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This Date in Pirates History: March 26


Three former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date and one minor trade to discuss as well. First we start off with the trade that happened on March 26, 1988. That day the Pirates sent pitcher Tim Drummond and catcher Mackey Sasser to the New York Mets in exchange for first baseman Randy Milligan and minor league pitcher Scott Henion. The Pirates had acquired Sasser at the 1987 trading deadline for pitcher Don Robinson. It was the first season in the majors for the 25 year old catcher, who went 0-4 in two games for the Giants and hit .217 in 12 games for the Pirates. Drummond had made his major league debut that previous September, getting six relief appearances. The 23 year old pitcher had a 2.97 ERA and ten saves in 46 appearances at AAA in 1987 before his call-up. Henion had just turned 22 prior to the trade. He was a single-A reliever in his second year of pro ball. He had a 3.34 ERA and 12 saves in 54 games. Milligan was 26 at the time, coming off a AAA season that saw him hit .326 with 29 homers, 103 RBI’s and 91 walks. He was a 1981 first round draft pick of the Mets, who just saw his first big league action that September.

The Pirates didn’t get much out of this trade. Henion pitched poorly in one year in High-A ball before moving on to the Expos organization for one last season. Milligan made the Opening Day roster but never got going with the bat, hitting .220 with three homers in 40 games before being sent back to the minors. In November of 1988, he was traded to the Orioles for minor league pitcher Pete Blohm, who never made the majors. Sasser ended up playing five seasons in New York, hitting .283 in 420 games. He eventually made in back to Pittsburgh to finish his career in 1995. Drummond never pitched for the Mets, he was one of the five pitchers sent to the Twins in exchange for Frank Viola at the 1989 trading deadline. Tim pitched parts of two seasons with the Twins before finishing his career in the minors in 1992.

The former Pirates players born on this date include:

Eric Hacker(1983) Pitcher for the 2009 Pirates. He was originally a 23rd round draft pick of the New York Yankees in 2002. Hacker spent seven seasons in the minors for New York, although he missed all of 2004 and 2006 with injuries. The Pirates acquired him on May 16,2009 in exchange for Romulo Sanchez. Eric reported to AAA, where he went 5-5 4.02 in 21 starts. The Pirates called him up for his major league debut in late September and he pitched three times out of the bullpen, all three were one inning appearances. He was granted free agency after the season, signing with the Giants for 2010. After spending a full season in the minors, he signed with the Twins for 2011 and made two more relief appearances in the big leagues. This off-season, he resigned with the Giants for 2012.

Jack McCarthy(1869) Left fielder for the 1898-99 Pirates. After spending parts of two seasons in the majors with the Reds(1893-94), Jack played the entire 1895 season for Indianapolis of the Western League, where he hit .420 in 121 games. Despite that season, he spent the next two seasons back in Indianapolis, still as a member of the Reds organization. The Pirates acquired McCarthy in a seven player trade with the Reds on November 10,1897 that was discussed here. The Pirates gave up star outfielder Mike Smith and 30 game winner Pink Hawley in that deal, getting back five players, including 21 game winner Billy Rhines. McCarthy took over in left field for Smith and while he didn’t provide the total offense that Smith did, he still hit .289 with 78 RBI’s and 75 runs scored in 137 games. In 1899 he improved on those numbers, hitting .306 with 109 runs scored. When the Pirates completed the Honus Wagner trade with Louisville, they acquired Hall of Fame left fielder Fred Clarke, leaving no room for McCarthy.Four days after that trade, on December 12, 1899, the Pirates sold Jack to the Chicago Orphans(Cubs) for $2,000. He would go on to play eight more seasons in the majors, finishing his career with a .287 average in 1092 games.

Morrie Critchley(1850) Pitcher for the 1882 Pittsburgh Alleghenys. He made his debut for the Alleghenys on May 8, 1882. It was the fourth game in the history of the franchise, a team that started with the formation of the American Association that year. Critchley was facing a Cincinnati Red Stockings team that had just put 19 runs on the board one game earlier. He would allow seven hits and a walk but when the game ended, he had a shutout in his major league debut. One month later, without pitching another game, he was released by the Alleghenys. He joined another AA team, the St Louis Brown Stockings and made four starts for them with much different results than his game in Pittsburgh. Morrie went 0-4 and allowed 31 runs in 34 innings, striking out just two batters. He never pitched in the majors again and has no known minor league records after 1882. He was already 27 years old when organized minor league ball started in 1877. After his playing days, he occasionally umpired major league games. With his birth date of 3/26/1850, he is the earliest born pitcher in franchise history. Only two position players, Bob Ferguson and Deacon White, were born prior to Critchley. He is one of just four pitchers in Pirates franchise history to win his only game pitched for the team.

John Dreker
John Dreker
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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