This Date in Pirates History: March 24

Four former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, starting with the youngest one first we have Gus Dugas(1907) outfielder for the Pirates in 1930 and 1932. When he joined the Pirates in September 1930, it was his first shot at the big leagues and he had the unenviable task of trying to break into an outfield that had two Hall of Famers(the Waner brothers) and 24 year old Adam Comorosky, who hit .313 with 119 RBI’s, 47 doubles and a league leading 23 triples. Dugas hit well in his nine games, batting .290 with seven walks but not surprisingly, he was back in the minors the following season. He would have to really impress the Pirates to earn a spot back in the majors and he did just that in 1931. Playing for Kansas City of the American Association, Gus hit .419 in 93 games with 44 extra base hits. He was with the Pirates the entire 1932 season, playing mostly off the bench. He started only 14 games all year, including five of the last six games of the season. In 55 games he had 97 AB’s and hit .237 with three homers and 12 RBI’s.

In December 1932 the Pirates traded Dugas to the Phillies as part of a three team deal that saw them acquire Freddie Lindstrom from the Giants in return. With Lindstrom in center field for 1933, the Pirates then had three future Hall of Famers in the outfield and another two in the infield, Pie Traynor and Arky Vaughan. Dugas played two more seasons in the majors and another ten in the minors before retiring. He was a .327 minor league hitter in 1361 total games. His great-grandson Andrew Carignan, made his major league debut this September as a relief pitcher for the Oakland A’s.

Pat Veltman(1906) Catcher for the 1934 Pirates. He played in the majors during five different seasons prior to joining the 1934 Pirates but over those five trials in the majors, he played a grand total of just 11 games. Pittsburgh took him in the October 1933 rule 5 draft from the Oakland Oaks of the Pacific Coast League after he hit .332 with 12 homers and 30 doubles. Veltman was with the Pirates the entire season but after starting four of the first nine games behind the plate, he played just eight more games all season and went to bat only 11 more times. That was his last season in the majors, he returned to the minors for three seasons before retiring. Pat batted .107 in 28 AB’s for the Pirates and drove in the only two runs of his big league career while with the team, one in the first game of the year and another in his last game.

Roy Thomas(1874) Outfielder for the 1908 Pirates. He was in his tenth season with the Philadelphia Phillies when his contract was purchased by the Pirates on June 1,1908. At 34 years old, his skills had somewhat diminished but he was adept at getting on base and using his speed to score runs. Thomas had led the NL in walks during seven of his nine full seasons in Philadelphia. The other two seasons he finished second and third in the league. He also batted over .300 five times and stole 228 bases with the Phillies. In 1908, prior to coming to the Pirates, he had played just six games but after joining Pittsburgh he went right into the everyday center field spot. Thomas would hit .256 with 49 walks and 52 runs scored in 102 games for the Pirates that 1908 season. Despite the loss of his best asset, his speed, he was still able to lead all NL outfielders in fielding range, something he also did three times with the Phillies. The Pirates released him in 1909 so he could sign with the Boston Doves. In 1910 he returned to the Phillies for two more seasons before retiring.

Al Lawson(1869) Pitcher for the 1890 Pittsburgh Alleghenys. He started his big league career with the Boston Beaneaters on May 13,1890 facing off against future Hall of Fame pitcher Mickey Welch of the New York Giants. The day before, when the same two teams met, two other future Hall of Fame pitchers squared off, Kid Nichols for Boston and Amos Rusie for New York. That game was an exciting 1-0 pitching duel. Lawson in his first game could not live up to the standards of the other three pitchers, Welch walked away with the 7-2 win and Lawson allowed 12 hits and four walks. Boston had apparently seen enough and two weeks later Al was pitching for Pittsburgh. The 1890 Alleghenys went 23-113, the worst record in franchise history. Their start wasn’t nearly as bad as you would think with that overall record. They were 8-16 when Lawson joined the team for his first game. In the first game of a doubleheader against the Phillies on May 28th, he lost a 12-10 slugfest. Just five days later, the Chicago Colts(Cubs) led by Cap Anson, knocked Lawson out of the game, going on to win 14-1. It would be his last game in the majors. He played minor league ball until 1905 and also managed a few seasons in the minors, during and after his playing days.

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