0-4 that day with a run scored. The next day he was with Pittsburgh, playing 15 straight games before his major league career ended on August 28th. With Pittsburgh he hit just .145 with no RBI’s in 55 AB’s. The funny thing about his major league career, which I assume he found no humor in, was that he never played on a winning team. The Alleghenys beat the Colts during his one game, then lost every game he played for them. In fact, from July 28 until September 3 during that 1890 season, Pittsburgh won just one game, on their way to a 23-113 record. Lytle played another ten seasons in the minors following his only brief stint in the majors.
On a final note, apologies to Paul Martin, a pitcher for the 1955 Pirates who was left off yesterday’s list(born 3/9/1932). He pitched just seven games for the Pirates before tearing a ligament in his arm which ended his career. He was signed as an amateur free agent and due to the rules of the time, his large signing bonus meant he had to stay on the major league roster that first season, so Martin never pitched in the minors. His stats were forgettable, allowing 30 baserunners in seven innings of work and finishing with a 14.14 ERA.
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.